Monday, November 21, 2011

Monday's Pregame Beat: Kicking off the Maui Invitational

Maui Invitational

3:00 pm: No. 10 Memphis vs. No. 17 Michigan: In an afternoon and evening loaded with quality college basketball, this may actually be the best matchup of the day. Memphis is a super-athletic team that likes to pressure defensively and, at least in the one game sample we have against Belmont, is a much improved team from last season. The style they play, however, is completely different from that of the Wolverines. John Beilein's group spreads the floor, shoots a lot of threes and sits back in a zone where the intention is to disrupt and throw off offensive rhythm. If Michigan is going to win this game, they need to box out on the defensive end of the floor and knock down their threes.

5:30 pm: Tennessee vs. No. 6 Duke: This matchup looked a lot more intriguing before Bruce Pearl started lying about his cookout and the Vols lost Scotty Hopson and Tobias Harris to the NBA Draft. There is some intrigue here, however. Tennessee hasn't played poorly this season at all, led by Trae Golden, a sophomore point guard that has averaged 23.0 ppg and 10.0 apg with just two turnovers. Duke, however, is Duke, meaning that the Vols are going to have their work cut out for them.

9:30 pm: UCLA vs. Chaminade: UCLA is a disaster right now, with the most recent hiccup being that Reeves Nelson missed the team plane to Hawaii for the tournament. Who knows if he is actually going to be playing in this game, and even if he does, I'd say that Chaminade is a decent bet to pull off this upset.

12:00 am: Georgetown vs. No. 11 Kansas: Both the Hoyas and the Jayhawks are in a rebuilding mode right now. Luckily for Kansas, they are doing so with a veteran back court and a lottery pick in the middle, even if that veteran back court isn't high on leadership. Georgetown is talented, but they are very, very young and lack any kind of strength in the front court. Henry Sims has played well, but he'll get a wake-up call going against Robinson. If Sims can hold his own, that's a good sign for the Hoyas this year. I'm also curious to see how Georgetown's young back court does against better competition.

Legend's Classic

6:30 pm: Texas vs. North Carolina State: There is not going to be much defense played in this game, which will make it quite entertaining to watch. J'Covan Brown has been one of the best players in the country early in the season while Texas waits on Myck Kabongo to become fully adjusted to the college game. I'm not sure that Texas is going to have an answer defensively for CJ Leslie, however. Leslie looked terrific coming off the bench against Vanderbilt, scoring 18 of his 20 points in the first half, his first game action of the season.

9:00 pm: Oregon State vs. No. 20 Vanderbilt: There are three things I'm looking to see out of this game: 1) Whether or not Oregon State is the real deal. Vanderbilt may not be as good as advertised, but this is still a top 20 team with two first round draft picks. 2) Jared Cunningham defending John Jenkins. Cunningham is one of the best and most-athletic defenders in the country, but there are few that are capable of running off of screens like Jenkins. 3) Can Cunningham chase around a guy like Jenkins and still manage to carry the load offensively?

CBE Classic

7:30 pm: No. 25 Missouri vs. Notre Dame: For the first time this season, the Irish will have Tim Abromaitis in uniform. He was suspended for playing in two exhibitions his sophomore season when he redshirted. Abro givee the Irish yet another scorer on their perimeter. This will also be the first real competition that the Tigers face with their new head coach and without Laurence Bowers available. There will be a lot to learn about both teams tonight.

10:00 pm: No. 22 Cal vs. Georgia: This could turn into a good game as Georgia matches up well with Cal. The Bulldogs have a talented perimeter attack in Gerald Robinson, Dustin Ware and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Cal does have Harper Kamp inside and he will be a tough matchup for Georgia.

The rest of the top 25:

8:30 pm: North Florida @ No. 3 Ohio State: Jared Sullinger has been just as good as we all expected him to be.

8:00 pm: Wright State @ No. 8 Florida: I'm officially sold on Florida's front line, but I still am not ready to say I have enough faith in their back court to consider them a real Final Four contender.

8:30 pm: Norfolk State vs. No. 19 Marquette: Believe it or not, this is the final of the Paradise Jam in the USVI. Marquette beat NSU by 30 earlier this week.

7:00 pm: Northwestern State vs. No. 20 Cincinnati: Can Cincy bounce back after an embarrassing loss to Presbyterian?

Other notable games:

- 3:30 pm: Virginia vs. Drake
- 5:00 pm: Detroit vs. George Washington
- 6:00 pm: TCU vs. Ole Miss
- 6:30 pm: Indiana vs. Gardner-Webb
- 7:00 pm: UMass vs. Boston College
- 7:00 pm: Savannah State vs. Butler
- 8:00 pm: Mt. St. Mary's vs. Minnesota
- 8:00 pm: Louisiana-Monroe vs. Mississippi State
- 8:15 pm: Presbyterian vs. Davidson

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