GAME OF THE DAY: No. 10 Ohio State at No. 17 Marquette, 1:00 p.m. (FS1)
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 DAY: Creighton at St. Joseph’s, 7:00 p.m.
The biggest question mark with Doug McDermott’s transition to the Big East will be how he acclimates to playing against guys that are bigger, longer and more athletic than him on a daily basis. He’ll have a nice test on Saturday, as he’ll go toe-to-toe with Ronald Roberts.
WHO’S GETTING UPSET?: No. 20 Wisconsin at UW-Green Bay, 8:00 p.m. (ESPN3)
We all know about the Badgers, but the Phoenix are legit this year. Alec Brown is a seven-footer with some actual NBA potential, while the best guard on the floor this evening will likely be Kiefer Sykes, the UWGB point guard. Wisconsin is coming off of a pair of solid wins against St. John’s and Florida. Could this be their letdown?
MID-MAJOR MATCHUP OF THE DAY: George Washington at Manhattan, 7:00 p.m.
GW is better than a lot of folks will give them credit for this season, but Manhattan looks like they’re going to have a chance to win the MAAC this year with George Beamon back in the fold. The Colonials are still without Patricio Garino, however.
FIVE 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) Davidson is in a bit of a rebuilding year, but the Wildcats are still one of the best-coached teams in the country. This will be a tough road test for No. 25 Virginia (12:00 p.m.).
3) 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. The Bears take on Seton Hall at 3:00 p.m.
4) Torrey Craig of USC-Upstate will face a serious challenge going up against Tennessee big, physical defense. Can the Vols bounce back from Tuesday’s loss to Xavier?
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?
THE REST OF THE TOP 25
- Tennessee State at No. 16 Wichita State, 1:00 p.m.
- Colgate at No. 9 Syracuse, 4:30 p.m.
- Arkansas-Little Rock at No. 11 Florida, 4:30 p.m.
- Winthrop at No. 14 VCU, 6:00 p.m.
- Jackson State at Colorado, 12:00 p.m.
- Appalachian State at Cincinnati, 2:00 p.m.
- Northern Iowa at George Mason, 4:00 p.m.
- Campbell at N.C. State, 7:00 p.m.
- Hawaii at Missouri, 7:00 p.m.
- Minnesota at Richmond, 7:00 p.m.