Tip Off Marathon Schedule, Predictions

Tennessee at Georgia Tech
7 p.m.
ESPNU
Daily Fantasy Roster Spot: Kevin Punter, Tennessee Guard
Line: Georgia Tech -4 Tennessee +240
Collegebasketballeyetest.com Prediction: Georgia Tech 73 Tennessee 58

If you had trouble finding highlights for Tennessee’s bare escape of UNC Ashville, you are not alone.  Click here to see them, courtesy Knoxville news channel WVLT.  Rick Barnes has an undersized squad in his first year with the Vols while Brian Gregory has five upperclassmen in his starting lineup.  This game could become a track meet.

7:30 p.m.
Virginia at George Washington
ESPN2
Daily Fantasy Roster Spot: Isaiah Wilkins, Virginia Forward
Line: Virginia -7, George Washington +195
Collegebasketballeyetest.com prediction: Virginia 58 George Washington 53

With Justin Anderson now a member of the Dallas Mavericks, expect Isaiah Wilkins to fill the role and introduce himself to a national primetime audience.  The stepson of Dominique Wilkins showed flashes last season coming off the bench.  Look for George Washington to make a game of it, however.  Point guard Joe McDonald runs a solid offense and forward Patricio Garino will give Virginia a taste of its own medicine in terms of lockdown defense.  (Click here for a preseason preview with George Washington student beat writer, Josh Solomon).

9 p.m.
Kennesaw State at LSU
ESPNU
Daily Fantasy Roster Spot: Tim Quarterman, LSU Guard
Line: N/A
Collegebasketballeyetest.com prediction:  LSU 73 Kennesaw State 56

This will effectively be a continuation of the NBA Draft showcase for LSU super freshman Ben Simmons.   But Yonel Brown just dropped 34 for Kennesaw State in its opener loss to Alabama and LSU didn’t exactly blow out McNeese State, either.  Caution:  LSU point guard Keith Horsnby is still sidelined with an injury.

9:30 p.m.
San Diego State at Utah
ESPN2
Daily Fantasy Roster Spot: Malik Pope, San Diego St. Forward
Line: Utah -2 1/2, San Diego State +195
Collegebasketballeyetest.com prediction:  San Diego State 68 Utah 66

If there is anything San Diego State traditionally does well, it is double-team the post.  And while Jacob Poetl is being crowned as the next Bill Walton in some circles, the freshman will have to contest with the rim protection of seniors Skylar Spencer and Angelo Chol.  This is a classic role reversal according to last year’s eye test.  San Diego State should be ranked 16th in the nation with its returning talent of Winston Shepard, Malik Pope and Trey Kell on offense.  Utah should be the team with something to prove now that it is without Delon Wright (now a member of the Toronto Raptors).

11:30 p.m.
Baylor at Oregon
ESPN2
Daily Fantasy Roster Spot: Rico Gathers, Baylor Forward
Line: PICK EM
Collegebasketballeyetest.com prediction:  Baylor 85 Oregon 82

Baylor looked very impressive in its win against in-state irritant, Stephen F. Austin in its season opener.  Ishmail Wainright was especially steady, scoring 8 points with 9 rebounds and 6 assists.  Look for this to be a high-scoring, tight matchup throughout.  It may even make the marathon even more marathonish with an overtime session.  Oregon’s carved a steady reputation as a team that plays no defense, and its additions this offseason don’t seem to solve that.  Oregon does, however, bring in an electric scorer in freshman Tyler Dorsey from Los Angeles.  He dropped 20 in the Ducks opener on 5-6 shooting in 27 minutes of play.

TUESDAY 

1:45 a.m.
BYU at Long Beach State
ESPN2
Daily Fantasy Roster Spot: Kyle Davis, BYU Forward
Line: BYU -6 Long Beach State +220
Collegebasketballeyetest.com prediction: BYU 61 LBST 52

BYU returns a backcourt of experience while Long Beach State loses precious veterans such as Mike Caffey.  Pay close attention also to Utah State transfer for the Cougars, Kyle Davis.  He scored 17 in his debut at BYU.

4 a.m.
Nevada at Hawaii
ESPN2
Daily Fantasy Roster Spot: D.J. Fenner, Nevada Forward
Line: Hawaii -12 1/2
Collegebasketballeyetest.com prediction: Hawaii 70 Nevada 52

This may be the game to sleep on, literally.  Hawaii plays a fun brand of basketball, but it oftentimes looks like that last game you play at the YMCA before they shut the lights out on you.  The Rainbows rarely find a shot they don’t like.  Hawaii’s backcourt is Isaac Fleming and Roderick Bobbit, whose generous listing each at 6 foot 3 inches is a creation of the sports information department.  D.J. Fenner is a well-rounded forward returning from a team that went 9-22 last season.

6 a.m.
Green Bay at East Tennessee State
ESPN2
Daily Fantasy Roster Spot: Jordan Fouse, Green Bay Forward
Line: Green Bay -2 1/2 East Tennessee State -108
Collegebasketballeyetest.com prediction: Green Bay 64 ETST 53

Now that Keifer Sykes has moved on to the NBA Developmental League, this is Carrington Love’s Phoenix ball club.  Love is a senior and returns a similar skill set which includes command of the offense and an ability to score when tested.  East Tennessee State has scheduled an ambitious pre-conference schedule, which includes Villanova, this Green Bay team, Tennessee and Georgia Tech.  We’ll see if they live up to the competition.

