College Hoops Saturday: Your Commentary

    
December 4th, 2010
The question that's dominated discussion for many in regards to the Gonzaga Bulldogs has been what's up with Elias Harris. One of the best freshmen in America last season, Harris has been dealing with shoulder and knee injuries in the Bulldogs' 4-2 start. Can he increase his production on Saturday when the Bulldogs take on Illinois in Seattle? Whether or not the swingman is healthy enough to make a significant impact will determine whether or not the Bulldogs are able to knock off the Illini in an environment that while defined as "neutral" will be anything but. Guard Steven Gray and center Robert Sacre have been the scoring leaders for Mark Few's team in the scoring department, but they're going to need Harris and Demetri Goodson to bring more to the table as the season wears on if the Zags are to reach their potential.

Bruce Weber's team is coming off of a solid win over North Carolina on Tuesday, but if there was one concern for Illinois after that game it would have to be rebounding. The Tar Heels were able to hold their own on the glass despite lacking depth up front. Illinois isn't the strongest team in the frontcourt but with the likes of Mike Davis, Mike Tisdale and Meyers Leonard they've got enough depth to ensure that there won't be a huge drop-off in production through the course of 40 minutes. And while the Bulldogs aren't the most physical team themselves they have five players averaging at least four rebounds per game. Both teams will rebound collectively as the slender Tisdale has the highest rebounding average at 7.3. Whichever team can control the boards, especially considering the fact that both like to take a lot of perimeter shots, will have the upper hand.

Perimeter play will also be something to keep an eye, more specifically if the Gonzaga guards can stay in front of Demetri McCamey and company. McCamey at times throughout the course of his career would look for his shot a little too much, but this season the senior is averaging 7.8 assists per game and has done a good job of setting up the likes of Brandon Paul, D.J. Richardson and freshman standout Jereme Richmond. There's a reason why this team has five players scoring at least nine points per game and a large part of that would be McCamey. Given Gonzaga's reliance on Gray it should come as no surprise that he also leads the team in assists, but they're going to need something from Demetri Goodson this afternoon if they're to win the game. Expect rebounding (Gonzaga has a higher offensive rebounding rate) and the contributions of Gonzaga's complimentary parts to determine the outcome.

Of course given the fact that they met in last season's national title game some will look at Butler taking on Duke in the Izod Center as a big game to watch but the Bulldogs will have a much harder time sticking around in the rematch, even if point guard Ronald Nored is able to play (missed the last two games due to concussion symptoms). Kentucky visiting North Carolina will be intriguing as the Wildcats, while the younger team of the two may be in better shape right now in regards to knowing where each of their parts fits. The Tar Heels have struggled against top competition this season and perimeter play is a major reason why. Larry Drew II and Dexter Strickland will need to play their best basketball of the season to date if UNC is to defend their home floor.

Utah State visiting Georgetown is another early game to keep an eye on as the Aggies have an outstanding forward who can test the maturation of the Hoya frontcourt in Tai Wesley. And in head coach Stew Morrill Utah State has one of the better coaches in America that you don't see being drooled over on a nightly basis by major networks. West Virginia goes to Miami (FL) in a game that the home team could win provided guards Malcolm Grant and Durand Scott play with some level of control while also making plays offensively. The Mountaineers need guard Truck Bryant and forward Dan Jennings to show up ready to play; head coach Bob Huggins benched both due to some practice issues and hopefully that was enough to get both going in the right direction. The best games at night: Murray State visits Morehead State in a matchup of the two favorites in the OVC and Wichita State looks to salvage something for the Missouri Valley when they take on San Diego State at the Viejas Center.

Top 25
3:15 PM Butler vs. (1) Duke* (ESPN)
2:00 PM Rider at (3) Pittsburgh (ESPN3)
1:30 PM Bowling Green at (6) Michigan State (BTN)
5:15 PM North Carolina State at (7) Syracuse (ESPN3)
12:30 PM (11) Kentucky at North Carolina (CBS)
8:00 PM Cornell at (13) Minnesota (BTN)
12:00 PM Utah State at (14) Georgetown (ESPNU)
8:00 PM Western Kentucky at (15) Memphis
3:30 PM Alabama at (18) Purdue (ESPN3)
10:05 PM Wichita State at (19) San Diego State (The Mtn.)
5:15 PM (21) Illinois vs. (24) Gonzaga* (ESPN)
4:00 PM Texas Tech at (22) Washington (FSN)
11:00 PM (23) UNLV at Nevada
6:00 PM Hawaii at (25) Brigham Young

