Under the Radar Game of the Day: Siena at Florida Gulf Coast (and other News, Notes and Highlighted Games)

Siena at Florida Gulf Coast, 8:00 PM Eastern, espn3

For our most recent Under the Radar video podcast, CLICK HERE.

The Under the Radar Game of the Day today comes from Fort Myers, Florida where the Atlantic Sun’s FGCU Eagles will be hosting the MAAC’s Siena Saints.  Florida Gulf Coast enters the game tonight at 5-3 on the season.  Their three losses (Florida, Baylor and Michigan State) have all been very respectable, and they really could have won the Michigan State game.  They also have already scored a home win over Texas-Arlington, a win which is even more impressive after Arlington pretty much dominated 12th-ranked St. Mary’s on the road last night.  Brandon Goodwin is coming off of one of his best games of his career last time out, when he put up a double-double in a win over Georgia Southern, with 12 points and 10 assists.  Also keep an eye on Zach Johnson who has averaged over 18 points per game in his last three.

Siena enters play tonight at only 3-6 overall, a record we are somewhat disappointed in given that they had been our preseason pick to win the MAAC, despite the returning depth and talent at Monmouth.  The Saints have already fallen once in early conference play, losing last time out at Rider.  Brett Bisping was held to only 9 points in that loss, though he did pull down an impressive 15 rebounds.  Nico Clareth, who had scored 33 against Fairfield, only had 12 points, but did add 9 rebounds of his own to just miss the double-double.  The Saints will need to find more scoring if they want to pick up the win tonight on the road over the team that has emerged as the clear favorite to win the Atlantic Sun.

LAST NIGHT’S GAMES

– As alluded to earlier, Texas-Arlington got a huge win at Saint Mary’s last night by a 65-51 score. The Mavs led almost the entire game and the Gaels never got closer than 11 points in the 2nd half. It’s a slight blip on the Gaels’ profile, but it was a huge win for Arlington after beating Texas earlier in the year and missing opportunities at Minnesota and Arkansas.

– We’ve said before that Iowa is an alligator hole (or snake pit as Griggs calls it), but they were able to rebound and avenge their Cy-Hawk loss from last year with a 78-64 victory over Iowa State. The Hawkeyes are reloading this year, but it definitely gives them a boost going into the upcoming holiday season and B1G season.

– Middle Tennessee is threatening to leave UTR territory and enter the Top 25 with a thrashing of Vanderbilt last night. The Blue Raiders are now 9-1 and will have an upcoming road trip to Belmont and VCU where they can add even further to their profile.

HIGHLIGHTED BUY GAMES (in a manner of speaking)

– Hartford at Boston College
– Wake Forest at UNC-Greensboro (bizarro buy game)
– Longwood at Creighton – If you’re looking for polar opposites in the RPI, this is your mismatch of the night!
– Georgia Southern at Minnesota

Under the Radar: December 8th

Chad, John, and David begin by looking at Conference USA, and Middle Tennessee in particular, who has just one loss on the season and several impressive wins, including blowout wins over both Ole Miss and Vanderbilt.  They are a legitimate NCAA Tournament team and if they keep going like they have been, they won’t need to win the conference tournament in order to make it.  Valpo, Chattanooga, and UNC Wilmington are three other teams that we spend a lot of time discussing.  As always, we run through all 22 Under the Radar conferences, review what was a big week for the Team of the People in New Hampshire #GoDancingOrDie, and reveal this week’s UTR Top Ten.

 

And for all you radio lovers, below is an audio only version of the show…

Throwback Thursday: The 1955 and 1956 San Francisco (USF) Dons

For Chad Sherwood’s UTR Game of the Day between Yale and Sacred Heart (along with today’s news and notes) – CLICK HERE

While we at HoopsHD normally do not look favorably on games against non-DI opponents, an exception needs to be made for USF earlier this week. They beat San Francisco State 91-59 in a game that was held at the ancient Kezar Pavilion at Golden Gate Park. Kezar Pavilion was home to the Dons until 1958 and was home to back-to-back national champions for the 1954-55 and 1955-56 seasons. The game against San Francisco State was the first time in 58 years that USF would play at Kezar!