 

8 a.m.
Stephen F. Austin at Northern Iowa
ESPN2
Daily Fantasy Roster Spot: Thomas Walkup, Stephen F. Austin Guard
Line: Northern Iowa -4 Stephen F. Austin +130
Collegebasketballeyetest.com prediction: UNI 65 Stephen F. Austin 55

Stephen F. Austin’s run as a tournament darling seemed to be cooling off as it struggled mightily against Baylor days ago.  Northern Iowa lost national player of the year candidate Seth Tuttle, but still maintains its identity as a gritty defensive bunch with shooters on the perimeter.  UNI struggled against Colorado State, but the eye test tells you that the Rams were an athletic and aggressive team.

10 a.m.
Valparaiso at Rhode Island
ESPN2
Daily Fantasy Roster Spot: Vashil Fernandez
Line: PICK EM
Collegebasketballeyetest.com prediction: Valpo 59 Rhode Island 55

This could be the most evenly-matched game of ESPN’s Tip Off Marathon.  After falling short of a tournament berth last season, both of these teams have shown signs of hunger in the early going.    Valpo held sharp-shooting Iona to 29% shooting in its last game and Rhode Island rolled past American in its opener.  The one major buzzkill is that Rhode Island lost its star forward, EC Matthews, for the season with a torn ACL.  If you’re working at 10 a.m. Tuesday morning, set a DVR for this one.  One of these teams will be in the NCAA Tournament, if not both, and this could be a defacto playoff game to prove who.

1 p.m.
Alabama at Dayton
ESPN
Daily Fantasy Roster Spot:  Scoochie Smith, Dayton Guard
Line: Alabama +15, Dayton +400
Collegebasketballeyetest.com prediction: Dayton 61 Alabama 58

In the rapidly changing environment of college basketball, this is perhaps the game showcasing the most turnover.  Dayton is far removed from its Elite 8 appearance and not much is known yet about how Avery Johnson’s role will change the tide.  For Dayton, the first game’s win would indicate that coach Archie Miller’s bunch can still spread you out and knock ’em down.  Freshman Ryan Mikesell hit five three-pointers in his debut and the Flyers shot 51% against (okay) Southeast Missouri State.

3 p.m.
Colorado at Auburn
ESPN
Daily Fantasy Roster Spot: Cinmeon Bowers, Auburn Forward
Line: Colorado -4
Collegebasketballeyetest.com prediction: Auburn 67 Colorado 55

You know coach Bruce Pearl will have his hometown Tigers hyped for this national showcase.  Colorado looked beatable in the post against Iowa State, despite the growing draft stock of center Josh Scott.  Cinmeon Bowers looks hungry for some points down low.

5 p.m.
Oklahoma at Memphis
ESPN
Daily Fantasy Roster Spot: Isaiah Cousins, Oklahoma Guard
Line: Oklahoma -4, Memphis +140
Collegebasketballeyetest.com prediction: Oklahoma 72 Memphis 51

For Oklahoma, Buddy Hield and Isaiah Cousins are a top 5 backcourt nationally.  For Memphis, the loss via transfer of forward Austin Nichols is a role that needs replacing.  Keep a close eye on how brothers, freshmen, and top 50 recruits K.J. and Dedric Lawson do as far as filling that void.  (Read more about the Lawsons, courtesy CBS Sports Gary Parrish’s 2013 article).

5 p.m.
DePaul at Penn State
ESPNU
Daily Fantasy Roster Spot: Billy Garrett, DePaul Guard
Line: Penn State -7 1/2
Collegebasketballeyetest.com prediction: Penn State 64 DePaul 63

DePaul was impressive in a second half comeback against Western Michigan.  However, Penn State showed a balance in scoring it hasn’t seen in years in its rout of VMI.  Although not giant, the roster for the Nittany Lions could pose size issues for a smaller DePaul squad.

7:30 p.m.
Kentucky vs. Duke
ESPN
Daily Fantasy Roster Spot:  Marcus Lee, Kentucky Forward
Line: Kentucky -4 1/2, Duke +180
Collegebasketballeyetest.com prediction: Kentucky 70 Duke 60

Two words:  Skal Labissiere.

9 p.m.
Georgetown at Maryland
ESPN2
Daily Fantasy Roster Spot:  DeVonte Smith-Riviera, Georgetown Guard
Line: Georgetown +5
Collegebasketballeyetest.com prediction: Maryland 69 Georgetown 61

Wow, Radford beat Georgetown in the first game of the season.  I apologize for questioning the AP for not placing the Hoyas into the preseason top 25.  It would appear they still need to work off some of the prosciutto and polenta poundage gained in their offseason trip to Italy.  Meanwhile,  Maryland senior forward Jake Layman gained 25 pounds of the welcomed type: muscle.  Melo Tremble and this Terrapins bunch has a ranking, 3rd, that feels very worthy at this point.

10 p.m.
Kansas vs. Michigan State
ESPN
Daily Fantasy Roster Spot:  Frank Mason III, Kansas Guard
Line: Kansas -8 1/2
Collegebasketballeyetest.com prediction: Michigan State 66 Kansas 59

Kansas is ranked 4th in the nation and Michigan State 13th, yet Kansas is an 8 1/2 point underdog.  That’s yet more proof that Las Vegas should be replacing the Associated Press in ranking these teams.  Anyway, Kansas is very much figuring things out during the highly publicized wait for the eligibility of freshman Cheick Diallo.  While this means newly found playing time for post players Hunter Mickelson and Landen Lucas, the Michigan State equivalent is veterans Matt Costello and Gavin Schilling.  And while you can’t see Diallo in action, enjoy Jayhawk freshman Calton Bragg Jr., who has had a terrific preseason.

 

 

 

 

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