One of the worst weekends we have been dreading since the beginning of September. The first weekend after the Super Bowl. It’s in the middle of February. It’s cold and dark. If you’re like me and live the in the northeast there’s probably over 10 inches of snow outside and you’ve been busting your ass shoveling your driveway just so you can get to work or class, while the only thing that could keep you sane is 10 hours of football on a Saturday and Sunday is taken away from you. It’s like taking cigarettes away from a smoker and forcing them to go cold turkey, it’s going to take a while to adjust.
But if you love basketball, it can become an easier adjustment. It can ALMOST replicate everything that football did for us. Saturday’s are full of over 100+ games while the NBA provide games sprinkled out over the weekend. While about 90 of those college games are Horizon League basketball that your probably not going to watch unless you have money on it, it can still at least distract our brains away from our real world for a few hours.
So here is a few games to keep an eye on to help us get through this weekend:
Gonzaga #1 at St. Mary’s (CA) #20
Saturday, 8:15 PM on ESPN
KenPom is expecting this to be very close game, with Gonzaga sneaking out by 2 with a final score of 66-64. Gonzaga comes in with a number 3 ranked offense and a number 4 ranked defense nationally (according to KenPom). That should create problems for a St. Mary’s 41 ranked offense, but do have a capable 13th ranked defense. St. Mary’s will look to slow this game down and keep it in their pace of play, while looking to keep the crowd in it. St. Mary’s home court advantage primetime on a Saturday night might be enough for St. Mary’s to pull off the upset.
Pick- St. Mary’s
Villanova #2 at Xavier #24
Saturday, 2:30 PM on FOX
This is some big time college hoops for Saturday. Not just for the defending champs going into hostile territory against an Xavier team looking for revenge from earlier this season, but that Gus Johnson will be announcing this game. Easily one of the most electric announcers in the game, there isn’t anything else much better than being able to listen to him call a game on a Saturday afternoon. As for the game, I think this will be a close contested game through and through, but Nova just proves to be too much for Xavier and pulls away in the last 5-10 minutes.
Golden State at Oklahoma City (+7)
Saturday, 8:30 PM on ABC
The word “must watch” gets thrown around a lot on the internet. People telling you the word “must watch” gets thrown around a lot as well. But a player like Russell Westbrook going up against his old teammate Kevin Durant is most certainly must watch. Durant will most likely get showered with boos in his first return back to Oklahoma City, while Westbrook is coming out for the jugular on Zaza Pachulia:
This has the making of an awesome, physical, scrappy game. At least we hope so.
No doubt Russell Westbrook will play like someone pissed in his Cheerios and post yet another triple-double. Then once OKC gets out to a small lead late in the game, Curry will hit some ridiculous three, silencing the crowd. Then Westbrook will try to answer with a quick/very rushed awful three pointer of his own, shanking off the backboard, with a Durant rebound passing it down to a cherry picking Curry at the other end of the court who proceeds to hit another three while getting fouled by Steven Adams for a four point play, ultimately shattering any hopes of a Oklahoma City win. While there’s a 99% chance of that exact scenario happening, I’ll take the points for Oklahoma City just because I love Westbrook’s game so much and hate rooting against him.
Pick- Oklahoma City +7
As for the rest of the weekend, PGA is having the Pebble Beach Pro-Am. I don’t know much golf, I won’t pretend I do, but there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a little golf on a Sunday afternoon kicking back with some cold ones. Live TV coverage starts at 3 PM on CBS on Saturday and Sunday.
I don’t know too much hockey either. Maybe once my Boston guys get on the site they can give you every thing you need to know, especially Bruins. But I do know in my time going to school in New England that Boston-Montreal is a HUGE rivalry. That is on Sunday, 7:30 PM on NBC SportsNetwork.
Good luck surviving our very first football-less weekend. Whether you plan on watching some basketball, spending time with loved ones, or hiding in the bars to get away from the family, stay safe everyone!