Arizona Athletics

Thursday’s Pregame Shootaround: Late night West Coast hoops worth waiting for

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 6 Arizona at San Diego State, 10:05 p.m. (CBS Sports)

The Wildcats will get their biggest test of the season tonight when they face off with Steve Fisher’s Aztecs. Both teams are still trying to figure out their rotations and the best lineups to work with. Sean Miller has started Aaron Gordon at the four, with three guards and Kaleb Tarczewski on the bench, and at the three. He even had the uber-athletic big man playing the two at one point on Monday night.

SDSU is in a tougher situation, as they are replacing so many important pieces from a season ago, most notably Jamaal Franklin and Chase Tapley. Is Winston Shepard ready to take on a bigger role this season? Will he be able to shoot the ball at all? The highlight of this one may be the matchup between Josh Davis and Aaron Gordon.

WHO’S GETTING UPSET?: Texas Southern at Miami, 7:00 p.m.

Mike Davis has himself some talent at Texas Southern this season. Aaric Murray ended up enrolling at the school after flaming out at both La Salle and West Virginia. Ray Penn, who started at Oklahoma State, is on the roster as well. And Miami? They lost to St. Francis NY and got taken to overtime by Eric Ferguson-less Georgia Southern

MID-MAJOR MATCHUP OF THE NIGHT: North Dakota State at St. Mary’s, 11:30 p.m.

This is about as good as it gets at the mid-major level this time of the year. NDSU is the favorite to win the Summit this season, as they bring back essentially their entire team from last season, including potential Player of the Year Taylor Braun. But the Gaels are the Gaels, and if there is anything we know about St. Mary’s, it’s that they keep winning even when they lose their star. Ask Omar Samhan and Mickey McConnell is Matthew Dellavedova’s loss will kill this team. They’ve already beaten Akron and Louisiana Tech at home.


1) The No. 13 Memphis Tigers kick their inaugural season members of the American off tonight at 8:00 p.m. (ESPN3) against Austin Peay. This will be the debut of Missouri transfer Michael Dixon.

2) Boston College is good enough to make it back to the NCAA tournament this season, but it’s not going on that well this far. They’re 0-2 on the season with losses to both Providence and UMass. It doesn’t get much easier on Thursday night as the Eagles will take on Toledo at 7:00 p.m.

3) Northwestern heads out to Palo Alto to take on Stanford at 11:00 p.m. tonight on ESPN2 in a battle of former Duke assistant coaches. The Cardinal are coming off of a loss to BYU at home.

4) You want another upset pick? How about UC-Irvine at Washington. The Huskies will be without another big man as Jernard Jarreau tore his ACL, and the Anteaters are a favorite to win the Big West.

5) Texas Tech plays at Alabama at 9:00 p.m. on ESPN2 in a game that would probably be better if the football teams were playing basketball. I kid, I kid.


  • Detroit at No. 19 UConn, 7:00 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • William & Mary at No. 16 Wichita State, 8:00 p.m. (ESPN3)


  • UMES at Iowa, 7:00 p.m. (BTN)
  • Yale at Rutgers, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Temple at Towson, 7:30 p.m.
  • Indiana State at Belmont, 8:00 p.m.

Louisville backcourt struggles in first scrimmage

Quentin Snider, Jerian Grant
Associated Press
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While a few teams did manage to hold special events for the official start of practice this weekend, most simply went about their business with drills and conditioning. One team that was the exception to all of this was Louisville, which held the first of its two intersquad scrimmages on Saturday. The Cardinals had a head start of sorts on the season, as they played six exhibition games in Puerto Rico this summer.

One hope heading into Saturday’s scrimmage was that guards Trey Lewis and Quentin Snider would have better chemistry than they did in Puerto Rico. But according to Jeff Greer of the Louisville Courier-Journal, that remains a work in progress for the Cleveland State transfer (Lewis) and rising sophomore (Snider).

They struggled in Puerto Rico, and they struggled again in Saturday’s Red-White scrimmage, the first public intrasquad practice since August. They played one half of the game together, paired with the presumed starting lineup with Mangok Mathiang out with an eye injury, a group that also included Damion Lee, Jaylen Johnson and Chinanu Onuaku.

That team lost the first half by 13 points to a younger group of Louisville players, and Lewis and Snider combined for eight points on 3-of-12 shooting, five turnovers, five steals, four assists and three rebounds.

“I thought (Snider) and (Lewis) did not play well together,” U of L coach Rick Pitino said. “They’ve got to get used to that. Neither guy made other guys better. That’s what they need to learn to do.”

As Greer also noted in his story the Cardinals have in recent years employed backcourt tandems in which both guards are capable of making plays for themselves and others. On the 2013 national champion team Peyton Siva and Russ Smith led the way, with Smith being joined by Terry Rozier or Chris Jones the following season and Rozier/Jones being the grouping last season before the latter was dismissed from the team.

Once Jones was dismissed Snider saw more time on the court, and his development was one of the keys for a Louisville team that fell one win short of the Final Four. Louisville needs him to take another step forward heading into the 2015-16 season, because even with Lewis’ experience at the Division I level Snider has more experience playing in Pitino’s system.

But while Saturday’s scrimmage didn’t go as well as anyone involved hoped, there’s still plenty of time for Louisville to work out the kinks before they open the season November 13 against Samford.

Knee injury sidelines Memphis assistant

Toronto Raptors vs Charlotte Hornets
Associated Press
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With practices beginning this weekend, not only are players looking to avoid the injury bug but their coaches are as well. And in the case of Memphis, the Tigers won’t have one of their assistants on the court for a little while due to a knee injury.

Assistant coach Damon Stoudamire, who returned to Josh Pastner’s staff this summer after a two-year stint at Arizona, suffered the injury during a recent workout according to L. Jason Smith of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal. And Stoudamire will require surgery, which will put him on the shelf for a little bit.

“He was working out himself and I think he thought he was in his rookie year,” Pastner said. “We think he’s got a torn meniscus, which will require surgery and put him out for a couple of days.”

Stoudamire isn’t the only assistant coach working through pain either. Syracuse’s Mike Hopkins, who is also Jim Boeheim’s heir apparent as head coach, suffered a neck injury body surfing during a family vacation last month. Hopkins spent some time in a neck brace while putting players through workouts as a result of the injury.

As for the Tigers, they’ll have a mixture of experience on the perimeter and youth in the front court as they look to get back to the NCAA tournament after missing out last season. Among the newcomers are talented forwards Dedric and K.J. Lawson, with experienced guards such as Kedren Johnson, Trahson Burrell and Ricky Tarrant (grad transfer from Alabama) expected to be key contributors on the perimeter.