If you are working from home still these days, be sure to have a television or streaming device handy near your work station as there is a full slate
Game of the Day:
-Michigan State Spartans vs Duke Blue Devils
- Time/TV: 7:30 PM EST (ESPN)
In a strange 2020 twist, the Spartans Champions Classic matchup against Duke was moved to Cameron Indoor Stadium with a future return trip occurring to East Lansing at a later date. For the Spartans it means a Cameron-crazies-less gameday, for Duke it means no flight to a neutral court site, and for fans, probably just bad camera angles in the smaller arena.
The game, however, is a typical clash of modern blue-bloods as the Spartans hope to get the upset over one of their biggest kryptonites. MSU is riding high after a dominating win over Notre Dame Saturday night offset a weaker than desired showing against Eastern Michigan in the season opener. Joey Hauser in particular shook off a lot of rust after his first game back since the 2018-’19 season.
Duke, meanwhile, had its own problem riddled season opener on Saturday with a ten point win over Coppin State. The Blue Devils had 22 turnovers in this one while shooting a mere 40 percent from the free throw line.
Freshman DJ Steward led the Blue Devils in scoring in the season opener with 24 points, while freshman Jalen Johnson added 19, sophomore Wendell Moore Jr. scored 13, and sophomore Matthew Hurt rounded out the double-digit scoring with 12 points. Johnson had a double-double with 19 rebounds to match his 19 points, but he also came dangerously close to a triple-double you don’t want with seven turnovers alone.
While Michigan State certainly has the age factor advantage over Duke (as if anyone is surprised by that), MSU does have a number of important pieces still breaking the rotation with heavier minutes. This game is likely to be close if MSU’s defense can perform like it did during the more dominating moments against Notre Dame, but that’s still a question mark rather than a sure thing at this stage. If Duke can’t figure out how to cut down on those turnovers, MSU’s defense won’t matter much either way.
Regardless, time has proven it is not wise to pick Izzo over Coack K in these match-ups, so best to expect more of the norm here one presumes and go with Duke.
- Pick: Duke
-Texas Longhorns vs Indiana Hoosiers
- Time/TV: 1:30 PM EST (ESPN+)
The Longhorns enter this game at 2-0 and ranked No. 17 currently in the AP. The Long Horns sport a 91-55 win over Texas-Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros and a narrow 78-76 win over Davidson. Courtney Ramey leads the Longhorns in scoring as he is averaging 17 points per game over the first two games, and Greg Brown is leading in rebounding with eight per game. Meanwhile Matt Coleman III is averaging seven assists per game and 13.5 points per game.
Indiana is looking to move to 3-0 as well after a win over 79-58 win over the Providence Friars yesterday. Trayce Jackson-Davis is averaging 19 points and 9 rebounds while Race Thompson is averaging 13.5 points, eight rebounds, and 3.5 assists. Rob Phinisee is also a double-digit scorer averaging 11.5 points per game, and Al Durham is averaging14 points and 3.5 assists. Texas probably has the edge in this one, but being married to a Cornhusker and so being bias against Texas, hating Big XII basketball in general, and Indiana having the far long break between games, I am going to give the upset pick here to Indiana.
- Pick: Indiana
-Oakland Grizzlies vs Purdue Boilermakers
- Time/TV: 3:00 PM EST (BTN)
The Oakland Grizzlies this season are not a strong Greg Kampe team. The season had a rocky start as there were COVID issues leading up to the season start, and then the Grizzlies suffered four straight losses. The upside is they got progressively better in each game as Oakland lost 101-49 to Xavier, then 80-53 to Toledo, 74-60 to Bradley, and finally seemed potentially poised for the upset win over Michigan on Sunday before falling 81-71. Jalen Moore leads the Grizzlies in scoring, averaging 15.5 points per game, but shooting just 29 percent. Rashad Williams was the leading scorer last season with 19.5 points per game, but has averaged just 5.7 this season so far.
Purdue, hosting a win over Liberty but a loss to Clemson, is led by Zach Edey’s 18 points per game, and Edey is also second in rebounding with 6.5 boards per game. Brandon Newman is averaging 12.5 points, Isaiah Thompson 11 points, and Jaden Ivy 12 points to round out the double-digit scorers. Meanwhile Trevion Williams leads in rebounding with 9.5 per game and Aaron Wheeler is third on the team with 5.5. The Boilermakers should avoid any upset risk here and easily handle Oakland and the team’s scoring struggles in Mackey Arena today.
- Pick: Purdue
-UW-Green Bay vs Wisconsin Badgers
- Time/TV: 5:00 PM EST (BTN)
The Green Bay Phoenix enter this matchup at 0-1 on the season so far after losing 99-69 to Minnesota. Amari Davis led the Phoenix in scoring with 17 points and four boards, while Josh Jefferson added 14 points and also grabbed four rebounds. PJ Pipes managed double-digits as well with 13 points, while he added five assists, and six rebounds. Green Bay finished third overall last season in the Horizon League and made it to the semifinals in the league tournament before falling to Northern Kentucky.
Wisconsin is led by Nate Reuvers’ 16 points per game and 3 blocks, and he is second on the team with 5.5 rebounds. Micah Porter’s 14 points per game and D’Mitrik Trice’s 13 points per game round out the double-digit scorers. Porter leads the team in boards with 6.5 and Jonathan Davis has 5 per game. Trice leads in assist with 4 per game. This one should be a big margin win for the Badgers.
- Pick: Wisconsin
-South Dakota Coyotes vs Nebraska Cornhuskers
- Time/TV: 9:00 PM EST (BTN)
The Coyotes make their first trip to Lincoln since 2016, and return just one start from last season’s 20-12 third place Summit League team. Senior guard Stanley Umude returns as one of the top players. The 6-foot-6 guard averaged 16.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game last season and is leading the team in scoring with his 17.0 points per game so far this season. Sophomore guard A.J. Plitzuweit joins Umade in double figures at 11.5 points per game. USD shot just 35 percent in its first two games, though.
Nebraska enters this one 2-1 after wins over North Dakota St and McNeese State while having fallen to Nevada last week after a quick turnaround time left the team with relatively dead legs in a poor shooting performance. Five players are averaging double-figure scoring for Nebraska. Teddy Allen leads with 17.7 points per game and is second in rebounding with 6 per game. Dalano Banton is averaging 14.7 points per game while leading the team in rebounds (7.2 per game) and assists (6.3). Trey McGowens is averaging 11 points per game and is second on the team in assists with 2 per game, while Lat Mayen and Kobe Webster are both averaging 10.7 points per game. Mayen is third in rebounding with 5 per game. This one shouldn’t be particularly close for the Huskers.
- Pick: Nebraska
Cancelled: Monmouth vs Maryland Terrapins, Towson vs Maryland Terrapins
The Terps original opponent today, Monmouth, was cancelled five days ago. The team managed to find an opening with Towson instead, but that game was cancelled yesterday as well.