Jackie Carmichael

Pregame Shootaround 12.30.12: Mid-majors dominate Sunday’s action

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: Illinois State vs. Indiana State (1:05 p.m. ET)

On a Sunday that doesn’t have much in the way of high-major marquee games, this might be the centerpiece. Illinois State scores a lot of points, much of that coming from the senior duo of Jackie Carmichael and Tyler Brown. Those two alone average close to 36 of Illinois State’s 81 points per game on the season.

Indiana State won’t be looking to keep pace that way, but had two impressive wins in the Diamond Head Classic over the Christmas holiday. The Sycamores beat Ole Miss in overtime, then beat Miami (though, it is to be noted, without Reggie Johnson) on a late-second shot. They’ll have to shoot the ball well and limit turnovers to get a win Sunday.

Who’s Getting Upset?: USC against Dayton (7:00 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Networks)

Dayton is coming off a win over Isaiah Canaan’s Murray State squad, which gives them momentum against a Pac-12 opponent like USC. This is the perfect recipe for an upset: a down Pac-12 team against a mid-major on the upswing.

Dayton’s biggest concern Sunday will be to push the tempo and score points, forcing the Trojans to take bad shots and turn the ball over. USC shoots just 42 percent from the floor, so getting rebounds off those misses and getting out in transition will be at the center of the Flyers’ attack. Point guard Kevin Dillard won the duel with Canaan in his last time out, and now he’ll match up with another good point guard, Jio Fontan.

Mid-Major Matchup of the Day: Canisius vs. Detroit (3:00 p.m. ET)

Keep an eye on the backcourt in this one. Detroit’s Ray McCallum has been a threat throughout his career with the Titans, while Billy Baron has become Canisius’ best weapon since following his dad from Rhode Island and being granted eligibility to play immediately. Detroit comes in at 7-5, but has losses to Syracuse, St. John’s, Pitt, and Miami.

Both teams like to push the pace and put points on the board, led by Baron and McCallum respectively, so don’t expect a defensive battle.

Five Things to Watch 

1. Virginia might be caught in a tough situation. The Cavaliers are coming off a loss to a previously 1-10 Old Dominion team and they meet a Wofford team Sunday that ground out a win over A-10 opponent Xavier. Does Virginia stumble again?

2. Indiana State made use of some late-game heroics to beat Miami in the Diamond Head Classic and now they travel back home to meet Jackie Carmichael and Illinois State. Missouri Valley play starts today.

3. There will be no rest for Northern Iowa. Fresh off a win over a good WCC opponent, St. Mary’s, the Panthers face an 11-1 Wichita State team on Sunday. Keeping the battle on the boards close will be key for UNI.

4. Canisius is an early-season upstart in the MAAC, already having beaten Temple. They travel to Detroit Sunday to face former McDonald’s All-American Ray McCallum. The Titans might be 7-5, but four of their losses have come to BCS-conference schools.

5. Memphis is one of the more notable teams in action Sunday. They take on Loyola (Md.), having won two straight.

Top  25 Games

No Top 25 games

Other Notable Games 

Alabama vs. Tulane (6:00 p.m. ET, ESPNU)

Northern Iowa vs. Wichita State (6:00 p.m. ET, ESPN3)

Canisius vs. Detroit (3:00 p.m. ET)

Eastern Kentucky vs. West Virginia (4:00 p.m. ET, ESPN3)

Loyola (Md.) vs. Memphis (8:00 p.m. ET)

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

As good as they’ve been, No. 3 Michigan State has yet to play their best

Bryn Forbes, Ryan Fazekas
Associated Press
Leave a comment

Sunday night’s Wooden Legacy title game matchup between No. 3 Michigan State and Providence was billed as a matchup of the nation’s two best players, and rightfully so. Michigan State senior Denzel Valentine (17 points, six rebounds, five assists), who already has two triple-doubles to his credit this season, and Providence redshirt junior Kris Dunn (21 points, five rebounds, seven assists) have more than lived up to the preseason expectations and more of the same was expected in Anaheim.

And while both had their moments, it was Michigan State’s supporting cast that made the difference in their 77-64 victory. The scary thing for future opponents on Michigan State’s schedule is that Tom Izzo’s team is nowhere near being a finished product.

With Valentine dealing with first-half foul trouble Bryn Forbes stepped up, scoring 13 of his 18 points to help the Spartans take a two-point lead into the half. As for the 11-0 run that Michigan State produced to take control of the game late, a host of players stepped forward in regards to scoring, rebounding and defending.

Freshmen Deyonta Davis and Matt McQuaid combined to score nine points over the final 5:32, with transfer guard Eron Harris adding six of his 12 points during that stretch. The Spartans outscored the Friars, who aren’t as deep, 22-7 during that stretch to close out the game, hunting for quality shots and hitting the offensive glass while making things difficult for Providence on the other end of the floor.

The end result was a final margin that does not indicate just how close the game was. While Providence seemed to run out of steam Michigan State received contributions from multiple players, which is undoubtedly a good sign for this group moving forward.

The Spartans will return the currently injured Gavin Schilling later this season, giving them another big man alongside Davis, Matt Costello and Colby Wollenman. He was a player they missed Sunday night, as he can defend opposing big men both in the post and on the perimeter. His absence was a main reason Michigan State didn’t have an answer for Providence’s Ben Bentil (20 points, seven rebounds) defensively.

The key for this group is going to end up being role definition, which is especially true in the case of Harris. A transfer from West Virginia, Harris came to East Lansing with the reputation of being a big time scorer. He’s struggled through the first two weeks of the season, but he got on a roll on Sunday night, finishing with 12 points, three boards and three assists. He showed he’s capable of doing a variety of things on the perimeter, and fitting into a “Swiss army knife” kind of role would make Michigan State that much more dangerous.

There’s no denying that Michigan State has been one of the nation’s best teams thus far.

But there’s also no denying that the Spartans have yet to hit their ceiling, which is definitely a positive moving forward.

Wichita State’s Anton Grady returns home with team

AP Photo/Willie J. Allen Jr.
Leave a comment

Wichita State forward Anton Grady was released from a hospital in Orlando on Sunday afternoon in time to return home with his Shocker teammates.

Grady suffered a spinal corn concussion on Friday when he collided head-first with an Alabama defender, snapping his head sharply to the side. He lay on the court motionless for 10 minutes after the injury and was taken off the floor on a stretcher.

[RELATED: Can WSU still make tourney?]

“I want to send out a big thank you to Shocker Nation and all of my friends and family for of the love and encouragement that I have received the past few days,” Grady said in a statement on Sunday morning. “I’ve been reading your tweets and posts and appreciate every last one of them. I have a lot of work to do to get back on the court, but with the help of such a great support system, I’m ready for the challenge.”

By Friday night, Grady had feeling in all of his extremities, but he has a long road of rehab ahead of him.