College Hoops Wednesday: Your Commentary

    
November 17th, 2010
After the smorgasbord of college basketball that we were treated to on Tuesday naturally Wednesday would be a day for recuperation. But there are some solid contests on the schedule, most notably Utah State making the trek to Provo to take on in-state rival BYU. Of course much of the attention will be paid to seniors Tai Wesley (Utah State) and Jimmer Fredette (BYU), who are two of the better players in college basketball at their respective positions, but there's an important newcomer to the USU program who will have a lot to do with the Aggies' success. Junior college transfer Brockeith Pane led the way in the season-opening win over Weber State with 23 points and four assists, and with Pooh Williams possibly being out with a groin injury (tip of the cap to @thrashsoundly for this bit of info) he'll need a similar performance on the road. Wesley added 19 points and nine rebounds in the win, and he'll be going up against a front line that can at the least throw a variety of bodies in his direction.

Fredette, who averaged 22.1 and 4.7 assists per game in leading the Cougars to the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season, accounted for 24 points and eight assists in BYU's season-opening pasting of Fresno State. He's the rare player who can balance getting hot from the field with setting up his teammates for easy baskets, one of the many reasons why some expect the senior to be an All-American when the season ends. The key for BYU will be consistency in the frontcourt, as the more they can get from the big men the better off Dave Rose's team will be. Noah Hartsock provided 21 points and five rebounds off the bench in the win over Fresno State but outside of wing Charles Abouo (13 points, six rebounds) and Chris Collinsworth (seven rebounds) the other contributors were rather nondescript. Fredette will get his, but how well the "supporting cast" fares will likely determine the outcome.

Weber State's Damian Lillard scored 28 against Utah State but no teammate managed more than seven points (37 points on 14-37 FG, 3-10 3PT) for the game. If BYU can turn the game into one that stresses depth they'll have the edge, especially if Williams is unable to go. Both teams fared well on the boards in their respective openers and given how well-coached they are under Stew Morrill and the aforementioned Rose don't expect there to be many mistakes either. The difference may end up being the Marriott Center, where few visitors leave with a victory and the Cougars enjoy an 83-32 edge in the series when the game is played in Provo. Also on the west coast is the rematch between Oregon State and Seattle at Key Arena. Last year's meeting was one of the more perplexing in college basketball as Cameron Dollar's Redhawks won in Corvallis by 51 points.

The final two semifinal slots in the NIT Season Tip-Off will also be decided as Villanova takes on Boston University and Tennessee hosts Missouri State. Led by senior wing John Holland the Terriers have the perimeter play to give Villanova some trouble, and head coach Patrick Chambers is more than familiar with what the Wildcats will look to run given his time there as an assistant. But of these two games the better shot at an upset could be Missouri State given their returning talent (Adam Leonard leads five returning starters) and the unimpressive way in which the Volunteers closed out Belmont on Tuesday. The primary ball-handlers at the end of the game were Skyler McBee (better known for his shooting) and Tobias Harris (an outstanding freshman who's better suited on the wing). If there isn't improvement from a Melvin Goins (just to name one guard) the Volunteers could find themselves missing out on a trip to New York City.

Top 25
8:00 PM Boston University at Villanova
7:00 PM Alcorn State at (9) Purdue (BTN)
8:00 PM Northwestern State at (19) Memphis
7:00 PM Missouri State at (23) Tennessee

NCAA Division I Games
12:00 PM Madonna at Eastern Michigan
5:30 PM Marist vs. George Washington*
7:00 PM Vermont at Connecticut (ESPN3)
7:00 PM Holy Cross at Harvard
7:00 PM Sacred Heart at Massachusetts
7:00 PM Delaware at Cornell
7:00 PM Milwaukee at Niagara
7:00 PM St. Francis (PA) at Lafayette
7:00 PM Indiana State at Ball State
7:00 PM Binghamton at Bucknell
7:00 PM Warner Southern at Florida Atlantic
7:00 PM UMBC at Loyola (MD)
7:00 PM Pennsylvania at Manhattan
7:00 PM Northwood at Wright State
7:30 PM Maryland-Eastern Shore at American University
7:30 PM Albany at Georgia Tech
7:30 PM Chicago State at Notre Dame
7:30 PM Chattanooga at Kennesaw State
7:30 PM SIU-Edwardsville at Eastern Kentucky
8:00 PM Drake at Iowa State (ESPN3)
8:00 PM Murray State at Mississippi (ESPN3)
8:00 PM Texas A&M-CC at Oklahoma State
8:00 PM Northwestern at Texas-Pan American
8:00 PM St Gregory's at Arkansas-Little Rock
8:00 PM Ark Monticello at Centenary
8:00 PM Houston at Louisiana Tech
8:00 PM UAB at Middle Tennessee (ESPN3)
8:00 PM South Alabama at Southern Miss
8:00 PM AUB Montgomery at Southern University
8:00 PM Columbia at St. John's
8:05 PM Louisiana-Lafayette at Creighton
8:05 PM Tennessee State at Illinois State
8:35 PM Loyola Marymount at Bradley
8:35 PM Texas-San Antonio at Evansville
9:00 PM South Dakota School of Mines at South Dakota
9:00 PM Utah State at Brigham Young (The Mtn.)
9:00 PM Green Bay at Marquette (ESPN3)
9:00 PM Colorado College at Air Force
9:05 PM Montana at Utah
9:30 PM Arkansas State vs. Belmont *
10:00 PM San Francisco at San Jose State
10:00 PM UC Santa Cruz at UC Davis
10:00 PM Southeastern Louisiana at UNLV
10:00 PM Southern Utah at Cal State Bakersfield
10:10 PM Oregon State at Seattle
10:30 PM Rider at USC
11:00 PM Vanguard at Fresno State