We’re not even technically through the first week of college basketball an already there are a couple of matchups the that should be paid attention to.
LIU at Hofstra, 7:00: After LIU’s fabulous run to the NCAA Tournament last, the Blackbirds have become one of the hottest programs in the NY Metro area. With six of its top eight players back, led by junior forward Julian Boyd the Blackbirds could he a handful for Hofstra. As for the Pride, Mo Cassara’s group could be one of the most underrated in the area. Sure, Charles Jenkins and Greg Washington are gone, but Mike Moore, David Imes, Stevie Mejia, Nathaniel Lester and Shemiye McLendon are all experienced players. It should be a good one in Hempstead.
Stony Brook at Indiana, 7:00: Stony Brook and its followers have waited an entire off season for this matchup. With so much talent back and several newcomers expected to create an immediate impact, no one would be shocked to see the Seawolves win this game. Senior guard Bryan Dougher, redshirt junior forward Tommy Brenton and senior Dallis Joyner have been the key elements to Stony Brook’s rise. The Seawolves have had winning seasons two of the last three years and have finished .500 or better in the America East the last three years. Now it’s time for the Seawolves to prove they are here to stay. The game can be heard live on Stony Brook’s radio website, WUSB.
Columbia at Connecticut, 7:00: Columbia is not in the same class as UConn, but the Lions do have a quality backcourt in Noruwa Agho and Brian Barbour. Both are decent three-point shooters who could give the Huskies fits early. Unfortunately for the Lions, they have no answers for UConn’s front court. Junior forward Alex Oriakhi and freshman Andre Drummond will likely have their way down low. Sophomore wing Jeremy Lamb is a star in the making.
Fordham at No.5 Syracuse, 4:00: This might be a touch matchup for Fordham, but it doesn’t hurt to see how the young Rams will react to playing against a big time opponent, especially with only three seniors on the roster. Tom Pecora, in his second year at the school, has an experienced backcourt returning in Branden Frazier, Alberto Estwick and Lamont Samuell and a versatile frontcourt man in Chris Gaston. They probably don’t have enough to topple the Orange, but the Rams turned heads last season after an upset of St. John’s.
No.1 North Carolina vs. Michigan State, 7:00: Aside from the fact that two of the nation’s top basketball programs are meeting, this game will be played on the USS Carl Vinson in honor of the veterans who serve and have served this country. He game will be played in front of President Barack Obama, as well as a strong military crowd of 7,000. As for the nuts and bolts, North Carolina has the best front court in the country with 7-footer Tyler Zeller, John Henson and super sophomore Harrison Barnes. Highly touted freshman James Michael McAdoo could make this a special team. Point guard Kendall Marshall is the perfect guy to run the show. Michigan State is full of youngsters, but has Draymond Green back. Playing on a battleship will create some jitters and keep the game close, but the Tar Heels will run away in the second half.