Pregame Shootaround: No. 6 Arizona looks to avenge lone conference loss, ‘Ivy League Friday’

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Harvard at Princeton, 6:00 p.m. (ESPNU)

This is one of two games in the Ivy League matching an undefeated team (in conference play) with one that already has suffered a loss, with Tommy Amaker’s Crimson looking to rebound from their home loss to Dartmouth last weekend. And while Wesley Saunders has been Harvard’s leading scorer, the key to slowing down the Crimson is to keep point guard Siyani Chambers in check.

Dartmouth was able to do that, as Chambers scored 13 points but did so on 3-for-11 shooting to go along with three assists and two turnovers. Princeton, which beat Penn in its league opener, is led by forwards Spencer Weisz and Hans Brase. And given the influence that Chambers has on the action for Harvard, this sets up to be quite the opportunity for Princeton freshman guard Amir Bell as well.

KEEP AN EYE ON: Oregon State at. No. 6 Arizona, 10:00 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks)

Sean Miller’s Wildcats have just one conference loss thus far, a 58-56 defeat suffered in Corvallis just under three weeks ago. Since then Arizona’s won five straight, with four of the five wins being by double digits. Stanley Johnson’s begun to assert himself as the offensive weapon many expected him to be upon his arrival on campus, and point guard T.J. McConnell continues to lead the way for a group that has shot 49 percent or better from the field in four of their last five games. Oregon State was able to slow down the tempo and use a matchup zone to fluster the Wildcats in their first meeting, but they’re going to need that and an exceptional performance from junior guard Gary Payton II to pull off another upset.

WHO’S ON UPSET ALERT?: Buffalo (-6) vs. Kent State, 10:00 p.m. (ESPNU)

The oddsmakers have the Bulls listed as a six-point favorite for their home game against Kent State, which is sitting atop the MAC East standings with a 6-1 record. But Rob Senderoff’s team already has wins over Ohio and Central Michigan (both at home), and they’re currently on a six-game win streak. This is a game Bobby Hurley’s Bulls need if they’re to factor into the division race, as they’re already two games out of first, and they’ll need to slow down Kent State’s Jimmy Hall in order to get the win. Hall scored 32 in a win over Ball State last weekend, and he followed that up with 15 points and 15 rebounds in a win over Central Michigan Tuesday night. Buffalo will counter with Jarvis Moss, who’s averaging 18.5 points and 9.8 rebounds per contest.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR 

  • Another Ivy League matchup to keep an eye on is Yale’s trip to New York City to take on Columbia (8:00 p.m.). The Bulldogs are 2-0 in league play, and the Lions are looking to rebound from their home loss to Cornell.
  • Oregon looks to bounce back from a highly disappointing effort in their 90-56 loss at Arizona on Wednesday by beating Arizona State in Tempe (8:00 p.m., Pac-12 Networks). The Sun Devils took care of Oregon State Wednesday night, with Shaquielle McKissic leading a balanced effort with 17 points.
  • Friday is a key night in the MAAC, with Siena’s trip south to take on Manhattan (7:00 p.m., ESPN3) being one of the games on the slate. If the Saints are to win they’ll have to buckle down defensively, as Jimmy Patsos’ team is ninth in the MAAC in field goal percentage defense (45.5%) and 11th in three-point percentage defense (40.0%) in conference games.
  • Monmouth’s just a game behind Iona in the loss column at 7-3, and they’ll need a win at Fairfield (8:00 p.m., ESPNU) to make sure that remains the case. Sophomore guard Justin Robinson is averaging 16.4 points per game in conference play for the Hawks. Fairfield is led by Marcus Gilbert, who’s scoring just over 17 per game.
  • Another Ivy League team to keep an eye on is Cornell, which begins a stretch of four straight home games tonight against Brown (7:00 p.m.). Senior forward Shonn Miller (16.7 ppg, 8.1 rpg) has played very well for the Big Red, and he accounted for 18 points, nine rebounds and four blocks in their 57-47 win at Columbia last weekend.