Saturday, December 15th Highlighted Match-ups
|by: Drew Barnette - Staff Writer
|December 15, 2007
|HIGHLIGHTED MATCH-UPS (listed alphabetically via the home team)
-XAVIER AT ARIZONA STATE. Arizona State is a young team that looks to be getting better as the season goes on, but Xavier looks to be the toughest team theyíve faced so far this year. They are at home, though, and itís only Xavierís second true road game, so itís a test for the Musketeers as well. Itís also a chance for them to add a road win to their resume.
-FLORIDA STATE VS BUTLER (Wooden Tradition). This game is in Conseco Fieldhouse, so itís a virtual home game for Butler. Florida State is off to a great start, as is Butler, so the game should be a good one. Itís a chance for both to add another quality win to their resume, and seeing as how Butler wonít get many opportunities like this in conference itís a big deal for them. Florida State could use a big time win away from home as well because they wonít be easy to come by once ACC play begins. Butler isnít anywhere near as athletic as FSU, but they do have an ability to dictate the pace of the game, so it should be a good one.
-GEORGIA SOUTHERN AT FLORIDA. One would expect Florida to take care of business rather easily in this one, but Georgia Southern is 6-1 and is much better than anyone else Florida has beaten up to this point. I fully expect Florida to win, but if Georgia Southern were to pull it off it would be a huge quality road win on their resume. Davidson had been getting all the attention from the Southern Conference, but Georgia Southern has a chance to make a case that they belong in the discussion as well.
-CHARLOTTE AT HOFSTRA. Charlotte is 6-2 with some pretty decent wins on their resume, but still appears to be somewhat inconsistent. They should win this one in a big way despite the fact that theyíre on the road, but with Charlotte, one never knows.
-UAB VS KENTUCKY (Game in Louisville). Right now, these look like two teams who are on the outside looking in. Kentucky hasnít beaten anyone thatís any good and was recently blown out by Indiana. They certainly havenít played well in any of the games Iíve seen this year. UAB has a few decent wins, but honestly needs to win games like this one most of the time to show that they can beat borderline teams (which is what Kentucky is right now) away from home.
-OREGON AT NEBRASKA. Nebraska is 7-2, but doesnít really have any impressive wins. Still, for a program that is trying to build itself up theyíre off to a good start. They really have a tough test today against an Oregon team that has looked really good this year. The Ducks have also played pretty well on the road with recent wins at Utah and at Kansas State. This is a chance for them to add another road win to what already looks like an impressive resume.
-TEXAS TECH AT NEW MEXICO. Texas Tech does have a few embarrassing losses, but they have played well in their last few games. They have a chance to pick up a nice road win against New Mexico today. New Mexico hasnít lost at home yet, but this is probably the best team theyíve faced at home this year, so they may be in for a fight.
-ARKANSAS AT OKLAHOMA. Arkansas is having a great year and has some big wins already. This will be another tough test, though. Oklahoma is 7-3 and with the exception of their upset loss to Stephen F Austin last week theyíve looked pretty good. They should be looking to redeem themselves, and winning a big game at home would go a long way toward that.
-OKLAHOMA STATE AT PITTSBURGH. Oklahoma State did not look good at all early on, but they do appear to be playing better. This is a very tall order, but it would be a huge statement win for the Cowboys if they could pull it off. Pittsburgh just won a big road game against Washington, and is unbeaten on the year. Their last two games have been rather tough, but they havenít played too many teams that are all that good, so this would still be one of their better wins, at least for the time being.
-LOUISVILLE VS PURDUE (Wooden Tradition). Louisville will be without Derrick Caracter in this one, and has virtually no depth. Theyíve been struggling this season and are at a huge disadvantage against Purdue. Purdue has yet to win a big game on the road, but they came very close to knocking off Clemson and Missouri, and as a young team have improved a great deal throughout the season. This isnít a true road game, but itís still a chance for them to get a win away from home. Louisville is not anywhere close to being at full strength, so the committee will factor that in. I do think itís a game that Purdue should win.
-SOUTHERN ILLINOIS AT SAINT LOUIS. Southern Illinois finally got a big win in their last game when they took down Saint Maryís 71-56. Winning this game could really get the Salukis back on track because it would be two wins in a row. SLU is a team that has really struggled lately and isnít showing all that much promise as far as the rest of the season goes, so with that in mind itís a game SIU should win.
-STEPHEN F AUSTIN AT SAN DIEGO. Stephen F Austin can improve to 7-1 against div1 teams with a win today. They already have a win at Oklahoma and two other teams in their league (Sam Houston, Texas Arlington) are having big years as well.
-MISSISSIPPI STATE AT SOUTH ALABAMA. Mississippi State is off to a somewhat slow 5-4 start, but all of their losses have come against quality teams. Nevertheless, they are on the outside looking in right now and need to pick up a win in this game. It may not be easy. South Alabamaís three losses came against Miami OH, Mississippi and Vanderbilt. All three of those games were close, and the Vandy game actually went into overtime. Donít be surprised if South Alabama pulls the upset.
