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Bracketology: Welcome to the top line, San Diego State

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Here is the latest NCAA tournament bracketology projection.

Welcome to the top line, San Diego State.  The Aztecs join Baylor, Gonzaga, and Kansas as No. 1 seeds in our latest bracket update.  SDSU remains the only unbeaten team in college hoops, buoyed by wins over tournament teams Iowa, Creighton and BYU.

The West-leaning geographical slate of top seeds means someone has to go East.  As SDSU is the fourth overall seed, that adventure belongs to them.  Several additional power conference teams are pushing for the top line, too – including Florida State, Michigan State and surging Seton Hall.  And let’s not forget about Louisville, a preseason top seed.  The Cardinals put together an impressive road win at Duke on Saturday.

The latest look at where our NCAA tournament bracketology projection stands …

UPDATED: January 20, 2020

FIRST FOUR – DAYTON
EAST REGION Virginia Tech vs. Georgetown
WEST REGION NC State vs. VCU
SOUTH REGION  PR VIEW-AM vs. NORFOLK ST
WEST REGION MONMOUTH vs. ST. FRANCIS (PA)

SOUTH Houston                           WEST – Los Angeles
Omaha Spokane
1) BAYLOR 1) GONZAGA
16) PV-AM / NORFOLK ST 16) MONMOUTH / ST. FRANCIS (PA)
8) Arkansas 8) Illinois
9) Memphis 9) HOUSTON
Tampa Sacramento
5) Colorado 5) Arizona
12) EAST TENNESSEE ST 12) NC State / VCU
4) Maryland 4) Iowa
13) S.F. AUSTIN 13) NEW MEXICO ST
St. Louis Greensboro
6) Marquette 6) Michigan
11) NORTHERN IOWA 11) Saint Mary’s
3) LOUISVILLE 3) Duke
14) NORTH TEXAS 14) LITTLE ROCK
Albany Spokane
7) Wisconsin 7) LSU
10) USC 10) Oklahoma
2) SETON HALL 2) Oregon
15) WILLIAM-MARY 15) UC-IRVINE
EAST – New York MIDWEST – Indianapolis
Sacramento Omaha
1) SAN DIEGO STATE 1) Kansas
16) RADFORD 16) MONTANA
8) Rutgers 8) Indiana
9) STANFORD 9) Florida
Albany Cleveland
5) Kentucky 5) Creighton
12) LIBERTY 12) YALE
4) Villanova 4) DAYTON
13) AKRON 13) VERMONT
Greensboro St. Louis
6) Penn State 6) Auburn
11) Virginia Tech / Georgetown 11) BYU
3) West Virginia 3) Butler
14) COLGATE 14) WRIGHT STATE
Tampa Cleveland
7) Ohio State 7) Wichita State
10) DePaul 10) Texas Tech
2) Florida State 2) MICHIGAN STATE
15) AUSTIN PEAY 15) NORTH DAKOTA ST

BUBBLE NOTES
Last 4 Byes Last 4 IN      First 4 OUT Next 4 OUT
USC Virginia Tech Purdue Washington
DePaul NC State Minnesota Saint Louis
Saint Mary’s Georgetown Arizona State St. John’s
BYU VCU Xavier Richmond

Top Seed Line
Baylor, Gonzaga, Kansas, San Diego State
Seed List

Breakdown by Conference …
Big Ten (10)
Big East (7)
ACC (5)
SEC (5)

Big 12 (5)
Pac 12 (5)
American (3)

West Coast (3)
Atlantic 10 (2)
Mountain West (1)

College Basketball Top 25 Power Rankings: Baylor and Gonzaga lead the way

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A new college basketball top 25 is now live.

Baylor is not the No. 1 team in my poll, and I suspect that they are going to be the No. 1 team in the country when the AP poll is released on Monday morning. The only reason they weren’t No. 1 last week is because four people (like me) had Duke at No. 1, stealing votes from the Bears. That … did not go well, so here we are.

I also want to talk through something else: Last week, I wrote extensively about why I think that it’s foolish to allow the result of one possession games to have a significant impact on the way that you view a team. One shot in a 70 possession game that is just one of more than 30 games that will be played this season is insignificant when determining the quality of a team, and I truly believe that.

But I also think it is important to consider how and why teams are winning close games, not just games that are one-possession games.

So let’s use Duke and Baylor for this example once again.

