Breaking down this year’s awesome College Gameday schedule


ESPN released their schedule for College Gameday during the 2013-2014 season, and man, do we have some good matchups to look forward to.

It kicks off with a double-header, a trip to the Palestra in the morning to see Temple take on La Salle which is followed by a trip up I-95 to Storrs, where the crew will take in the defending champs Louisville making their final visit to UConn as a league foe.

That’s a helluva way to kick off the year, and it only gets better from there.

Here is the full schedule:

  • Jan. 18: Temple vs. La Salle (The Palestra) and Louisville at UConn
  • Jan. 25: Michigan at Michigan State
  • Feb. 1: Duke at Syracuse
  • Feb. 8: Gonzaga at Memphis
  • Feb. 15: Florida at Kentucky
  • Feb. 22: Either Arizona at Colorado OR UCLA at Stanford
  • March 1: Kansas at Oklahoma State
  • March 8: North Carolina at Duke

Where do we begin?

Michigan and Michigan State has always been a heated rivalry, but with the Wolverines’ resurgence under John Beilein the past couple of years, it has finally returned to relevancy on a national stage. It should be fun to see the two best teams in the Big Ten squaring off on the sport’s biggest stage.

Duke’s visit to Syracuse was already going to be special, as the Orange are considering moving the court into the middle of the Carrier Dome. It will be a logistical nightmare, but with the College Gameday crew in town, I would expect the school to make the change. That will only add to the intrigue of the Blue Devils’ first visit to Upstate New York as an ACC rival. Oh, don’t be surprised to see these two battling it out for the ACC title by the end of the year. That will become a trend.

Memphis has the talent to be a top ten team this season and always has a raucous home court, while Gonzaga is, well, Gonzaga. This should be a good, late-season test for the Zags, who failed to make the Sweet 16 as a No. 1 seed last season.

Florida’s visit to Rupp is always destined to be a thriller. Kentucky is bringing in one of the most talented recruiting classes of all-time, but Florida has enough front court talent to matchup with the Wildcats. The Gators are good enough to challenge the Wildcats for an SEC title.

The Pac-12’s Gameday game will either be Arizona visiting Colorado or UCLA’s trip to Palo Alto to take on Stanford. Personally, I’m hoping for the former, as Arizona is a top ten team while Colorado may actually be the second best team in the league.

As good as the Gameday schedule will be up to this point, I think Kansas visiting Stillwater may actually be the game that I’m the most excited for. Everyone knows that when Oklahoma State is good, Gallagher-Iba Arena is one of the best home courts in the country, and thanks to Marcus Smart’s decision to return to school, the Pokes are a borderline top ten team. But with Andrew Wiggins committing to Kansas, the Jayhawks instantly became a national title contender and, as usual, the favorite to win the Big 12. There are a bazillion different storylines heading into this game. I’m pumped already.

The Gameday finale will pit Duke and North Carolina at Cameron. If PJ Hairston is allowed to play this season — and, at this point, I don’t see him getting blackballed by the NCAA — than this game could end up determining the ACC regular season title. Duke is probably the favorite to win the league, but Syracuse and UNC (with Hairston) aren’t all that far behind.

Here’s the bad news: the season doesn’t start for another three months, and it will be two more months before any of these games take place.

I sure could use a time machine right about now.

VIDEO: Shane Richards’ shot lifts shorthanded Manhattan

Shane Richards
Associated Press
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Thanks to injuries and the departure of Jermaine Lawrence, the beginning of the season has been difficult for Steve Masiello’s Manhattan Jaspers. Entering Wednesday’s game against George Mason, which was coming off of a surprising run to the Charleston Classic title game, with just six available players the Jaspers looked to pick up their first win of the season.

And Manhattan was successful, with a Shane Richards three-point play with 1.1 seconds remaining being the difference in their 69-67 win at Draddy Gymnasium. Below is video of the game-winning play, courtesy of Manhattan Athletics.

