Valentine’s Day is quickly creeping up on us, everyone — as if you needed reminding. If you’re like me, you’re waiting until the last damn possible moment to buy your sweetie that perfect gift from Walgreens and making reservations for that romantic dinner for two at O’Charley’s while wearing your best Rick Pitino knockoff suit. Well, let me help you procrastinate as much as possible by introducing you to your new side piece — Wednesday night college basketball, or as I like to call her, Hump Day Hoops.
Consider this article your Official Hump Day Hoops Primer for blowing off relationship responsibilities for just one more night. Don’t worry, she won’t care that you’re waiting until the last minute — she’ll understand. In fact, you could give your love the gift of Hump Day Hoops. What young lady wouldn’t love a Yogi Ferrell ankle breaking crossover, Melo Trimble step-back jumper, or Larry Nance, Jr. rim-rattling slam?
It’s college basketball season, isn’t that something we all love?
Here are the top games to watch for Wednesday, Feb. 11.
Georgia (15-7, 6-4) at Texas A&M (16-6, 7-3)
Both teams head into Wednesday night’s matchup with very vanilla resumes. As of now, both teams are bubble teams, since neither squad has a quality win to highlight and no wins against an RPI Top 50 team.
Georgia doesn’t have any other opportunities to add a signature win to its tournament resume, so winning against the Aggies could go rather far if the Bulldogs win out in conference play. Winning conference games on the road is the toughest thing to do in college hoops and Georgia is just .500 on the road this season while A&M is 10-1 inside Reed Arena.
One thing the Bulldogs have that the Aggies don’t is balanced scoring, with five players averaging double figures, but no true go-to player. The Aggies have two go-tos in Daniel House and Jalen Jones that could spell trouble for Mark Fox’s Bulldogs come Wednesday night in College Station.
Indiana (17-7, 7-3) at No. 19 Maryland (19-5, 7-4)
Big Ten Network
When these two teams met in Bloomington a few weeks ago, the Terps were absolutely boat-raced by the Hoosiers, 89-70. Maryland allowed Indiana to connect on a season high 15 3-pointers. Luckily for the Terrapins, the Hoosiers struggle on the road as they are just 3-6 away from Assembly Hall.
Look for freshman stud Melo Trimble to exploit the Hoosiers’ swiss cheese perimeter defense and exact revenge for the debacle the last time these studs met. Mark Turgeon and the Terps have already turned heads by their extraordinary play in their first season in the blue-collar Big Ten and are currently ranked 19th in both this week’s AP and Coaches polls.
The Terps will have a tall order stopping a Hoosier offense that ranks fifth nationally in offensive efficiency (118.6) and tops in the Big Ten in scoring (79.8 points). Maryland will have to exploit Indiana’s lack of height and porous defense if they have hopes of revenge on Wednesday night. After losing three of their last five, expect Turgeon to have his boys ready for Tom Crean’s Hurryin’ Hoosiers.
Pittsburgh (16-8, 5-5) vs. No. 9 Louisville (19-4, 7-3)
KFC Yum! Center
ESPN 3 & ESPN Full Court
We are about to find out what the Pitt Panthers are all about. After winning its last three in a row against the likes of Notre Dame, Bryant and Syracuse, Pitt now has to face a gauntlet of opponents, starting Wednesday night when it travels to the Bluegrass State to face the No. 9 Louisville Cardinals before hosting North Carolina Saturday, then traveling to Virginia and Syracuse next week. Good luck to Jamie Dixon and Co. — you’ll need it, especially with that 1-5 road record so far this season.
After losing two of their last three at home, the Cards have to be licking their beaks, waiting to bring Pitt back to earth. Pitt struggles to score, ranking 8th in the ACC in scoring (68.5 points) with no prominent guards that can penetrate the near impenetrable Louisville defense (58.5 points).
One fun matchup of this game will be Pitt’s sophomore big man Michael Young (13.2 PPG/8.0 RPG) battling with Rick Pitino’s All-American paint warden, Montrezl Harrell (15.2 PPG/9.0 RPG). Harrell decides who comes in and out of the lane and what shot he is swatting into press row. Should be fun and worth the download of the WatchESPN app.
Wyoming (19-5, 8-3) vs. San Diego State (18-6, 8-3)
Viejas Arena at Aztec Bowl
Wednesday night would be a great night to hack into your parents’ cable provider account and stream into some late night hardwood action. Fallon and Kimmel won’t mind.
The Cowboys and Aztecs set the table for the rest of the Mountain West where Boise State and Colorado State are lurking, hunting for a possible at-large bid.
This after-hours showdown has the potential to be ugly. Not ugly as in a lopsided blowout, but boring as in there might be fewer than 90 total points scored — between both teams. Wyoming (62.1 points) ranks eighth in the Mountain West in scoring, while the Aztecs (61.9 points) are ninth. Where each team lacks in scoring, they make up for on the defensive end as the Aztecs (53.8 points) rank third nationally and first in total defense while the Cowboys (54.4 points) are fourth nationally and second in the conference, respectively.
The deciding factor could be San Diego State’s ability to protect home court, where the Aztecs are a perfect 12-0, while Wyoming is just 4-4 on the road. Wyoming coach Larry Shyatt will have his Cowboys ready to ride after a 60-52 loss on Jan. 14 to the Aztecs in Laramie.