Skip to content

Weekend Preview: Five storylines to follow

Dec 7, 2012, 11:00 AM EDT

Iowa Virginia Tech Basketball

Biggest story line this weekend: Is Virginia Tech for real?

Beating a young Iowa team at home is really not all that impressive, even if Iowa is supposed to be better this season. Beating an under-manned Oklahoma State team pulls a little bit more weight, but even then, the Cowboys were probably overranked as a top 15 team. And, again, that win came in Blacksburg. On Saturday at 4:00 p.m., the Hokies will get their first true test of the season, as they travel to Morgantown to take on a tough and physical West Virginia team.

Road games are a different beast than playing at home, and we’ll see just how well Virginia Tech responds. The Hokies, led by Erick Green, who is having an all-american caliber season, are playing a more run-and-gun style this year, but with a lack of depth and no home crowd backing them, it will be interesting to see if they can sustain their success in a different arena. It’s also worth noting that the Mountaineers, while just 3-3 on the year, are still a good basketball team. They have a pair of talented guards in Juwan Staten and Jabarie Hinds and a couple of big, physical bodies up front.

Five other story lines to follow this weekend:

The battle of the disappointments: At 5:15 p.m. on Saturday night, UCLA heads to Austin to take on Texas in a matchup that features two teams that have failed to live up to expectations. For the Longhorn’s, it’s not exactly their fault. They didn’t ask Myck Kabongo to get suspended by the NCAA and they didn’t injure Jaylen Bond intentionally. Without those two players in the fold, Texas has looked downright atrocious on the offensive end of the floor. UCLA, on the other hand, has struggled despite bringing in Kyle Anderson and Shabazz Muhammad while watching two players up and leave the team just a few weeks into the season.

Old rivalries salvaged?: Over the last few years, as both VCU and Old Dominion managed to push their way into the national consciousness while playing in the CAA, the two teams developed a nice, healthy rivalry. Well, as you know, the Rams took off for the Atlantic 10 this summer while the Monarchs will be headed to Conference USA this summer. While ODU has been bad this season, expect them to put up a fight against some old faces. You can check out VCU vs. Old Dominion on Friday night at 9:00 p.m. on the NBC Sports Network.

Will Duke get their revenge on Temple?: The Blue Devils went into Philly last year and left with a loss after getting smacked around by the Owls. This season, Temple makes the return trip to Cameron Indoor Stadium with an undefeated record and coming off of a 15 point win over Villanova. And while Temple has some talent on their perimeter, I’m not sure how they plan on trying to slow down Mason Plumlee in the paint.

What do you know about Butler and Northwestern?: Because the only thing I know about those two teams is that I don’t really know anything at all. Butler has lost to Xavier, gotten blown out by Illinois, beaten Marquette and embarrassed North Carolina. Northwestern beat Illinois State, got blown out by Maryland, lost at home to Illinois-Chicago and beat Baylor in Waco. Huh? Hopefully, something that happens on Saturday will help us get a feel for this group.

There just aren’t many good games this weekend: This happens every year. As we get closer to finals week, we get uglier and uglier basketball games. There is only one game between two ranked teams all weekend, and that game doesn’t come close to being must-see TV and happens at 10 p.m. on a Saturday. We had a terrific first month of the season, complete with great matchups and better performances. We’ll have to deal with one ugly week.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

Latest Posts
  1. Temple lands their second top 150 recruit in the 2015 class

    Sep 30, 2014, 8:48 AM EDT

    Nike Nike

    The Owls may not have landed Jalen Brunson, but they did bring in an elite “legacy” in the back court.

  2. Three-star 2015 guard commits to Long Beach State

    Sep 29, 2014, 11:45 PM EDT

    Reebok Reebok

    Long Beach State has four commits in 2015.

  3. More changes to UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion

    Sep 29, 2014, 9:50 PM EDT

    Pauley Pavilion

    Pauley Pavilion has gone under plenty of changes in the last few seasons and dealt with a flooding issue several months back.

  4. UNLV lands four-star 2016 forward

    Sep 29, 2014, 8:00 PM EDT

    Kelly Kline Kelly Kline

    UNLV continues to tap into the local powerhouse.

  5. Washington adds fourth commit in Rivals150 forward

    Sep 29, 2014, 7:47 PM EDT

    Nike Nike

    All four commits are ranked in the Rivals150.

  6. Kentucky’s John Calipari hired a director of statistical analytics this summer

    Sep 29, 2014, 5:15 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    John Calipari’s loaded roster has required a new position on the Kentucky staff.

  7. Rice Owls go through preseason Navy SEAL workouts (VIDEO)

    Sep 29, 2014, 2:36 PM EDT

    Rice Athletics Rice Athletics

    New head coach Mike Rhoades is from the Shaka Smart coaching tree.

  8. UNLV transfer receives waiver to play immediately at UT-Martin

    Sep 29, 2014, 12:47 PM EDT

    Deville Smith, Skylar Spencer AP

    Deville Smith has completed the tough task of playing for four different schools in four seasons.

  9. Marcus Smart’s mom reportedly hospitalized the day he shoved Texas Tech fan

    Sep 29, 2014, 11:53 AM EDT

    oklahoma state marcus smart AP

    This provides more context into why Smart did what he did.

  10. Kentucky, Arizona top Blue Ribbon’s preseason top 25 rankings

    Sep 29, 2014, 11:05 AM EDT

    bv5s4hqcmaeawma

    There is only one truly strange ranking in this top 25.

  11. Georgia Tech unveils new gold uniforms (VIDEO)

    Sep 28, 2014, 11:40 PM EDT

    BRIAN GREGORY BRIAN GREGORY

    The Yellow Jackets will have new uniforms as they look to account for the loss of four of their top five scorers from last season.

  12. UConn junior guard hopeful that hard work will result in more opportunities

    Sep 28, 2014, 10:30 PM EDT

    Omar Calhoun Omar Calhoun

    After having to worry about rehabbing from two hip surgeries last summer, Omar Calhoun could simply work on his game this summer.

  13. Summer highlights of USC commits Benne Boatwright and Chimezie Metu (VIDEO)

    Sep 28, 2014, 8:36 PM EDT

    Andy Enfield Andy Enfield

    The task of rebuilding the USC program will be a difficult one, but these two forwards will help matters next season.

  14. Official visit to South Carolina goes well for junior college center

    Sep 28, 2014, 7:05 PM EDT

    Frank Martin Frank Martin

    The Gamecocks are looking to add even more depth to their front court in the Class of 2015.

  15. St. John’s guards don’t lack confidence as 2014-15 season approaches

    Sep 28, 2014, 5:04 PM EDT

    D'Angelo Harrison AP

    If the Red Storm are to reach the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2001, their guards will have to be as good as they say they are.