12-14-19 College Basketball Games to Watch (Beefed Up Edition)
#10 Oregon at #5 Michigan (-3) at noon (CBS)
#13 Memphis at #19 Tennessee (-6 ½) at 3 p.m. (ESPN)
#6 Gonzaga at #15 Arizona (-2 ½) at 10 p.m. (ESPN2)
After a scarcity of top-shelf headliners due to Finals week for most schools, we come out hot today with 3 ranked vs. ranked match-ups. Michigan tries to bounce back after the road loss to Illinois, while Oregon can notch a huge road win if they get this one. Payton Pritchard vs. Zavier Simpson should be a great match-up in this one. I think the Wolverines win a close one.
Memphis-Tennessee could have the best fireworks of the day as these teams (and their coaches) really don’t like each other. Memphis is still without #1 recruit James Wiseman and guard Lester Quinones (probably out); Tennessee hosts and is the clear favorite here. This is must-see TV.
Gonzaga has had a good start to the season with only the lone loss to Michigan. Likewise, Arizona has been really good. Filip Petrusev and Corey Kispert have been very good for the Zags so far this season. Watch for Killian Tillie; if he has a good game, the Zags are much harder to beat. As for Arizona, they are keyed by freshmen Zeke Nnaji, Josh Green, and Nico Mannion. This should be a great game.
The Undefeated Watch
Radford vs. Duquesne (8-0) (-4 ½) (Akron, OH; Firestone H.S.) at 2 p.m.
St. Louis vs. #12 Auburn (8-0) (-11) (Mike Slive Invitational; Birmingham, AL) at 4 p.m. (ESPN2)
Liberty (11-0) (-1 ½) at Vanderbilt at 8 p.m. (SECN+)
I am adding this new heading since we are down to only 5 undefeated teams (out of 353). Ohio State (9-0) and San Diego State (10-0) are the other two undefeated teams. Ohio State plays tomorrow at Minnesota; SDSU doesn’t play until 12/18 against a non-D1 team. Anyways, each of the three undefeated teams playing today should (or could) get a good test from decent opponents. Liberty is a slight favorite against SEC team Vandy on the road. It’s a hard place to play; look for Liberty to shoot a lot of threes and play solid D. Duquesne plays a scrappy Radford team in Akron, Ohio. Did you know Dukes’ head coach Keith Dambrot coached LeBron? If you didn’t, I suspect it will be mentioned a lot if this game gets any pub. Please NOTE that this game does NOT have any TV listed as far as I can tell. That is a shame in this day and age. Lastly, Auburn plays St. Louis in Birmingham. The Tigers have looked like a Top Ten team to me when I have watched them (despite a scare at South Alabama and at home vs. Furman). I think at least one (maybe two) of the undefeated teams go down today.
Upset Watch Games
#16 Michigan St. (-17) vs. Oakland (Detroit, MI; Little Caesars Arena) at noon (ESPN2)
Tulsa at Arkansas (-11 ½) at 1:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
#20 Villanova (-14 ½) vs. Delaware (Newark, NJ; Never Forget Tribute Classic) at 2 p.m. (ESPN2)
C. Michigan at Texas (-14) at 2 p.m. (LHN)
Nicholls St. at West Virginia (-19 ½) at 2 p.m. (AT&T SN)
#22 Seton Hall (-2 ½) at Rutgers (Garden State Hardwood Classic) at 4 p.m. (BTN)
#23 Xavier (-5 ½) at Wake Forest (Skip Prosser Classic) at 4 p.m. (ACCN)
Ga. Tech at #8 Kentucky (-14 ½) at 5 p.m. (ESPN)
Old Dominion at Illinois (-14) at 6 p.m. (BTN)
Drake at #14 Dayton (-15) at 7 p.m. (ESPN+) $$
Stanford (-17) at San Jose St. at 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
Stony Brook at Providence (-11 ½) at 8 p.m. (FS1)
St. Mary’s (-8 ½) at California at 10:30 p.m. (Pac-12N)
These 13 games should provide some upsets; I feel it in my bones. It also would be another sign that we are in for a fun season with upsets galore. Keep a particular eye on Stony Brook (as Providence has been a major disappointment so far this year), Old Dominion (Illini coming off a big win over UM), and Cal.
Other Games to Watch
Miss. St. (-2 ½) vs. Kansas St. (Newark, NJ; Never Forget Tribute Classic) at 11:30 a.m. (ESPNU)
Winthrop at Furman (-10 ½) at noon (ESPN3)
Syracuse at Georgetown (-3) at 1 p.m. (FOX)
Alabama at Penn St. (-11) at 2 p.m. (BTN)
Toledo (-13) at Detroit Mercy at 3 p.m. (ESPN+) $$
UCLA at Notre Dame (-6) at 3 p.m. (ABC)
Middle Tenn. St. at Ole Miss (-17) at 3 p.m. (SECN)
College of Charleston at Richmond (-8 ½) at 5 p.m. (NBCSN)
Oklahoma vs. Wichita St. (-4 ½) (Wichita, KS; InTrust Bank Arena) at 6 p.m. (ESPN2)
New Mexico St. at New Mexico (-3 ½) at 7 p.m. (AT&T SN/MWN)
Georgia at Arizona St. (-4 ½) at 8 p.m. (Pac-12N)
BYU vs. Utah St. (-2) (Beehive Classic; Salt Lake City, UT; Vivint Smart Home Arena) at 8 p.m. (BYU TV)
UL-Monroe at Stephen F. Austin (-9) at 9 p.m. (ESPN+) $$
These 13 games are the “best of the rest.” Any other weekend these games might be getting more attention but it’s a darn fine schedule. Enjoy!