Pregame Shootaround: Tip-Off Tournaments and some ranked teams headline Sunday

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 17 UConn vs. West Virginia (6:30 p.m., ESPN2)

A matchup of old Big East foes for the championship of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off is looking like the most enticing game during a busy Sunday of college hoops. While the defending champion Huskies (3-0) are unbeaten, they haven’t been tested against a team like West Virginia (4-0). The Mountaineers are forcing an average of 22.3 turnovers per game so far this season and Bob Huggins’ team is going to do everything they can to put pressure on UConn guards Ryan Boatright and Rodney Purvis. It will also be fun to see some of the individual matchups in this game like Boatright and Purvis battling West Virginia guard Juwan Staten and Mountaineer forward Devin Williams trying to put up a double-double against the length of UConn center Amida Brimah on the interior.

THE OTHER GAME OF THE NIGHT: Providence vs. Notre Dame (2:30 p.m., ESPN2)

After both of these teams played well during Saturday’s action at the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off in Connecticut, this should be a fun matchup of balanced teams. Seeing Notre Dame senior guard Jerian Grant and Providence sophomore guard Kris Dunn both play well so far this season has been enjoyable after both players missed significant chunks of last season and they’ll go head-to-head in this one. Senior forward LaDontae Henton going against Notre Dame senior forward Pat Connaughton should also be a fun one as both players are very experienced and very versatile.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR: 

  • Besides for being a decent matchup, Texas A&M and New Mexico makes for a game college basketball fans need to watch if only to see the college debut of Tonny Trocha-Morelos. After bursting out on the American basketball scene in the summer of 2012, we’ve waited over two years for Trocha-Morelos to make his debut with the Aggies and he was finally cleared to play by the NCAA. Trocha-Morelos is joined in the Texas A&M lineup along with Houston transfer and guard Danuel House, who was also granted a waiver to play right away by the NCAA.
  • An intriguing nightcap features UCLA hosting Long Beach State. The 49ers’ 2-2 record isn’t exactly impressive, but they’ve been tested quite a bit this season as Long Beach State already owns road losses to BYU and Xavier. But the Bruins should be wary, Long Beach State finally got a quality win by beating Kansas State by nine points the other night. This team is talented enough to sneak up on UCLA if they aren’t careful.
  • Miami and Charlotte lock horns in a battle of unbeatens at the Charleston Classic. Neither team was expected to have an unblemished record entering this game but Miami beat a top-ten opponent in Florida on the road and Charlotte outlasted both Penn State and South Carolina in Charleston. The guard matchup between Miami’s Angel Rodriguez and Charlotte guard Braxton Ogbueze, a former Florida transfer, should have some fun moments.
  • Fresh off an overtime road win at UAB, South Florida travels to face N.C. State. Both teams are unbeaten and this will be head coach Orlando Antigua’s first major test as head coach of the Bulls. The Wolfpack, meanwhile, haven’t exactly played great competition themselves early in the year, so this should be a good gauge of where they lie as we near December.
  • How will UMass and Florida State bounce back after losses yesterday to Notre Dame and Providence? Both losing teams in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off play today in what should be an interesting indication of how they face adversity. The Minutemen looked great the opening 10 minutes in a loss against Notre Dame before ultimately wilting and the Seminoles barely bothered to show up against Providence.

THE TOP 25:

  • Montana State at No. 1 Kentucky, 6:00 p.m., SECN
  • Newman at No. 11 Wichita State, 3:00 p.m.
  • Northwestern St. at No. 18 Oklahoma, 3:00 p.m.
  • Sacred Heart at No. 20 Ohio State, 7:00 p.m., BTN