By Seth Davis
November 16, 2012
The Weekend Forecast
Friday, Nov. 16
7 p.m. (truTV) Florida State vs. BYU, Brooklyn, NY
The Seminoles started their season by raising a banner that commemorated last season's ACC tournament championship. Then they came crashing back to earth as they lost at home to South Alabama. It's hard to win when you shoot 5-for-21 from three-point range, but it's even harder because the Seminoles lost six seniors from that team and are thus too young to attack with their trademark defense. That bodes well for BYU, which loves to get out and go behind their solid post scorer (6-foot-9 senior forward Brandon Davies) and three-point marksmen (sophomore guards Matt Carlino and Tyler Haws).
5:30 p.m. St. John's vs. Murray State in Charleston, SC
At halftime last Friday night, the score was Isaiah Canaan 22, Auburn 19. Murray State's senior All-America really is that good. (And yes, Auburn is that bad.) Canaan only needed to score four more points in the second half to help the Racers coast to a 20-point win. The matchup between him and Phil Greene should be fun, but Cannan should own a clear advantage there. I also think he'll get a little more help from his friends.
7:30 p.m. (ESPN2) Villanova vs. Alabama
It's going to be a lot of fun watching Villanova's freshman point guard Ryan Arcidiacono figure out the game this season. We saw the good (18 points, six assists) and the bad (seven tunovers, 3-for-14 shooting) in the Wildcats' overtime win over Purdue on Thursday night. Arcidiacono will again be playing an evenly matched opponent Friday, but the Crimson Tide are older than the Boilermakers and should thus have a solid defensive scheme in place. Tune in to have a gander at Alabama sophomore guard Trevor Lacey, who drilled a game-winning, buzzer-beating three-pointer in the season opener against South Dakota State and had 20 points and four assists in Thursday's win over Oregon State.
12:30 p.m. No. 16 Baylor vs. Colorado, Charleston, SC
There are not many more impressive point guards in America right now than Baylor's Pierre Jackson. Baylor's 5-10, 180-pound senior is a speedy little bull who is a natural scorer but who has also shown a dramatically improved feel for the game. He personally carried the Bears to a win over a pesky Boston College team on Thursday, scoring 31 points (on 10-for-15 shooting) and dishing out seven assists. He'll be too much to handle for Colorado's sophomore point guard, Askia Booker. The Buffaloes also need more of an offensive presence from 6-7 junior forward Andre Roberson, who has scored just 13 points in the Buffs' first two games.
5 p.m. (ESPN2) Purdue vs. Oregon State at MSG
As you would expect from a program that is young and rebuilding, Purdue has struggled in the early going. The Boilermakers lost their opener at home to Bucknell, and on Thursday night they were knocked off by Villanova in overtime. On the other hand, Oregon State has been rebuilding for the last three years under Craig Robinson, and therefore is in more dire need of a statement win. The Beavers couldn't quite get that on Thursday night, losing to Alabama by three, so they should be doubly motivated Friday. Of course, it would help if their starting backcourt of Roberto Nelson and Ahmad Starks did better than shoot 3-for-10 from three-point range.
9:30 p.m. (truTV) No. 20 Notre Dame vs. Saint Joseph's, Brooklyn, NY
The Irish began the season with considerable expectations, but they may be even better than we thought. Garrick Sherman, a 6-10 senior transfer from Michigan State, chipped in 22 points and nine rebounds in Monday's win over Monmouth, and 6-7 freshman Cameron Biedscheid has given the team some nice pop off the bench. Saint Joseph's challenge would be pretty steep at full strength, so it will be even steeper without the Hawks' best player, 5-11 point guard Carl Jones, who will be serving the last of his three-game suspension for a university violation.
11 p.m. (Pac 12 Network) Vanderbilt at Oregon
The Commodores are rebuilding with a young lineup that features two juniors, two sophomores and a freshman. Fortunately, one of those starters includes Kedren Johnson, a 6-4 sophomore guard who scored 25 points in the season opening win over Nicholls State. Still, winning in Eugene is too much to ask at this point. The Ducks are a borderline NCAA tournament team, but they do have two senior anchors up front in 6-11 shot blocker Tony Woods and versatile forward E.J. Singler.
11 p.m. (Fox Sports Net) Illinois (2-0) at Hawaii (3-0), 12:30 a.m.
Say this for the Illlini: They'll be fun to watch this season. Not only has first-year coach John Groce implemented an up-tempo style, but he has given his guys the green light to launch three-pointers. Illinois made 24 threes in its first two games. Senior forward Tyler Griffey has also demonstrated an improved long-range touch. Of course, it's harder to make threes on the road, but I think the Illini will make enough to escape Honolulu with a win. Their main job will be to hold Rainbows center Vander Joaquim in check. He had 20 points and 10 rebounds in Hawaii's win over Houston Baptist Monday night.
Saturday, Nov. 17
7:30 p.m. Seton Hall vs. Washington at Uncasville, CT
The good news for Washington is that there's no place to go but up. The Huskies are still smarting from their one-point loss at home to Albany Tuesday night. Yes, they lost Scott Suggs to a concussion in the first two minutes, but they still should have been able to get by a Great Danes club that was playing 3,000 miles from home and had just gotten walloped by 22 points at Ohio State. Now it's Washington's turn to fly across the country to face a veteran Seton Hall squad that rightly sees this game as an early opportunity to bolster its nonconference resume. I also like the apparent improvement of Pirates junior guard Fuquan Edwin. He has been a defensive specialist in the past, but he had 23 points and 10 rebounds in a win over Norfolk State Monday night.
7 p.m. Oakland at Pittsburgh
Don't get too accustomed to seeing Pittsburgh listed without a number next to its name. Based on what I've seen from the Panthers in the first three games, it's only a matter of time before they're ranked. Jamie Dixon's decision to start freshman James Robinson in their win over Lehigh allowed Tray Woodall to move off the ball where he's comfortable. Woodall scored 23 points and 6-9 junior forward Talib Zanna added 20, which means that right now the Panthers are not overly reliant on post scoring from freshman center Steven Adams. Oakland, meanwhile, has been one of the better mid-major teams in college basketball the last few years, but that was largely due to the presence of Reggie Hamilton, who graduated after being the nation's leading scorer. This is game three of a seven straight road games for the Grizzlies. A win at the Pete is not bloody likely.
Last Pickoff: 5-5               Overall: 5-5

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