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LCB Hoops Picks: Rivalry Week

February 12, 2010

With football season finally over and the NBA season taking a break for all-star festivities, Berndon and myself move our focus to selecting college basketball. Our picks for this weekend's best games are after the jump..




(5) West Virginia vs (25) Pitt @ 9:00 on ESPN (Friday):
Langston: To be honest, I don't know much about either team. The only time I have seen either of them play, was last week when the West Virginia crowd was throwing things onto the court, prompting Bob Huggins to lecture the crowd. I learned a couple things from that game. First of all, Pitt doesn't pass the ball very well. They had a total of five assists, West Virginia had as many assists from their bench. Secondly, they aren't the sharpest shooters (16-53 for 30.2 %), which probably had something to do with their low assist numbers. If they shoot like that again, they'll be lucky to have their home court advantage after the first TV timeout. Lastly, they can't get it done off the glass, they were out-rebounded 45 to 31. Those are three combinations that don't go great together when trying to win a game, and typically leave you with a blow-out loss. Now I could assume that Pitt just had a bad game, or I can assume that nothing ever changes and Pitt will get demolished. I'll go with the latter, after all, it was just a week ago. WVU 64, Pitt 48.

Berndon: Live from the Oakland Zoo, where my brother expertly teaches Chemistry as part of his graduate studies, I look for the Mountaineers to bounce back from their loss on Monday to Villanova in the basketball version of the backyard brawl. They simply have too much down low with the likes of Kevin Jones and Devin Ebanks for the Panthers to handle them. This Pitt team has largely overachieved so far, and should be very good next year, but West Virginia is the better squad for the time being, and will get the win, 73-65.

(12) Tennessee vs. (3) Kentucky @ 9:00 on ESPN (Saturday):
Langston: There are three things that Tennessee teams rarely get; overpowered, out-smarted, and out-worked. All three happened on Tuesday against the 'Dores. And typically, I couldn't imagine it happening twice in a row. But it's rivalry week and the last time I checked, Kentucky is pretty good. They have multiple future first round draft picks (Tennessee has none, well, unless Hopson figures out he can drive whenever he wants.), John Calipari calling the shots, and Rupp full of crazy Kentuckians ready to go off at any given moment. Add it all up and the Vols could be in for a long night. It's hard to deny how great this Kentucky team can play, but I will anyways, because this is the same UT team that shouldn't have beaten Kansas a week after half the team got pinched. And how could I, as a Tennessee fan, ever doubt this team again? UT 75, UK 73.

Berndon: Kentucky is the best team in the country. There, I said it. My early pick to cut down the nets will beat Langston's Tennessee Vols here, and I don't even think its going to be close. The problem with Kentucky is that they're almost too talented, and seem to coast through games out of boredom. Kind of like how I coast through life out of boredom, except for the fact that I'm not exceptionally talented like they are. The Wildcats will have a stretch or two where they will be out of sync, allowing UT to keep it close for a while, but I predict they will make a run sometime in the second half, winning the game 85-72.

Upset Special
Langston: See above: UT-UK

Berndon: With the amount of parity that seems to have marked this year's slate in college bball, there really aren't too many head-shaking upsets anymore. A lot of the conference races are still nip and tuck with about 5 weeks left until conference tourney time. I want to say that Maryland is going to knock off Duke on their home floor, and believe me, I'll be rooting for it. But this Duke team protects Coach K Court better than the Duke team's of the last couple of years. My upset special comes from Syracuse, as I look for Louisville to go to upstate New York and beat a Cuse team that I still am not sold on completely. The Cardinals are deep, athletic, and talented, and I look for them to be able to negate Syracuse's zone by hitting shots from the outside, and for them to wear the Orange down with their full-court press, winning by a margin of 77-72.

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