The Jimmy V Classic is an exciting way to end ESPN’s annual “V Week,” a seven-day event to raise funds and awareness for the The V Foundation for Cancer Research, named after legendary college basketball coach Jim Valvano.
This year, the Men’s Classic will feature four of the top programs in college basketball, including the Texas Longhorns (5-2), Connecticut Huskies (6-1), No. 20 Georgetown Hoyas (5-1) and No. 18 North Carolina State Wolfpack (4-2).
You’re not going to want to miss the games, which are for a great cause. Keep reading to find out where to watch, who to keep an eye on, a predicted winner in each contest and much more.
When: Tuesday, December 4 at 7 pm. ET / 9 p.m. ET
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York
Live Stream: ESPN3
Game 1: Texas vs. No. 20 Georgetown at 7 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN3
Game 2: UConn vs. No. 18 NC State at 9 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN3
Texas vs. Georgetown Preview
Injury Report (via StatFox.com)
G Myck Kabongo, OUT, Eligibility
C Tyler Adams, OUT, Eligiblity
Texas Player to Watch: Sheldon McClellan
The Longhorns' sixth man happens to be the leading scorer and one of the better rebounders on the team. He sees plenty of time off the bench, but hasn’t earned a starting spot in the lineup.
Considering the superstar sophomore is taking over 10 shots per game and seeing just under 30 minutes, this small wrinkle is obviously not going to have a big impact on his performances.
As long as Texas keeps winning, McClellan can keep coming off the pine. That arrangement should work out just fine for the Longhorns and their fans.
Georgetown Player to Watch: Otto Porter
This sophomore forward is supposed to make a major leap forward in his second year with the Hoyas, but hasn’t stepped up much from his freshman season.
Porter is averaging just 11.6 points, 7.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.8 blocks and 1.8 steals—which are extremely impressive numbers—but not significantly better than his 2011-12 figures.
We’re still waiting for Porter to have a breakthrough game, and that could come in the Jimmy V Classic against Texas.
Prediction: Georgetown 72 – Texas 64
We expect the Hoyas to soundly beat the Longhorns in the opening game of the Jimmy V Classic.
While Texas has name credibility, they haven’t put an elite product out on the floor yet in 2012-13, and need Myck Kabongo back from suspension to get the offense humming again.
Georgetown is simply the superior team here and the Hoyas will dominate the Longhorns from the opening tip to the final buzzer.
UConn vs. NC State Preview
Injury Report (via StatFox.com)
G R.J. Evans, OUT, Collarbone
F Leon Tolksdorf, ?, Knee
No Major Injuries to Report
UConn Player to Watch: Shabazz Napier
Napier has largely been the reason behind the Huskies' early-season success.
The junior guard is averaging 18.6 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.9 steals over seven games. He’s the go-to scorer for UConn, a team that often lives and dies with how their star guards perform.
He’s going to see a ton of different defensive looks thrown his way on Tuesday, and it’ll be a real test for Napier and the Huskies. NC State knows they must limit Napier in order to win this game.
NC State Player to Watch: C.J. Leslie
Leslie is a professional prospect that has yet to reach his full potential.
The junior forward has regressed a bit from his thrilling sophomore outing, averaging just 11.7 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.0 block and 1.0 assist per contest.
These are solid numbers for most players, but the 6’9” swing is capable of more and has shown us in the past that he’s better than this.
If the Wolfpack are going to make a run this year, Leslie needs to tap in to and unleash his stardom.
Prediction: NC State 75 – UConn 74
This is going to be an epic, back-and-forth contest between two capable programs that would love a win in front a national audience at the mecca of basketball—Madison Square Garden.
We’re giving the edge to NC State, whose players will be adorning special “Never Give Up” jerseys in memory of former coach and legendary speaker, Jim Valvano.
The Wolf Pack possesses more skilled players and a higher ceiling, which current coach Mark Gottfried is hoping will be reached when they take on the Huskies.