Wichita State v Gonzaga

Tuesday’s Pregame Shootaround: Kansas heads to Florida, Boise State visits Kentucky

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GAME OF THE DAY: No. 13 Kansas at No. 19 Florida, 7:00 p.m. ET

I wonder how long it’s going to be before Bill Self regrets the schedule that he put together for this Kansas team? Three days ago, the Jayhawks were in Colorado, where they lost to the Buffaloes on a buzzer-beater by Askia Booker. They’ll return to Lawrence where they’ll get New Mexico on Saturday, following that up with home games against Georgetown, undefeated Toledo and San Diego State. Then they kick off Big 12 play. That’s as strong as it gets, and it comes at a time when Kansas is still trying to figure out who they are.

As far as tonight’s game, there are really three things I’m looking forward to seeing:

  • Can Andrew Wiggins build on the performance that he had on Saturday? Kansas lost, but it was the first time that Wiggins actually looked like Wiggins.
  • What will Joel Embiid do going up against Florida’s massive front line?
  • Scottie Wilbekin and Kasey Hill are both cleared to play tonight. It will be the first time that the two of them are both eligible and healthy at the same time. How good will they be? They are the difference between Florida being good and Florida being a legitimate contender.

WHO’S GETTING UPSET?: No. 20 Gonzaga at West Virginia, 9:00 p.m. ET

The Zags are going to be an interesting team to watch this season, as they are one of the most potent offensive teams in the country. But can they guard? West Virginia has a pretty good offensive team, particularly in their back court, where Eron Harris and Juwan Staten have been awesome. How will Kevin Pangos and David Stockton matchup with those two?

MID-MAJOR GAME OF THE DAY: Green Bay at Eastern Michigan, 7:00 p.m. ET

Green Bay is a really good team this season. They almost beat Wisconsin at home. They did beat Virginia at home. Kiefer Sykes in one of the nation’s best-kept secrets, and Alec Brown is a legitimate NBA prospect. That said, Eastern Michigan has a couple of high-major transfers, some length and athleticism and a coach that learned how to play a 2-3 zone under Jim Boeheim. Should be a good one.


1) No. 11 Kentucky will be hosting Boise State, who needed to take a bus from Chicago to Lexington after a connecting flight got cancelled. The Broncos are one of the nation’s best three-point shooting teams. They get up and down the floor. They’ll make it hard for Kentucky to guard them. But they won’t have an answer for UK’s size inside.

2) Indiana will host the Oakland Fighting Travis Baders tonight. The irony: Indiana desperately needs some three-point shooting. If this was the NBA, they’d give up a recruit to be named later for Bader.

3) Cal will be looking to bounce back from a loss to UCSB by hosting Nevada tonight. The best individual matchup of the day will be Deonte Burton vs. Justin Cobbs.

4) Evansville squares off with Xavier tonight. The Muskies have not been impressive this season.

5) Minnesota hosts South Dakota State tonight in a game that would have been a lot more interesting if Nate Wolters hadn’t graduated.

Rutgers hoping new duo can bring a spark

of the Ohio State Buckeyes against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights during their Big Ten conference game at Rutgers Athletic Center on February 8, 2015 in Piscataway, New Jersey.
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Rutgers has struggled to achieve success on the floor the last few years and head coach Eddie Jordan is hoping that some talented newcomers can help start a turnaround. With the start of practice, local media saw some of the Scarlet Knights’ early practice and Jerry Carino of the Asbury Park Press noted that the duo of freshman point guard Corey Sanders and junior college forward Deshawn Freeman were getting a lot of burn together.

With both incoming players being four-star prospects, it’s hardly a surprise that Jordan would see what the two were capable of. According to Carino, it meant a lot of Sanders driving and forcing the defense to collapse before finding Freeman.

“It seems like coach always has us on the same team,” Freeman said to Carino. “Ever since we’ve gotten here, he’s trying to get us to play together.”

Carino also notes that since Rutgers is deeper, longer and more athletic in general this season, the team could do more with a pressing defense to help create turnovers.

While Rutgers still faces an uphill climb in the Big Ten, they at least have some exciting pieces that will be in place for a few seasons.

LSU looking into starting lineup options

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - MARCH 7:  Head Coach Johnny Jones of the LSU Tigers watches his team play during a game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Bud Walton Arena on March 7, 2015 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  The Tigers defeated the Razorbacks 81-78.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
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LSU football and Leonard Fournette are off to a strong start this fall, but the beginning of October also means that college hoops is right around the corner. If you’re a Tigers basketball fan, you also have plenty to be excited about on the hardwood this season with the arrival of a loaded freshman class headlined by forward Ben Simmons.

While the versatile Simmons has solidified a spot in the starting lineup for next season, it’ll be interesting to see how head coach Johnny Jones uses the rest of his talented freshmen. In a story from Sheldon Mickles of the New Orleans Advocate, he looks into some potential LSU starting lineups.

Freshman guard Antonio Blakeney, a McDonald’s All-American with Simmons, is also expected to start, but does another talented freshman guard, Brandon Sampson get a shot to start? And what of Arizona transfer Craig Victor when he’s eligible to play in December?

Mickles believes the early favorite for starting lineup is guards Tim Quarterman, Keith Hornsby, Blakeney, Simmons and center Darcy Malone. When Victor returns, Mickles said Victor could push Simmons into the “center” position, which would be a matchup nightmare on the opposition because Simmons would be very tough for many college centers to defend.

Sampson also gets a mention from Mickles of having the potential to start down the line. Overall, a good problem to have for Jones and he’ll have to experiment to see which lineups are giving him the most. Having a productive starting five is nice, but I’m sure Jones would love to find the five players he wants to close with.