Bahamas Showcase Quarterfinals, all game on flohoops.com:
Bradley vs Vermont, 11:00 AM Eastern
Coastal Carolina vs Texas-San Antonio, 2:00 PM Eastern
Northern Kentucky vs James Madison, 5:00 PM Eastern
Weber State vs Iona, 8:00 PM Eastern
Instead of a single game today, the Under the Radar Game(s) of the Day is the entire quarterfinal round at a brand new early season event taking place in the Bahamas — the Bahamas Showcase. This eight team event features a grouping of teams that, while certainly not name brands, could be contenders to win at least four or five automatic bids this season.
The first game of the day features the Missouri Valley Conference’s Bradley Braves against the America East’s Vermont Catamounts. The Braves are 2-0 on the season, being led by Donte Thomas who is averaging 11 points and 9 rebounds through the first two games. While they may have a shot at contending in their conference this year, their opponent is a clear favorite in theirs. Vermont is 0-1, but that one loss was a tough 4 point road game at Kentucky. Four different Catamount players were in double figures in that game, showing that this team is very deep and very dangerous.
Game two brings us head coach Cliff Ellis’ Coastal Carolina Chanticleers, a longshot contender in the Sun Belt this season, against Conference USA’s Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners, a team that is less likely to contend in a deep Conference USA. Coastal did lose their only D1 game so far this year, a 6 point road loss at Lamar. Jaylen Shaw scored 17 points while Ajay Sanders added 13 in the losing effort. UTSA picked up a road win at Texas State in their only D1 game, 79-78. Four players scored in double figures in that game, while a fifth, Byron Frohnen pulled down 10 rebounds.
The third game will showcase Northern Kentucky and James Madison. NKU won the automatic bid out of the Horizon League last season and should be among the top contenders in their conference again this year. The Norse are 2-0 so far this season, with Drew McDonald dominating, averaging 20 points and 10.5 rebounds in his first two games. James Madison, out of the Colonial, suffered a home loss to Old Dominion in their lone D1 game so far. Stuckey Mosley led his team with 14 points, but the Dukes did fall by 16 and will need a lot better effort across the board today if they want to pick up the victory.
The nightcap is probably the most interesting game of the first round, as a pair of perennial contenders for league titles meet up, Weber State out of the Big Sky and Iona from the Metro Atlantic. The Weber State Wildcats enter today at 2-0 including a home win over Utah State. Ryan Richardson scored 20 pointed in that win while Zach Braxton added 18 and 8 boards. If those two players can continue to lead the way, Weber should find themselves among the top seeds in the Big Sky Tournament in March. Tim Cluess’ Iona Gaels are 0-2 so far, with road losses at Albany and Syracuse. Both games were close, and the team should certainly not be written off yet by any means. Four different Gaels scored in double figures in the Syracuse loss, led by 21 from Rickey McGill. A balanced scoring attack like that could be exactly what is needed to win not only tonight’s game, but possibly this entire event.