Led by coach Phil Woolpert and future NBA Hall-of-Famers Bill Russell and KC Jones, the Dons were the class of what was the California Basketball Association at that time. This was a conference that included USF, Saint Mary’s, Pacific, Santa Clara and San Jose State. With only 5 teams in the conference, each school would play each other 3 times in the season, and USF swept through the regular season 12-0 in the 1954-55 season.

Their only blemish that year was at UCLA – they lost against the Bruins on December 11, 1954 but would avenge that game a week later. After sweeping 3 games in a round-robin event at Oklahoma City against Wichita State, Oklahoma City and George Washington, the Dons began their ascent in the polls and would be #1 in the country by February. When the NCAA Tournament came around in March, the Dons defeated West Texas A&M, Utah and Oregon State (in a close 1-point win) to advance to the Final Four in Kansas City’s Municipal Auditorium. In the Final Four, USF defeated Colorado 62-50 and denied La Salle (77-63) a shot at their 2nd straight title in the championship game. Utah, Oregon State, Colorado and La Salle were all nationally ranked at the time the Dons defeated them in the tournament (as were UCLA, Wichita State and GW during the regular season).

While USF finished 28-1 in the 1954-55 season, they would finish a perfect 29-0 the following season. The California Basketball Association added Loyola Marymount, Pepperdine and Fresno State to their conference, but none of the other 7 teams could challenge the Dons’ supremacy in the league. DePaul, UCLA, Holy Cross and Wichita State were also noteworthy teams that USF beat during the regular season. USF would begin the year ranked #1 in the polls and would finish the year ranked #1 from start to finish.

As for the 1956 NCAA Tournament, UCLA and Utah offered little resistance in what was called the “Far West” regional (played in Corvallis, Oregon) that year to USF – Temple advanced from the East, Iowa from the Midwest and SMU won the “West” regional (if you consider Lawrence, Kansas to be “West”). The Dons defeated SMU 86-68 and Iowa 83-71 in Evanston, Illinois for their 2nd straight title. In all, USF won 59 straight games (55 against D-I opponents) before finally losing a game in the 1956-57 season at Illinois. That season, the Dons finished 3rd in the Final 4 with a loss to eventual runner-up Kansas and a win against Michigan State.

Under the Radar Game of the Day: Yale at Sacred Heart (and Other News, Notes and Highlighted Games: Thurs, Dec 8)

Yale at Sacred Heart, 8:00 PM Eastern, necfrontrow.com

With finals upon us, the basketball slate tonight is rather sparse (only 11 games total on the entire schedule), and the UTR Game of the Day has found its way to Fairfield, Connecticut where the Sacred Heart Pioneers will be hosting intrastate foe Yale.  Sacred Heart enters tonight’s game at 4-5 overall.  Although they have suffered losses to Hartford, Northern Colorado and Santa Clara, the Pioneers have also picked up a few nice wins, most notably a road victory at Fordham.  Quincy McKnight was especially impressive in their last game out (a win over Umass-Lowell), scoring 34 points, grabbing 9 rebounds and dishing out 5 assists.  McKnight has now topped the 20 point mark six times this season.  However, he was held to only 2 points in the Fordham win, and it was Joseph Lopez, with 19 points and 10 rebounds, who led the way in that victory.

Yale enters play tonight at 3-4 overall, including their notable season-opening win at Washington.  Three of the Bulldogs’ four losses have been at Virginia, at Pittsburgh and at Vermont, none of which are anything to hang one’s head in shame over.  They finally broke their four game losing streak last time out with a solid home win over Albany.  Anthony Dallier and Alex Copeland tied for the team lead with 15 points each in that game.  Also keep an eye on Miye Oni, a double-double threat every time he takes the floor.  A road win tonight will help Yale gain some momentum as they head into a stretch where four of their last five non-conference games will be at home.

LAST NIGHT’S GAMES

– It was a mixed bag for the Big East conference last night – both Seton Hall and Creighton won notable games away from home against Cal (at Pearl Harbor) and Nebraska, respectively. While neither Cal nor Nebraska are world-beaters, both were noteworthy wins, especially for Seton Hall who desperately needed that game. Butler and Xavier were not able to escape against Indiana State and Colorado – both games went down to the final seconds. Neither loss was critically damaging, although Xavier still has yet to win a road game despite 3 neutral-court wins at the Tire Pros Invitational.

