College hoops are back with a bang tonight. The NCAA Men’s Basketball season is gearing up to be a great one, in light of all the craziness caused by COVID-19, and tonight will see several top teams take the courts. With the NBA getting started today, as well, basketball fans have to be happy with the selections.
Jayhawks And Mountaineers In A Duel
The AP #7 Mountaineers of West Virginia come down out of the hills and head to Lawrence, KS, to take on the AP #3 University of Kansas Jayhawks. This one should be a war, with some spectacular basketball thrown in for good measure. Both teams are at 7-1 early in the season. Tonight, the Jayhawks will be 2-point favorites, perhaps for home field advantage, and the Over/Under is at 139.
Besides the opening game against Gonzaga, Kansas is allowing just 61.1 points per game to their opponents. Against other opponents not named Gonzaga, West Virginia is allowing just 65.4 points per game.
Northwestern State from Louisiana will get another shot at the number-one team tonight due to Gonzaga’s need to play some more games after missing five contests due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So, a simple solution was found – play back to back games with Northwestern State.
The Zags need the playing time and the Demons of Northwestern State are thrilled to get to see how they stack up against the very best in both the AP and Coaches polls this week. It’s not that often that an opportunity like that comes up. The Over/Under is at 168 for this one.
Gonzaga Stays On Top
Gonzaga head coach Mark Few is happy, as well, just to get his guys out there playing a real game against anybody at this point. His Bulldogs beat the Demons 95-57 last night when Corey Kispert scored 27 points to lead Gonzaga’s scoring.
In a post-game interview last night, Coach Few told reporters, “It’s not always going to be #1 versus #3,” referencing the Bulldogs win over then #3 Iowa on Saturday. “We need a game tomorrow more than we need practice.”
After getting outclassed and outscored, McConathy said in a post game interview, “They’re really, really good. It was a great opportunity to play against the No. 1 team in the nation, and we get to do it again tomorrow. We have to cut down on our turnovers and keep our guys up, keep encouraging them.”
Hawkeyes Off To A Great Start
The number-4 ranked Iowa Hawkeyes take on the Boilermakers of Purdue at Iowa City tonight in their Big 10 opener. The Hawkeyes are 6-1 and won those first six games in a row by an average of 32 points before getting outclassed by number-one ranked Gonzaga 99-88 last Saturday.
Coach McCaffery said after the game against Gonzaga, “This was a great game to play before conference play. You have to learn from it. We made some mistakes. We did some good things. You have to look at where can we get better collectively and individually.”
Purdue has beaten the Hawkeyes the last five meetings between these two teams and is coming off three victories in a row. The Boilermakers beat then-No. 20 Ohio State in their Big 10 opener, 67-60, and Saturday’s 78-68 victory over Notre Dame in Indianapolis.
All American Luka Garza of the Hawkeyes is averaging 29.3 points per game plus 9.1 rebounds and 2.3 blocked shots while shooting 69.6 % from the field. He had 30 points on 13-18 shooting, 10 rebounds and three rejections against Gonzaga. Garza also has four 30-point games this season with a high of 41, while Joe Wieskamp has been averaging 29.3 points per game and also played well against Gonzaga with 20 points, 9 rebounds and three steals. Tonight, the Hawkeyes are 6.5-point favorites over Purdue with the Over/Under set 154.5.