Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

2013 Off-week Preview #1

With CU taking the travel-partner bye this week, my Wednesday and Thursday night schedules are starkly devoid of Buff-centric things to do.  No preview to write, no game to watch or attend.  What to do, what to do...

Ah ha!  I know! There's still plenty non-CU basketball to watch!

Specifically, there's seven games I'll be playing close attention to over the next two evenings, five for their impact on the Pac-12 race, and two for their impact on CU's RPI.  Below the fold, I'll be giving each of them the light preview treatment, and predicting their outcomes.

Click below for the preview(s)...

Wednesday Night

USC @ UCLA - 8pm, Pac-12 Network

The battle of Los Angeles isn't nearly as sexy as it might've been a few weeks ago.  UCLA managed to follow up a headline making win at Arizona with an 18-point failbomb against ASU.  Meanwhile, USC has lost three of four since former coach Kevin O'Neill was fired.  There's still conference positioning to consider, however, and UCLA needs this to keep any faint hope of ever catching Oregon.
Title hopes all but dashed in Tempe, the Bruins cannot afford a loss to USC.
There's no doubt in my mind that the Bruins will circle the wagons and crush the headless Trojans.  KenPom has it as a 10-point spread, I think it will be worse.

UCLA 75 - USC 60

Oregon @ Stanford - 9pm, ESPNU

Oregon is threatening to run away and hide with the regular season Pac-12 title, and a Nor Cal sweep would put them at 9-0 with tie-breakers over seeds 2-4.   However, the Ducks are stuck without starting freshman point guard Dominic Artis, as he recovers from a foot injury.  They had a little more trouble than expected in Washington last Saturday, and the full effect of Artis' absence is as of yet unknown.
No Artis could mean trouble in Eugene.
They should sill get past Cal this Saturday, but Stanford could pose an interesting challenge.  I'll go out on a limb, and say that the Cardinal scores a major upset with a home win over the hobbled Ducks.

Stanford 65 - Oregon 63

(UPDATE, 1/30/13) As @JGIsland points out, Stanford is actually a unanimous favorite to win this game.  Wilner of the SJMN puts it down to Oregon being due.  Just to spite everyone, I may rethink my prediction.

Non-Pac-12 games to care about - 

Oklahoma @ Baylor - 5pm, ESPNU

Baylor keeps winning, and CU's win over them keeps looking better and better.  They're now 5-1 in Big XII play, with their lone loss coming at Kansas.  They have a very tough stretch coming up, however, with difficult trips to ISU and OSU on the horizon.  Best to beat OU tonight to keep the good vibes flowing into the road trip.
Is there a way for Baylor to win while this asshole suffers a career-ending injury?  That'd be ideal.
RPI logistics have me rooting for the enemy this evening.  I think the Bears will come through.

BU 70 - OU 61

New Mexico @ Wyoming - 7pm, ROOT

This is a big pickup opportunity for CU's already sterling RPI .

Wyoming had been on a roll, winning their first 13 games, including a walloping of the Buffs in Laramie.  Mountain West play has been less than kind, however, and they've started out 2-4 in-conference. The Cowboys need a home upset over the top-20 Lobos to re-kindle their fading fire.  Unfortunately, I don't think they'll get it.

UNM 62 - WYO 57

Thursday Night -

Arizona @ Washington - 7pm, ESPN

Washington has done nothing but lose since beating the Buffs two weeks ago.  That includes embarrassing defeats to Utah and at Oregon St. There are no gimmies walking into Seattle, but Arizona should have relatively little difficulty beating the reeling Huskies tomorrow night.
Wha... wha... what happened?
This rivalry has often determined the big-dog out west, but Washington has slipped this season.  'Zona should take advantage.

UofA 80 - UW 69

Oregon St @ Cal - 8pm, ESPNU

Well, would you look at that.  OSU finally got one.  They smacked the suddenly awful Huskies in the mouth for their first Pac-12 win. Of course, they immediately turned around and lost to Washington St, so feel free to roll your eyes.

After watching Cal Sunday afternoon, I'm far from sold.  They needed an increbdibly hot second-half performance from Crabbe and Cobbs to even make it respectable, and the rest of the team looks like a baby deer learning to walk.  As a result, I'm calling for a mild upset.

OSU 74 - Cal 70

Arizona St @ Washington St - 9pm, Pac-12 Network

I've been saying "wait and see" on the Sun Devils for three weeks now, and I'm at my wits' end.  They just keep winning.  The conventional wisdom has been that ASU's home-heavy schedule has helped them in their blistering start. If they earn the road sweep over the struggling Washington squads, I give in.  This weekend is my ASU Waterloo.
Jahii Carson is legit.  Can he continue to carry the Sun Devils?
Unfortunately, because I hate being wrong, and thought the Sun devils would really struggle this year, I can't see a way that ASU loses, at least against the Cougars.

ASU 67 - WSU 55


1 comment:

Claroofus Jones said...

Hey, Rumblin',

Great work here again. I wanted to say special thanks for your rips on Baylor. Scott Drew and Brady Heslip, leave my world.