Monumental Mid-major Matchups Tonight

 

Oakland Golden Grizzlies at Valpairaso Crusaders
8 PM ET ESPNU

Most fans who closely watch college basketball know about Kay Felder and this Oakland Grizzlies game because of their overtime performance against Michigan State over the holidays.  But Valpairaso is four games up on the Grizzlies in the Horizon standings with a 22-5 record.  Senior Vashil Fernandez leads Valpo on the defensive end, as the Crusaders ranked first (among 351 D1 college teams) on kenpom.com’s adjusted defensive kenpom.com’s adjusted defensive rankings.  Junion Alec Peters is the stretch-four-type who averages 16 1/2 points per game.  Tevvon Walker hit 6 of 8 three pointers in these teams’ first game this season for the 84-67 win.

Right before this game, sports reporter with The Oakland Press, Daniel Tallant, tweeted collegebasketballeyetest.com, “Oakland has impressed on the road this year.”

“(I) can only imagine how badly Felder and Kampe want tonight’s game. Huge chance for Oakland,” Tallant said.

For the Grizzlies, the game also comes as sharpshooter Max Hooper earns national publicity this week.  ESPN, Sbnation, and Yahoo Sports all have articles on how he has only attempted three point jump shots (62-138) this season.  Hooper epitomizes the Mötley Crüe that the Grizzlies run with.  Kay Felder is a college basketball star, but is only 5-9.  Center Percy Gibson is a load at 6-9, 271 lbs.  Hooper is hanging at the three point line.  Jalen Hayes is an athletic 6-7 sophomore averaging 14 points, 8 rebounds a game.  At the end of that Spartan’s game, the Grizzlies inability to guard the post cost them.

For tonight’s contest, Valpairaso Journalism Professor Paul Oren puts it best.

“Two of the best mid-major players/teams doing battle for second time,” Oren said Friday afternoon.

“Will there be a third?”

Iona Gaels at Monmouth Hawks
10 PM ET ESPNU

These teams don’t like each other.  That was made clear when Iona’s Jordan Washington punched Monmouth’s Chris Brady after their game in January.

However, it was the Gaels who got smacked in the mouth (on their home floor).

The Hawks displayed the best shooting half we have seen this entire college basketball season.  Monmouth won 110-102, but it wasn’t even that close.

Monmouth’s bench has gotten all of the pub this season.  However, it’s point guard Justin Robinson who deserves more ink.  The 5-8 junior is the engine that makes the Hawks go.  He averages 20 points per game, which is incredible when you watch Monmouth in action.  Robinson is a facilitator first and does some incredible things with the ball in transition.

Iona, meanwhile, is hurting from the loss of MAAC freshman of the year Schadrac Casimir.  Casimir is the type of shooter that Monmouth showcased in that second half.  Iona is only 15-10 on the season, but still a threat with an elite scorer in A.J. English (21 per).  Expect this one to be a track meet!

 

 

 

 

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