Tuesday night scouting report
Minnesota seeks a quality win as it travels to fourth-ranked Purdue
The Gophers' Ralph Sampson III will miss another game with a bad ankle
No. 15 New Mexico has turned heads with four Top 50 RPI victories
Giving you a rundown on the top three games on tonight's college basketball slate:
1. Minnesota (11-3 overall, 2-0 in the Big Ten) at No. 4 Purdue (13-0, 1-0)
Purdue is the hot pick for the Final Four in Indianapolis right now, and why not? The Boilers bested unbeaten West Virginia on New Year's Day and are one of just four undefeateds still standing as conference play kicks into high gear. Colleague Seth Davis has Purdue as a BUY in his insightful Stock Report, thanks to its veteran lineup and stout defense. Minnesota, which will be missing 6-foot-11 Ralph Sampson III for the second straight game due to a bum ankle, has piled up seven straight wins against weak competition. The Gophers should be plenty motivated since Purdue represents a chance to notch a coveted "resume win," something the Boilers are going to have to deal with from opponents for the next two months.
2. No. 15 New Mexico (14-1) at San Diego State (10-3)
New Mexico was certainly the Mountain West's most impressive team in preconference action, piling up four top-50 RPI wins (Cal, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Dayton). Only Texas can boast more top-50 wins at this point with five. Senior Roman Martinez is averaging 15.5 points per game and shooting 48.5 percent from three, up from 41.5 last season. Martinez will need to help on the boards against San Diego State as the Aztecs were the top rebounding team in the league in nonconference play and they are No. 1 in the MWC in scoring defense. San Diego St. hosts New Mexico and BYU in January. Winning at least one of those is critical.
3. No. 20 Georgia Tech (11-2) at Georgia (7-5)
It is a bit of a light night when this game is No. 3 on the list, but it is a rivalry game at least. The matchup gives a chance for Bulldogs fans to give McDonald's freshman Derrick Favors a hard time after Favors picked the Yellow Jackets over Georgia last year for his one pre-NBA season. Tech is coming off a decent win at Charlotte and will look to move to 3-0 in true road games. Georgia has won five straight at home plus a quasi-home game over Illinois in Duluth, Ga., the team's most complete effort to date. The matchup to watch will be Favors (12.4 ppg, 8.8 rpg) against Georgia big man Trey Thompkins (15.9 ppg, 8.2 rpg).
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