One thing that the Bears have proven over and over this season — at Texas Tech, at Kansas, at Oklahoma State — is the ability to close out a tough game, particularly on the road. That’s because they have a number of players on the roster that are capable of taking and making clutch shots. Against Tech, it was Jared Butler. Against Oklahoma State, it was Devonte Bandoo. The Bears may not look as good in the metrics because they haven’t obliterated the mediocre teams they have played, but they are 15-1 because they come through in the clutch.

Now, some of that may eventually regress. I believe in the clutch gene because I think life — not just sports, but everything every human being does — is confidence. Baylor has confidence in clutch situations, as much as anyone in the country. They do not get rattled by the moment, and they have a number of different options they can go to down the stretch.

Duke, on the other hand, does not. Their three losses this season have all been close games where the Blue Devils have struggled to find an outlet for offense in the final minutes. Maybe that will come with more experience — Duke is loaded with freshmen, Baylor is as old as anyone in the country — but as it stands, that’s the difference between these two teams.

Baylor won their close games.

Duke did not.

And I don’t think that’s a fluke.


The other thing that I want to discuss in this space is where I have San Diego State and Dayton ranked in the college basketball top 25. They are currently sitting and eighth and ninth in my poll, exactly where they have been for a couple of weeks now. And that is where they are going to stay for the foreseeable future.

The reasoning for me is simple: I don’t want to fall into the trap where I’m bumping a team up in the rankings simply because they keep winning in a league that is not as tough as the leagues where the rest of the teams in consideration for the top ten are playing, and losing.

I’m sure there are going to be people in San Diego and Dayton that call me a hater for this, and that’s fine. Maybe I am being a hater.

But the truth is this: I love both of these teams. SDSU is so tough defensively and Malachi Flynn has proven himself to be a flat-out winner at the point, while Dayton runs a pro-style, aesthetically-pleasing offense heavy on three-balls and Obi Toppin.

I just don’t believe they are one of the top six or seven teams in the country, and beating the likes of Nevada and Saint Louis is not going to change my mind.

Anyway, here is the rest of the NBC Sports college basketball top 25.



1. BAYLOR (15-1, Last Week: 2)
2. GONZAGA (20-1, 3)
3. KANSAS (14-3, 6)
4. FLORIDA STATE (16-2, 12)
5. LOUISVILLE (15-3, 13)
6. SETON HALL (14-4, 15)
7. DUKE (15-3, 1)
8. SAN DIEGO STATE (19-0, 8)
9. DAYTON (16-2, 9)
10. MICHIGAN STATE (14-4, 7)
11. BUTLER (15-3, 4)
12. AUBURN (15-2, 5)
13. OREGON (15-4, 10)
14. KENTUCKY (13-4, 11)
15. WEST VIRGINIA (14-3, 14)
16. TEXAS TECH (12-5, 17)
17. VILLANOVA (14-3, 18)
18. IOWA (13-5, 22)
19. ARIZONA (13-5, NR)
20. HOUSTON (14-4, NR)
21. MEMPHIS (14-3, 25)
22. MICHIGAN (11-6, 20)
23. MARYLAND (14-4, 21)
24. ILLINOIS (13-5, 24)
25. CREIGHTON (14-5, 23)

NEW ADDITIONS: No. 19 Arizona, No. 20 Houston
DROPPED OUT: No. 16 Ohio State, No. 19 Wichita State

Tuesday’s Things to Know: Baylor, Maryland earn key conference wins; two ranked teams lose on road

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College basketball saw quite a bit of action go down on Tuesday night. 

Marquee matchups in the Big Ten and Big 12 kept things interesting. Upsets with ranked teams losing on the road completed a strong night of games. 

No. 12 Maryland slows down No. 11 Ohio State

The night started with a clash of top-12 teams in the Big Ten. It resulted in a quality home win for the Terps as Ohio State’s freefall continues.

Senior point guard Anthony Cowan Jr. led a balanced offensive night for Maryland. The team’s stifling interior defense did the rest. The Terps limited touches for Ohio State big man Kaleb Wesson. And the Buckeyes couldn’t make Maryland pay from the perimeter with a poor shooting night.

I have more on Maryland’s win here. Ohio State, meanwhile, has dropped three straight after previously being No. 1 earlier this season.

No. 4 Baylor holds off No. 22 Texas Tech for Big 12 road win

The second top-25 matchup of the night had the Bears holding off the Red Raiders to start 2-0 in the Big 12.

