While there’s a few more non-conference games of note mixed in the schedule once conference season begins all around, there is one game that should peak your interest on New Years Day while all of the kiddies entertain us. No, not the many, many bowl games that take place on New Years Day. Besides, that game on January 5th in Miami is really the only game besides the title you should pay attention to.
There’s another game involving the Big East and Big Ten that should excite you more than a Sonic Cherry Limeade. Come to think of it, I bet Robbie Hummel worked at a Sonic at some point in his life. He just looks like it.
On New Years Day while I’ll probably be watching the Winter Classic, college hoops has a marquee matchup between unbeaten Purdue and West Virginia. I sent my top 25 picks to Fetch the other day and was skeptical on where to put West Virginia. When you look at their schedule, they haven’t really beaten anyone handily. They’ve really struggled in their last two games squeaking past Marquette and then blowing a lead to Seton Hall only to win in overtime.
De’Sean Butler is the only senior on the Mountaineers squad averaging more than 20 minutes and there have been some growing pains even with great second year players in Kevin Jones and Devin Ebanks. While Huggie Bear has the kids from Morgantown unbeaten heading into 2010, I just can’t see them finishing higher than 3rd in the Big East. West Virginia can fill it up, but it’s quite clear that they’re not an elite defensive team.
The defenses of Syracuse, Georgetown, Pittsburgh and even Cincinnati will frustrate the Mountaineers.
Purdue on the other hand is the clear cut class in a surprisingly underwhelming Big Ten. They have a few solid wins against Alabama, Wake Forest, and Tennessee. Juniors Robbie Hummel, E’Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson make up for nearly 75% of the Boilers scoring. It’s not the scoring that’s been the strength of the Boilers, but rather the defense. Kenpom has the Boilers 9th in defensive efficiency this season. They’re in the top 15 in steals and blocks per game as a team.
If you don’t like defensive basketball (read: Big Ten hoops), then you might want to stick to football. We’ll be flipping between the frozen pond at Fenway and this game. Boilers win and then they all go out for bacon cheeseburger toasters. C’mon, he really does look like he would work at Sonic, right?
Ed. Note: I actually read about West Virginia, a team I hadn’t really seen until the Seton Hall game AND attempted to understand how defensive efficiency is calculated. I will now go purchase a Super Sonic Breakfast Burrito as a reward. This post was brought to you by Sonic. It is not be be duplicated without the express written consent of the guy that takes my order in like 17 minutes.