Friday’s Pregame Shootaround: Big day for the Big Ten

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GAME OF THE DAY: No. 14 Michigan vs. Florida State, 5:00 p.m. (ESPN2) 

Florida State may have put forth the performance of the day on Thursday, beating No. 10 VCU 85-67 in a game they by as much as 30 in the second half. The Seminoles are likely to meet more resistance in the half court against Michigan, with the Wolverines rebounding from their loss at Iowa State with a comfortable win over Long Beach State. John Beilein’s team doesn’t force a high number of turnovers, but that doesn’t mean that Florida State can expect to get away with turning the ball over 23 times as they did against VCU. Michigan will need to be mindful of Okoro White, Montay Brandon and Robert Gilchrist on the boards, with Mitch McGary, Jordan Morgan and Jon Horford needing to keep those three Seminoles from controlling the glass as they did against VCU.

THE OTHER GAME OF THE DAY: No. 18 UConn vs. Indiana, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN2) 

Five games, four double-doubles for Indiana freshman Noah Vonleh, and given how UConn’s big men have struggled on the glass Vonleh could be in line for a fifth double-double on Friday. But the most intriguing individual battle will come on the perimeter, with Indiana sophomore Yogi Ferrell going up against UConn senior Shabazz Napier. One key for the UConn guards: make sure DeAndre Daniels gets quality touches, because he’s a tough matchup for opposing forwards due to his ability to step out on the perimeter and knock down shots.

MID-MAJOR MATCHUP OF THE DAY: LIU-Brooklyn at UC Irvine, 10:00 p.m.

LIU-Brooklyn’s lost a lot inside, and that could be an issue in a matchup of two teams who will contend in their respective leagues. For as well as 7-foot-6 freshman Mamadou Ndiaye has played in the middle for UC Irvine, people shouldn’t forget about reigning Big West Defensive Player of the Year Will Davis II either. LIU sophomore E.J. Reed will have his hands full inside, but he’s a skilled interior prospect as well. And that point guard matchup of LIU’s Jason Brickman and UC Irvine’s Alex Young certainly won’t lack for entertainment.


1) No. 1 Michigan State’s back on the floor after two lackluster performances at home, and how the Spartans perform in the game’s first five minutes will be something to keep an eye on. Will Tom Izzo’s team come out ready to go, or will they give the underdog Virginia Tech some early hope?

2) Both Boston College and Washington are hoping to avoid leaving NYC with two losses, making the third place game in the 2K Sports Classic all the more important. BC’s the team people expected to make waves in their conference, and with the losses they’ve already taken the Eagles can’t afford to drop this one.

3) Southern Miss/South Alabama has the potential to be the best non-televised game on Friday’s slate, with Donnie Tyndall’s team still undefeated and South Alabama having one of the nation’s better front court players in senior Augustine Rubit.

4) Another game to keep tabs on is San Francisco at Montana, with some of the better players out west participating. The Dons feature seniors Cody Doolin and Cole Dickerson, and the Grizzlies will counter with the versatile Kareem Jamar.

5) Arizona State hosts Marquette on Monday night in what will be a highly anticipated battle, but the Sun Devils have some business to take care of in the form of the Bradley Braves. Geno Ford’s team is off to a 4-1 start, with seniors Walt Lemon Jr. (15.2 ppg, 4.4 apg) and Tyshon Pickett (14.2, 8.6 rpg) leading the way.


  • Virginia Tech vs. No. 1 Michigan State, 9:30 p.m. (TruTV)
  • Towson at No. 2 Kansas, 8:00 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Long Beach State vs. No. 10 VCU, 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
  • UMass vs. No. 19 New Mexico, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Morehead State at No. 22 UCLA, 11:00 p.m. (Pac-12 Network)


  • Kansas State vs. Georgetown, 12:00 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Northern Iowa vs. Loyola Marymount, 1:30 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)
  • Boston College vs. Washington, 5:00 p.m. (ESPNU)
  • Providence vs. Vanderbilt, 6:30 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)
  • Oklahoma vs. Seton Hall, 7:00 p.m. (TruTV)
  • Delaware at Villanova, 7:00 p.m. (Fox Sports 1)
  • Southern Miss vs. South Alabama, 8:05 p.m.
  • San Francisco at Montana, 9:00 p.m.
  • Davidson vs. Clemson, 9:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
  • Bradley at Arizona State, 10:00 p.m. (Pac-12 Network)

VIDEO: Kris Dunn wills Providence to win over No. 11 Arizona

Kris Dunn, Elliott Pitts
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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Kris Dunn spent the first 35 minutes of Friday night’s game against No. 11 Arizona in foul trouble, splitting his time between sitting on the bench and trying to avoid finding himself, again, on the wrong side the whistle.

