College Hoops Friday: Your Commentary
A lot of attention has been sent the way of Friday's NIT Season Tip-Off final, which matches Connecticut and Duke in their ninth all-time meeting. The Huskies have won the last four in the series and are coming off of their most impressive showing of the season. The small forward matchup of Kyle Singler (Duke) and Stanley Robinson (UConn) should be worth the price of admission but there are also issues that both teams would like answers to both now as well as down the line.
Duke in recent years have had difficulty containing guards who can attack the basket off the dribble; they'll get a test in that area from Kemba Walker and Jerome Dyson. Connecticut struggled with rebounding in their first three games of the season before dominating that stat against LSU; on Friday they face a Blue Devils squad that doesn't lack in the size department. It will be a test for both and if prior meetings have any bearing on the outcome look for a close finish.
Another good game on the "Black Friday" slate is Texas A&M facing #8 West Virginia in a 76 Classic semifinal in Anaheim. Will Devin Ebanks play, or does Bob Huggins keep him on the bench since the sophomore really hasn't practiced with the team much this season? How will the Aggies deal with the Mountaineers' many versatile offensive options, including Da'Sean Butler, Kevin Jones and Truck Bryant? If they can pull it off this would be a huge win for the Aggies, who came into this season largely overlooked within the Big 12. So after catching those early morning shopping deals, grab the remote and enjoy some college basketball.
Noon ESPN Marquette vs. #15 Michigan (Old Spice Classic)
2:30p ESPN Texas A&M vs. #8 West Virginia (76 Classic)
2:30p ESPN2 Arizona State vs. LSU (NIT Season Tip-Off)
2:30p ESPNU Creighton vs. Xavier (Old Spice Classic)
5p ESPN NIT #13 Connecticut vs. #7 Duke (NIT Season Tip-Off)
5p ESPNU Alabama vs. Florida State (Old Spice Classic)
5p ESPNU Long Beach State vs. Clemson(76 Classic)
5:30p HDNet Rutgers vs UMASS (Legends Classic)
7:30p ESPNU Baylor vs. Iona (Old Spice Classic)
8p HDNet Florida vs #2 Michigan St (Legends Classic)
8:30p BTN Notre Dame vs Northwestern (Chicago Invitational)
9:30p #16 Minnesota vs. Portland
9:30p MTN Weber St @ BYU
11:30p CSS/MASN/KCFT Houston vs San Diego (Great Alaska Shootout)
11:30p #10 Butler vs. UCLA (76 Classic)
4PM Mercer @ #25 Georgia Tech
5:30PM Siena vs. St. John's (Hoop Group Classic)
6PM Richmond vs. Mississippi St. (South Padre Invitational)
7PM Columbia @ #9 Syracuse
7PM Charleston @ #11 Tennessee
7:30PM Nevada @ VCU
8PM Bradley vs. Oklahoma St. (Las Vegas Invitational)
8PM Virginia Tech vs. Temple (Hoop Group Classic)
8 PM Tennessee Tech @ #1 Kansas
10:30PM Utah vs. #21 Illinois (Las Vegas Invitational)
1:05AM New Mexico @ Hawaii
Marquette over Michigan: After going up against Xavier's Jason Love, a more physical style of big man, Lazar Hayward will likely have to deal with Courtney Sims on Friday. Sims is an outstanding player but the Wolverines' style of play could lend itself to a big afternoon for the senior from Buffalo. The Golden Eagles were picked to finish 12th in the Big East due largely to what they lost instead of who they gained (Dwight Buycks and Jerome Maymon to name two additions), and they serve notice against Michigan.
Thoughts? Predictions? Feel free to post them below.