Monday, December 27, 2010

Cavaliers host Classic; Liberty faces St. John's

This was a meatier schedule 24 hours ago, before weather-related issues forced Tulane to push its tournament  (featuring Old Dominion) back one day and Richmond to postpone its home game with Boston University. Thankfully, the two ACC schools hosting their own tournaments were able to get everyone to their sites, and so at least we have a streamlined edition of post-Christmas action.

Tuesday's games

Marriott Cavalier Classic, at Virginia
North Carolina A&T (3-5) at Virginia (7-5), 7 p.m.
Let's face it, the Cavaliers wouldn't have scheduled the Lady Aggies in the first round of their own tournament if they didn't expect to beat them. The Lady Aggies will battle, and they've played enough quality teams that they won't go weak in the knees at the sight of the Cavaliers. But they have just one player taller than 6-0 and were outrebounded by 28 in their last game, a 76-51 loss at Memphis. Virginia's inside players can and should put up big numbers against these guys. In addition, the Cavaliers are 5-0 at home this season and have won this tournament six straight years since dropping a 73-53 decision to Minnesota and Lindsay Whalen in the 2003 Classic final. In the tournament's first game, Holy Cross will face East Tennessee State at 4:30 p.m. Virginia 78, N.C. A&T 56

Maryland Terrapin Classic, at Maryland
Liberty (4-6) at No. 17 St. John's (11-1), 2:30 p.m.
The Red Storm knows how to do a lot with a little - on Dec. 18, they played the final 2:13 of a 31-point victory over Southern Mississippi with just four players after foul problems and a series of injuries. We like the fact that Liberty has now had plenty of time to work leading scorer Devon Brown into shape and into the system. But we hate this matchup for the Lady Flames. Liberty has had trouble scoring, and St. John's allows just 49.3 points per game. And Liberty has been turnover-prone this season, and the Red Storm has outscored its last four opponents 151-63 off turnovers. We won't completely rule Liberty out, but clearly the  Lady Flames will have to find a level they've yet to reach to pull off an upset. The winner will face either LaSalle (4-6) or host No. 18 Maryland (10-1) on Wednesday. St. John's 74, Liberty 55

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