Saturday, November 19, 2005

Saturday Preview

Davidson at Duke- Duke looked exceptional in their 53-point win over Seton Hall. They have the goods to be the best team in the country. Greg Paulus and Sean Dockery are playing well at the point; JJ Redick is, well, JJ Redick; DeMarcus Nelson is performing up to par on the wing; and the interior duo of Josh McRoberts and Shelden Williams is dominant. Davidson is led by Brendan Winters, who is one of the best mid-major players in the country. Kenny Grant is a good point guard, while Matt McKillop and Jason Morton are scorers on the wing. Ian Johnson shoulders the load down low. Duke is just too good for Davidson. It will be interesting to see what kind of game Winters has against the Blue Devils. Prediction: Duke by 16

Michigan State at Hawaii- A warmup for the Maui Invitatioal for the Spartans, although a trip to Hawaii is never a warmup. The wing duo of Maurice Ager and Shannon Brown is one of the best in the country, and Paul Davis is an excellent low-post option. Drew Neitzel is a solid point guard. Hawaii has a good inside-outside combo in Matt Gibson and Julian Sensley. Sensley has the potential to be one of the best players in the WAC. Michigan State has too many options for the Hawaii to handle. Prediction: Michigan State by 9

Murray State at Cincinnati- The Bearcats' first game without Bob Huggins, while Murray State is one of the favorites for the Ohio Valley Conference title. Cincy is led by double-double post man Eric Hicks, and the wing duo of James White and Armein Kirkland. The Racers have a very good all-around guard in Trey Pearson as well as Keith Jenifer and Darnell Hopkins in the backcourt. Shawn Witherspoon is solid down low. Hicks might be too much for anyone on Murray State to handle, while White should be able to slow down Pearson somewhat. Prediction: Cincinnati by 7

Gardner-Webb at North Carolina- This could be the upset of the day. Gardner-Webb returns all five starters from a conference title-winning team. Tim Jennings, Simon Conn, and Brian Bender form a very formidable trio. UNC is starting over, essentially. David Noel and Rayshawn Terry will have to lead the way in the first game for most of the Tar Heels. Tyler Hansbrough opens his career. He will need to step up inside. Gardner-Webb will keep it close, but the game is at UNC, and the Tar Heels will pull it out in the end. I just can't see Roy Williams losing to Gardner-Webb at home. Prediction: North Carolina by 5

Utah State at Oral Roberts- Two of the best non-BCS conference teams. Utah State has a very good inside-outside combo in Jaycee Carroll and Nate Harris. David Pak is also a solid point guard. Oral Roberts counters with one of the best perimeter-post duos in the country in Ken Tutt and Caleb Green. Green is one of the best big men in the nation. Jonathan Bluitt is a very good distributor at the point, while Larry Owens is a good forward. Oral Roberts has the better of the two inside-outside duos, and they also have more options than Utah State. Prediction: Oral Roberts by 3

Eastern Kentucky at Wisconsin- First game for the Badgers without the four starters that they lost from a year ago. However, they do return one of the best players in the country in forward Alando Tucker. He could be an All-American this season. Kammron Taylor is a quick point guard, while Brian Butch could be solid down low. Eastern Kentucky is one of the favorites for the Ohio Valley Conference title. Matt Witt is a very good all-around point guard that could end up being one of the best in the mid-major world. Jason McLeish and Zach Ingles are solid wings, while Alonzo Hird is a tough post option. Wisconsin is tough to beat at home, and EKU is not going to do it. However, this game is going to be closer than most think. Witt and Hird are going to give the Badgers problem, but Tucker can't be stopped by EKU. Prediction: Wisconsin by 6

Winthrop at Marquette- The upset pick of the day, if you can even consider it an upset. Winthrop returns nearly their entire team a year ago. Torrell Martin and James Shuler are big guards that are going to cause problems, and Chris Gaynor is a solid point guard. Marquette is led by Steve Novak, an excellent-shooting forward. Steve Chapman and Dan Fitzgerald are two more perimeter options. Dominic James opens his career as Travis Diener's heir apparent at the point. Winthrop is experienced and talented. They also play excellent defense, which could create difficulties for James in his first game. Going on the road, the Eagles get the win. Prediction: Winthrop by 4

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