Thursday's schedule is highlighted by the first night of the SEC/Big East Invitational, and while the marquee games are tomorrow there are solid match ups to keep track of tonight. At the top of that list has to be Georgetown (5-1) heading south to take on #12 Alabama (7-0), and the question will be what John Thompson III's big men can do against JaMychal Green (15.5 ppg, 8.0 rpg) and Tony Mitchell (14.4 ppg, 7.6 rpg).
Sunday set up to be a big day for the Atlantic 10 with Dayton (Old Spice Classic) and Saint Louis (76 Classic) playing in the title game of their respective in-season tournaments. And even better for the conference is that both picked up wins, displaying the depth of a league thought by many to be Xavier, Temple and 12 other teams before the season began.
The title game of the Old Spice Classic may not be the kind of matchup that leads off SportsCenter like say, North Carolina/Kentucky next week, but it is a contest that we could look back on in March when discussing tournament resumes. Dayton (4-1) and Minnesota (6-0) meet in the title game, with both surviving a pair of close games to reach this point.
While college basketball will take a back seat to college football there are some attractive games on the schedule, led by a beat-up Louisville team visiting Hinkle Fieldhouse to take on Butler. The Cardinals have already lost Wayne Blackshear (probably out until February) and Mike Marra (season), and there's the definite possiblity that Peyton Siva (ankle) could sit out as well. At the very least the point guard from Seattle will be limited in his mobility, and the lack of depth at the point could get Rick Pitino's team in trouble today.
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ESPN's 24-hour college hoops tipoff marathon will get off to a good start at midnight as rivals Washington State and Gonzaga meet at The Kennel in Spokane. The Cougars have embarked on life without Klay Thompson and DeAngelo Casto, and while that means they've got a lot of scoring to account for Ken Bone's got some established returnees back to lead a solid recruiting class. As for Gonzaga, the best news for them may be the health of junior foward Elias Harris.
The college basketball season finally got underway on Monday night with three games featuring squads that will be in New York next week for the 2K Sports Classic Benefitting Coaches vs. Cancer. All three favorites, Arizona, Mississippi State and St. John's, won but predictably there were signs of rust. That comes with the territory, but what are some of the things that can be learned from these games? Here are a few basic observations for each of the six teams in action.
Question: Outside of the generally accepted top four (UNC/UK/Ohio State/UConn) who do you think can win the national title?