I wanted to look back at Monday and look ahead to Tuesday's slate of games that peak my interest, particularly the Georgetown-Depaul game because I am a loyal Blue Demons fan.
Looking back to Monday, Syracuse took care of business and did what it needed to in order to beat a Pitt team that has now lost seven straight, uncharted territory for Jamie Dixon's squad. Regarding Syracuse, I saw them play at Depaul on New Year's Day and man were they impressive. They go 9-10 deep and don't just do that with able bodies. They have ten men who are all tall, athletic, skilled, and know their role in Boeheim's scheme. At 20-0, they are going to be hard to beat because even their off night can be good enough to beat you. Kansas, with the combination of Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor, gave it to Baylor in pretty impressive fashion. I saw Baylor up close at Northwestern this year, and they are as good as advertised. But Kansas came out and proved that the road still goes through them in order to win a Big 12 crown. The Bears seem like a humble team, though, and I don't see this lose shaking their confidence too much like it did the Texas Longhorns a view years back.
Looking to tonight, I see MSU beating Michigan at Michigan. Michigan is ranked pretty high, but I don't buy it to the fact that they can be an elite team. I think they are decent, but don't have the players to make a deep tourney run. I was put off by MSU early in the season, but Izzo really has his team playing well at this time, and I can see them walking out of Ann Arbor with a victory. It may not be easy, but I think they'll do it. I want to attend the Depaul game at Allstate Arena, but I don't think I'll make it there tonight. That being said, I will be watching closely on ESPN2 to see how the Blue Demons fair. I view Georgetown in a similar light to Michigan as not being elite, so I see my Blue Demons putting up a fight in this one. As an Indiana fan who now sees Crean's rebuilding project as reaping its benefits in its fourth season, I do not want to rush into things with Purnell's second year at the helm with the Demons, but I want to see a big win tonight. Sure, they beat a slumping Pitt team in dramatic fashion last week, but the Blue Demons have been anemic in the Big East for too many years now. They are Chicago's Big East team and I hate seeing them continue to be down like this and not have the recruits from this great city. Cleveland Melvin is a great player don't get me wrong, but they need to land a few studs in order to hang in the Big East, not just Melvin (who nearly went to UCONN) and some decent players. I like Brandon Young, but outside of these two my trust is a little waning. I went Oliver Purnell to press early to get a lead, but then drop back into a man-to-man or zone defense. As a Clemson fan, I saw his press work, but I also have seen his teams get burned far too many times with easy baskets. An early game press is good, but you don't want to run your team and tire them out the whole game. I want to see them playing in a half court defense to see how it actually works. I don't see Georgetown as a great shooting team, so maybe a little zone or just a lot of contested shots in man defense will be the trick. Let's see if the Blue Demons follow this script or some other one in seeking their second league victory of the year.