NCAA Division I Games
12:00 PM Wright State at Detroit
12:00 PM William & Mary at Virginia Commonwealth
12:30 PM Pennsylvania at Army
1:00 PM South Alabama at Louisville (ESPN3)
1:00 PM Harvard at Michigan (BTN)
1:00 PM Holy Cross at Wake Forest
1:00 PM Western Carolina at Chattanooga (ESPN3)
1:00 PM Yale at Vermont
1:00 PM Oklahoma State at La Salle
1:00 PM Presbyterian at Virginia Military
1:35 PM Idaho State at Iowa
2:00 PM California at Iowa State
2:00 PM Marshall at Ohio
2:00 PM Belmont at Vanderbilt
2:00 PM Longwood at Marquette
2:00 PM South Dakota at Wisconsin (ESPN3)
2:00 PM Brown at Maine
2:00 PM Charleston Southern at Coastal Carolina
2:00 PM New Hampshire at Colgate
2:00 PM James Madison at Georgia State
2:00 PM St. Francis (PA) at Long Island
2:00 PM Mount St. Mary's at Quinnipiac
2:00 PM Wagner at Sacred Heart
2:00 PM North Carolina Central at South Carolina State
2:00 PM Manhattan at St. Peter's
2:00 PM Northern Iowa at TCU
2:00 PM Alma at Western Michigan
2:00 PM Youngstown State at Green Bay
2:00 PM St. Joseph's (NY-Brooklyn) at N.J.I.T.
3:00 PM Troy at Arkansas
3:00 PM Lamar at Rice
3:00 PM Ecclesia at Prairie View A&M
3:00 PM Houston at Sam Houston State
3:00 PM Davidson at Citadel
3:00 PM Louisiana-Lafayette at Tulane
3:15 PM Florida Gulf Coast at Jacksonville
4:00 PM Akron at Illinois-Chicago
4:00 PM Drexel at Northeastern
4:00 PM Central Connecticut State at Fairleigh Dickinson
4:00 PM Stony Brook at Columbia
4:00 PM Towson at Hofstra
4:00 PM Valparaiso at Loyola (IL)
4:00 PM West Virginia at Miami (FL)
4:00 PM Coppin State at Morgan State
4:00 PM Norfolk State at North Carolina A&T
4:00 PM Rhode Island at Providence (ESPN3)
4:05 PM Seattle at Weber State
4:30 PM Robert Morris at St. Francis (NY)
5:00 PM Fayetteville St. at East Carolina
5:00 PM Southeastern Louisiana at UCF
5:00 PM Appalachian State at Samford
5:30 PM Southern Illinois at Chicago State
6:00 PM Savannah State at Indiana
6:00 PM Duquesne at Penn State
6:00 PM Georgia Southern at Charleston
6:00 PM Florida International at Jackson State
6:00 PM UMKC at Oakland
6:00 PM Grambling State at Southern Methodist
6:30 PM Boston College at Massachusetts
6:30 PM Cal State Northridge at Denver
7:00 PM Old Dominion at Delaware
7:00 PM Oral Roberts at IUPUI
7:00 PM Buffalo at St. Bonaventure
7:00 PM Boston University at Bucknell
7:00 PM Delaware State at Maryland-Eastern Shore
7:00 PM Austin Peay at Eastern Illinois
7:00 PM Tennessee-Martin at Eastern Kentucky
7:00 PM Wofford at Elon
7:00 PM North Carolina-Asheville at High Point
7:00 PM Winthrop at Liberty
7:00 PM Stetson at North Florida
7:00 PM Gardner-Webb at Radford
7:00 PM Albany at Siena
7:00 PM Cincinnati at Toledo
7:05 PM Indiana State at Wyoming
7:30 PM Bethune-Cookman at Florida A&M
7:30 PM Mercer at Lipscomb
7:30 PM North Carolina-Wilmington at George Mason (ESPN3)
7:30 PM Fordham at Lehigh
7:30 PM Southern Utah at IPFW
8:00 PM Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Auburn
8:00 PM Hampton at Howard
8:00 PM Southern Miss at Mississippi
8:00 PM Pacific at Texas A&M (ESPN3)
8:00 PM Cleveland State at Milwaukee
8:00 PM Alabama State at Mississippi State
8:00 PM Martin Methodist at Alabama A&M
8:00 PM Miami (OH) at Dayton
8:00 PM South Florida at Florida Atlantic
8:00 PM Louisiana-Monroe at Louisiana Tech
8:00 PM Murray State at Morehead State (ESPN3 )
8:00 PM Pensacola Chrisitan College at New Orleans
8:00 PM Middle Tennessee at SIU-Edwardsville
8:00 PM North Texas at Texas Southern
8:00 PM Centenary at Western Illinois
8:05 PM Utah at Bradley
8:05 PM Montana State at Illinois State
8:05 PM Central Arkansas at Missouri State
8:30 PM North Dakota vs. Eastern Michigan*
8:30 PM Tennessee State at Southeast Missouri State
8:30 PM North Dakota State at South Dakota State
8:35 PM Texas State at Houston Baptist
8:35 PM Bethany (CA) at Northern Arizona
8:45 PM Tennessee Tech at Jacksonville State
9:00 PM Fresno State at Colorado State
9:00 PM New Mexico at New Mexico State (ESPN3)
9:05 PM San Diego at Cal State Fullerton
9:05 PM Sacramento State at Utah Valley
9:30 PM Black Hills State at Northern Colorado
10:00 PM Oregon State at Colorado
10:00 PM San Jose State at UC Irvine
10:00 PM Notre Dame CA at UC Davis
10:00 PM Cal Poly at Loyola Marymount
10:00 PM Texas-San Antonio at Pepperdine
10:00 PM UC Santa Barbara at Santa Clara
10:00 PM San Francisco at Cal State Bakersfield
10:05 PM New Hope Christian College at Eastern Washington
11:00 PM Monmouth at Idaho