Viewer's Guide: SMU looks to continue hot start at Arkansas
After an interesting Sunday of hoops, we have several talented mid-majors looking for wins. Plus, an up-tempo battle between Arkansas and SMU.
While fall Sundays are usually reserved for NFL action, there was plenty of intriguing college hoops to watch. North Carolina went down at the hands of Belmont, while Iowa State beat Michigan. And now we get into week three of the young season, and several mid-majors will look for statement wins on Monday.
Note: All times are Eastern, and the rankings are according to the AP Poll.
Best game: SMU at Arkansas (8 p.m.). This one should have some impressive athleticism on the floor. SMU and Arkansas are both 2-0, with the Mustangs’ 31-point drubbing of Rhode Island the best win for either team. Nic Moore has been fantastic in the early season for Larry Brown’s team, but Arkansas will look to pressure him and turn him over. On the other side, SMU’s length and size on the defensive end has been a nuisance for opponents. Can Alandise Harris and Michael Qualls find open looks inside?
Second-best game: Southern Miss at North Dakota State (8 p.m., Regional TV). A couple of teams with NCAA tournament hopes will go at it looking for a decent early-season win. Southern Miss is coming off a victory last week at DePaul, while North Dakota State is still looking for its first Division-I win of the season. NDSU’s duo of Taylor Braun and Marshall Bjorklund is difficult to stop, but the Bison have five guys in double-figures. Southern Miss slows the game down, but finds ways to force turnovers.
Another one to watch: Drexel at Elon (5 p.m.). It wouldn’t be a shock to see both of these teams win their conferences and end up in the NCAA tournament. Drexel will be competing with Towson in the CAA, as Damion Lee, Frantz Massenat and Chris Fouch form one of the better guard trios in the mid-major ranks. Elon counters with all five starters back from a 21-win team. Lucas Troutman is terrific on the inside, while Tanner Samson and Sebastian Koch anchor the perimeter. Getting Jack Isenbarger back from a stress reaction injury is huge.
Guaranteed win: If you stay up until 11 p.m. to watch a couple of top-25 teams, you’re likely to see a couple of blowouts. There’s No. 6 Arizona hosting Fairleigh Dickinson (11 p.m., ESPNU) and No. 24 UCLA hosting Sacramento State (11 p.m., Pac-12 Network). Arizona is coming off an impressive road win at San Diego State, while UCLA beat Drexel and Oakland to start the season.
Potential upset: I was planning on going with Miami at Charleston (7:30 p.m., Regional TV), but it turns out the Cougars are the favorite in that one. Instead, I’ll go with Canisius tripping to Rutgers (7:30 p.m., ESPN3). Rutgers has gotten off to an up and down start under Eddie Jordan, but the Scarlet Knights pulled out a one-point win over Yale last time out. Meanwhile, Canisius got throttled by St. Bonaventure – but the backcourt of Billy Baron and Chris Perez will give Rutgers fits. I also think SWAC favorite Texas Southern will give Texas Tech (9 p.m., ESPNU) a run in Lubbock.
Three things to keep an eye on:
- Providence is off to a nice 3-0 start, but America East favorite Vermont is coming to town on Monday (7 p.m., FOX Sports 1).
- No. 2 Michigan State needed a late run to beat Columbia on Friday; will Portland pose a threat (7 p.m., Big Ten Network)? And can St. Francis Brooklyn give No. 9 Syracuse a scare (7:30 p.m., ESPN3)?
- Two ranked teams that shouldn’t have too many issues are No. 4 Duke and No. 11 Florida. The Blue Devils host UNC Asheville (7 p.m., ESPNU), while the Gators welcome Southern (7 p.m., ESPN3).
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