Thursday, January 19, 2006

What to Watch For - 1/19/06

This will be the first of what hopes to be a daily post - a list of the four or so (probably more on Saturdays) games to keep an eye on.

First up is UNC-Virginia, which gets the leadoff spot because I'll be in attendance. This is really my first chance to see the heels this year and figure out if they're for real. It says here that Carolina wins by 8-12, so long as Frasor doesn't get himself overwhelmed by Singletary. If Virginia gets down early, Singletary will almost certainly try to shoot them back into the game - in the 5 Virginia losses he's been on the court for, he averages 19 shots a game (he missed the Fordham loss). In fact, Virginia has yet to win a game where he takes more than 14 shots - I see a trend. Preview here (no preview from the UNC athletic site).

Number 2 on the big board is Robert Morris at Sacred Heart. RMU was predicted by some to finish out of the NEC tournament (the conference takes the top 8 out of its 11 teams), but so far, they've silenced the pundits by jumping out to a 5-0 conference start, including two road wins. The Colonials take their show on the road again for the next two games, the first being tonight's matchup against Sacred Heart. RMU is led by undersized power-forward AJ Jackson and his oversized double-double a game average - 17.3 and 10.5 a game. In conference play, he's truly stepped up, averaging 22.2 in the five Colonial wins. Tonight, he'll face an inside challenge in SHU's Kibwe Trim, the conference leader in scoring. Even if Trim and Jackson cancel each other out, RMU is getting more help from its supporting cast, with 4 other players who average in double figures. It says here that the Colonials keep the streak alive with a narrow road win. Previews here and here. Bonus shot of RMU students carrying what appears to be a Wookiee here.

Third is Northeastern at George Mason. Most of the CAA attention tonight is being lavished on Hofstra at Old Dominion, and for good reason. But my eyes will be a little further north watching the CAA's other first place squad try to hold home court. NU hopes that JJB, Shawn James, and Bobby Kelly (with his ridiculous 75% eFG and 1.50 PPWS) can avenge the narrow 3-point loss the Patriots delivered to open the new year. It says here that JJB improves on his 6-21 from the field, but that the Patriots hold serve with a narrow victory behind Jai Lewis, the Human Second Helping. Previews here and here.

And last but not least, my attention will shift Valley-ward where Missouri State desperately needs to hold home court against a surprisingly strong Southern Illinois team. A win would put the Bears at 5-3 and just one game behind the three-headed monster of Creighton, SIU, and Northern Iowa. A loss would drop them to .500 and three games out of the conference race. Must wins are rare in January, but this is definitely one for the Bears. No previews available from either athletic site.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Kibwe has all it takes to make to the N.B.A