College hoops is in full swing with the Gavitt Tipoff Games and the Phil Knight Invitational kicking off tonight. These early nonconference games provide teams opportunities for resume-building wins, and are great for the game of college basketball. Here’s a preview of Tuesday night’s games:
Creighton (+4.5) at Michigan, 6:30pm
The Wolverines (1-0) host the Bluejays in the first big-time matchup under new head coach Juwan Howard. Michigan led by as many as 30 points last Tuesday before Appalachian State’s comeback ended with a 79-71 loss. Junior Eli Brooks led the Wolverines with 24 points, including five three-pointers. Zavier Simpson and Jon Teske are a few other players to watch for the Wolverines.
Creighton (1-0) defeated Kennesaw State 81-55 behind a combined 37 points from Ty-Shon Alexander and Marcus Zegarowski. Hot three-point shooting is back in Omaha again this year, as the Bluejays knocked down 12/25 from deep against the Owls. Greg McDermot will look to get his team back to the NCAA Tournament this year after going 18-14 in 2018-19. It won’t be easy, but a road win vs Michigan would be a great start. Since 2017, the Wolverines are 32-1 when favored at home.
Missouri (+6.0) at Xavier, 7:00pm
The Musketeers welcome the Tigers to the Cintas Center in an SEC/Big East showdown. Missouri (2-0) is led by Jeremiah Tilmon’s 14.5 PPG, 6.0 RPG and 3.5 BPG. Cuonzo Martin is in his third year in Columbia, which includes an NCAA Tournament birth in Year One and an underwhelming 15-17 record last season. Tonight’s road tilt at Xavier is a golden opportunity to add a Quadrant-I win to the NCAA Tournament resume. Since 2015, the Tigers are just 2-18 against ranked opponents.
It’s Travis Steele’s second year since Chris Mack took the Louisville job, and expectations are already sky high in 2019. The 21st-ranked Musketeers (2-0) own blowout wins over Jacksonville and Siena, and are led by two veterans in Tyrique Jones and Naji Marshall. Tonight will be a great early-season test for a Xavier squad that should advance past the First Round in March.
Minnesota (+9.5) at Butler, 8:30pm
The Gophers (1-1) travel to Hinkle Fieldhouse to take on the Bulldogs Tuesday evening. The lone loss for Richard Pitino’s team was against Oklahoma on Saturday 71-62 in Sioux Falls, SD. Minnesota actually held a 10-point lead mid-way through the 2nd half, before the Sooners eventually pulled away. Keep an eye on Marcus Carr, the sophomore out of Toronto, as he leads the team in points (17.0), assists (7.0) and steals (1.5) per game.
The Bulldogs (2-0) are off to a solid start in 2019, with Sean McDermott averaging 19.5 points and 7 rebounds per game thus far. Aaron Thompson, the junior out of Glenn Dale, MD, is third in the country with 9.5 APG. This is the first of many tests in the non-conference portion for Butler, as they still face Missouri, Ole Miss, Florida, Baylor and Purdue all before January. Minnesota leads the all-time series vs Butler 3-0, with the most recent meeting taking place in 2009 in Minneapolis.
Oregon (-4.0) vs Memphis, 9:00pm
The 14th ranked Ducks take on the 13th ranked Tigers in nearby Portland in a neutral site clash. The obvious question many are asking is whether or not highly-touted freshman James Wiseman will be available. As of Tuesday morning, all signs point to him playing, which is good news for Memphis and for college basketball. The Tigers (2-0) are led by Wiseman’s 22.5 PPG on 83.3% FG and 10 RPG, and notched two easy wins over USC Upstate and Illinois-Chicago.
Oregon, which is led by veteran floor-general Payton Pritchard’s 21.5 PPG and 7.0 APG, steamrolled two Mountain West opponents to get to 2-0, as well. The Ducks (2-0) will go as far as Pritchard takes them, as he is arguably the best all-around point guard in college hoops. Since 2016, the Ducks are 19-8 overall in neutral site games and 9-5 vs ranked opponents.
Miami (-1.0) at UCF , 9:00pm
After getting a bad draw with opening the season against Louisville, the ‘Canes got to 1-1 with a win over FAU. In the victory, Chris Lykes led the Hurricanes with 15 points and three rebounds as the Owls were limited to just 34.8% shooting. If Miami has any plans of winning tonight in Orlando, guys not named Chris Lykes are going to have to step up and make shots.
The Knights (1-0) squeaked past Prairie View A&M on opening night 73-69. Dazon Ingram, the Alabama transfer, led the UCF with 16 points and seven boards. The Knights lost two huge pieces (literally) from last year’s NCAA Tournament squad in Tacko Fall and Aubrey Dawkins. Since 2017, UCF is 0-5 as a home underdog.
Oklahoma (-1.5) vs Oregon State, 11:00pm
The Sooners beat UTSA on opening night and edged Minnesota to get to 2-0 on the season. Austin Reaves (17 PPG, 6 RPG and 3.5 APG) and Brady Manek (16.5 PPG and 7.5 RPG) are two names to keep an eye on in tonight’s matchup against the Beavers. Both are veteran guys who have played in big, neutral-site games before. Since 2015, Oklahoma is 42-17 in non-conference games
Tres Tinkle is the guy NBA scouts will have their eyes on, as he will be the best player on the floor. Tinkle, whose father, Wayne, is the head coach, is averaging 26 PPG, 10.5 RPG and 5.5 APG and is a POY candidate in the Pac-12. The Beavers got past Iowa State 80-74 on Saturday behind Tinkle’s 27 points. They’ll need to see that kind of production, and then some, to get a victory over Lon Kruger’s Sooners.