GAMES OF THE DAY FOR 2/23/21. Is Texas back?

Saint Louis (11-5) VCU Rams (16-5)

There’s no league doing themselves fewer favors in terms of getting at-large bids than the A-10 is. 

SLU’s now lost two consecutive games, making their road to getting into the tournament very narrow.

VCU was in a prime position to get an at-large bid, they just had to defeat George Mason at home. They didn’t do that, they lost in OT & in the process, Bones Hyland got a foot sprain injury that looked rather painful. it’s safe to assume Hyland will be out for this game. 

Without the 19 PPG of Hyland, it will be far from easy, who can step in to produce here? It’ll have to be Ace Baldwin playing more of a scoring role, Jamir Watkins & Vince Williams Jr shooting the ball more. The unfortunate reality is this isn’t a deep VCU squad, so losing your best player isn’t easy to replace. You have to hope the guys that play regular minutes continue to play their role but in a larger volume. The Rams will have to win this one on the defensive end.

The Billikens have been another team that fell off after a prolonged COVID pause but have a chance to try for some redemption here. SLU plays a much deeper rotation, can that be the deciding factor in this one? We’ll have to see, but I think it could.

The key is always shooting the ball for Saint Louis. You know the defense will be there, but guys like Javonte Perkins & Gibson Jimerson are the main shooters, look for them to produce in this one. 

VCU will likely try to press often in this one, make sure Yuri Collins is careful with the Basketball.

Keys to the game:

SLU’s shooting from deep will be massive in this one.

Who can score with Bones Hyland likely out?

Players to watch:

SLU: Gibson Jimerson

VCU: Jamir Watkins

Prediction:

SLU: 68

VCU: 66

Kansas Jayhawks (17-7) Texas Longhorns (13-6)

The Longhorns weekend went rough very quickly. Shaka Smart’s crew led by 19 early in the 2nd half prior to Sean McNeil going on a tear to guide West Virginia back into the game, where they inevitably won the game following a final play that underwent much scrutiny. 

The play I mentioned, Is the final play with 0.3 seconds remaining. In College, with 0.3 seconds remaining the only way you can get a shot up is with a tip. Inbound came into Jericho Sims, where he caught the ball, looked to be fouled, and tipped it short, no-call. There’s multiple issues here, Sims was absolutely fouled, but why didn’t the refs waive the shot-off? You cannot catch the ball with 0.3 seconds left as Sims did. Multiple issues transpired late, but no matter how you slice it, Texas lost.

Can they bounceback at home against Kansas?

If the Longhorns guard hit triples, (Ramey, Jones, Coleman) that makes the Longhorns a dangerous team, but Greg Brown will have to add production shooting-wise. Brown’s one of the truly elite defenders in College Ball, but when he struggles to score, it’s a noticeable trend that the team struggles.

The team cannot be discouraged after the blown lead on Saturday.

Texas has one of the top post defensive trio’s in the country with Brown, Jericho Sims & Kai Jones, one of them will have to stay upright with Kansas’s David McCormack in this one.

When McCormack goes, Kansas becomes a different level of the team. When he leads the team in scoring with 15+ that makes for a high-level squad.

We’ll also need to see Christian Braun’s shooting improve here following a rough 2-10 game from three in the win against Tech on Saturday.

We’ve seen that Kansas usually only wins on the defensive end, a truly elite defensive unit at that. The offensive struggles the Jayhawks show often cannot show off in this one or Texas can run away with this one similar to how they did in Allen Fieldhouse.

Keys to the game:

The Longhorns have to figure out the best formula to defend McCormack. 

Kansas isn’t shooting the ball very well from deep recently. That will have to change in this one to win on the road.

Players to watch:

Kansas: Christian Braun

Texas: Kai Jones

Prediction:

Kansas: 66

Texas: 70

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