-MISSOURI STATE AT UTAH. Both teams appear to have potential, but neither really have the big time wins that they need to get themselves into the bracket picture. This is a good game for both teams because it gives them a chance to build up their resume, but right now both are on the outside looking in.
-UMBC AT WEST VIRGINIA. This appears to be a big time mismatch, but UMBC is one of the better teams in the America East, and if they continue to win at a high level once they get into conference play it will really help out West Virginiaís RPI. West Virginia is off to a great start and should end up having a very big year. Theyíre only loss so far was a close one to Tennessee.
-TENNESSEE VS WESTERN KENTUCKY (Game in Nashville). Western Kentucky is hard to figure out. Theyíre good when they want to be and have the ability to stick with good teams, but theyíve also been beaten in games where they are expected to win. The loss at Northern Arizona hurt, but they do have a win against Nebraska and if they could pull off this one on a neutral floor it would really boost their resume and go a long way as far as them being in the at-large discussion. Tennessee has looked much better at home than they have on the road this year, so this could be a really tough test for them. Expect a fast paced, high scoring game. Both teams are athletic and like to push it.
-MIAMI, OH AT WRIGHT STATE. Miami looks to be the better team and they could really use another road win, but this one may not be easy. It seems that Miamiís style of play allows them to stay in the game with everyone, but also allows the other teams who donít appear to be as good to stay with them. Wright State has three losses on the season, but their two home losses were against pretty decent teams and they had a lead with a minute to go in both situations. The Redhawks could be in for a battle.
BUY GAMES (games listed alphabetically via the home team)
-SOUTHERN AT AUBURN. Auburn is still below the radar, but a win gets them to 5-2. They were blown out in their last game against West Virginia and are looking to rebound from that.
-WAYLAND BAPTIST (nondiv1) AT BAYLOR. Baylor should win this one without any trouble at all.
-PEPPERDINE AT BYU. BYU is off to an incredible start and shouldnít have too much trouble taking care of business in this one at home.
-COPPIN STATE AT DAYTON. Dayton is off to a terrific start and should be 8-1 after this one.
-RADFORD AT GEORGETOWN. They Hoyas will most likely remain unbeaten after today.
-WESTERN CAROLINA AT INDIANA. The Hoosiers shouldnít have any problems winning against a Western Carolina team that has really struggled this season.
-SACRAMENTO STATE AT MARQUETTE. Sacramento State hasnít won a game yet and most likely wonít win this one.
-TOLEDO AT MASSACHSUSETTS. UMass just picked up a huge win on the road against Boston College, and really appears to have a strong team. They shouldnít have too much trouble with a Toledo team that has really struggled this year.
-IPFW AT MICHIGAN STATE. This game shouldnít be all that competitive and Michigan State should improve to 9-1 on the year.
-MCNEESE STATE AT MISSOURI. Mizzou has played some pretty good ball this year and should continue to improve. They shouldnít get much of a challenge out of McNeese State today.
-SAVANNAH STATE AT NEW ORLEANS. New Orleans is 6-1 and looks to be one of the best teams in the Sun Belt. They shouldnít have any trouble in this game today.
-SOUTH CAROLINA STATE AT NORTH CAROLINA STATE. NC State needs to snap a two game losing streak. They have been somewhat of a disappointment so far this season and losing this game would be very damaging.
-PRESBYTARIAN AT OHIO STATE. Ohio State is talented, but young, and has struggled at times this season. They shouldnít struggle at all in this one, though.
-NIAGARA AT SAINT JOHNíS. Saint Johnís can improve to 5-1 on the year with a win, but they still have a long way to go as far as proving themselves.
-EAST TENNESSEE STATE AT SYRACUSE. The Orange can get to 7-3 with a win in this one.
-TEXAS STATE AT TEXAS. Texas is undefeated and the top #1 seed in the projections right now and should win this one in a blowout.
-IDAHO STATE AT UCLA. Expect this one to be a big time blowout. UCLA should roll.
-CHICAGO STATE AT VALPARAISO. Valpo can get to 9-1 on the season with a win in this game.
-LONGWOOD AT VCU. VCU has just one loss since the Puerto Rico Invitational and should be able to get to 7-3 on the year with a win today.
-WISCONSIN GREEN BAY AT WISCONSIN. Green Bay is 6-3, but none of their six wins came against teams like Wisconsin. The Badgers should be able to win this one big at home.
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Height: 6' 9"
Weight: 280 lbs.
28 Years Old
High School: Notre Dame Prep
Previous Team: Echague Parana , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 2, Pick #28 in 2010 Draft
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26.0 Pts, 14.0 Rebs, 3.0 Asts