By Jon Rothstein
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I’ll be heading down to 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 below for a break down of where I’m headed.
TUESDAY: UAB AT VCU
Mike Davis’ team has struggled early in the season but still has one of the better players in Conference-USA in forward Cameron Moore. Still, we don’t wish attempting to deal with VCU’s pressure on anyone.
WEDNESDAY: DUQUESNE AT GEORGE MASON
The Dukes played four-guard lineups with regularity and are constantly pushing the tempo. The Patriots should be able to counter since it’s the first game they’ll have veteran floor general Andre Cornelius. Sounds delicious.
THURSDAY: MEMPHIS AT GEORGETOWN
Josh Pastner’s team needs a marquee win and this could be it. They also need to rebound with the Hoyas. Look for Seton Hall transfer Ferrakohn Hall to play a big role in the showdown with the Hoyas.
Davidson coach Bob McKillop avenged the 2008 Elite Eight loss to Kansas on Monday night when he led his team to an 83-74 win over the Jayhawks in Kansas City.
There’s no Stephen Curry on these Wildcats but Davidson will be an absolute nuisance to play for 40 minutes if they are fortunate enough to reach the field of 68.
Fran McCaffery still may be a ways away from making Iowa a legitimate contender in the Big Ten but he does have a special sophomore in 6-foot-5 wing Devyn Marble.
The silky smooth guard looks like a potential second option for the Hawkeyes next to fellow second year player Melsahn Basabe and on the season and has impressively dished out 43 assists to only 11 turnovers so far this season.
Iona and Marshall are two programs that have figured out how to win in their respective conferences.
Both the Gaels and Thundering Herd have had the knack to secure talent that was initially committed to play at a higher level before ultimately choosing their current school.
Thanks to Iona Associate Head Coach Jared Grasso, the Gaels were able to land Mike Glover, who was initially committed to play at Seton Hall and Momo Jones, who started for Arizona last season when they advanced to a regional final in the NCAA Tournament.
Meanwhile, Marshall coach Tom Herrion has thrived on talent that has fallen through the cracks. After Justin Coleman was ruled ineligible at Lousiville, Herrion swiped the 6-foot-5 guard and brought him to Conference-USA. Herrion did the same with forward Robert Goff, who initially committed to play for Jeff Capel at Oklahoma but opened up his commitment when Capel was fired.
JACK IT UP:
Rutgers coach Mike Rice said that both freshmen forwards Kadeem Jack and Malick Kone are ahead of schedule in their hopes to return to the Scarlet Knights.
The loss of the presence of the undersized Kone at power forward is something Rice admits has affected his team’s scoring.
“He was always in the right place at the right time since we moved him to the four,” Rice said last week of Kone. “He had a knack for just finding baskets.”
Florida State is expected to have point guard Ian Miller in the lineup when the Seminoles visit Florida on Thursday night in Gainesville. Miller, who was expected to be the team’s starting point guard this season missed the first semester because of academic issues. Power forward Terrence Shannon is also hopeful to play after nursing a separated shoulder.
The Gators have already went through a vicious non-conference schedule but playing Florida State will bring a different type of test because of the Seminoles’ length and defensive prowess.
Leonard Hamilton’s team is also hopeful that 6-foot-7 freshman wing Antwan Space will make his season debut soon after missing the start of the season with foot surgery.
TRIAL BY FIRE:
No one has any idea how Seton Hall’s freshmen will respond Wednesday on the road at Dayton but here’s one thing we do know — we’ll know a lot more about the Pirates after this game.
THEY SAID IT:
“He’s not a tiger yet. When he becomes a tiger, we’re going to be a much better basketball team,” UCONN coach Jim Calhoun on Huskies freshman center Andre Drummond, who had 24 points, eight rebounds, and five blocks in Sunday’s 77-40 win over Holy Cross.