By Alex WelchWe're just two weekends away from Selection Sunday. It's hard to believe the college basketball season has progressed this quickly. CSS will provide coverage for four matchups this Saturday, so let's get right to breaking down all the action.Marshall (12-16) at Houston (15-11), 2:00 p.m.Marshall ranks 29th inthe nation in rebounding, pulling in 38.6 boards a game. It wont matterhowmany rebounds you bring down, though, when you cant figure out how to score.The Thundering Herd shot an embarrassing 15 of 57 from the field in their lastgame against the UAB Blazers.The offensive outputhas to improve, plain and simple. Marshall ranks sixth in the entire nationinoffensive rebounding. Second-chance points are key. Elijah Pittman and DeAndreKane are the top two scorers on the roster, but both couldnt figure out how toput the ball in the hoop this past Saturday. The Thundering Herd needs thesetwo juniors to step up on the road.When you look atHoustons numbers, the 15-11 record is a bit perplexing. The Cougars rank18thin scoring, 28th in rebounding and 70th in field goal percentage out of theentire nation. Theyll take the court Saturday riding a three-game losingstreak. Whats the problem?Houston didnt grab asingle offensive rebound in its most recent loss the UTEP. Not one. TheCougarsalso committed 23 fouls and 16 turnovers. Ball control has been an issue as oflate. Of course, their losing skid took place entirely on the road. Houston is11-4 at home. Keep an eye on sophomoreguard Joseph Young, who eclipsed 20 points in each of his last three games.No. 18 St. Louis (22-5) at George Washington(12-14), 4:00 p.m.The Bilikens are on a10-game win streak. They havent lost since Jan. 19. To sum things up,goodluck George Washington.St. Louis puts in atrue team effort every night. Second-leading scorer Cody Ellis currentlyaverages 10.7 points per game. He didnt score at all in the Billikens 65-61victory over Butler last week. That should be a clear indication this group canrely a different player each game to step up.Ball control is alsoanother solid facet of their game, as they average just 11 turnovers per game.Leading scorer Dwayne Evans scored 21 points in St. Louis win on Wednesdaynight. Watch out for him attacking the paint.George Washington shotan impressive 53.7 percent from the floor this past Wednesday, but 31 fouls and22 turnovers ultimately dismantled the efforts against Richmond. The Colonialsaverage 16 turnovers a game and shoot just 29 percent from downtown. Ballcontrol the ball and attacking inside would be the key components to successfullypulling of an upset here.Middle Tennessee (26-4) at Western Kentucky (16-14),6:30 p.m.Middle Tennessee hasntlost in nearly two months. The last time the Blue Raiders recalled what defeatfelt like came on Jan. 2 in an overtime loss to Arkansas State. With an RPIrank of 24, head coach Kermit Davis has his team ready to run the table in theSun Belt Conference Tournament and go dancing in March again.The Blue Raiders areconsistent, shooting 47 percent from the floor each game and averaging 71.4points. Surprisingly, though, Marcos Knight is the only player who averagesscoring in double-digits. Middle Tennessee relies on its depth to get the jobdone. Knight poured in 20 points on Thursday in a win over Troy. Expect him tostand out again.Western Kentucky does not share the ball well, averaging only 11.4 assists per game. TheHilltoppers suffered a 72-53 loss to the Blue Raiders back on Jan. 26. Theyve improvedsince that defeat, now sitting on a three-game winning streak. Can they pull off an upset on Saturday?Leading scorer T.J.Price averages 15 points a night, but he shot just 2 of 10 from the field inhis last performance against Middle Tennessee.Hes been to the free throw line21 times in his last two games. Attacking the basket should be his gameplan.SIAC Championship, 8:30 p.m.The SouthernIntercollegiate Athletic Conference Championship will feature the winner ofKentucky State vs. Benedict and Morehouse vs. Tuskegee.
No. 18 St. Louis, Middle Tennessee in action Saturday
March 1, 2013, 4:12 pm