Monday, November 01, 2010

Previewing Sunday, November 14th

Sunday, November 14th is the final day of the first week of the college basketball regular season. That makes it the last day I will be previewing for now. To see my previews of the other days from the first week of the regular season, please click here, here and here. Here are three games to keep an eye on during November 14th:

Princeton at #1 Duke, 5PM (ESPNU): This isn't a game to watch for the drama of the final score. I'll give you a hint: Duke is going to win. But this is the first regular season game of the year for Duke, and it's a chance to watch the amazing backcourt that they're going to have. Kyrie Irving is lightning quick, and I've heard a number of people call him the most developed true freshman point guard that Duke has ever had. I also want to see Seth Curry, who has high expectations but still hasn't played much in college. If those two live up to expectations, that backcourt (with Nolan Smith and Andre Dawkins back) is going to be really, really good. As for Princeton, don't be surprised if they at least put up a fight here. I believe that if any team knocks off Harvard in the Ivy League, it will be Princeton. So check them out as well.

Wright State at Indiana, 7PM (ESPNU): Indiana opens up against Florida Gulf Coast on November 12th, but this will be their first real competition. The reason to watch this game is to see where Maurice Creek is physically. If he is already back in shape then he has a real chance to be one of the best players in the Big Ten. If Indiana finally does get back to the Tournament bubble this season, it will be on Creek's back. His injury last season was devastating to them. Wright State was actually better than Indiana last season. They finished second in the Horizon to Butler, and were rated inside the Top 70 by both Sagarin and Pomeroy. But they lost three starters to graduation, and have a very deep recruiting class coming in, so there will be a lot of turnover. There is no clear star in the recruiting class, so this game will give us an early sense of who will be making big contributions for this team.

UC Santa Barbara at Oregon, 9PM: This will actually be the third game Oregon plays, but it will be their first strong test. New head coach Dana Altman is already putting together a very strong 2011 recruiting class, but the team is going to have major problems this season. They lost some of their best players because of the coaching transition, and the roster is really devoid of talent. Their top returners are probably point guard Malcolm Armstead, swing forward EJ Singler and power forward Jeremy Jacob. UCSB will be a formidable challenge for them. They were actually picked preseason by the Big West media to win the Big West conference. I picked Long Beach State as the narrow favorite over them. Certainly an early season win at Oregon would be really nice for their resume, even against a down Oregon program.

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