– George Mason is slowly starting to look like a team to watch under Dave Paulsen; they now have wins against Northern Iowa and Penn State on the road to add to what is currently a 6-game winning streak. They stumbled early in the year at home against Towson and Mount St. Mary’s, so they’ve still got work to do if they want to get to the NCAAs in March. They have a good shot at being a noisemaker in a reloading year for the Atlantic 10.

– As for other Top 25 action, Davidson did give North Carolina a scare in the DeanDome but was unable to snag an upset. Gonzaga rolled over Washington in Spokane.

OTHER HIGHLIGHTED GAMES

-IOWA STATE AT IOWA.  We love this rivalry!  To give you an idea of the intensity, last year Iowa State was ranked #2 in the country, and after beating an unranked Iowa team at home, the fans stormed the court.  So, this one is a huge deal both on and off paper.  Iowa State clearly looks to be the better team and could really use a true road win on their profile, but don’t forget the rivalry factor.  It won’t be an easy game for them to win.

-VANDERBILT AT MIDDLE TENNESSEE.  There aren’t too many UTR teams that seem to have a strong path to land inside the bubble, but Middle Tennessee is one of the few.  With that being said, they really need to win this one at home.

-FORDHAM AT ST. JOHN’S. This was a game that Fordham won last year that got chippy toward the end of the game. The Johnnies will be looking for revenge in this one.

-PACIFIC AT UMASS.  Buy game

-NICHOLLS AT FLORIDA STATE.  Buy game

-TEXAS ARLINGTON AT SAINT MARY’S.  This is a buy game, but we think UTA will be a Sun Belt frontrunner and may be able to compete with SMC.

News, Notes, and Highlighted Games: Wednesday, Dec 7th

NEWS AND NOTES

-For Chad Sherwood’s UTR Game of the Day between Wright State and Loyola Chicago – CLICK HERE

-A busy night last night with some noteworthy results that may have gone unnoticed.  Saint Bonaventure picked up a really nice road win at Hofstra, which may not sound like a lot, but Hofstra is generally a very good team at home, and with just two losses Saint Bona may be a team to keep an eye on.

Chattanooga also overcame an early double digit deficit to come back and beat Marshall, who came into that game with just one loss.  Chattanooga was at home so they won’t get a ton of credit for it, but it does indicate that they’re good enough to win out or come close to it, which is what they’ll have to do in order to impress the committee.

-Rhode Island didn’t have too much trouble at home against an Old Dominion team that isn’t great, but isn’t always the easiest team to beat either

-As for the spotlight games, Duke looked like Duke and although they didn’t blow out a very good Florida team, they didn’t exactly sweat them out either.  They are not at full strength, and they still look like the nation’s best team.  Just imagine when they get back to full strength.

-Villanova didn’t really sweat out La Salle either, but La Salle was competitive, and was even within four with less than two minutes to go.  La Salle was a sub-200 team a year ago, and are easily a top 100 team this year.  It’s a long shot, but they will have opportunities at good wins in the future.  At 4-3 with some pretty decent showings so far they are a team to at least keep an eye on.

-Michigan got a nice win at home against a Texas team that has been struggling.  It came down to the final seconds, and you got the sense that both teams kind of needed a win like this not so much for their paper, but for their momentum and morale.  At 4-4 Texas still has a ton of opportunities ahead of them, but they do have quite a bit of ground to make up.  It wasn’t the most aesthetically pleasing game, but it was a close and exciting game.

-Ohio State followed up a very impressive recent showing at Virginia with a very unimpressive eye gouging performance last night at home against Florida Atlantic.  They ended up losing in overtime in what has to be one of the biggest toe stubs of the year by a team that we actually think can make the Tournament.  I know UConn lost to Wagner, but UConn no longer falls into the category of “teams that we think can make the tournament.”

-Both Minnesota and Illinois had to sweat out home buy games as well.  Chances are we won’t be talking about either one of them for much longer.

-Notre Dame crushed Fort Wayne.  They made the score look respectable in the final minutes, but for most of the game Notre Dame led by 20+ points.  I was excited about this game and thought Fort Wayne would compete.  I was wrong.

 

HIGHLIGHTED GAMES

-GEORGE MASON AT PENN STATE.  Both teams come in at 6-3 and I suppose it’s possible that one or both of them may have a pulse.

-BUFFALO AT PITTSBURGH.  This is a buy game, but Buffalo should at least be able to compete so we’ll go ahead and highlight it.