Spreading the ball all over on offense, Baylor blitzed the offensive glass for 16 boards to maintain a big advantage on the glass. Davion Mitchell was the only double-figure scorer for the Bears with 14 points. It’s another great early-season win for Baylor as they continue to look like a major Big 12 contender.

Texas Tech struggled to score from all over the floor on a poor shooting night. The Red Raiders were 37 percent from the floor and a dismal 41 percent from the charity stripe. Even with a good effort from freshman Jahmius Ramsey, Texas Tech came up short at home.

Baylor heads to Allen Fieldhouse for another Big 12 showdown with No. 3 Kansas this weekend.

Boston College, Rutgers score upset home wins over ranked teams

It wouldn’t be a normal night of college hoops during the 2019-20 season without some upsets.

Boston College took down No. 18 Virginia in the ACC. Meanwhile, Rutgers earned an impressive Big Ten home win, sans Geo Baker, over No. 20 Penn State.

Previously getting blown out by Duke in ACC play, the Eagles bounced back because of strong perimeter defense and a huge late shot from Jared Hamilton. They move to 3-1 in the ACC behind only Duke and tied among a pack of teams.

Rutgers is now an intriguing 12-3 and 3-1 in the Big Ten. The Scarlet Knights kept pace with Maryland and only trail Michigan State in the early Big Ten standings — just as we all predicted… Playing with Baker, Ron Harper Jr. put together an impressive night to lead Rutgers with 20 points. Winners of six straight, Rutgers has wins over Wisconsin, Seton Hall and now Penn State during that span.

Boston College upsets No. 18 Virginia, 60-53

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BOSTON — Sloppy. Lethargic. Lukewarm effort. Lack of composure.

Virginia coach Tony Bennett knows what the problems were in Tuesday night’s loss to Boston College. Now he’s got to fix them.

“I think the tape’s going to reveal some things that are going to hurt and sting,” Bennett said after unranked BC beat the 18th-ranked Cavaliers 60-53. “But you move on and get ready for the next one.”

Jared Hamilton hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 37 seconds left and added a pair of free throws to clinch it as the Eagles sent the defending national champions to their first Atlantic Coast Conference loss of the season.

Jay Heath scored 17 for BC (9-6, 3-1), which had not beaten Virginia in six tries since 2013. It was BC’s first win over a ranked team since beating No. 11 Florida State last January, and Virginia’s first loss to an unranked ACC opponent in almost two years.

“We’re trying to do the same thing as everyone else,” BC coach Jim Christian said, whose team was a 10 1/2-point underdog coming off a 39-point loss to Duke. “These guys are not surprised they won this game.”

Braxton Key scored 16 points with eight rebounds for the Cavaliers (11-3, 3-1). The 2019 champs, who a year earlier were the first team to lose as a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, have now lost two of their last four games.

BC scored eight of the first 10 points in the game and still led 42-30 with 14 minutes left before Virginia scored 10 in a row. With about seven minutes left, Key missed a layup and Mamadi Diakite slapped the rebound out to the top of the key, where Kihei Clark hit a 3-pointer to tie it at 45-all.

Diakite followed with a three-point play to give Virginia its first lead since the opening basket of the game. Clark scored seven points during the 20-3 run, while BC was held to just one basket over almost nine minutes.

BC took a 53-51 lead with just over two minutes left, but Key scored from underneath to tie it. Hamilton scored from in front of the Eagles bench to put them ahead, then leaned back into the embrace of his teammates to celebrate.

“Feeling the support of the guys,” Hamilton said. “That was a great feeling.”

UNDERMANNED

Boston College was without starting point guard Derryck Thornton, who injured his ankle, and Nic Popovic, who has been out a month with a sore back. Forward Steffon Mitchell, who was nauseated and had migraine headaches, needed two IVs to get ready for the game.

Christian said he didn’t know if Mitchell would be available until about five minutes before the tipoff. He played almost 30 minutes and scored 10 points with eight rebounds.

“There’s a beauty to it,” Christian said. “It’s effort, it’s character, it’s determination.”

EARLY STRUGGLES

The Cavaliers committed four fouls in the first 67 seconds, and Diakite went to the bench with two. The biggest man in Virginia’s starting lineup — and the only one listed as a forward, along with four guards — played just 4:36 in the first half, with two points and two rebounds.

After making its first shot, Virginia missed the next seven, and it was still just 8-2 with almost six minutes gone.

“I thought we were kind of lethargic in the beginning of the game,” Clark said. “And once you dig yourself that big of a hole … it’s hard to get back in it.”

