Stuckey: My Favorite Revenge Spots on Friday’s College Hoops Card
© Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
We are less than a week away from the opening day of the NCAA tournament. Read that sentence again and smile. Just six days until it is officially Christmas. In the interim, we will have plenty of nice situational presents to open. Let’s take a look at what should be a pretty epic Friday college hoops day.
The analysis below contains my eight favorite situational spots on Friday’s card. I will specifically focus on revenge angles today. The eight listed games tip between 1:30 pm ET and 11:30 p.m. ET.
Situational Spots YTD: 49-31-2
Southern Miss +8 (vs Marshall)
1:30 p.m. ET on CBSSN
Middle Tennessee State did not give away that game last night or choke as a 13-point favorite. Southern Miss was simply the better team and took it from the Blue Raiders. USM shot 13-of-25 from deep to match its season high in 3-point makes. The Golden Eagles apparently fancy the sight-lines at the Ford Center.
In regards to Marshall, I think it might come out a little too relaxed. Instead of mentally preparing to beat MTSU for a third time this season, the Thundering Herd found out they will face No. 9 seed Southern Miss, a team they beat by 19 in the only regular season meeting.
I trust Southern Miss head coach Doc Sadler to come up with a game plan to turn this into a half-court game, which will heavily favor the Golden Eagles in a tournament setting. This will be the third game in three days for USM, but I think it can back up that massive upset last night and keep this close.
St. Joseph’s -6.5 (vs. George Mason)
2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN
There is revenge and then there is next-level St. Joseph’s vs George Mason revenge. The Hawks lost to the Patriots twice this season, both of which came on a game winning 3-pointer at the buzzer by the same player!
St Joe’s, which is playing its best basketball of the season, should come out with an extra chip on its shoulder today looking to avenge those two stunning losses. I was extremely impressed with its win over Philly rival LaSalle after an enormous 30-point road win at Rhode Island. Showed a lot of maturity for a team that has battled injuries all season.
The Hawk will never die (or at least not until Saturday).
Old Dominion +1 (vs. Western Kentucky)
4 p.m. ET on CBSSN
Double revenge is in play for the Monarchs, who lost both regular season meetings against WKU. The Toppers may struggle transitioning on back-to-back nights from the non-existent defense of UAB (WKU scored 97 points) to more of a grinder against a solid ODU defense. I also simply rate the Monarchs as the slightly better overall team so will gladly take the +1.
Northern Colorado +3 (vs. Montana)
5:35 p.m. ET
The Bears offense is rolling. They are on a mission after a postseason ban last year, yet are still playing loose and pressure-free basketball. Yesterday, Northern Colorado absolutely destroyed (80-55) a Weber State team that beat it twice in the regular season. I think NCU continues its revenge tour today against a Montana team that won both regular-season meetings by nine points.
Kansas State +7.5 (vs Kansas)
7 p.m. ET on ESPN
Double revenge for the Wildcats, who I’ve come to realize have a better chance of beating their in-state rival outside of Manhattan. Kansas State just seems to get tight in its arena against the Jayhawks. It almost won at Phog this year (missed a shot to win at the buzzer) and then got ran out of its own gym.
Kansas looked impressive yesterday in a blowout win over Oklahoma State, but I don’t take much from that game. That was a perfect spot for the Jayhawks, who had major double revenge against the Okie State, which handed Bill Self his first ever Big 12 regular season sweep in the final game of the season.
The Jayhawks also had another factor working in their favor: the first game without a star player effect. You see this happen in many sports. A star player sits out and every other player steps up in his/her absence. I think we will really see the impact of missing big man Udoka Azubuike.
Clemson +8 (vs. Virginia)
7 p.m. ET on ESPN2
Major revenge at play, as Clemson was flat-out embarrassed by Virginia (61-38) in the only regular season meeting between these two teams. That was the first game Clemson played without star senior forward Donte Grantham, who was lost for the year. Catching eight points will feel like 20 in what should be an ugly rock fight.
Toledo -2 (vs. Eastern Michigan)
9 p.m. ET
I expect a focused Toledo effort after surviving the scare it received from Miami (OH) yesterday. The Rockets also have double revenge against Eastern Michigan, which ruined Senior Night at Toledo with a two-point win one week ago today.
Oregon +2.5 (vs. USC)
11:30 p.m. ET on FS1
Not sure how the Ducks are still alive, but these quick turnarounds are where Dana Altman really makes a difference in a tournament setting. Oregon should play a lot looser after surviving scares the past two nights. The Ducks can now take on the underdog role against a team they lost twice to in the regular season, one of which came on a USC buzzer beater.
Top photo: Kansas State forward Dean Wade ; credit: © Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports