A couple of high-profile guards figure to hi-jack the college hoops headlines Wednesday night. Don’t let ‘em overshadow a solid slate.
A bum toe will probably keep Duke freshman Kyrie Irving out against Bradley. The poing guard’s been stellar thus far, averaging 17.4 points and 5.1 assists a game, but is wearing a protective boot over a toe on his right foot. It won’t derail the Devils, though. Nolan Smith will simply run the show.
Also, Jimmer Fredette and BYU trek across country to play Vermont in Fredette’s hometown of Glen Falls, N.Y. Doesn’t sound like a big deal? Tell that to the Glens Falls area. Expect a Cougars rout.
That leaves …
An up-tempo delight: Vanderbilt’s at No. 15 Missouri, which promises to be one for fans of offense. The Commodores (7-1) can shoot it, particularly Jeff Taylor and John Jenkins. But that’s if they get the ball over halfcourt. The Tigers (6-1) rely on their presses (full-court, half-court, you name it) to create easy shots, but when teams solve that press, things can get ugly. This one’s going to be fun.
Mid-major questions out west: Gonzaga’s rough non-conference schedule is getting the better of the Zags. It won’t get any easier with a trip south to Pullman against Washington State, which has the talent to drop Gonzaga to 4-4. That’s never happened during Mark Few’s tenure.
Meanwhile, No. 14 San Diego State (8-0) staked its claim as the region’s top team with wins against Gonzaga and St. Mary’s. Another W vs. Cal would cement that status. (Because UCLA doesn’t want a piece of the Aztecs.)
Will youth be served? No. 17 Kentucky plays No. 23 Notre Dame in the night’s lone ranked matchup, and it’s the Irish who are unbeaten. As usual, Mike Brey’s team is superb on offense (Tim Abromaitis, Ben Hansbrough and Tyrone Nash all can score), suspect on defense. That’s good for Kentucky, which is still smarting after Saturday’s loss to North Carolina. Expect Terrence Jones to come back with a vengeance.
Man among boys: No. 16 Illinois should handle Oakland (Mich.), but I don’t envy the Illini’s big men. Mike Tisdale and Mike Davis are soft, which is great for Grizzlies big man Keith Benson, a 6-11, 225-pound senior who hits the boards, blocks shots and feasts on lesser foes. But he’ll only be able to do so much.
A Big Five matchup: No. 12 Villanova is going to crush Penn. But it’s the Big Five. Always worth noting.
(All times ET)
Hofstra at Binghamton, 7 p.m.
Providence at Boston College, 7 p.m.
Yale at Bryant, 7 p.m.
Niagara at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Manhattan at Fordham, 7 p.m.
Towson at George Washington, 7 p.m.
N.J. Tech at Lafayette, 7 p.m.
Maine at Massachusetts, 7 p.m.
Princeton at Monmouth, N.J., 7 p.m.
Rhode Island at Northeastern, 7 p.m.
Villanova at Penn, 7 p.m.
Delaware St. at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m.
Hartford at Sacred Heart, 7 p.m.
Minnesota at Saint Joseph’s, 7 p.m.
BYU vs. Vermont at Glens Falls (N.Y.) Civic Center, 7 p.m.
Fairleigh Dickinson at Connecticut, 7:30 p.m.
UMBC at Rider, 7:30 p.m.
Iona at Long Island U., 8 p.m.
Seton Hall vs. Arkansas at Freedom Hall, Louisville, Ky., 7 p.m.
Kentucky Christian at E. Kentucky, 7 p.m.
Loyola, Md. at George Mason, 7 p.m.
Delaware at Hampton, 7 p.m.
San Francisco at Louisville, 7 p.m.
UNC Greensboro at Maryland, 7:30 p.m.
Loyola, N.O. at Nicholls St., 7:30 p.m.
Voorhees at S. Carolina St., 7:30 p.m.
VMI at Va. Commonwealth, 7:30 p.m.
High Point at Tennessee Tech, 8 p.m.
Bradley at Duke, 9 p.m.
Notre Dame at Kentucky, 9:30 p.m.
Toledo at IPFW, 6 p.m.
W. Kentucky at Bowling Green, 7 p.m.
Detroit at W. Michigan, 7 p.m.
Air Force at Wright St., 7 p.m.
North Carolina at Evansville, 7:05 p.m.
Ball St. at E. Illinois, 8 p.m.
Drake at E. Michigan, 8 p.m.
Oakland, Mich. at Illinois, 8 p.m.
SIU-Edwardsville at Loyola of Chicago, 8 p.m.
Alcorn St. at Nebraska, 8 p.m.
Mayville St. at S. Dakota St., 8 p.m.
Culver-Stockton at W. Illinois, 8 p.m.
Duquesne at Wis.-Green Bay, 8 p.m.
Ohio at Illinois St., 8:05 p.m.
DePaul at Indiana St., 8:05 p.m.
SE Missouri at S. Illinois, 8:05 p.m.
Utah Valley at UMKC, 8:05 p.m.
Wis.-Milwaukee at Wisconsin, 8:30 p.m.
Vanderbilt at Missouri, 9 p.m.
Tenn.-Martin at Cent. Arkansas, 8 p.m.
North Texas at Sam Houston St., 8 p.m.
Prairie View at Texas A&M, 8 p.m.
TCU at Texas Tech, 8 p.m.
Oklahoma St. at Tulsa, 9 p.m.
Cal St.-Fullerton at Arizona, 8:30 p.m.
Texas-Pan American at N. Arizona, 8:35 p.m.
Colorado St. at Colorado, 10 p.m.
Denver at Saint Mary’s, Calif., 10 p.m.
Boise St. vs. UNLV at Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, 10 p.m.
San Diego St. at California, 10:30 p.m.
Gonzaga vs. Washington St. at Spokane (Wash.) Arena, 11 p.m.
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