BIG PICTURE

Virginia: After climbing as high as No. 5 in the AP Top 25, the Cavaliers have now lost to South Carolina and Boston College in the last two weeks. They have lost as many games as they did all of last season.

Boston College: The Eagles were able to quickly forget about their 88-49 loss to Duke on Dec. 31.

“We had a week to get ready for this game, so we had the benefit of time to get it out of our system,” Christian said. “When you’re playing great teams in this league, if you dwell too much on one game, you’re going to struggle.”

UP NEXT

Virginia: Hosts Syracuse on Saturday.

Boston College: Hosts Georgia Tech on Saturday.

Hurt, Jones help No. 2 Duke beat Boston College 88-49 in ACC

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DURHAM, N.C. — Duke had Tre Jones back healthy at the point and freshman Matthew Hurt rolling with a confident stroke. Just the way the second-ranked Blue Devils wanted to dive into the bulk of the Atlantic Coast Conference schedule.

Hurt scored 20 of his season-high 25 points before halftime to help Duke beat Boston College 88-49 on Tuesday night, while Jones had 10 assists in his return from a foot injury that had cost him two games.

Hurt made 10 of 16 shots and was 5 of 10 on 3-pointers to lead the Blue Devils, who shot nearly 52% and hit their last five shots of the first half as they blew the game open shortly before the break. Duke (12-1, 2-0 ACC) also had little trouble clamping down with its defensive pressure.

“They played like they practiced,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said, “so that’s a neat thing if you practice well.”

Jones had missed the past two games with what was described as a mild sprain of his left foot. Krzyzewski had said before the Wofford win on Dec. 19 that the sophomore would’ve likely played had it been an ACC game.

Well, now that’s all that’s in front of the Blue Devils: 18 straight league games as part of the ACC’s first 20-game conference slate.

CJ Felder scored 13 points for the Eagles (8-6, 2-1), who had won four straight games coming in to Cameron Indoor Stadium. But they never mounted much of a response to Duke’s defensive pressure that turned away driving lanes and forced BC to settle for tough looks.

BC shot just 34% and made 3 of 18 3-pointers, including a six-minute stretch in the first half without a basket that helped Duke stretch out its lead.

“We did a really poor job today of keeping the floor spaced and then making plays for other people,” BC coach Jim Christian said. “We tried to do way too much finishing plays, and they did a great job recovering and blocking shots or forcing us to miss. … We needed to move the ball better, the whole game really. So it was real big problem for us the whole night.”

BIG PICTURE

Boston College: BC fell to Duke for the 13th time in 14 meetings and is 0-11 all-time in Cameron.

Duke: Jones’ return was the biggest positive for a team that needs his on-floor leadership and on-ball defensive pressure.

“Early on there was definitely some rust, just not being able to be in a game for a few weeks,” Jones said, adding: “After the first few minutes of getting my feet back under me and everything, I felt good the rest of the game.”

BACK AGAIN

It was a rough return for Derryck Thornton, who spent his freshman year at Duke before transferring to USC and ultimately ending up at BC as a graduate transfer. He was averaging a team-best 13.8 points but finished with six on 3-for-12 shooting while also leaving briefly in the first half with a right leg injury.

“Nobody on the team played very well,” Christian said. “It’s not about Derryck Thornton or anybody else.”

BIG FINISH

Hurt and the Blue Devils closed out the half in a flurry, ending when Jones found Hurt alone in the corner to bury a 3 just before the halftime horn. By that point, Hurt — who held his release to mark the make — had matched his season-high scoring output and outscored BC as Duke led 45-19 at the break.

“I made a third 3, I felt really good, and then the fourth 3 right before halftime, that really set it off,” Hurt said. “I just want to win, so I just tried to go in the second half and try to make the right plays and just try to win especially.”

TIP-INS

Duke earned its 300th victory of the decade (dating to January 2010) and its 899th all-time victory at its famously hostile home arena. … Duke has held opponents to fewer than 50 points in consecutive games for the first time since December 2010. … BC senior forward Nik Popovic (11.8 points) missed his fifth straight game. He is out indefinitely with a back problem. … Duke hit a season-high 12 of 28 3s (.429).

UP NEXT

Boston College: The Eagles host No. 19 Virginia next Tuesday.

Duke: The Blue Devils visit Miami on Saturday night.

