Arizona Athletics

Monday’s Pregame Shootaround: Quiet night outside of the Tip-Off Marathon

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GAME OF THE DAY: The Tip-Off Marathon starts tonight. Read all about it here.

WHO’S GETTING UPSET?: Rutgers at UAB, 8:00 p.m.

Rutgers put together a promising  performance in their first game of the season, as Kadeem Jack went for 30 points and 12 boards in a win over Florida A&M. But the Scarlet Knights will be heading to Birmingham to take on UAB, who will be playing their first Division I opponent of the season. The Blazers lost at Rutgers by nine last year.

MID-MAJOR MATCHUP OF THE DAY: Belmont at Richmond, 7:00 p.m.

Belmont lost a lot from their back court a season ago, but Rick Byrd’s Bruins looked pretty good in a win in the Battle of the Boulevard against Lipscomb. They should contend for the Ohio Valley title again this season, making tonight’s matchup with Richmond intriguing. The Spiders aren’t a favorite, but they could end up finishing top four in the Atlantic 10 this year.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR:

1) Rhode Island faces off with SMU at 8:00 p.m. in a game that features two of the teams expected to make massive improvements this season. Some famous names in this one: Danny Hurley coaches URI and Larry Brown is the head man at SMU.

2) Doug McDermott makes his debut on national TV as a member of the Big East, as Creighton squares off with UMKC on Fox Sports 1 at 8:00 p.m.

3) No. 6 Arizona will play their second game of the season at 10:00 p.m. on the Pac-12 Networks when they take on Long Beach State. Keep an eye on the starting lineup. Arizona landed Aaron Gordon in part because he was told he could play the perimeter, but Gordon started at the four on Friday night.

4) Miami (FL) looks to bounce back from a loss to St. Francis NY in the season opener when they host Georgia Southern at 7:00 p.m.

5) Oklahoma beat Alabama impressively in their first game of the season, and the Sooners will try to back up that performance against North Texas at home at 8:00 p.m.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25:

  • Yale at No. 18 UConn, 3:00 p.m. (ESPN3)

 

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: