This marks the official end of the 2019 Gavitt Games as the two conferences go their separate ways and move on with the rest of the non-conference slate.
Game of the Day:
-Charleston Southern at No. 3 Michigan State
Time/TV: 6:30 PM ET (BTN)
Vegas Spread: Michigan State -32
KenPom Spread: Michigan State -32
Today’s slate will come as somewhat of a disappoint for Big Ten fans as they were spoiled the last week with some great Big Ten-Big East matchups. Now it’s back to some of the more typical non-conference matchups that we are used to in the beginning of the season.
Michigan State enters this game against Charleston Southern as heavy favorites, as they should be. The Spartans lost a tough game against Kentucky to kick off the season, then rebounded quickly by beating Binghamton by 53 points last weekend, despite that game being played with heavy hearts. Then they took on Seton Hall in what is the game of the year early in this season. The Spartans won that game, despite Myles Powell pouring in 37 points and displaying why he’s going to be named an All-American at the end of the year.
Meanwhile, Charleston Southern enters this game needing more than a little luck to pull this one out. They lost their best player from last year, Christian Keeling (18.7 ppg), who grad transferred to North Carolina in the offseason. In his absence, sophomore guard Dontrell Shuler has stepped up as the offensive facilitator, putting in 10 ppg and 3.7 apg. CSU lost to Dayton 90-61 on Saturday night.
-Hawaii at Illinois
Time/TV: 8:00 PM ET (ESPNU)
Vegas Spread: Illinois -15.5
KenPom Spread: Illinois -16
Illinois will look to rebound from their tough loss to Arizona, facing another team from way out west. Albeit, this game is back in Champaign, which makes things much easier for Brad Underwood’s group. This is Illinois’s first game in over a week which could cause some rust, however, I expect that the team is taking this time to reflect on that game against Arizona and translate it into teaching moments. The one takeaway that I saw is that Illinois does have the talent to hang with most teams in the country. They just need to clean up the sloppiness, having more than twenty turnovers while in Tucson.
The Illini face a Hawaii team that returns some talent from last year. The Rainbow Warriors are led by Eran Ganot and are widely projected to be middle of the pack in the Big West this season. Hawaii is known for their willingness to share the ball, evidenced by five players averaging at least 8.5 points per game last year. However, with the graduations of Brocke Stepteau (10.4 ppg) and Jack Purchase (11.5 ppg), they have seen point guard Eddie Stansberry take over in the scoring column. He’s averaging 17.3 ppg and shooting 47% from the field. Those are eye-popping numbers regardless of the small sample size.
Look for the Illini to win this one without much of a struggle. However, one thing to watch for is whether the young Illinois team can correct some of the turnovers that have popped up early in the season. If they can’t get that right against Hawaii, then 15+ turnovers per game might just become the standard going forward.
-Stetson at No. 16 Ohio State
Time/TV: 8:30 PM ET (BTN)
Vegas Spread: Ohio State -29.5
KenPom Spread: Ohio State -29
Ohio State is coming off a big win against No. 10 Villanova on Wednesday night. The Buckeyes opened the game with a 19-3 lead and never let up, with Duane Washington Jr. leading the way with 14 points. The 76-51 victory should serve as a leaping point for an Ohio State that has great expectations this year.
Stetson is looking for a new beginning as they bring in Donnie Jones who was the head coach at UCF from 2010-16 and an assistant coach at Dayton last year. However, the Hatters haven’t posted a winning record since 2001. Jones has been confident in his ability to turn around this program, bringing in some new talent to rejuvenate a roster that finished last in the Atlantic Sun last year. Beyond that, Stetson is also losing their best player from last season, Abayomi Iyiola, who transferred to Arkansas. Jones employed a zone defense a lot during his time at UCF and could look to use that again this year. Ohio State has shot well from three this year at 41.8% so we’ll see if that will continue on Monday night.
Stetson lost to Kentucky by 19 last week and Ohio State should look for a similar result against the inferior opponent.