Best Bets: Previewing Auburn-Davidson, Baylor-Washington, Texas-Purdue

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As of this publication, the lines for the Friday games were the only ones posted. Games on Saturday and Sunday will be discussed using projections from KenPom.

No. 24 AUBURN vs. DAVIDSON, Fri. 6:00 p.m. (CBSSN)

  • SPREAD: Auburn (-2.5)
  • TOTAL: 144.5
  • IMPLIED SCORE: Auburn 73.5, Davidson 71
  • KENPOM: Auburn 75, Davidson 72

This has all of the makings of a bet that I love to make in November. Davidson is one of the most well-coached and experienced teams in college basketball, bringing back their top six from last season. That includes Kellan Grady, who is now healthy, and Jon Axel-Gudmundsson. Grady was the Preseason Atlantic 10 Player of the Year last year as a sophomore. Jon-Axel Gudmundsson won the award. This is a top 25 basketball team.

And they’re taking on an Auburn team that lost their three best players on a neutral floor. I’m not sold on J’Von McCormick being the answer to their problems, and I’m not sure that Samir Doughty is going to be able to replace what they lost in Jared Harper or Bryce Brown. I do like Isaac Okoro and I think he’ll give the Wildcats some issues with his athleticism and versatility, but to me this is a pick-em. If you’re telling me I can get points – or a ML that is around +110 – on Davidson, I’m in.

PICK: Davidson (+2.5)

WASHINGTON vs. No. 16 BAYLOR, Fri. 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)

  • SPREAD: Baylor (-5)
  • TOTAL: 137.5
  • IMPLIED SCORE: Baylor 71.25, Washington 66.25
  • KENPOM: Baylor 71, Washington 66

Washington lost their top four scorers from a season ago and will replace them with a point guard that transferred in from Kentucky (Quade Green) as well as a pair of five-star freshmen. Isaiah Stewart is a monster, but I’m not sold on Jaden McDaniels stepping in and dominating as a freshman. Those two will be going up against a Baylor team with one of the biggest and toughest frontlines in America.

(You’re going to notice trend here.)

But I’m going to be on Baylor. They bring almost everyone back from last year’s 20-win team that went 10-8 in the Big 12, but in their season-opener on Tuesday afternoon, they started three guys – Tristan Clark, MaCio Teague and Davion Mitchell – that did not play during Big 12 play last season. Clark was injured and the other two sat out due to transfer rules.

Oh, and should I mention that the Bears were second in the nation in offensive rebounding percentage last season while Washington plays a zone? With two freshmen on their frontline?

PICK: Baylor (-5)

ARIZONA STATE vs. COLORADO, Fri. 10:30 p.m. (ESPN2)

  • SPREAD: Colorado (-5.5)
  • TOTAL: 146.5
  • IMPLIED SCORE: Colorado 76, Arizona State 70.5
  • KENPOM: Colorado 78, Arizona State 72

I really do not have any feel for this game, but considering that it is being played in China and that it is the first game of the season for both teams, I think I lean towards the under here. But that’s it. I’m mostly just interested in figuring out what to make of both of these teams. Colorado brings everyone back from a 23-win team, while Arizona State has a roster with some talent that has done nothing but underperform against Pac-12 competition the last two years.

PICK: Under 146.5

TEXAS at No. 23 PURDUE, Sat. 7:00 p.m. (FS1)

  • KENPOM: Purdue 72, Texas 63

I don’t think that this line is going to open up at Purdue (-9), but if it does, then Texas seems like the easy play. We know they are going to be one of the nation’s best defensive teams, and getting nine points is a lot of points in a game that I think will be played in the high-50s or low-60s. Throw in the fact that Purdue lost their top two scorers from last season and this feels like the line should be closer to 4.5.

PICK: Texas (+9)

FLORIDA STATE at No. 6 FLORIDA, Sun. 1:00 p.m. (ESPN)

  • KENPOM: Florida 69, Florida State 65

The Seminoles are coming off of a loss at Pitt in their season-opener and will take on a Florida team that most people expect to be an SEC title contender that has a chance of winning a national title. I liked Florida State on the road (-4.5) against Pitt, but I do not like the Seminoles on the road in a rivalry game.

PICK: Florida (-4)

ILLINOIS at No. 21 ARIZONA, Sun. 9:00 p.m. (PAC-12)

  • KENPOM: Arizona 76, Illinois 70

This is going to be a nightmare road trip for the Illini, who are playing at Grand Canyon on Friday night and have to follow that up with a visit to Tucson on Sunday night. The Wildcats looked good their first time out, getting 20 points from Zeke Nnaji in a blowout win over Northern Arizona. Illinois got taken to overtime by Nicholls State at home.