With 11 minutes left in the game, and with Dunn yet to find a rhythm, the all-american point guard was whistled for his fourth foul as he battled for a rebound with Arizona’s Mark Tollefsen. Head coach Ed Cooley say his superstar beside his for six game minutes, time enough for Arizona to turn a 49-47 deficit into a 58-54 lead.

There were just over five minutes left when Dunn reentered the second semifinal of the Wooden Legacy, and he proceeded to show everyone in the country why he was named the Preseason Player of the Year. Providence had nine possessions after he reentered the game. Dunn scored 11 points and had a pair of assists on those eight possessions, and if Ben Bentil had stuck a wide-open three — that was setup by Dunn — the Friars would have scored on all nine.

In total, Dunn was responsible for all 15 Friar points in a game-changing, 15-7 run in the final 4:30. It was capped off by this Kobe-in-his-prime-esque game-winner:

The win for Providence is huge for a couple of reasons:

  • Dunn showed a killer instinct against a marquee opponent, something that we didn’t necessarily see out of him a season ago. He wasn’t going to let his team lose, and given that Providence doesn’t have anyone else that can consistently create good shots, they are going to need that from him a lot this year.
  • It makes a statement for the Friars. Arizona is overrated at No. 11 in the country, yes, but going out on national television against an elite program and getting this kind of performance from Dunn is a confidence-booster and a tone-setter. Providence hasn’t been accustomed to winning in recent years. This is a way to set a trend.
  • Ben Bentil continues to play like a star. Dunn had 19 points and eight assists on Friday, but Bentil followed up a 24-point performance in the win over Evansville with 21 critical points on Friday.

This win sets up a matchup between No. 3 Michigan State and Providence on Sunday night, which means that Denzel Valentine and Kris Dunn — the two best players in the country, sorry Ben Simmons — will be going head-to-head.

Oh. Hell. Yes.

No. 14 Cal goes 0-2 in Las Vegas Invitational

Jaylen Brown
AP Photo/Ben Margot
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After midnight on the east coast on Thanksgiving, No. 14 Cal blew a 15 point second half lead against San Diego State, allowing the Aztecs to use a 30-6 run to put away the game and advance to the final of the Las Vegas Invitational. That’s the same San Diego State team had scored 43 points in a loss to Arkansas-Little Rock last week.

Not 24 hours later, the Golden Bears were shredded defensively by the Richmond Spiders, losing 94-90 in the consolation game of a four-team tournament they were considered to be the heavy favorite in.

It’s a disappointing two-game stretch for Cal, who entered the season as a Pac-12 favorite and had looked the part for the first four games of the season.

And the issue appears to be on the defensive end of the floor.

Richmond is a good Atlantic 10 team. Terry Allen and Marshall Wood are high-major big men, Shawn’Dre Jones is a jitterbug at the point and Chris Mooney runs a Princeton-esque system that is very difficult to prepare for without a day in-between games. So it’s not really surprising that the Spiders gave Cal a fight.

But 94 points?

On the heels of giving up 44 points in the second half against the offensively-challenged Aztecs?

That’s a problem, one that I’m sure that Cuonzo Martin is going to address this week in practice. Martin has managed to put together a roster that is build for small-ball, with four talented perimeter players surrounding a first round pick in the post. But that’s not the style that he’s known for. Martin played his college ball at Purdue in the Gene Keady days. He cut his teeth as a head coach at Missouri State in the Missouri Valley. His team’s at Tennessee were known for being tough and physical defensively.

That’s how Martin coaches, which is part of the reason Cal had such hype entering the year.

The talents of Tyrone Wallace, Jaylen Brown, Ivan Rabb, Jabari Bird and Jordan Mathews on a team with a coach that gets teams to defend the way Martin does? It’s no surprise that pundits would be optimistic.

But as of now, they have some work to do defensively if they want to live up to that hype.