Richards (13 points) was one of three Jaspers to reach double figures, with Rich Williams leading the way with 26 points and nine rebounds and Thomas Capuano adding 14 points. What also helped the Jaspers was the fact that they forced 25 George Mason, converting those opportunities into 24 points.

Not sure if Manhattan and George Mason are due to play again next season, but the last two meetings have produced dramatic outcomes. The Patriots won last year’s game in Fairfax on a Jalen Jenkins’ 75-footer as time expired.

Video credit: Manhattan Athletics

UNLV hangs on for 72-69 win over No. 13 Indiana

Tom Crean
AP Photo
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LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP) UNLV answered every run by Indiana, and the Runnin’ Rebels were able to hang through the frantic final seconds for a 72-69 victory over the 13th-ranked Hoosiers on Wednesday.

The game had the intensity of a February conference matchup and just enough mistakes to make sure it was November.

“One of the reasons we came to Maui, other than it was exciting for our fans, was to play against the best,” UNLV coach Dave Rice said. “See how we match up. See where we’re good. See where our deficiencies are, and now we’ll have all next week to practice.”

Patrick McCaw had 20 points for the Runnin’ Rebels (5-1), who bounced back from their opening loss to UCLA with wins over Chaminade and the Hoosiers (4-2), who leave Hawaii with just one win in three games.

“This is a test,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said. “The eight teams walking out of here, no matter what, in three days are getting tested. All right? Even if the champion tonight blows through it, whoever the champion is, they’re still getting tested because you’re playing three games in three days against very high level competition.”

Indiana trailed by 15 points in the first half and turned on some solid defense to get back in the game. The Hoosiers closed to 55-53 with 8:20 to play. The Runnin’ Rebels then went on a 12-1 spurt, with McCaw scoring seven of the points, including a run-closing 3.

“Coming in, we knew since Indiana is a great offensive team, we really had to lock down and play defense,” Ike Nwamu said. “It was really paramount for us to execute defensively.”

The Hoosiers weren’t done. They got within three points twice in the final 30 seconds. The first time was on a dunk by Thomas Bryant off a tremendous pass from a flying Yogi Ferrell. UNLV’s Jerome Seagears made both ends of a 1-and-1 with 13 seconds left to make it 72-67.

Max Bielfeldt’s drive for Indiana with 7.5 seconds remaining provided the final margin, but the game was far from over.

Nwamu missed two free throws with 7.1 seconds left, and Indiana gave the ball back to UNLV on a 5-second count on the inbounds. UNLV then threw the ball away on an inbounds pass. Nick Zeisloft’s 3-point attempt was partially blocked by Ben Carter, and Nwamu was fouled on the rebound. He missed both free throws with .8 seconds left, but all Indiana could get off was a heave that was well short.

“I knew my man set the screen. I knew they were looking for a 3,” Carter said of the blocked shot. “I saw Pat was trailing his man a little bit, so I knew I had to help. Luckily I was able to get the tip on the ball and it was a pivotal play.”

Crean said he wouldn’t change the play.

“That was excellent. They made an athletic play. But he did a good job taking the shot,” Crean said.

Carter and Nwamu had 16 points apiece for UNLV, and Seagears added 12.

“These kind of games, it’s so much about momentum,” Rice said. “It’s about a big stop here, a big basket here. We always focus on what happens at the end of the game. And that’s obviously critically important. … It’s an entire game. That’s why we focus on it’s every play throughout the course of 40 minutes.”

Zeisloft led the Hoosiers, who lost to Wake Forest in the final seconds in their opener, with 17 points, and James Blackmon Jr. had 13. Indiana had 21 turnovers that led to 22 points for the Runnin’ Rebels.

“We got ourselves in a hole at the beginning with our turnovers, and you’re not going to beat any type of team, let alone one as talented as UNLV, when you’re giving them 22 points,” Crean said. “It’s unacceptable with the guys that have the ball in their hands for us to be giving the ball that way, and we’ve got to get that fixed. We really do, or we’ve got to fix the lineup.”