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.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH:
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.
THE REST OF THE TOP 25:
- 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)