24-Hour College Hoops Marathon
Here’s your official guide to the full day of NCAA basketball action.
by Jon Jaques / @JJaques25
As far as I am concerned, this is the true commencement of the college basketball season (True, the Carrier Classic on the U.S.S. Carl Vinson last Friday night was absolutely sick and a perfect way to both honor our veterans and celebrate the return of college hoops). But the 24-hours of hoops marathon has become an early November tradition that signals that we are in full-fledged basketball-mode. And depending on how today’s player vote on the NBA owner’s latest collective bargaining proposal goes, that could be full-fledged college basketball-mode for the foreseeable future (future = the entire season most likely if a deal falls through).
No complaints here. If you look at the lineup of games Monday night/Tuesday morning at midnight through Tuesday evening/Wednesday morning at approximately 1:00 a.m., it’s obvious this is a fantastic set up to what should be a historically competitive and talent-rich collegiate basketball campaign.
I’ve heard of rumblings of players, coaches, journalists, and broadcasters all changing their sleep habits to play/call/cover an obscenely timed basketball game or make it through all 24 hours of the marathon. How can you not be impressed or excited by the passion for the game required to pull off a 6 a.m. game in Lawrenceville, NJ or a 10 p.m. game in Honolulu?
A mini-breakdown of each game on the docket is provided in chronological order below. Tomorrow’s festivities feature obvious highlights as well as some hidden gems sprinkled throughout. Enjoy the roundball revival folks:
Midnight: Washington State at Gonzaga
Especially at home, the ‘Zags shouldn’t have too much trouble with the young Cougars in the gauntlet opener. The Bulldogs’ sturdy front of Robert Sacre and Elias Harris should dominate this one.
2 a.m.: Northern Iowa at Saint Mary’s
This is one of those “pre-Bracketbuster” Bracketbuster matchups. Northern Iowa is younger than usual but still extremely talented and well coached. It will be hard to go to Moraga and knock off WCC preseason favorite on the road, though.
4 a.m.: Cal State Northridge at Hawaii
There’s not much to say about this one other than the game time is not outrageous as it sounds because the ball will be tipped at 10 pm in Hawaii. If you, perchance, find yourself up at four in the morning, why not?
6 a.m.: Drexel at Rider
A pretty good game made even more interesting by the hilarious early morning tipoff. Led by bullish senior forward Samme Givens, Drexel comes into the season with extremely high expectations. Rider has already lost its first two games of the season but hung tough with Pittsburgh over the weekend.
8 a.m.: Morehead State at College of Charleston
Denver Nugget Kenneth Faried wasn’t the only player lost from Morehead’s third round NCAA Tournament team a year ago. The Eagles will clearly be rebuilding, while Charleston still has plenty back from its 10-11 NIT team.
10 a.m.: Kent State at West Virginia
West Virginia struggled with Oral Roberts in its season opener, and Kent State should be even tougher. The Golden Flashes are loaded and will be jacked up in their season opener. Don’t be surprised to see an “upset” in this one.
Noon: (Maui Invitational) Belmont at Memphis
For those who weren’t already aware, Belmont demonstrated how game it is by nearly going into Cameron Indoor and snapping Duke’s non-conference home winning streak. Memphis is clearly athletically superior, but Belmont has the experience and confidence to make this one interesting as well.
2 p.m.: San Diego State at Baylor
Like a lot of people, I’m very excited to watch Baylor for the first time this season. Their NBA-looking frontcourt (in caliber and length) of Perry Jones, Quincy Miller, and Quincy Acy will be a nightmare for the Aztecs. If AJ Walton and Pierre Jackson can give Baylor consistent point guard production, the Bears will be legitimate Big 12 contenders.
4 p.m.: (Legends Classic) Rhode Island at Texas
Many expect Texas to struggle (by its standards) this season since after its roster was gutted by NBA defections. But freshman point guard Myck Kabongo’s and junior backcourt mate J’Covan Brown led an impressive effort in the Longhorns’ season opening 82-46 win over America East preseason favorite Boston University.
6 p.m.: (NIT Season Tip-off) George Mason/Florida International at Virginia Tech
Expect to see Mason in this one versus the Hokies, which would be a very interesting in-state rivalry game. Virginia Tech has been hit hard by injuries already this preseason but will play fierce and tough basketball, as usual.
7 p.m.: (Champions Classic) Duke v Michigan State
In the opener of the inaugural Champions Classic at MSG, Michigan State (fresh off of its mediocre performance on a boat versus North Carolina) continues its devastating non-conference schedule with Duke. A win here would give Coach K 903 in his career and push him ahead of Bob Knight alone into first on the all-time Division I wins list.
7 p.m.: (NIT Season Tip-off) Albany/Brown at Syracuse
Syracuse will cruise, regardless of the opponent. I’m very curious to see how much Fab Melo has developed between his freshman and sophomore seasons. An in-shape, committed, and more offensively polished Melo would give Jim Boeheim another reliable and long difference-maker in the post.
7 p.m.: Rutgers at Miami
Rutgers is generally considered a rising program in the Big East, but the Knights barely survived a scare from Dartmouth in its opener on Friday night. Despite being rocked by injuries/suspensions in the preseason, the Canes still have weapons in Malcolm Grant and Durand Scott.
7 p.m.: La Salle at Villanova
Generally all paper-based predictions can be thrown out the window in a Big 5 grudge match, but Villanova has a huge edge in this matchup. Maalik Wayns needs to use these early-season games to refine his role as ‘Nova’s new go-to scorer.
8 p.m.: Florida at Ohio State
One of the day’s marquee matchups provides an interesting contrast: the absurd depth of Florida’s backcourt versus Jared Sullinger manning Ohio State’s frontcourt. This is a great chance for Gator sophomore Patrick Young, who will probably be given the chore of slowing down Sullinger, to demonstrate he has improved as much as everyone says he has over the summer.
8 p.m.: (NIT Season Tip-off) Arkansas Pine-Bluff at Oklahoma State
Oklahoma State should roll. LeBryan Nash, the Cowboys’ prized blue-chip recruit, will be the main attraction in this one.
9 p.m.: (Champions Classic) Kentucky v Kansas
In the second-act of the Champions event, Kentucky’s freshmen get their first grand stage and test of the season. Much is expected of Kansas’ veterans Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor, who both need to make the seamless transition from role-player to star if the Jayhawks are to remain among the nation’s elite.
10 p.m.: (CBE Classic): Austin Peay at Cal
Cal looked mighty sharp in their season-opener against George Washington. The trio of Allen Crabe, Jorge Gutierrez, and Harper Kamp will blow Austin Peay out of the water and will keep the Bears in the thick of the Pac-12 race all season long.
11 p.m.: (NIT Season Tip-off): Colorado State/SMU v Stanford
Stanford should have little issue winning this pod of the NIT Season Tip-off. I like the Cardinal’s chances (along with Oregon) to emerge as a 5th Pac-12 team with outside NCAA Tournament hopes. Sophomore forwards Anthony Brown and Dwight Powell have bright futures.