College Hoops Tuesday: Your Commentary

November 16th, 2010
This is the day that millions of college basketball fans have been waiting for since the final note of "One Shining Moment" (if that moment wasn't spent rightfully complaining about the butchering that Harvey Mason Jr. and Jennifer Hudson were allowed to pull off). 24 hours of college basketball to be viewed, from Miami (FL) at Memphis to a very good matchup between San Diego State and Gonzaga tipping off at 11 PM. In addition to that matchup at the Kennel there are a pair of games matching ranked teams that could have massive resume implications come March. Virginia Tech, who has been on the wrong side of the NCAA Tournament fence the last three seasons due in large part to a weak non-conference schedule, will take on the challenge of attempting to win in the "Octagon of Doom".

The matchup with Kansas State will also feature one of the best guard matchups we'll see all season as ACC Preseason Player of the Year Malcolm Delaney matches up with Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year Jacob Pullen. Pullen, who experiences life without sidekick Denis Clemente, averaged 19.3 points and 3.6 assists per game in the Wildcats' Elite 8 season and may need to take on more of the primary ball-handling responsibilities with Clemente off to the professional ranks. As for Delaney, who averaged 20.2 points and 4.5 assists per game a season ago, he'll at least have a sidekick in Dorenzo Hudson who may be one of the more underrated perimeter players in America. Hudson averaged 15.2 points per game, a jump of 10.6 points from his 2008-09 average, including a 41-point outburst in the Hokies' win over Seton Hall (Delaney sat out due to injury).

As for the frontcourt injuries to Allan Chaney (heart ailment) and J.T. Thompson (torn ACL) leave Seth Greenberg's team lean up front and they'll need to rely on senior Jeff Allen even more. Immensely talented, Allen's career has also been plagued by moments of immaturity that at times has undermined his progression. Whether or not he's focused Virginia Tech is one of the better teams in the ACC, but if he is they're closer to second in the ACC pecking order than sixth. And speaking of maturity issues there's the case of Kansas State senior Curtis Kelly, who Frank Martin held out of the opener (and may hold out on Tuesday) due to poor practice habits. That's a disappointing development for the UConn transfer from the Bronx who showed so much promise in the Wildcats' NCAA run. Just means that there's more for Jamar Samuels to do, especially with junior college transfer Freddy Asprilla (by way of FIU) putting forth a nondescript performance in their season-opening win over James Madison.

There are many questions to be answered for both the Hokies and Wildcats on Tuesday afternoon, and the same goes for the contest that follows as Ohio State visits Florida. There's the enticing individual matchup of McDonald's All-Americans Jared Sullinger (Ohio State) and Patric Young (Florida) but by most accounts it's the Buckeye who's further ahead in his development. In terms of the Florida newcomers it's been swingman Casey Prather who's received the most effusive of praise thus far, and he'll be challenged by the likes of veterans Jon Diebler and David Lighty, and fellow frosh DeShaun Thomas. Billy Donovan's Gators are deep at all positions, blessed with the ability to count on the likes of Erving Walker, Kenny Boynton and Chandler Parsons on the perimeter, and Vernon Macklin and Alex Tyus up front. Ohio State has depth as well but they're still in search of a capable primary ball-handler with Evan Turner off to the NBA. How far along head coach Thad Matta and his staff are in their quest to this point will be determined in Gainesville.

The night ends with San Diego State, boasting the first ranking in school history, heading north to take on Gonzaga. Two of the best swingmen around will be on the floor as well, with the Aztecs' Kawhi Leonard and Bulldogs' Elias Harris both looking to build on standout freshman campaigns. Leonard averaged 12.7 points and 9.9 rebounds per game in earning Mountain West Freshman of the Year honors, and he led Steve Fisher's team in both categories as well. Harris, who averaged 14.9 points and 7.1 rebounds per game in 2009-10, has the more versatile offensive game at this point and his international experience in his native country (Germany) allowed him to hit the ground running upon arrival in Spokane. Nine combined starters return to these two teams (five for SDSU, four for Gonzaga) and names such as Demetri Goodson, Steven Gray, Malcolm Thomas and Billy White should be familiar to college basketball names by now. A fitting capper to what should be a great day of college basketball.

