PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: The Big Zimm revenge game and Simmons vs. Ellenson

AP Photo
0 Comments

GAME OF THE NIGHT: UNLV vs. UCLA, 11:30 p.m.

The highlight of the opening night of the Maui Invitational is the Stephen Zimmermann revenge game. Zimmermann, if you don’t know, is a top 15 recruit nationally that picked the hometown Rebels over UCLA and head coach Steve Alford, among others. Alford used to be the head coach of New Mexico, where he had a nice little rivalry going with UNLV. There is going to be quite a bit of talent on the floor for this game, but the one thing these two programs have in common is that they don’t always play up to their potential. It will be fun to see what happens when they square off this evening in paradise.

THIS ONE’S GOOD, TOO: No. 23 LSU vs. Marquette, 7:00 p.m.

The best individual matchup of the night will be between LSU’s Ben Simmons and Marquette’s Henry Ellenson, a pair of versatile power forwards that, in their own way, represent the change in how big men are used in basketball. Simmons has been the best freshman in the country early on this season, but Ellenson has put up some impressive numbers. This is LSU’s first real test of the season and a game that the Golden Eagles desperately need to win.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR

1. Wake Forest vs. No. 14 Indiana, 5:00 p.m.: I think this Wake Forest team has a chance to sneak up on some people this year, but that won’t happen until they get Codi Miller-McIntyre back from injury. He’s not expected to return this week.

2. Chattanooga at No. 7 Iowa State, 8:00 p.m.: Chattanooga has already won at Georgia and Illinois this season. Could Iowa State be next on their upset list?

3. Tulsa vs. South Carolina, 9:00 p.m.: The finals of the Paradise Jam. Tulsa already has a win over Wichita State under their belt. Can they add a tournament win to their resume as well?

4. Northwestern vs. No. 1 North Carolina, 9:30 p.m.: How will the Tar Heels bounce back from their first loss of the season?

5. NJIT at Providence, 6:00 p.m.: Kris Dunn has had a couple of ho-hum performances in a row after showing out in the win over Harvard.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 4 Kansas at Chaminade, 9:00 p.m.
  • Eastern Michigan vs. No. 13 Michigan State, 7:00 p.m.
  • Sam Houston State vs. No. 15 Cal, 11:00 p.m.
  • St. John’s vs. No. 17 Vanderbilt, 2:30 p.m.
  • Savannah State at No. 20 Baylor, 8:00 p.m.

NOTABLES

  • UT-Arlington at Memphis, 8:00 p.m.
  • Northern Kentucky at Xavier, 8:45 p.m.
  • N.C. State vs. Arizona State, 9:30 p.m.