In hindsight, the original government slogan designed to increase female participation in the domestic war effort was a little misguided.
Today is going to be an excellent day in college hoops, my friends. Let's start with the non-ACC stuff:
My expertise on the Big Ten is limited, but I do know that I hate Ohio State, and I do know that KenPom says this is the third-hardest game left on their schedule. The Illini are undefeated at home, with big wins over Wisconsin and Michigan State, and even at noon their crowd should be in full throat. God, I hope they win.
Extra: Here's another feather in Florida State's cap: they held Ohio State to their lowest point total of the season, 58. Granted, FSU only scored 44, but on a good shooting day that was upset territory. (Oh God, I'm fully gone to the Seminoles, just like commenter Lara warned me...they are going to break my heart when I pick them for the Elite 8. I can already see it.)
In some ways, this is a win-win game; one of them has to lose. In other ways, it's lose-lose, since one of them has to win. Did that make any sense? Put more simply, I hate both of these teams. But I think I hate Texas more. Kansas' undefeated record has been surviving by the skin of its undefeated teeth. A 2-point win at home to UCLA, an OT win on the road against Michigan, a 3-point home win against Nebraska, and a 2-point home win against USC attest to a certain amount of luck. The Horns, coming off a hugely convincing home drubbing of A&M, might be able to finish the job in the midst of the gregorian chanting weirdo Lawrence partisans.
Extra: What's with USC this year? The Trojans beat Texas handily, barely lost to Kansas on the road, beat UCLA, and beat Tennessee. Then they lost to Bradley (a team Duke beat by 35), Rider, TCU, and Oregon State. Seriously, how does that happen? The Rider and Bradley losses weren't even on the road.
Double Extra: This game is on at the same time as Duke-Wake Forest. Am I a horrible fan if I drift away in the second half? We're going to be winning by like 90.
My favorite game of the day. Syracuse got knocked from the ranks of the unbeaten on Monday, and they've had a whole week to prepare for the guard-heavy Wildcats. Nova is also coming off a road loss, by two at UConn, and they'll have to shoot the lights out against the Boeheim 2-3 zone to avoid the same fate. It's entirely possible that Syracuse will get every single rebound in this game against Villanova's 15-guard offense. Joseph is back from his concussion, and the Syracuse frontcourt will be in beast mode. Go Orange!
Extra: James Southerland, a sophomore for Syracuse, is a weird dude. I went to the Cuse-Notre Dame game over winter break, and I got to see the home side warm up. Every time Southerland shot the ball, he'd start bocking like a chicken. Except instead of saying 'bock,' he'd say 'ball.' Over and over and over, until a ballboy obliged by throwing him the ball. He kept this up for the entire shootaround. The managers must hate him. Still, he's awesome; in terms of boards per possession, he's the second-best rebounder on the team, and the #1 three point shooter. He only plays about 18 minutes per game, but he always gives them an immediate spark off the bench, so that number will continue to rise.
Both of these teams have a lot to prove. The Aggies need to show that their road disaster against Texas was an anomaly, and that they're worthy of top-10 status. The stakes for Kansas State are even higher. After starting in the top-5, the season has been a small disaster. They're 1-3 in the Big 12 and a loss away from being unranked for the first time all year. They haven't really beat a decent team yet, unless you count Virginia Tech very early on, but they've lost to every okay-to-good team they've faced: Duke, Florida, UNLV, Oklahoma State, Colorado, Missouri. They're looking very much like an average team who wins when they should and loses when they should. To prove they belong in the top-25, they need a road win today. A bad loss at Missouri on Monday really has them on the ropes. A&M, on the other hand, is a classic workhorse Big-12 team. They win a lot of close games, defend their house very well, and sometimes get smacked on the road. This is a deceptively great game.
Extra: I have it on good authority that K-State coach Frank Martin will shove one of his own player's faces into a toilet at halftime on live television.
I sort of feel sorry for Michigan State, a team with some personnel problems that seems to be treading water on their way out of the top 25. But whenever that pity emotion rises in me, I force myself to remember: this is exactly what Izzo wants you to feel. The bastards will still end up in the Final Four somehow. But check out their last four games: road loss at Penn State, OT home win against Wisconsin with a miracle comeback, OT home win against Northwestern, road loss at Illinois. This is a team holding on by duct tape and moxie. (There's an actual turn of phrase that means the same thing, but it's escaping me.) Purdue is less hateable this year now that vicious white bastard Robbie Hummel is gone (he's actually rehabilitating an ACL injury, and will return as a redshirt senior next year), and they've had several good wins without having a great one yet. With JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore averaging 38ppg together, I have trouble seeing Purdue drop this one to the floundering Spartans.
Extra: I was just looking at Virginia Tech's schedule, since they lost by 3 to Purdue in the Big 10-ACC showdown, and I'm wondering: is this team the ultimate sleeper? They started off 4-4 after losses to Purdue, UNLV, K-State, and Virginia (a particularly bad one), and were largely written off. But now they've reeled off an 8-1 streak that includes a great home win against FSU and an emphatic road win at Maryland. This could be the surprise team of the second half of the season.
How do you all rank these 5 games in order of preference? I'm thinking it's Nova-Cuse, Texas-Kansas, OSU-Illinois, MSU-Purdue, Kansas State-A&M. But I will probably watch them all.
Okay, time to talk Duke-Wake. What can you really say about this game? The Deacons have lost 8 of 9. One of them was at home to Presbyterian. On the road against Georgia Tech, they scored 39 points. This team is really, really down, and Duke is going to murder them in Wake. I'm not even positive it'll be fun.*
*It's going to be awesome.
As I mentioned yesterday, the Hot Potato for today's game is Mason Plumlee, and you can get a bonus point by commenting with your favorite joke or riddle. We had some good ones yesterday.
Anyway, here are some things that Wake Forest is really bad at: turning the ball over, rebounding, scoring from 2, stealing the ball, giving up steals, offense, and defense. They're pretty big, though. There's that. But they don't really have anyone that tall, just a lot of dudes between 6'4" and 6'8" and one guy, Desrosiers, at 6'11" who plays less than half the game.
At 7pm, there's another great ACC match-up: Boston College at Florida State. The winner will be 5-1 in conference, tied for first with Duke.
Clemson-Maryland at 2:30 might be kind of interesting too, though I'll confine my personal interest in this one to reading the final score.
To close things out, here's a video that's kind of sad and kind of funny. It's a highlight compilation of Seth Curry's freshman year at Liberty. It features an R-Kelly song, and I'm pretty sure a lot of the individual clips are used more than once. Thanks to Jacob the "Destoryer" for sending it along.
Enjoy Sexy Saturday.