It’s Friday. The weekend is upon us. I for one cannot wait to hunker down for a solid weekend of College Basketball. The College Football slate has been rendered meaningless, so its time to get your self into some hoops.
OK Cavs fans. I know you are looking for your Basketball fix while awaiting the start of the NBA season. With your pro team headed for another losing season, you need to acclimate yourself with the top prospects in the college game, because one of them will be wearing the Wine and Gold next season.
Scott got you all warmed up yesterday with his NBA Draft big board, so today I thought I’d take you through some of the best games of the weekend and some of the players you should watch for. It all starts tonight.
#9 Florida (5-1) at #3 Syracuse (7-0) – Tonight, 7 PM, ESPN - Two Final Four contenders take center stage at the Carrier Dome. This will be a fun, up and down matchup with athletes all over the floor. Watch for Florida’s Freshman SG Bradley Beal (Draft Express #10), a sure fire lottery pick with a smooth stroke. Sophomore PF Patric Young (#15) is another guy NBA scouts seem to love.
Don’t short change the Cuse though – this is their most athletic team in over a decade. If you are looking at possible second round guys for the Cavs, then Senior wingman Kris Joseph (#50) could be your man. The Senior leads the Orange in scoring. Sophomore SG Dion Waiters (#58) is rising with scouts as well.
#19 Vanderbilt (5-2) at #6 Louisville (6-0), Tonight 9 PM, ESPN – The capper of a great doubleheader in this SEC/Big East challenge. Vandy is coming off of a OT home loss to Xavier and is without their best NBA prospect, PF Festus Ezeli (#21). They still have great guards in Jeff Taylor (#27) and John Jenkins (#37), but so far the ‘Dores have been one of the more disappointing teams in the country.
In terms of NBA players, Louisville doesn’t have too much to offer, but they are a solid, Rick Pitino coached squad with a veteran backcourt PG in Peyton Siva (#60) and Senior SG Kyle Kuric, an underrated player nationally. The Cards love to shoot the three and pressure full court. This should be a good one.
#5 North Carolina (6-1) at #1 Kentucky (7-0), Saturday Noon, CBS – If you are a casual college fan who loves the NBA and there is one regular season game to watch, this is it. Their may be more NBA scouts at this one than any college game in years. The floor will be littered with future NBA players.
On the Kentucky side, you have The incredible PF Anthony Davis (#1), SF/PF Terrance Jones (#10), SF Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (#13), PG Marcus Teague (#26), and the highly underrated SG Doron Lamb (#56). For UNC, you have the man most Cavs fans would love to pencil at at SF for the next 10 years Harrison Barnes (#3), skinny PF John Henson (#7 – who I am NOT a fan of. No offensive game and very soft and thin), PF James Michael-McAdoo (#12), PF/C Tyler Zeller (#14), and PG Kendall Marshall (#18).
If you can’t watch it, set the DVR. Both teams LOVE to get up and down and you have to see the athletic freaks Kentucky has on display. Anthony Davis has to be seen in person to be believed.
Arkansas (5-1) at #10 Connecticut (6-1), Saturday 3:15, ESPN – With new coach Mike Anderson bringing his mentor’s “40 Minutes of Hell” defense back to where is originated under Nolan Richardson, Arkansas is an entertaining watch. They will have a tough time in this one matching up with UConn’s bevy of top tier talent.
Center Andre Drummond (#2) is a beast who is just starting to scratch the surface with his NBA ready body. SG Jeremy Lamb (#11) is a kid I would LOVE to see in a Cavaliers uniform in the future. He had his coming out party in last year’s Final Four and is ready to take the next step in a starring role now that Kemba Walker is gone. PF Alex Oriaki (#46) is a guy I have enjoyed over the past two years. He has beast-like moments in the post, but has fallen off a tad this year with Drummond’s arrival. PG Shabazz Napier doesn’t get much NBA love, but he is a solid college player.
#16 Marquette (6-0) at #7 Wisconsin (6-1) Saturday 4:30, BTN – Not too many must-see NBA guys in this one, but if you want to watch two of the best coached teams in the country in an inter-state rivalry game, then give this one a watch. Marquette SG Darius Johnson-Odom (#35) is one of my favorite players in the country. Wisconsin game North Carolina all they wanted Wednesday night in Chapel Hill, leading deep into the second half thanks to their methodical style and patience. In the end, the UNC talent won out.
Others Worth Watching:
Purdue (5-1) at #11 Xavier (7-0) – check out X’s PG Tu Holloway (#49). My man can go and should be a first team All-American when the year is done.
#17 Pittsburgh (6-1) at Tennessee (3-3) – The new look Volunteers may have three losses already, but they have a rising star in PF Jeronne Maymon, who dominated in Maui last week, including a 33 and 20 performance in Tennessee’s OT loss to Memphis.
#18 Gonzaga (5-0) at Illinois (7-0) – For some reason, there is draft buzz surrounding Illini big man Meyers Leonard (#51). To me, he’s a poor man’s Cole Aldrich at best.