Highlighting the big games in Big 12-SEC Preview

The Like, “Trouble In Paradise”

Found on the 2010 album Release Me, by Geffen Records

A pair of titanic matchups could determine the first 4 or 5 seeds for each region

With ESPN doing their annual Winter X Games competition in Aspen, Colorado–the tip times will be late Saturday afternoon in the Big 12-SEC Challenge:

5 p.m. Eastern time on ESPN, top ranked Oklahoma at LSU

“It’s a good game for college basketball, a lot of hype to it.  Two of the best players in college are playing.  Of course, the media is gonna blow it up.  It should be fun.”

Buddy Hield, star Oklahoma guard in comments mentioned in the Tulsa World newspaper after the Texas Tech game

Buddy Hield vs. Ben Simmons will probably not happen, but there will be a lot of stake for both players.  Not since Hank Gathers and Bo Kimble from Loyola Marymount met up with Shaquille O’Neal and the formerly named Chris Jackson on Super Saturday 1990 have we seen this buildup down in Baton Rouge.

Did you know that it has been over a decade since we have seen any player from a major conference shoot at least 50 percent of his shots from inside the three-point line, while hitting at least 50% of his attempts from three and going 90 percent from the free-throw line?

That last player was Salim Stoudamire from Arizona during the 2004-05 season.  Hield is currently at 25.9 ppg, 5.8 rebounds per game, and 2.5 assists per game while shooting a sizzling 53 percent from the field.

Simmons is trying his best to carry the load, hitting 55.3% from the field on the season to date while averaging 19.8 ppg, 12.7 rebounds per game, and 4.9 assists per game.

If LSU does not pull off the upset unlike what Shaq helped do to LMU in that overtime thriller way back in 1990, Simmons could keep one streak alive.  No player of the year has ever missed that year’s NCAA Tournament, and that was all started with Patrick Ewing at Georgetown when the field expanded to 64 teams in 1985.

Five major SEC games remain on the Tigers slate before the conference tournament in March (at South Carolina, vs. Texas A&M, vs. Florida, at Arkansas, at Kentucky).

7 p.m. Eastern, Kentucky at Kansas

This game could replace the Oklahoma-Kansas duel for game of the year.  Talent brimming on both sides and you have two of the greatest minds patrolling both benches in John Calipari of Kentucky and Bill Self of Kansas.  As I mentioned in my last blog below, Perry Ellis is going to have to come up huge if KU wants to get the better of UK.

Kentucky would need to take better care of the basketball, and with that Phog crowd feeding up a major frenzy, I think this game might be out of reach before halftime.  But that is what we all thought entering the first Big Monday telecast against Oklahoma, and it turned out to be an instant classic.

Honorable Mention:  2 p.m. Eastern, Iowa State at Texas A&M

Two streaky teams and possible 2 or 3 seeds are at play here.  This one promises to be a scoring fest.

One other key game to keep a brief eye on:

Noon Eastern on CBS, Virginia at Louisville

Virginia tries to get back on track, while this is a statement game for the Cards.  If they beat the Cavaliers, they could go on that roll that earned them the 2013 title.

If I get some time on Saturday night, I will blog about those three games.  Should be a fun Saturday of hoops.  Please have a good night and pleasant hoop dreams.








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