PICK: Arizona (-6)

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

BINGHAMTON at No. 1 MICHIGAN STATE (-35); 141, Sun. 7:00 p.m.

Michigan State will be looking to bounce back after a loss in the Champions Classic. I don’t think that foul trouble will be much of an issue in this one.

EASTERN KENTUCKY at No. 2 KENTUCKY (-29.5); 149.5, Fri. 7:00 p.m.

Let’s see what Part II of the Tyrese Maxey Show has to offer.

UNC GREENSBORO at No. 3 KANSAS (-16); 144.5, Fri. 9:00 p.m.

It sounds like there’s a chance that Isaiah Moss plays in this one, and I fully expect the Jayhawks to bounce back from an ugly loss in a big way. I know UNCG is good, but Kansas I think Kansas is the best bet for a heavy favorite this weekend.

COLORADO STATE at No. 4 DUKE (-24); 146, Fri. 7:00 p.m.

Niko Medved is a good coach, Duke is built on their defense and the Baby Blue Devils will be playing their first game in Cameron. Let’s see if Coach K can work through some of these offensive issues against someone that isn’t a title contender.

YOUNGSTOWN STATE at No. 5 LOUISVILLE (-26); 150, Sun. 2:00 p.m.

Jordan Nwora was terrific in the opener. Now that the Cards aren’t playing ACC teams, let’s see if they can find a way to get their point guard play up to snuff.

RHODE ISLAND at No. 7 MARYLAND (-12); 146, Sat. 9:00 p.m.

Rhode Island is probably a top five team in the Atlantic 10 this season, and that actually carries some weight this year. The Terps struggled early with Holy Cross. I think the Rams make this a game.

ARKANSAS-PINE BLUFF at No. 8 GONZAGA (-32); 140, Sat. 8:00 p.m.

Gonzaga is banged up and thin in their backcourt. They should still roll.

No. 9 NORTH CAROLINA (-22.5) at UNC WILMINGTON; 161.5, Fri. 7:00 p.m.

Cole Anthony will take centerstage once again, this time playing his first true road game as a collegian. Credit to Roy Williams, who is not afraid to play in-state mid-major competition in their building.

JAMES MADISON at No. 11 VIRGINIA (-24); 126, Sun. 6:00 p.m.

Virginia just gave up 34 points to Syracuse. KenPom has JMU’s team total at 51. I think if I’m going to bet this game, I’ll bet that under.

STONY BROOK at No. 12 SETON HALL (-21); 143, Sat. 2:30 p.m.

The Myles Powell Show heads into game No. 2. Seton Hall rolled in the opener despite not having Kevin Willard on the sideline.

BETHUNE-COOKMAN at No. 13 TEXAS TECH (-28); 146, Sat. 8:00 p.m.

Texas Tech looked better than I expected in the opener for a team that is as young as they are. I’ll be very curious to see what Jahmi’us Ramsey’s progression looks like this season.

UIC at No. 14 MEMPHIS (-20); 156.5, Fri. 7:00 p.m.

James Wiseman will be back in action after popping off for 28 points in his debut.

BOISE STATE at No. 15 OREGON (-11); 139, Sat. 11:00 p.m.

Payton Pritchard popped off for a monster game in Oregon’s opener against Fresno State. They continue their tour of the Mountain West with a date against Boise State.

UMASS-LOWELL at No. 18 OHIO STATE (-24); 144, Sun. 4:00 p.m.

The Buckeyes went eight minutes without scoring to open up their season at home against Cincinnati. I don’t think they’ll have that issue against UMass-Lowell.

SIENA at No. 19 XAVIER (-20); 143, Fri. 7:00 p.m.

I really like Siena in this game. I have a lot of respect for Carmen Maciariello and his ability to coach, and the truth is that Siena might have the best player on the floor in Jalen Pickett. They’re not getting 20-pieced.

BOWLING GREEN at No. 22 LSU (-13); 156, Fri. 8:00 p.m.

I’m high on this LSU team, and I think that they are undervalued heading into this season. I’ll lay the 13 points.

NORTH TEXAS at No. 25 VCU (-16.5); 134, Fri. 7:00 p.m.

North Texas is bringing back four starters. VCU still can’t shoot and wins with their defense. I think Grant McCasland and the Mean Green can hang in there and keep this respectable.