There are four games scattered throughout the day, bookended by sixth ranked Purdue facing off against fifth ranked Villanova in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off and Michigan squaring off against Arizona out in Vegas. There are also a pair of Big Ten teams hosting mid-majors at home in the middle.
Game of the Day
#6 Purdue Boilermakers vs #5 Villanova Wildcats (Hall of Fame Tip-Off)
- Time/TV: 1:00 PM ET (ABC)
Villanova advanced to the title game in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off after defensively dominating against Tennessee. The Wildcats held Tennessee to 33.3% shooting, 5 of 28 from three and 18 turnovers. Their defensive showcase was important as Villanova didn’t fare much better from the field, shooting 37.3% from the field and 8 of 24 from three. The Wildcats will need that defense today, but they’ll also need their offense to step up.
While Villanova struggled offensively, Purdue did not in a 93-84 win over North Carolina. Sasha Stefanovic had a hot start on his way to tying his career best with 23 points. Jaden Ivey added 22 points while the Zach Edey / Trevion Williams duo added 29 points and 7 rebounds. Purdue did struggle a touch from the line at 68.2%, but 4 of their 7 misses came from their bigs.
The question heading into tonight is if Purdue can keep their hot hand offensively. Purdue doesn’t exactly have to worry about living and dying by the three with Williams and Edey anchoring inside and Jaden Ivey showing he’s more than capable of making plays all over the court. They’ll face a much more stern test against Nova.
The Boilermakers have the offensive fireworks to win a game like this, as evident by their 92+ points in all four games this season. Can they keep things rolling against Villanova? Definitely.
Southern Jaguars at Nebraska Cornhuskers
- Time/TV: 4:00 PM ET (ESPNU)
Nebraska looks to get above .500 today with a game against Southern. The Cornhuskers started the season off with a dreadful loss to Western Illinois and a more competitive loss to Creighton earlier in the week. Nebraska did loss Trey McGowens to injury, but brings a laundry list of guards that should be able to help pick up the slack. Through four games Bryce McGowens and Alonzo Verge Jr. are leading Nebraska in scoring with 16.5 and 15 points per game. Nebraska has limited turnovers this year, but they’re struggling from three (29.7%) and are shooting only 42.5% from the field.
Southern is 1-3 so far this year, with a lone win over Tulane. The Jaguars are an even worse shooting team overall at 41%, but they shoot significantly better than Nebraska from three (37.8%). The Jaguars are turnover prone and don’t shoot particularly well from the line.
Nebraska has struggled and lost games like this in the past, but they should have enough firepower in the backcourt for the win.
Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns at Indiana Hoosiers
- Time/TV: 7:30 PM ET (BTN)
- Spread: IU -13.5
Indiana is 3-0 after holding off a second half surge from St. John’s. While it has to feel good to be sitting at 3-0, Indiana did struggle at home against Eastern Michigan and St. John’s. The problem is it’s still the same old same old, with Indiana committing turnovers, struggling from the line (65.2%) and shooting ice cold from three (27.7%). Once again Trayce Jackson-Davis is taking care of business inside, while Xavier Johnson has been huge in the backcourt. The team still needs some more consistent shooting, something that has been the case for awhile now. Regardless they have more than enough talent to get past a Louisiana team that has played more sub division teams than Division I teams so far this season.
Arizona Wildcats vs #4 Michigan Wolverines (Roman Main Event)
- Time/TV: 9:30 PM ET (ESPN)
- Spread: Michigan -4.0
Michigan bounced back nicely from a loss to Seton Hall by taking care of business against UNLV late night Friday. Led by 22 points from Eli Brooks and 14 points from Moussa Diabate off the bench, the Wolverines will look to pick up an even better win tonight against Arizona in the Roman Main Event. Arizona got here by sneaking past Wichita State in overtime on Friday.
Tonight should provide an entertaining match for Wolverine big man Hunter Dickinson, who is set to go up against Christian Koloko. Koloko is averaging 13.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and 4 blocks per game while shooting a nice 69%. Dickinson will need to contribute inside as the stingy Arizona defense has held opponents to 29.4% shooting throughout the season. Between Dickinson and Brooks the Wolverines will need the duo to produce some offensive fireworks against an Arizona team that doesn’t allow many points.
Arizona has the defense to win this game, but it feels weird to think that this Michigan team would start 3-2 and lose two big games this early in the season. The Wolverines find a way to muster up enough offense for the win.