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Rothstein Files: 3-Day College Basketball Road Trip

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Shaka Smart (credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

Shaka Smart (credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

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By Jon Rothstein
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I’ll be heading down I-95 starting today to take in three different college hoops games in three nights.

Check back to this space for updates throughout the week and a break down of where I’m headed.

TUESDAY: WESTERN KENTUCKY AT VCU

The Hilltoppers played at Murray State on Sunday without their leading scorer T.J. Price (high ankle sprain, status uncertain) and took the Racers to the brink before falling by five. Can they push VCU at the Siegel Center? Not if the Rams played like they did on Saturday against Alabama. Shaka Smart’s team pounded the Crimson Tide 73-54 over the weekend and really got strong mileage out of their bench. It will take a special game from Western Kentucky to keep this tilt close in the final minutes.

WEDNESDAY: CANISIUS AT TEMPLE

Several MAAC coaches have said that Jim Baron’s team is vastly underrated and that means the Golden Griffins should give the Owls a stern test in Philadelphia. Temple has all the requisites to win 20 or more games once again but they need to stabilize their point guard situation. Sophomore floor general Will Cummings is still finding his way as a starter and he’ll be going against a grizzled veteran in Billy Baron, who transferred to Canisius from Rhode Island to play for his father. Fran Dunphy knows his team is good but doesn’t know yet if they’re capable of being great. This will be another grind it out affair at home for the Owls.

THURSDAY: IONA AT LA SALLE

We’re salivating about the possibilities of this one. Tim Cluess has made Iona a landing spot for great mid-major guards and La Salle is a legitimate sleeper in the Atlantic 10 because of their explosiveness on the perimeter. The ironic thing about this game thought is it could come down to the big men. The Gaels have had trouble rebounding so far this season and arguably their most talented player, David Laury will be making his season debut on Thursday. The 6-7 point forward will have to make a difference on the boards against the Explorers’ front line of Jerrell Wright and Steve Zack.

Your predictions? Let’s hear ‘em in the comments!

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