PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: Slow day of hoops has some solid games

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GAME OF THE DAY: New Mexico at USC, 10:30 pm. (PAC-12)

The old adage is to, “save the best for last,” and that appears to the the case on Saturday as New Mexico travels to USC. On a slow Saturday dominated by college football, these two unbeatens have an intriguing game at the Galen Center. New Mexico enters at 3-0 as Cullen Neal is healthy and playing at a high level while guard Elijah Brown and forward Tim Williams are also doing significant damage. The Trojans counter with a 2-0 start as they have five players currently averaging double-figures. The backcourt play of Jordan McLaughlin and Elijah Stewart has been outstanding early in the season.

THIS ONE’S GOOD TOO: No. 23 Purdue vs. Old Dominion, 12:00 p.m. (ESPN3)

This one opens things at the Mohegan Sun event as unbeaten Purdue gets a real test against a solid Old Dominion squad. The Boilers have shot 44 percent from 3-point range this season and that makes it tough for teams trying to stop their interior play with A.J. Hammons, Isaac Haas and Caleb Swanigan. Old Dominion counters with the play of veteran guard Trey Freeman and Aaron Bacote as the 3-0 Monarchs would love to make an early-season statement on a neutral site.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR:

1. No. 1 North Carolina will play a rare power-conference road game when they travel to Northern Iowa. Of course, this game was setup so senior Marcus Paige could get a game in his home state of Iowa, but he”s out with a hand injury. The Tar Heels are 3-0 in Paige’s absence and Northern Iowa is 1-1 coming off of a nice home win over Stephen F. Austin.

2. Louisville has a tough mid-major opponent at home in North Florida. The Ospreys are coming off a NCAA tournament appearance and they return three potent scorers to a team that can still put up points in a hurry. North Florida is already 3-0 with a win on the road at Illinois and they’ve scored at least 93 points in all three wins. Louisville freshman forward Deng Adel is sitting this one out with a knee injury.

3. Speaking of Illinois, they could really use  a win after a 1-2 start and a tough loss at Providence this week.  The Illini host a tough Chattanooga team on Saturday as the Mocs won a road game at Georgia to open the season.

4. Florida and Saint Joseph’s have another one of the tilts at the Mohegan Sun on Saturday afternoon. The Gators have used a lot of its deep roster in two easy wins to start the season while Saint Joseph’s will try to unleash senior guard Deandre Bembry. Isaiah Miles has been averaging a near double-double to start the season for the Hawks.

5. Belmont and Evansville lock horns in a really good mid-major battle.. This one features two of the best mid-major guards in the country in Belmont’s Craig Bradshaw and Evansville’s D.J. Balentine. If those two get in a shootout, this becomes a must-watch for hoops fans.