Monday, November 14, 2011

11/14 Monday's Pregame Beat: Who's ready for a College Hoops Marathon?

We've already previewed the games in the College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon here, so we aren't including those games in this post.

Game of the Night: 7:00 pm: UCF @ No. 24 Florida State

Central Florida is one of the three teams in Conference USA that will be fighting for the second spot in the league behind Memphis. The Golden Knights may be the biggest enigma of the three. UCF won their first 14 games of the season in 2010-2011, but proceeded to lose their next eight after that. They return the majority of their roster from that team -- as well as adding three impact transfers and a couple of talented freshmen -- but the question is which group was the real UCF, the team that climbed into the top 20 or the team that finished below .500 in C-USA?

The other issue for UCF? Suspensions. The Jordan brothers and AJ Rompza were all held out of the exhibitions, while Donnie Jones has been suspended for the first three games of the seaosn. The players that are left are going to have their work cut out for them against the Seminoles. FSU is a tough defensive club with a monstrous front line. Losing Ian Miller will hurt, but if Michael Snaer can prove that he's become a consistent perimeter scoring threat, then the Seminoles may roll.

Who's getting upset?: Notre Dame

The Irish will be hosting Detroit at 9:00 tonight short-handed. Tim Abromaitis, the star of this Notre Dame team, is suspended for the first four games of the season as the result of two exhibition games that he played in as a redshirt sophomore. Eric Atkins had 27 points, six assists and four rebounds as the Irish rolled over Mississippi Valley State, but he won't be the best point guard on the floor. Detroit's sophomore point guard Ray McCallum is one of the most talented players at his position in the country -- he's with Detroit because his father is the head coach. Detroit will be short-handed as well, as Eli Holman is still out as the result of an arrest in September.

Mid-Major matchup of the night: 10:00 pm: Nevada @ UNLV

I know, I know, neither of these schools are really mid-majors, but since there isn't much else on the schedule tonight, we're making an exception. Nevada was a team expected to contend for the WAC title, but they were smoked by Missouri State in their opener, losing by 22 at home. UNLV is a favorite in the MWC, but they have looked anything but dominating throughout their exhibition schedule. The Wolfpack will need a big game out of Deonte Burton, who is likely going to get matched up with Anthony Marshall, one of the best defenders in the country. This will be our first real chance to see how effective Mike Moser is in Dave Rice's system.

Be sure to keep an eye on...:

- 7:30 pm: Providence @ Fairfield: Ed Cooley used to coach Fairfield. Now he coaches Providence. Fairfield is in the MAAC. Providence is in the Big East. And Fairfield is favored. Go figure. From a personnel perspective, the most interesting matchup is going to be between Vincent Council and Derek Needham at the point.

- 8:00 pm: Oakland @ No. 15 Alabama: Alabama is one of the best teams in the SEC, led by the talented front line of JaMychal Green and Tony Mitchell, but Oakland is a scrappy team that will be able to compete even with the graduation of Keith Benson. The Grizzlies have a very talented point guard in Reggie Hamilton.

- 8:00 pm: South Dakota State @ Minnesota: Minnesota is a big and athletic team, with a talented front line and quality perimeter players. What they lack is a point guard, which just so happens to be where the Jackrabbits strength lies. Nate Wolters had 32 points, 11 assists and 0 turnovers in the opener.

- 10:00 pm: Portland @ Washington: Portland is a bit of a sleeper in the WCC, led by Nemanja Mitrovic, who is the next Pilot star on the perimeter. Washington is 2-0 heading into this game, but they haven't been all that impressive. Terrence Ross has yet to show the kind of ability that made him a candidate to be a breakout star.

The rest of the Top 25:

- 7:30 pm: Wagner @ No. 4 UConn
- 7:00 pm: Manhattan @ No. 5 Syracuse
- 8:30 pm: Towson @ No. 17 Michigan
- 7:00 pm: Norfolk State @ No. 19 Marquette
- 8:00 pm: Mercer @ No. 25 Missouri

Other notable games:

- 7:00 pm: UNC Greensboro @ Georgetown
- 7:00 pm: Temple @ Penn
- 7:00 pm: Long Island @ Old Dominion
- 7:00 pm: Monmouth @ Virginia Tech
- 7:30 pm: High Point @ Purdue
- 8:00 pm: Grambling State @ Ole Miss
- 8:00 pm: Loyola (IL) @ Kansas State
- 8:15 pm: Richmond @ Davidson
- 9:30 pm: Florida International @ George Mason
- 10:30 pm: Nebraska @ USC
- 11:00 pm: Fresno State @ Stanford

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