Charlotte Davidson Basketball

Pregame Shootaround 12.14.12: Charlotte, LSU look to remain undefeated

Leave a comment

Each day, CollegeBasketballTalk brings you the “Pregame Shootaround,” which will lay out a preview for the slate of games that night. We’ll take a look at some key match-ups and important games, as well as make some predictions and point out what you need to watch for. Take a look below at today’s edition:

Note: The weekend editions of Pregame Shootaround will be published half an hour prior to tip-off of the day’s first game.

Game of the Day: Charlotte at Miami (FL) (7 PM) 

Alan Major’s 49ers are a surprising 9-0 on the season, and they’ll encounter what could be their stiffest test to date as they take on the Hurricanes in Coral Gables. Senior forward Chris Braswell (14.3 ppg, 7.0 rpg) leads the way offensively for Charlotte and he’s one of just two (DeMario Mayfield) double figure scorers for this balanced group, as five other players are currently averaging between 7.0 and 9.7 points per game. Charlotte also has one of the best perimeter defenders around in Pierria Henry, who will undoubtedly be asked to slow down Shane Larkin at the point.

Miami has five players averaging double figures and guards Shane Larkin, Trey McKinney-Jones and Durand Scott can cause headaches for the opposition. But a key figure for Miami tonight may be Kenny Kadji, who when at his best combines with Reggie Johnson to make the Hurricanes tough to deal with inside. But if he’s not fully engaged in the action then there’s trouble.

Game of the Day, Part Deux: LSU at Boise State (9 PM)

Johnny Jones’ Tigers also enter Friday’s action undefeated but LSU must not overlook Boise State. Derrick Marks scored a career-high 35 points (28 in the second half) to lead the Broncos to an emphatic upset win at then-No. 11 Creighton a couple weeks ago, and with players such as Anthony Drmic and Mikey Thompson at Leon Rice’s disposal as well this is a dangerous game for LSU. Junior Shavon Coleman (15.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg) has proven to be one of the SEC’s best newcomers to this point in the season, and he’ll need to continue that if LSU is to win what is their first road game of the season.

Four Things to Watch

1) UCF visits Old Dominion in what’s a homecoming game of sorts for forward Tristan Spurlock (12.1 ppg, 6.0 rpg). But the star to watch is Keith Clanton, who dropped 30 and 13 on Bethune-Cookman on Wednesday night. And given the Monarchs’ (1-8) struggles, both Spurlock and Clanton could be in for big nights in Norfolk.

2) Army looks to remain undefeated at home tonight as they host Maine, who is 1-5 on the road this season. Senior forward Ella Ellis doesn’t get the pub that Lehigh’s C.J. McCollum or Bucknell’s Mike Muscala receive, but he’s a player who ranks among the best in the Patriot League with averages of 19.7 points and 5.0 rebounds per game.

3) Ole Miss looks to rebound from its first loss of the season as East Tennessee State visits the “Tad Pad.” Murphy Holloway is the SEC’s leading rebounder (10.1 rpg), and in Marshall Henderson the Rebels have a guard capable of lighting it up at a moment’s notice.

4) Cal Poly (Eastern New Mexico) and Portland (Portland Bible College) both take on non-Division I members, and the Friday schedule features just seven games. Both should win comfortably, but after Anderson College beat College of Charleston last night you never know.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

VIDEO: Kris Dunn wills Providence to win over No. 11 Arizona

Kris Dunn, Elliott Pitts
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
Leave a comment

Kris Dunn spent the first 35 minutes of Friday night’s game against No. 11 Arizona in foul trouble, splitting his time between sitting on the bench and trying to avoid finding himself, again, on the wrong side the whistle.

With 11 minutes left in the game, and with Dunn yet to find a rhythm, the all-american point guard was whistled for his fourth foul as he battled for a rebound with Arizona’s Mark Tollefsen. Head coach Ed Cooley say his superstar beside his for six game minutes, time enough for Arizona to turn a 49-47 deficit into a 58-54 lead.

There were just over five minutes left when Dunn reentered the second semifinal of the Wooden Legacy, and he proceeded to show everyone in the country why he was named the Preseason Player of the Year. Providence had nine possessions after he reentered the game. Dunn scored 11 points and had a pair of assists on those eight possessions, and if Ben Bentil had stuck a wide-open three — that was setup by Dunn — the Friars would have scored on all nine.

In total, Dunn was responsible for all 15 Friar points in a game-changing, 15-7 run in the final 4:30. It was capped off by this Kobe-in-his-prime-esque game-winner:

The win for Providence is huge for a couple of reasons:

  • Dunn showed a killer instinct against a marquee opponent, something that we didn’t necessarily see out of him a season ago. He wasn’t going to let his team lose, and given that Providence doesn’t have anyone else that can consistently create good shots, they are going to need that from him a lot this year.
  • It makes a statement for the Friars. Arizona is overrated at No. 11 in the country, yes, but going out on national television against an elite program and getting this kind of performance from Dunn is a confidence-booster and a tone-setter. Providence hasn’t been accustomed to winning in recent years. This is a way to set a trend.
  • Ben Bentil continues to play like a star. Dunn had 19 points and eight assists on Friday, but Bentil followed up a 24-point performance in the win over Evansville with 21 critical points on Friday.

This win sets up a matchup between No. 3 Michigan State and Providence on Sunday night, which means that Denzel Valentine and Kris Dunn — the two best players in the country, sorry Ben Simmons — will be going head-to-head.

Oh. Hell. Yes.

No. 14 Cal goes 0-2 in Las Vegas Invitational

Jaylen Brown
AP Photo/Ben Margot
Leave a comment

After midnight on the east coast on Thanksgiving, No. 14 Cal blew a 15 point second half lead against San Diego State, allowing the Aztecs to use a 30-6 run to put away the game and advance to the final of the Las Vegas Invitational. That’s the same San Diego State team had scored 43 points in a loss to Arkansas-Little Rock last week.

Not 24 hours later, the Golden Bears were shredded defensively by the Richmond Spiders, losing 94-90 in the consolation game of a four-team tournament they were considered to be the heavy favorite in.

It’s a disappointing two-game stretch for Cal, who entered the season as a Pac-12 favorite and had looked the part for the first four games of the season.

And the issue appears to be on the defensive end of the floor.

Richmond is a good Atlantic 10 team. Terry Allen and Marshall Wood are high-major big men, Shawn’Dre Jones is a jitterbug at the point and Chris Mooney runs a Princeton-esque system that is very difficult to prepare for without a day in-between games. So it’s not really surprising that the Spiders gave Cal a fight.

But 94 points?

On the heels of giving up 44 points in the second half against the offensively-challenged Aztecs?

That’s a problem, one that I’m sure that Cuonzo Martin is going to address this week in practice. Martin has managed to put together a roster that is build for small-ball, with four talented perimeter players surrounding a first round pick in the post. But that’s not the style that he’s known for. Martin played his college ball at Purdue in the Gene Keady days. He cut his teeth as a head coach at Missouri State in the Missouri Valley. His team’s at Tennessee were known for being tough and physical defensively.

That’s how Martin coaches, which is part of the reason Cal had such hype entering the year.

The talents of Tyrone Wallace, Jaylen Brown, Ivan Rabb, Jabari Bird and Jordan Mathews on a team with a coach that gets teams to defend the way Martin does? It’s no surprise that pundits would be optimistic.

But as of now, they have some work to do defensively if they want to live up to that hype.