11-8-19 College basketball games to watch
The Friday of "opening week" for college basketball is only bested by the "opening day" on Tuesday in my humble opinion. Here's me opining in that regard: (all times ET)
Davidson vs. #24 Auburn (-3 ½) (Annapolis, MD; Veterans Classic) at 6 p.m. (CBSSN)
Colorado St. at #4 Duke (-23 ½) at 7 p.m. (ACCN)
#9 North Carolina (-22 ½) at UNC Wilmington at 7 p.m. (FloHoops) $$
UNC Greensboro at #3 Kansas (-15 ½) at 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
#16 Baylor (-5) vs. Washington (Armed Forces Classic; Anchorage, AK) at 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Arizona St. vs. Colorado (-5 ½) (Pac-12 China Game; Shanghai, China; “non-conference” game) at 10:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Davidson vs. Auburn should be a lot of fun; I just wish it didn’t start early at 6 p.m. Davidson has stars in Jon Axel Gudmundsson and Kellan Grady; Auburn has Danjel Purifoy and Austin Wiley to get buckets down low, which should be the Tigers’ advantage. When the Wildcats are on, they can light it up from three. I think Davidson wins a close one and moves into the AP top 25 next week.
Duke, UNC, and Kansas all take on lesser teams, with the Tar Heels going on the road to UNC Wilmington (nice move again, Roy Williams). Colorado State is improving and could push a young Duke team if they are still celebrating the big win over Kansas. UNC should win and Cole Anthony could have another big game, although I suspect the Heels will dominate down low to pull away in this one. Kansas is the most vulnerable here to me. UNC Greensboro is well-coached and would love to make some early season noise. I don’t see Kansas starting 0-2, but I think they may have to pull away late.
Baylor-Washington in Alaska should be a defensive struggle. These games played in weird places always seem to be ugly. I think Washington gets the W in a close one. Speaking of playing college basketball in weird places, Arizona State and Colorado play a non-conference “conference” game in China. I expect Bobby Hurley to get all the attention on ASU’s sideline, while McKinley Wright IV puts on a show on the court for Colorado. I like the Buffs. I am buying into the hype around them.
Upset Watch Games
Dartmouth at Buffalo (-11 ½) at 7 p.m. (ESPN+) $$
FAU at Miami, FL (-11) at 7 p.m. (FSN/ACCN Extra)
Akron at West Virginia (-11) at 7 p.m. (AT&T SN)
Siena at #19 Xavier (-20 ½) at 7 p.m. (FSN)
Fairleigh Dickinson at DePaul (-13 ½) at 8 p.m. (FS2)
Bowling Green at #22 LSU (-13 ½) at 8 p.m. (SECN+)
Illinois (-6 ½) at Grand Canyon at 9 p.m. (GCU TV/ESPN3)
Weber St. at Utah St. (-17) at 9 p.m. (MWN)
FAMU at Hawaii (-17 ½) (Rainbow Classic) at 11:59 p.m. (BigWest.tv)
Okay, so all of the teams above but Grand Canyon are double digit underdogs, and Grand Canyon lost to a non-D1 team in their opener. But it’s early in the season, and that usually means the lines aren’t as accurate as they will be a month from now. I think I nailed one upset on Tuesday on my list. I am guessing I get one on this list too, and a few close scares to boot.
Mid-Major Games to Watch
Delaware vs. Oakland (-5) (Sunshine Slam Tournament; Kissimmee, FL) at 5 p.m. (FloHoops) $$
William & Mary at American (-3 ½) at 7 p.m. (PLN)
Niagara at Drexel (-10 ½) (Garden State Hardwood Classic game) at 7 p.m. (FloHoops) $$
Loyola (IL) at Furman (-4) at 7 p.m. (ESPN3)
Radford at Liberty (-7 ½) at 7 p.m. (ESPN+) $$
Harvard (-2 ½) at Northeastern at 7 p.m. (NESN Plus/FloHoops $$)
Vermont (-1) at St. Bonaventure at 7 p.m. (ESPN+) $$
S. Illinois vs. UTSA (-3 ½) (Sunshine Slam Tournament; Kissimmee, FL) at 7:30 p.m. (FloHoops) $$
I LOVE this mid-major schedule. And yes I know that the Bonnies are in the A-10 and considered by most not to be a mid-major, but they are the home underdog to a bona fide mid-major in Anthony Lamb and Vermont. As an FSU guy, I saw plenty of him last March to know this should be a good one. Loyola at Furman and Harvard at Northeastern at top notch games too. Those four teams all could win their respective conferences.
Other games of interest
E. Kentucky at #2 Kentucky (-29 ½) at 7 p.m. (SECN)
Illinois-Chicago at #14 Memphis (-19 ½) (Barclays Center Classic campus game) at 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
N. Texas at #25 VCU (-16 ½) at 7 p.m. (MASN/ESPN+ $$)
Sam Houston St. at Mississippi St. (-15 ½) at 8 p.m. (SECN+)
N. Kentucky at Missouri (-13 ½) at 8 p.m. (SECN+)
I could have thrown these on the Upset Watch list except the first one, but I just wasn’t feeling it. Still, these could be entertaining if the ones listed above don’t float your boat. Peace out and enjoy!