GAME OF THE WEEKEND: No. 10 Ohio State at No. 17 Marquette, 1:00 p.m. ET Sat. (FOX Sports 1)
One of the more interesting matchups of the non-conference season. Even with Jameel McKay’s decision to leave the program, Marquette is absolutely loaded up front. Davante Gardner, Chris Otule, Jamil Wilson, Steve Taylor. But Buzz Williams’ club is young in their back court, which just so happens to be where Ohio State’s strength lies. The combination of Aaron Craft and Shannon Scott may be the most terrifying back court duo try and handle the ball against. Throw in Sam Thompson at the three, and OSU’s perimeter defense is as good as it gets, but they don’t have much front court size. Who takes advantage?
THE OTHER GAME OF THE WEEKEND: No. 7 Michigan at Iowa State, 5:00 p.m. ET Sun. (ESPN2)
The biggest question mark in this one is whether or not the two teams will be at full strength. Mitch McGary is dealing with a back issue that potentially can keep him out of the lineup until the conference season begins. And Iowa State is missing a big man of their own in Melvin Ejim although there is a chance Ejim could be back by Sunday. You know what will be fun about this one? Threes. Lots of them will be shot.
FIVE MORE TO KEEP AN EYE ON:
- No. 20 Wisconsin at Green Bay, 8:00 p.m. ET Sat. (ESPN3): Green Bay is a very good mid-major team, led by Kiefer Sykes and Alec Brown. They’ll give the Badgers a fight.
- Indiana State at No. 21 Notre Dame, 12:00 p.m. ET Sun. (ESPN3): The Fighting Irish are loaded on the perimeter, but Indiana State has a talented guard of their own: senior Jake Odum.
- Creighton at St. Joseph’s, 7:00 p.m. ET Sat.: Doug McDermott is going to be tested going up by the athleticism of the Big East, and he’ll have a good gauge against Ronald Roberts.
- Louisiana-Lafayette at No. 23 Baylor, 5:00 p.m. ET Sun. (ESPN3): Elfrid Payton is the best player you’ve never seen, but can the Ragin’ Cajuns deal with Baylor’s big front line?
- Towson at Villanova, 5:00 p.m. ET Sun.: Villanova is better than you think, but Towson is one of the nation’s best mid-majors this season.
WHO’S ON UPSET ALERT?
- No. 25 Virginia at Davidson, 12:00 p.m. ET Sat. (ESPN3): Davidson is in a bit of a rebuilding year, but the Wildcats are still one of the best-coached teams in the country. Tough road test for the ‘Hoos.
- Seton Hall at Mercer, 3:00 p.m. ET Sat.: So we all love Florida-Gulf Coast, right? Well, Mercer not only won the Atlantic Sun last season, they’re the favorite this year as well.
- Minnesota at Richmond, 7:00 p.m. ET Sat. (BTN): Minnesota’s first road game under Richard Pitino comes against a good-not-great Richmond team.
- Boston U. at No. 19 UConn, 12:00 p.m. ET Sun. (ESPNU): UConn is playing great basketball right now, but BU has some really, really good guards.
- Stanford at Denver, 3:00 p.m. ET Sun. (ROOT): Denver got waxed at Cal last weekend, but the Pioneers are a good team and Stanford is still trying to work through their rotations.
FIVE MORE THINGS TO WATCH FOR:
1) Marshall Henderson returns to the court on Saturday evening at 7:00 p.m. as Ole Miss takes on Coastal Carolina.
2) Jake Odum might be the best mid-major point guard in the country. He’ll be tested on Saturday afternoon when he takes on Notre Dame guards Jerian Grant, Eric Atkins and Demetrius Jackson.
3) If Odum isn’t the best, than Elfrid Payton is. The Louisiana-Lafayette stat-stuffer takes on Baylor on Sunday evening.
4) Kentucky’s season ended in hideous fashion last season when they lost to Robert Morris on the road in the first round of the NIT. They’ll get a chance for their revenge on Sunday evening as the Colonials come to visit.
5) UC-Santa Barbara is coming off of a 21 point win at UNLV. They visit Utah State on Saturday night, a team that can theoretically play themselves into NCAA tournament contention with a strong MWC season. Are the Gauchos for real?