Games of the Week, Feb. 9

Kristin Gobberg


L.A Clippers at Philadelphia 76ers. Friday, Feb. 10.


After acquiring free agent forward Kenyon Martin upon his return from China, the Clippers look to bolster their roster and stay atop the Pacific Division. Meanwhile, the 76ers have shown they are contenders (at least at this point in the season), posting a 12-3 home record and an impressive double-digit win over the Chicago Bulls. The Sixers have won eight games by a margin of 20 or more points this season, an NBA season high. The team is lead by reserve guard Lou Williams, who is averaging 15.2 points per game. Although Andre Iguodala and company could not pull off the upset against the Miami Heat, the 76ers continue to post impressive numbers. 


Both teams have exceptionally low turnover rates as Philadelphia ranks first while the Clippers rank second in the league in turnovers per game. Since the Sixers are on pace to set the second-lowest turnover rate in league history, the game will come down to which team capitalizes first on causing turnovers. Adding a third big man in Kenyon Martin to the Clippers roster to support power forward Blake Griffin and center DeAndre Jordan could prove to be the key factor to notching a win over the 76ers. Still, with Martin being no spring chicken, the move may be just as fruitless for the Clippers.



No. 10 Michigan State at No. 3 Ohio State. Saturday, February 11th


In the first of three, must-see college basketball games this Saturday, this Big Ten collision between two Top 10 teams in Columbus, Ohio, proves to be an exciting offensive matchup. Both teams suffered a loss from unranked Big Ten opponent Illinois during the regular season but have had very few wrinkles in their schedules otherwise, excluding the Spartans’ embarrassing loss to Northwestern. Coming off an injury suffered during the Illinois loss, Michigan State senior forward Draymond Green quickly bounced back in the Spartans’ victory over their hated, in-state rival from Ann Arbor. Green currently leads his team in both scoring and rebounding percentage. Similarly, Ohio State forward Jared Sullinger also propels the Buckeyes’ offense and a matchup between these two forwards could be the deciding factor for either team. Look for Ohio State to keep the game moving at a fast pace and Sullinger to outplay the MSU field.  


No. 6 Baylor at No. 4 Missouri. Saturday, February 11th


After finishing up with the above Big Ten matchup, keep your television tuned in for a Big 12 showdown. Both the Tigers and the Bears are coming off of thrilling victories, with Missouri holding off Kansas and Baylor barely escaping with wins over Texas A&M and Oklahoma State. Baylor will have played Kansas and Missouri back-to-back twice during their regular season schedule, and the Bears will need to continue to play solid basketball down the stretch. Senior guard Marcus Denmon leads Mizzou’s offense while Baylor relies on big man Perry Jones III for inside scoring. Look for Missouri senior forward Ricardo Ratliffe to battle Jones III on the boards down low. If this game comes down to the final seconds, as the first matchup between these two teams did, watch for Denmon’s clutch shooting to carry this Mizzou team on his back. Plus, with Missouri leaving the Big 12 at the end of this season to join the SEC, get your fill of these quality Big 12 rivalries while you still can.



No. 17 San Diego State at No. 13 UNLV. Saturday, February 11th


Don’t forget about the Mountain West. Of course, this conference always tends to get overlooked. However, with the top two teams in the conference battling it out on Saturday, it seems necessary to keep an eye on this game. Last weekend, UNLV suffered a disappointing, two-point loss to unranked Wyoming, and the Runnin’ Rebels were certainly a bit perturbed to have given Wyoming its first victory over a ranked team in 12 years. San Diego State lost four starters from last season including first round draft pick Kawhi Leonard, yet they have surprised all critics by contending for the Mountain West crown once again. The Aztecs came away with a close victory over the Runnin’ Rebels in their last matchup on Jan. 14, so expect another nail-biter on Saturday as well. Neither the Aztecs nor the Rebels look to be consistently performing at a high level, which should make this matchup even more entertaining. If UNLV can execute its high energy, fast break offense and make this a high-scoring game, then the Runnin’ Rebels can stave off the Aztecs’ upset bid.