Pregame Shootaround: No. 1 North Carolina back in action

Associated Press
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GAME OF THE DAY: Richmond at Wake Forest, 7:00 p.m. (ESPN3)

Wake Forest picked up a result over the weekend that is better than some may realize, coming back to win at Bucknell after going through a 2014-15 season in which they went 2-10 on the road. Now Danny Manning’s Demon Deacons host a Richmond team that should be a factor in the Atlantic 10 race, one that’s led by forwards Terry Allen and T.J. Cline and guard ShawnDre’ Jones. Wake, which is still without the injured Codi Miller-McIntyre, will counter with talented forwards Devin Thomas and Konstantinos Mitoglou and a freshman guard in Bryant Crawford who’s gotten off to a good start to his college career.

THIS ONE’S GOOD TOO: Illinois at Providence, 7:00 p.m. (FS1)

Look, you don’t pass up any opportunity to watch Providence’s Kris Dunn do his thing at the point; he’s appointment television. Tonight’s matchup with the Fighting Illini should be interesting, as John Groce’s team has faced two solid opponents in North Florida (loss) and North Dakota State (win). Mike Thorne Jr. has played well thus far, and Illinois has junior wing Malcolm Hill as well. They aren’t at full strength, but Illinois has the pieces to challenge the Friars if not leave Providence with the win.

SIX THINGS TO WATCH FOR:

1. Top-ranked North Carolina is back in action, as they’ll host Wofford in Chapel Hill (7:00 p.m., ESPN3). Guards Joel Berry II, Nate Britt and wing Theo Pinson have gotten off to good starts, but it would be nice to see UNC get Justin Jackson going after two quiet outings to begin his sophomore campaign.

2. After having their season-opening game in Okinawa cancelled after one half of basketball, No. 10 Gonzaga opens its season at home against Northern Arizona (10:00 p.m.). How the Bulldog guards deal with NAU’s Kris Yanku will be interesting to watch, not to mention how Mark Few uses the triumvirate of Kyle Wiltjer, Przemek Karnowski and Domas Sabonis on the court at the same time.

3. No. 21 Purdue will look to win its third straight game, as they host Incarnate Word (7:00 p.m., ESPN3). Will senior center A.J. Hammons, who’s been held out of Purdue’s exhibition and first two regular season games for unspecified reasons, be available to play? If so, this is a good opportunity to see how head coach Matt Painter will juggle the rotation of Hammons, Isaac Haas and Caleb Swanigan.

4. What has been a tough day for Arkansas on the recruiting front could be even tougher tonight, as the Razorback host 2-0 Akron in Fayetteville (8:00 p.m., SEC+). Moses Kingsley accounted for 22 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks in the Hogs’ season-opening win, and he’ll have to be a force throughout the season given Arkansas’ limited front court options.

5. Cincinnati, which has won its first two games in blowout fashion, hits the road to take on Bowling Green (7:00 p.m., ESPN3). Mick Cronin’s Bearcats are a team to keep an eye on this season, not only in the American Athletic Conference but nationally as well.

6. Just a couple days removed from picking up a win at rival New Mexico State, New Mexico hosts Loyola-Chicago (9:00 p.m.) in what should be an entertaining matchup. While UNM’s Cullen Neal and Loyola’s Milton Doyle are two players to watch so is UNM guard Elijah Brown, who won Mountain West Player of the Week honors after scoring 31 points Sunday night.

OTHER NOTABLE GAMES

  • UC Irvine at UCF, 7:00 p.m.
  • IUPUI at NC State, 7:00 p.m.
  • Buffalo at Saint Joseph’s, 7:00 p.m.
  • Southern Utah at UNLV, 10:30 p.m.