Games of the day for 1/12/21

Dec 5, 2020; Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys guard Cade Cunningham (2) during the game against the Oakland Golden Grizzlies at Gallagher-Iba Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

Tuesday’s are one of the best days of the Week for College Hoops. Let’s get into it.

Wisconsin Badgers (10-2) Michigan Wolverines (10-0)

The undefeated Michigan Wolverines host the Wisconsin Badgers due to be an insanely fun matchup between two talented rosters.

The Wolverines have been one of the top teams in the country this season. Hunter Dickinson is a unique player that’ll be an All-American in 2020-21. Dickinson is shooting an absurd 73% from-the-field. However, on the surface, many may think it’s all right at the basket. That isn’t the case, Dickinson per https://hoop-math.com/Michigan2021.php, Dickinson’s shooting 62% of his shots at the rim, and 35% of his shots are 2pt jumpers. Dickinson can shoot it from 15-foot at most if open, and once he’s within 7-feet of the rim, he’s backing you down and scoring on you. Micah Potter can be foul prone, something that Dickinson needs to keep a note of. It isn’t like you can foul Dickinson either and get away with it. Dickinson shoots 73% from the line.

Michigan does employ other options than Dickinson, with Franz Wagner, Isaiah Livers, Chaundee Brown, Mike Smith, and Eli Brooks, all averaging 9+ points-per-game. That kind of depth with those fours shooting ability allows for tremendous floor spacing, and Dickinson is a serviceable passer for a 7’1 player. It’s Wagner’s time to roll in this one with the way he’s been shooting the ball lately. 

You won’t find more experienced or smart teams than the Badgers, but Michigan blows them out of the water pure talent-wise. The Badgers have been the best shooting team in the nation in 2020-21, which has seven players shooting 35% or better from three. Micah Potter needs to be shooting the ball more than eight times-per-game, I understand Wisconsin likes to spread the wealth, but when you have a 6’10 player that is an elite shooter from deep, feed him. the main focus for Potter in this one needs to be staying on the floor, not as much this season. Still, Potter could see foul issues against Dickinson. D’Mitrik Trice is in the midst of his best year in Madison, but some of the issues with Trice we have still seen. Trice is as streaky of a player that exists, and For example, Trice has posted four twenty point outings this season also with four outings below ten points. A lot of what Wisconsin can accomplish is dependent on which Trice you get on a given day, and we’ll know two or three shots in what version of Trice heads to Ann Arbor.

Keys to the game:

Michigan needs to play the game in the ’80s, they can win games in that range, and I’m skeptical that Wisconsin can.

Wisconsin cannot let Dickinson score 20+ points, and if he dominates the way he has recently, it’s a wrap.

Players to watch:

Wisconsin: 73

Michigan: 80

Alabama Crimson Tide (9-3) Kentucky Wildcats (4-6)

We get a matchup between two of the scorching hot teams in the SEC, with one in desperate need of a win.

The Tide have won three consecutive games, including two road contests. Of course, Nate Oat’s still plays a rapid pace, shooting a ridiculous number of threes. If Bama wins, they need to hit their shots, and it’s as simple as that. Yale transfer Jordan Bruner hadn’t produced the way many envisioned. That changed against Auburn when Bruner had 20/7/4, making huge plays, and forced Sharife Cooper to turn the ball over late. Bruner will have his hands full with Olivier Sarr, with Sarr’s craftiness inside. Alabama needs to force Kentucky to turn the ball over. Devin Askew has recently looked far more confident. I would put Herb Jones on him to try to force ill-advised decisions. We’ve seen John Petty turn the corner recently, and Petty needs to score at least 15 points if the Tide can go into Lexington to win this one.

Kentucky looks like a different team right now. Terrance Clarke has not played in the past three games, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. The lack of shooting from Clarke makes the defense shrink and not be forced to spread out. Dontaie Allen is one of the team’s top scorers, something not many people would have imagined a few weeks ago. Allen is an elite shooter and makes everyone else’s job on the team easier. For the Cats to win this one, Isaiah Jackson needs to produce more on the offensive end. Jackson is one of the better defenders in the country, but he doesn’t add much on offense, he’s a rim-runner at best right now, but I’d love to see him handle the ball inside with his athleticism. BJ Boston is still struggling shooting from deep, only 6-35 this season, but he is so freakishly athletic that if Kentucky can force turnovers, get Boston in transition, that can get him rolling. I find it hard to believe that BJ Boston will average 12 PPG the entire season. The turnovers have fluctuated for the Wildcats the past few weeks, turning over only twice against Vandy, 14 times against Florida, and 18 times against Mississippi State. If Kentucky turns it over 12 times or less in this one, Kentucky wins.

Keys to the game:

Get another shooter next to Allen to show consistency for Kentucky. Having Allen makes things significantly better, but they need someone else who can nail five threes in a game.

Alabama needs to control the tempo, make Kentucky speed-up, turn Kentucky over; that’s the winning recipe.

Players to watch:

Alabama: John Petty Jr

Kentucky: Isaiah Jackson

Prediction:

Alabama: 73

Kentucky: 80

Kansas Jayhawks (10-2) Oklahoma State Cowboys (8-3)

The Cowboys have been too close to stealing games WVU and Texas this season but haven’t gotten that huge upset yet. They’ll have another shot in this game.

The Cowboys have shown struggles offensively at times this season. The shooting from three is the biggest issue. Mike Boynton needs more production from Rondel Walker, Brice Williams & Ferron Flavors. Cade Cunningham and Isaac Likekele can create and drive, but shooting isn’t their strong suits. They bring the defense together in the paint and kick out to shooters. They just need to hit the shots. The Cowboys love running in transition with two of the better-driving guards in the country with Cunningham & Likekele. Something that needs to be worked on in this one is the post defense. We’ve seen at times post-defense can be problematic for OKST, and with the way David McCormack has played recently, that cannot be an issue in this one.

Speaking of McCormack, the turn-around that’s happened for the Junior makes such a difference for the Jayhawks. McCormack posted 20 against TCU and 17 against Oklahoma. The confidence McCormack possesses currently is so vital to Kansas’s success. Marcus Garrett against Cade Cunningham will be a matchup to watch, and Cunningham will never face a better defender in College Hoops than Garrett. It’ll be fun to watch. Christian Braun’s past three games have been a struggle, posting single figures in scoring all three games. Braun can fill-it-up when going right, but his confidence doesn’t seem to be high right now. Bill Self will put him in situations to get it going. Oklahoma State already allows far too many offensive rebounds, and Kansas gets a ton of offensive rebounds. OKST needs to crash the glass.

Keys to the game:

The Cowboys need to cash in on at least eight threes. Kansas can shoot. OKST needs to also.

Feed David McCormack.

Players to watch:

Kansas: David McCormack

OKST: Isaac Likekele

Prediction:

Kansas: 77

OKST: 73

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