College Basketball

The Daily Word: Wednesday, Nov. 15.

What you need to know in college basketball for Wednesday, Nov. 15:

1. Indiana at Seton Hall in the Gavitt Tipoff Games could be ugly early if the Hoosiers don’t defend. The Pirates will be a force in the Big East this season. Myles Powell, Angel Delgado, Desi Rodriguez and Khadeen Carrington will be going right at the Hoosiers. Indiana must try to keep the Pirates out of the paint and win the 50-50 plays. That’s where the Pirates have excelled under Kevin Willard. This team finds the ball. Indiana saved face with the win over Howard on Sunday after giving up 90 to Indiana State in a season-opening loss in Bloomington. The good news for IU was the play of Justin Smith and Al Durham in the win over Howard. Freshmen will take time to develop and the fan base must be patient. Expect the Pirates to challenge Villanova for the Big East regular-season title (with Xavier, Providence and Creighton likely pushing at times, too). 

2.BYU at Princeton is one of those hidden gem games. I love this one. The Cougars thrive on running under Dave Rose when they can. Well, they should be able to score this season and maybe finally not fade in late February. Elijah Bryant put up 27 points and Yoeli Childs had 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Cougars. Now, will they be able to produce against Princeton? On the road? In a WCC-like gym? Harvard and a healthy Yale are projected to be the league favorites in the Ivy. But don’t discount Princeton. The Tigers won 19 games last season. They were 14-0 in the Ivy and won the inaugural Ivy League tournament, pushing Notre Dame in the first round of the NCAA tournament. But the Tigers are in position to retool. Jerome Desrosiers, Sebastian Much and Ryan Schwieger — freshmen — will be major factors for the Tigers. Combine them with Amir Bell, Devin Cannady and Myles Stephens and the Tigers have the pieces to be serious pests to the supposed-favorites. 

RELATED: Andy Katz breaks down Duke’s win

3. Butler will need to be on to knock off Maryland on the road in the Gavitt Tipoff Games. The Bulldogs, under new coach but familiar Butler name LaVall Jordan, have a stud in Kelan Martin. He scored 20 and had 14 boards in a 10-point win over — Princeton (see above). Martin lit up Kennesaw State for 20 in the season opener. Butler usually defends at a high clip. The Tigers were able to put up 75 on Butler. Maryland has the potential to light it up. The Terps are in that mix of Big Ten teams with Wisconsin, Iowa and Penn State, who could definitely push the projected top four of Michigan State, Purdue, Minnesota and Northwestern. Anthony Cowan and Kevin Huerter will be names to remember throughout the season. Once again, kudos to the Big East and Big Ten for creating big-time matchups in mid-November. Oh wait, there is one more tonight……

4.Creighton at Northwestern could be pretty, pretty, pretty good. The Bluejays can score at a high, high clip this season. Senior guard Marcus Foster is one of the main reasons why. He’s only averaging 23 points in two games, granted one of them was against a depleted Yale team. Still, the Bluejays were relentless in both wins. Khyri Thomas and Mitchell Ballock will be solid contributors throughout the season. Creighton should feel familiar in Rosemont, Ill., since the Wildcats are playing in DePaul’s former home while Welsh-Ryan is being redone. The Wildcats are done basking in the glow of the first-ever NCAA tournament berth. This season is anew and the Wildcats are ready to keep rolling. Not too many teams have four consistent starters like Northwestern does with Scottie Lindsey, Bryant McIntosh, Dererk Pardon and Vic Law. Just a hunch, but this game will go down to the last few possessions and have a round of 32 feel. 

MORE: The latest in college basketball news | A guide to early season tournaments

5.Central Arkansas at UCLA makes the list? Seriously. Well, why not, considering the Bruins are playing their first game since beating Georgia Tech in Shanghai, China last Friday night. The Bruins will have a news conference earlier in the day with the three players — LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill — who were being investigated for a theft and held for days in a Chinese hotel. They are expected to make statements and not take questions. How UCLA handles them today, tonight and going forward is still unknown. The Bruins clearly should coast to a win, but it will still be interesting to see how the Bruins handle the jet lag. Will Aaron Holiday and Thomas Welsh continue to ascend as leaders? Plenty of Bruins’ questions remain. 

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