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Sunday, November 18th Highlighted Match-ups
by: Drew Barnette - Staff Writer
November 18, 2007
HIGHLIGHTED MATCH-UPS

-MERCER AT BOSTON COLLEGE. Itís been a rough go for Mercer since their upset win against USC in the season opener. In fact, they havenít won since and were beaten handily by Harvard in their last game. BC is 2-0, but hasnít been winning as impressively as one would expect. They could be in for a best today if Mercer decides to show up.

-OLD DOMINION AT CLEMSON. Iím really looking forward to this one. Both teams are 2-0, and Clemson just got a big road win against Mississippi State. Old Dominion blew out what appeared to be a pretty good Toledo team in their last game, and although they have some youth, they may turn out to be a pretty tough team again this year. A road win like this would be a huge statement win for them, and it will really help come March if theyíre in the mix to make the NCAA Tournament.

-BUCKNELL AT VILLANOVA. Neither team has lost yet, but this is just Novaís second game and Bucknell looks to be much better than Stony Brook. The Bison appear to be big underdogs, but they are one of the better teams in the Patriot League and have a chance to go dancing via the automatic bid. Otherwise, theyíll need some big wins like this to boost up their profile. Itís a good early test for Nova as well, who could have a big year if some of their post players can step up.


EXEMPT TOURNAMENTS

PARADISE JAM

-Weíre down to the semifinals of this tournament, and both semifinal games look interesting. NOTRE DAME will face off against BAYLOR, who looks to be an up and coming team. This would be a great chance for Baylor to make a statement early in the season. Of course, both teams will have many chances to do that once they get into conference play, but for a team thatís trying to make a statement to both the nation and the committee, winning games like this early on is important.

-GEORGIA TECH will face WINTHROP in the other semifinal game. Winthrop lost a ton of big time talent from last yearís team, along with their coach. Although everyone assumed theyíd still be a force in the Big South, I donít think too many people expected them to be a Top 25 caliber team. Iím not saying they are, but they did look impressive against a fairly good Illinois-Chicago team in their first game, and Georgia Tech has been struggling. I wouldnít be at all surprised if Winthrop pulled the upset and advanced to the finals.

-CHARLOTTE beat ILLINOIS CHICAGO and MONMOUTH beat WICHITA STATE on the losers side of the bracket. Wichita State is off to a very very very bad start this year.


PUERTO RICO INVITATIONAL

-The championship game of this tournament is today, but both the championship game and the third place game look interesting. A quality win in a third place game is still a quality win in the eyes of the selection committee. Itís no more or no less important than if the two teams were playing in a regular season game.

-VCU will face ARKANSAS in the third place game. Arkansas didnít look all that good against Providence. They are a talented team, but I think that adjusting to a new coach has effected them somewhat. VCU played tough defense against Miami, FL in their loss, but shot the ball poorly and although they came back to make the game close, it was too little too late. Both these teams look like they could be NCAA Tournament teams, so a win in this one would help either team out come March, especially VCU, who doesnít face nearly the caliber of top competition that Arkansas does once conference play begins.

-MIAMI, FL and PROVIDENCE meet for the championship. Not many people were excited about Miami, but they look like theyíre very strong, at least from the few games Iíve seen them play early on. Jack McClinton has been lighting it up and is 10-15 from behind the arc on the season. The Canes need to play with more poise down the stretch, but that will come as the season progresses. Both of these teams want to be competitive in their conference, but in the event that they struggle in conference play (which both could), it helps to have some big out of conference wins to fall back on. That is what makes this game so important.


GLEN WILKES CLASSIC

-A big surprise yesterday is that both UAB and FLORIDA STATE fell. They looked to be the only two tournament caliber teams in the field, and since they were set to play each other the first day I didnít think any of the other games would be all that interesting, but GEORGIA SOUTHERN defeated UAB and FLORIDA STATE fell to CLEVELAND STATE in overtime 69-66. Florida State will face SOUTH FLORIDA, who just picked up their first win yesterday against FLORIDA ATLANTIC.

-UAB has an interesting game against RHODE ISLAND, who is 4-0 on the year and although they werenít getting any preseason attention on the national level, they were expected to be one of the better teams in the Atlantic Ten, and should begin to get some national attention if they beat UAB and improve to 5-0 early on. Their first test that will get the attention of the nation is next week against Boston College, but I believe todayís game is important as well because I think UAB will be better this year than most people expect. This could turn out to be a game that looks important at the end of the season once we know more about the teams. Itís going somewhat unnoticed now, but itís still a big game.


CHICAGO CHALLENGE

-ILLINOIS STATE, INDIANA and XAVIER are on board for this tournament and all will be traveling to Chicago next week. However, the first stage of the tournament basically gives the major programs who are participating a buy game against a weaker opponent. INDIANA will face LONGWOOD today, and ILLINOIS STATE will take on UNC WILMINGTON (which, to be fair, looks to be improved from last year). XAVIER will face COPPIN STATE later this week, and KENT STATE will play against Coppin today.



BUY GAMES

-MARYLAND EASTERN SHORE AT BRADLEY. Bradley should be able to improve to 2-1 rather easily.

-FLORIDA GULF COAST AT IOWA. Florida Gulf Coast is an interesting team, but they arenít likely to do much against Iowa today.

-JACKSON STATE AT LOUISVILLE. Although the Louisville football team is licking their wounds, the basketball team appears to be off and running. This will improve them to 2-0, but it gets a little tougher for them after this. First they travel to UNLV, and then play in the finals of the Las Vegas Invitational with the likes of BYU and North Carolina.

-LMU AT NEW MEXICO. New Mexico hasnít really been challenged yet, and isnít likely to get much of a challenge today.

-NEW ORLEANS AT NORTH CAROLINA STATE. NC State breezed passed William & Mary in their first game and shouldnít have too much trouble today.

-ARKANSAS MONTICELLO (nondiv1) AT TEXAS. The Longhorns should win big in this one and remain unbeaten on the year. This game is actually part of the Legends Classic, and the semifinals should prove to be much tougher.

-ROBERT MORRIS AT SETON HALL. Neither team has lost a game yet, but Seton Hall looks to be much better. I believe they could turn out to be a sleeper in the Big East.

-TEXAS SOUTHERN AT UTEP. Despite the fact that UTEP lost on the road to Texas A&M, they played really well and showed that they have a very good team. They should be able to improve to 3-1 tonight.

-EASTERN WASHINGTON AT WASHINGTON. Washington will travel to NYC for the NIT semis next week. A win here will get them to 3-0 on the season.
 


Feedback for this article may be sent to drew.barnette@draftexpress.com .

 

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