Tuesday, December 18, 2012

12/18/12 Games To Watch

Richmond at Kansas 7pm ESPN2

Richmond has been playing good ball this season and has Derrick Williams down low - who is an absolute load. How will Jeff Withey and company fare against his physicality? Ben McLemore has scored at least 17 points in his last three games, besting his scoring average each time. Travis Relaford has been the best perimeter defender for Kansas and has created many easy baskets. And he is also much improved at the free throw line this year. He was the Jayhawks glue guy last year and has turned into a major player this year. Kevin Young has done a nice job taking over as the new glue guy. Elijah Johnson has scored over 8 points twice in his last 6 games and has actually taken less shots this year than the previous season.

Stanford at North Carolina State 9pm ESPN2

North Carolina State gets their first test since the edged out UCONN early in the month. TJ Warren has taken over the scoring lead for the Wolfpack, with Richard Howell surprisingly the #2 guy. Both have been ultra efficient. For Lorenzo Brown, he will have another tough matchup against a point guard - this time seeing Chasson Randle. He's already been bested by Marcus Smart, Shabazz Napier, and Trey Burke this year. Randle doesn't get much exposure on the West Coast, but he's a big time player. He played great in Puerto Rico and is now looking to get back on track on a national stage.

Oral Roberts at Arizona 9pm Pac-12 Network

After an emotional victory over Florida that saw their upperclassmen step up, Arizona looks to continue their winning ways against Oral Roberts. Nick Johnson has been their best player early on - leading the team in assists and points while managing less turnovers and better efficiency than Mark Lyons. Lyons change of teams and positions has gotten off to a shaky start. Also look out for Oral Roberts' Warren Niles, a senior who is averaging 21 points per game. He has scored 21 in each of his last three contests and has been deadly from three.

UC Santa Barbara at California 11pm Pac-12 Network

For the night owls, there are two good games over on the west coast. I'm really looking forward to seeing  sophomore Alan Williams who has appeared to be an absolute beast this season. He's 25-40 from the field over his last 3 games, including a 29 point performance in a win over Santa Clara. He also rebounds the ball well and seems pretty nimble for a 6-7 240 pounder. He will need to stay out of foul trouble against Cal - something he has been unable to do. He has acrued at least 4 fouls in 6 of his 7 games against D1 opponents. For Cal, they look to end their 3 game losing streak. Allen Crabbe was 6-26 against Creighton but has been otherwise pretty solid this season.

Long Beach State at UCLA 11pm Pac-12 Network

This game offers two physical and athletic small forwards going against each other. James Ennis is the senior and could very well get the better of freshman Shabazz Muhammad. Long Beach State is battle tested and ready to pull off an upset after losing to North Carolina, Syracuse, Arizona, and Ohio State already.

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