Today's Specials: Parker's decision overshadows on-court action
There are some intriguing battles Thursday, but the biggest college hoops moment takes place on the recruiting circuit.
|On Thursday, Jabari Parker will announce between Duke, Michigan State, Florida, Stanford and BYU. (US Presswire)|
It was nice to get back to normalcy in college basketball this week, with plenty of action on Tuesday and Wednesday -- as well as the Myck Kabongo news Wednesday night. What will Thursday bring? A battle of explosive backcourts will be fun to watch, although the biggest news of Thursday comes in the recruiting world. Top-five prospect Jabari Parker will make his college announcement at 4 p.m. on ESPNU, when he will choose between Duke, Michigan State, Florida, BYU and Stanford. My gut feeling is Duke.
Note: All times are Eastern, and the rankings are according to the AP poll.
Best game: Iona Gaels at La Salle Explorers (7 p.m.). If you like exciting guards, this is the game to watch. Iona has Lamont Jones and Sean Armand , two players averaging at least 20 points per game. La Salle counters with the duo of Ramon Galloway and Tyreek Duren , plus Virginia Tech transfer Tyrone Garland just became eligible. Iona also picks up the services of David Laury , a transfer forward that has people in New Rochelle excited. It’s tough not to get excited for the backcourt battle in this one.
Second-best game: Robert Morris Colonials at Arkansas Razorbacks (8 p.m., ESPN3). With LIU Brooklyn’s Julian Boyd out for the season with a torn ACL, does Robert Morris become the favorite in the Northeast Conference? The Colonials have won five in a row, including home wins over Ohio and Duquesne. Arkansas has been up and down, but does have a victory over Oklahoma. Look at the head-to-head matchup between Arkansas’ BJ Young and Robert Morris’ Velton Jones . Arkansas will look to push tempo.
Another one to watch: Lehigh Mountain Hawks at North Texas Mean Green (8 p.m.). North Texas has been something of a disappointment this season, but the ability to watch two of the best players in the country -- Lehigh’s C.J. McCollum and NT’s Tony Mitchell -- is reason enough to check in. Mitchell hasn’t been as dominant this season as he was a year ago, but he needs to step up against the Mountain Hawks. Moreover, North Texas needs to guard the perimeter -- Lehigh will light it up from 3.
Guaranteed win: Duke Blue Devils ’s first big moment Thursday could come at 4 p.m., when Parker announces. Will the Blue Devils land Parker? Three hours later, the No. 1 Blue Devils host Elon Phoenix (7 p.m., ESPNU). Duke put on a tremendous performance in the second half against Cornell on Wednesday night, and will look to carry that over against Elon.
Potential upset: It’s been a rough week for Wichita State Shockers . First, the Shockers suffered their first loss of the season, to Tennessee. Then, it was announced that leading scorer and rebounder Carl Hall would miss a month with a thumb injury -- and now Rob Baker will miss six weeks with a stress fracture. Can Charleston Southern Buccaneers take advantage of a depleted Wichita State unit (8 p.m., ESPN3)?
Three things to keep an eye on:
- It looked like Memphis Tigers was going to come up with a big win over the weekend against Louisville, but the Tigers fell short. They face Lipscomb Bison on Thursday (8 p.m.).
- Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks sent a message to the rest of the Southland by beating Oklahoma on Tuesday; the Lumberjacks face Grambling Tigers (8 p.m.)
- No. 2 Michigan is in action Thursday, hosting Eastern Michigan Eagles (8:30 p.m., Big Ten Network).
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