-GEORGIA TECH AT VCU.  VCU needs to come into this game with a sense of urgency.  They’re 6-2, which isn’t terrible, but they don’t exactly have a huge margin for error right now either.

-BUTLER AT INDIANA STATE.  This is a winnable road game for a Butler team that has looked very good so far this year.

-CALIFORNIA VS SETON HALL (Pearl Harbor Classic).  This is a neutral floor win that both teams could really use, and would be their biggest win of the season to date.

-VALPARAISO AT KENTUCKY.  We’ve been saying that we think Valpo is a fringe bubble team and that they have a chance to make the NCAAs even without the automatic bid.  They’re way overmatched tonight, but if they somehow pull this off, they’ll no longer be a fringe bubble team.  They’ll be a solid NCAA team.

-TCU AT SMU.  TCU is a surprise team so far this year.  They come in at 8-0 and have a chance to pick up a road win in a rivalry game against an SMU team that has looked good at times, but bad at other times.  Most of the time this is just a ho-hum game despite it being a rivalry, but there is definitely a reason to turn in and watch tonight.

-CREIGHTON AT NEBRASKA.  This is Creighton’s first true road game of the year, and they should be tested by a Nebraska team who has been competitive at times.  Creighton has absolutely owned this series, though, and they’ve been very impressive so far this season.

-DAVIDSON AT NORTH CAROLINA.  Davidson needs a big statement win in order for them to put together a tournament caliber resume.  A win tonight would definitely qualify, but that’s far easier said than done.

-XAVIER AT COLORADO.  Xavier is looking for their first true road win of the season, and Colorado is looking to add a quality win to their profile as well.  Don’t be surprised to see both in the NCAA Tournament, and we could even see Xavier as a protected seed.

-SAN DIEGO STATE AT GRAND CANYON.  Grand Canyon managed a win in this game last year, and are more than capable of pulling it off again this year.  At 4-2, San Diego State really needs this road game.  Both losses have come on the road, and their margin for error when it comes to building their NCAA profile is very small.  GCU may not be a brand name, but it would be a decent win to have on their profile.

-WASHINGTON AT GONZAGA.  IT’S BACK!!!  These two met last year, but it was part of an exempt event.  The two head coaches don’t like each other, and it’s quite a fascinating history that the two have, so that alone makes it an intriguing game.  Gonzaga is clearly the superior team, and they’re at home, so it will take a tremendous effort from Washington to pull off the upset.

 

BUY GAMES

-Southern Illinois @ Louisville
-Western Carolina @ West Virginia
-Coppin State @ Akron
-Denver @ Texas A&M
-Idaho State @ Wisconsin
-Oral Roberts @ Oklahoma
-UTSA @ Texas Tech
-UMES @ Virginia Tech

Under the Radar Game of the Day: Wright State at Loyola-Chicago

Wright State at Loyola-Chicago, 8:00 PM Eastern, espn3

The Under the Radar Game of the Day heads to the Windy City tonight for a non-conference battle between the Horizon League’s Wright State Raiders and the Missouri Valley Conference’s Loyola Ramblers.  Wright State, under new head coach Scott Nagy, is off to a solid 6-3 start to the season, though they have lost their last two games, at Georgia State and at Penn State.  Grant Benzinger will be one of the keys for the Raiders tonight.  After three straight games over 20 points, including a 32 point effort in the loss to Georgia State, he was held to only 4 points against Penn State.  The Raiders will also look for more offense from Mark Alstork.  The junior averaged 29 points per game over the first five this season, but has only been slightly over 12 per game in the last four.  If both players can pick things up tonight, they have a very good chance of picking up a solid road victory.

Loyola-Chicago is coming off of a strong home win over Steve Fischer’s San Diego State Aztecs as part of the Mountain West-Missouri Valley Challenge series.  The Ramblers are now 7-2 on the season, with their losses coming to St. Joe’s and North Carolina State.  Aundre Jackson led the way in the win over the Aztecs with 24 points.  Also keep an eye on Milton Doyle who has scored in double-digits every game so far this year.  Loyola’s win over San Diego State was the most surprising result from the MWC-MVC Challenge Series, and the Ramblers will be trying to prove tonight that it was not just a fluke and that this team could be a factor in conference play this season.