Top 25
7:30 PM Miami (OH) at (1) Duke (ESPNU)
10:00 PM South Carolina at (2) Michigan State (ESPN)
4:00 PM (23) Virginia Tech at (3) Kansas State (ESPN)
6:00 PM (5) Ohio State at (11) Florida (ESPN)
5:30 PM Marist at (6) Villanova (ESPNU)
11:00 PM San Diego State at (12) Gonzaga (ESPN2)
7:00 PM Detroit at (13) Syracuse (ESPN3)
2:00 PM La Salle at (14) Baylor (ESPN)
10:05 PM Eastern Washington at (17) Washington
8:00 PM (18) Butler at Louisville (ESPN)
9:30 PM Belmont at (20) Tennessee (ESPNU)
8:00 PM North Dakota at (24) Wisconsin (ESPN3)

NCAA Division I Games
6:00 AM Stony Brook at Monmouth (ESPN)
8:00 AM Robert Morris at Kent State (ESPN)
10:00 AM Northeastern at Southern Illinois (ESPN)
12:00 PM Oral Roberts at Tulsa (ESPN)
7:00 PM Gardner-Webb at Florida State
7:00 PM Colorado at Georgia (ESPN3)
7:00 PM Mississippi Valley State at Indiana
7:00 PM Indiana-Northwest at IUPUI
7:00 PM Coppin State at Towson
7:00 PM New Hampshire at Dartmouth
7:00 PM Brown at Rhode Island
7:00 PM North Carolina-Asheville at Furman
7:00 PM Coastal Carolina at Charleston
7:00 PM Savannah State at Jacksonville
7:00 PM Long Island at Texas State
7:00 PM Liberty at North Carolina-Wilmington
7:00 PM Montreat College at Appalachian State
7:00 PM Stetson at Bethune-Cookman
7:00 PM Virginia Commonwealth at Hampton
7:00 PM Neumann at Navy
7:00 PM NC Wesleyan at North Carolina A&T
7:00 PM Jacksonville State at Norfolk State
7:00 PM Hartford at Quinnipiac
7:00 PM Arkansas State vs. Missouri State*
7:00 PM Virginia-Wise at Virginia Military
7:00 PM IPFW at Xavier
7:00 PM Buffalo at Youngstown State
7:05 PM Southeast Missouri State at Florida Gulf Coast
7:30 PM Saint Joseph's at Penn State (ESPN3)
7:30 PM Citadel at Charleston Southern
7:30 PM Anderson at South Carolina State
7:30 PM CO Christian at Weber State
8:00 PM Boston University vs. George Washington*
8:00 PM Nicholls State at LSU
8:00 PM Texas Tech at North Texas
8:00 PM Texas-Tyler at Texas-Arlington
8:00 PM UMKC at Central Arkansas
8:00 PM Georgia State at McNeese State
8:00 PM Arlington Baptist at Prairie View A&M
8:00 PM Southern Methodist at TCU
8:05 PM Northern Illinois at Bradley (ESPN3)
8:05 PM Coe College at Northern Iowa
8:05 PM Texas Southern at Wichita State
8:30 PM Western Carolina at DePaul
8:30 PM Louisiana-Monroe at Iowa
9:00 PM Akron at Dayton
9:00 PM Alabama State at Northern Arizona
9:05 PM Wyoming at Northern Colorado
10:00 PM Arizona State at New Mexico
10:00 PM Idaho at Washington State
10:05 PM Bethany (CA) at Sacramento State
10:30 PM Cal-State Northridge at California
TBA Pacific at UCLA
TBA Pepperdine vs. Nevada
TBA Virginia Commonwealth at Wake Forest