11/20 Friday Evening Thoughts and Predictions

20 Nov

Ball State has shockingly only attempted 29 threes in two games thus far. They’ll have sharp shooter Ryan Weber back from suspension tonight. Ball State’s supposedly improved ball handling will be tested in a big way, as McHale is a Pitino disciple and is going to press and run teams to death at Eastern Kentucky (the pressure is something EKU fans have grown accustomed to). McHale has shown he’s going with his guys already, as Reischel, Mayo, and Hawkins have supplanted Babb-Harrison and Jackson on the depth chart. Ball State’s backcourt is healthy this year, but Davis, Smith, and Tyler are going to have issues against the first pressing team they’ve faced this year……There’s going to be a ton of FTs in DePaul/South Carolina. Leitao wants to attack with Garrett and Henry far more than the Blue Demons did last year, when it was mostly hanging around the perimeter offensively. He’s not going to trap like Purnell did, but Frank Martin doesn’t care if DePaul sits back in a zone, they’re going to attack as well, and pick up whistles. South Carolina should own the glass on both ends………I was impressed by Murray State’s ball movement from Culbreath and Jones at the point vs MTSU, and they rebounded at a much better rate than I expected, thanks to Moss and Croaker crashing from the backcourt, and two of UGA’s best rebounders are out for this game. Murray’s not going to be able to score inside against a Georgia defense anchored by Maten, and offensively the Dawgs are strictly a penetrate and kick team from Frazier and Mann, especially since they’re so shorthanded. Georgia’s going to get to the FT line, but they missed 17 of them against UTC. Look for Fox to bust out the match up zone again, which he had to resort to against UTC, if Georgia gets in foul trouble. UGA has had a week to prep and rest for this one, and the motivation of the UTC loss…….I’m kind of liking what I’ve seen in very limited minutes from Duquesne so far against limited competition, as Ferry hasn’t had to totally abandon man to man for the 2-3 that was shredded last year, mainly thanks to the improvement Lewis has shown as a rim protector, allowing the guards to gamble even more defensively. The Dukes are a lethal transition offense, as they’re able to quickly spread the floor with shooters like Micah Mason. The problem the Dukes run into is that Penn State is looking to limit transition opportunities at every turn, and Garner has ball handling help with the talented FR Reaves. He’ll be put to the test though against the Dukes’ pressure………What I love about Miami is their ability to get to the rim/FT line 1-4. What I love about Utah is there ability to defend with length without fouling (generally speaking, Texas Tech had some success attacking). Should be a great match up, but I think Kuzma and Loveridge have an advantage on the offensive end. They’re too quick for Cruz Uceda, to big for the backcourt…..


EKU -2
South Carolina -6.5
Murray State +8.5
Villanova -24.5
Iona -9
Rider +19.5
Lipscomb +9
Bradley +11.5
Utah +2.5
Duquesne -2
UT Arlington +18.5

Terrible matchup for Wright State, and not just because it’s Kentucky and they’re Wright State (and typically shorthanded), but because Wright wants to bomb threes, and I don’t think anyone is going to be able to get clean looks at 3 all year against the Wildcats. The Raiders’ only hope, the young Wildcats come out flat after beating Duke……South Dakota can’t compete with Kansas State’s interior height, and the Wildcats have done a great job contesting on the perimeter with their length despite facing teams who want to fire away from three in UMES and Columbia. South Dakota is another one of those teams. Kasperbauer can fill it up, but he’s reliant on McClelland and Norris to get in the paint to set him up, as he’s not a shot creator, and he’s only 6’1. I’ve commented before on the “toughness” and “intangibles” of Craig Smith’s team though (lame I know), and I have a feeling that keeps them in it, but they have to have some threes fall…….I was pretty high on this Detroit team in the preseason, but without Paris Bass, the complexion certainly changes. Still going to watch Josh McFolley, a high scoring FR PG who could shore up  McCallum’s PG issues…….Despite the projected tempo of Columbia/Northwestern, I think there’s going to be a fair amount of points, like both teams in the high 70s, as both should should be able to get what they want outside. Columbia’s defense isn’t good, and Smith has been trying to use this sort of 1-3-1/sort of amoeba zone, that I think big Northwestern shooters like Falzon will be able to exploit. Columbia meanwhile will be happy to see a Northwestern defense that doesn’t pinch on the three point line at all, whether in man or zone. The Lions are off an uncharacteristic poor shooting performance at Kansas State, and should be fine from outside, but I think Luke Petrasek could be the x factor. He’s slimmer and more mobile, and if he can get Northwestern to collapse even further, Columbia’s going to shoot the lights out in Evanston…..


VCU +10
Louisiana -1.5
Wright State +25.5
South Dakota +14
Columbia +6
Pitt -17.5

Late evening thoughts and predictions….

#TadBall is in full effect, and Buffs will run off D glass against unready Portland frontcourt. Norfolk too small to take advantage of Sycamores, poor in transition defense, which is an ISU strength. Love Jeff Short thought. Evan said he wants to run with Idaho State this year. He’ll get his wish against Wazzu, but Cougars take away three point line, which is only way Bengals can score. Made 17 last game. I love the new shooter Chivichyan though. Xavier’s lack of point guard is amplified by loss of Stainbrook, a PG in paint. Michigan can’t compete on glass, but 1-3-1 is bad idea against Beilein. Michigan wins with shooting.Georgia Southern has to score via transition off zone press and from outside. Neither likely to happen, as Auburn’s strength defensively is on perimeter and they’re healthy in backcourt. San Jose State has height this year, and Montana State is small. Good matchup for Rogers and FR from Indiana Welage. Spartan backcourt is healthy too. ECU will zone Cal all night, and it’s the first zone Cal will see this year, and it will keep the Pirates in the game until Cal’s athleticism wins out. Awful matchup style wise for LBSU, who should get blown out.


Indiana State -5.5
Colorado -13
Michigan -5.5
Virginia -16
Auburn -11.5
SJSU +7.5
Washington State -19.5
Cal -20



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