News, Notes, and Highlighted Games: Monday, Nov 13th


-For Chad Sherwood’s UTR Game of the Day, which is actually one of the better games of the day overall – CLICK HERE

-For our latest Merit Rankings/Bracket Projections – CLICK HERE

-It was a rather chalky Sunday.  Vermont took Kentucky to the wall after being down double digits in the second half, but couldn’t quite get over the top.  Kentucky will win bigger games, but this was a harder game to win than most realize, and they deserve more credit for winning it than most will give them.

-Arkansas also blew past what we still think is a good Bucknell team, but Bucknell is off to a rough start.



-MINNESOTA AT PROVIDENCE (Gavitt Games).  Both teams are likely NCAA Tournament teams.  I think this Providence team is really good.  If Minney could get this one on the road it may turn out to be one of the better wins on their profile come March.

-CENTRAL MICHIGAN AT MICHIGAN.  This is a buy game, but both teams come in 1-0 and although Central Michigan appears to be overmatched, they could end up making some noise in the MAC this year.

-LA SALLE AT PENNSYLVANIA (Big Five).  I’m not expecting much out of either of these teams, but it’s the Big Five, so we gotta talk about it!

-OLD DOMINION AT JAMES MADISON.  I miss these former Colonial rivalries.  Both come into this 1-0 and can build up some early momentum with a win.

-VANDERBILT AT BELMONT.  Belmont is coming off a very close loss at Washington in their opener.  They’re a really strong UTR team, and Vandy could really have their hands full as the road team in this crosstown matchup.

-WESTERN MICHIGAN AT SOUTH CAROLINA.  This is a buy game, but we’ll highlight it because of Western Michigan’s potential and because both come into this one 1-0.

-ORAL ROBERTS AT TULSA.  Will Tulsa fall to 0-2 on the season?

-MIDDLE TENNESSEE AT MURRAY STATE.  This may be Chad’s UTR game of the day.  Both come in 1-0 and both are expected to finish at or near the top of their conferences.  Middle Tennessee has been to the Round of 32 for two consecutive years, and although they lost a lot of their key players from last year they should still be a force in CUSA.

-COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON AT WICHITA STATE.  This is a HUGELY important game for CofC.  They are one of the UTR teams that we feel has a legitimate chance to land inside the bubble and make the tournament even if they fail to win their conference tournament.  This is the kidn of game they need to be able to win in order for that to happen, though.

-NEW MEXICO STATE AT SAINT MARY’S.  New Mexico State is a solid program, but they don’t get many chances to establish themselves as being nationally relevant.  They have the chance to do that tonight.  This may actually be one of SMC’s toughest OOC games, so it’s important that they take care of business.

-WYOMING AT OREGON STATE.  Both teams are 1-0, and both appear to be much improved from a season ago.  Making The Dance may be a long shot, but this is a chance for each team to pick up some early season momentum.

-RHODE ISLAND AT NEVADA.  Rhody appears to be a solid tournament caliber team, but they’ll have limited chances to build their profile, at least up to the point to where they’d be considered for a protected seed.  Having said that, this would be a really solid road win against a good Nevada team.


-Jacksonville State @ Richmond
-Eastern Kentucky @ Ole Miss – both teams 1-0
-Gardner Webb @ Florida
-Western Carolina @ Cincinnati
-Mount Saint Mary’s @ Notre Dame
-Austin Peay @ Virginia
-New Orleans @ Oakland
-North Florida @ VCU
-Saint Peter’s @ Northwestern
-TAMUCC @ Baylor – both teams 1-0
-North Texas @ Nebraska – both teams 1-0
-Milwaukee @ Iowa State
-Charlotte @ Oklahoma State – both teams 1-0
-Rider @ Xavier
-Wagner @ Missouri – both teams 1-0
-Prairie View A&M @ Oregon
-Mississippi Valley State @ Utah
-Tennessee Tech @ TCU – both teams 1-0
-North Dakota State @ USC

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Under the Radar Game of the Day: Middle Tennessee at Murray State

Middle Tennessee at Murray State, 8:00 PM Eastern,

Murrray, Kentucky is the site of tonight’s Under the Radar Game of the Day, as the Ohio Valley Conference’s Murray State Racers host Conference USA’s Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders.  Both teams started the season with wins over non-Division I foes, making tonight’s game the first true test for these squads.  The host Racers are looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2016-17 campaign which saw them only win 8 games in OVC play.  They do feature Jonathan Stark, one of the most prolific scorers in his conference, and arguably the entire nation.  Stark topped the 30 point mark four times last season and could do so a lot more this year.  Also keep an eye on Terrell Miller who notched a double-double in Friday afternoon’s opener.

Kermit Davis’ Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders have appeared in back-to-back NCAA Tournaments, and scored a Round of 64 victory each time, upending 2 seed Michigan State in 2016 and knocking off Minnesota last year.  Although the team was hit hard by graduation losses, they are expected to be right in the thick of things in CUSA this year, led by Giddy Potts and grad transfer Nick King.  Tonight is a chance for the Blue Raiders to prove to the rest of their conference that they are still the team to beat in CUSA, as winning at Murray State is never an easy thing to do.

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Merit Rankings/Bracket Projections: Monday, Nov 13

Throughout the early part of the season, I will be posting what I call Merit Rankings at the end of each week.  There is no attempt to rank how good the teams actually are, but rather provide a CHECKPOINT of CURRENT MERIT.  If you’re looking for a ranking that reflects how good the teams actually are, then this is not for you.  I feel that it accomplishes two things.  It is interesting to look at, and it gets me into the habit of evaluating teams objectively.  I’m sure they may appear to be impractical, but I like doing it anyway.  I also know that half the teams that are currently ranked in the AP and Coaches’ Poll aren’t likely to be ranked at the end of the year, so this is as good of a way of ranking the teams as any other.

I also figured that if I’m going to put together these rankings, then…why not bracket them??  So, below is the list that ranks the teams by current merit along with the notes on what each of them has accomplished, and below that is a bracket.

Any team that opened up with a home buy game received no credit for winning it.  Likewise, a team from a UTR conference that lost a road buy game received no demerit for losing it.  The teams at the top of the rankings are those that won non-buy games (or if it was a buy game then it had to be against a team that was somewhat decent), and those who won them away from home were awarded more.  The reason so many highly ranked teams from power conferences are lower than where many feel they should be is because so many of them have only played buy games up to this point.

1. TEXAS A&M – 1-0, neutral floor win vs West Virginia
2. NIAGARA – 1-0, win @ Saint Bonaventure
3. INDIANA STATE – 1-0, win @ Indiana
4. GEORGIA SOUTHERN – 1-0, win @ Wake Forest
5. NOTRE DAME – 1-0. Won @ DePaul
6. UCLA – 1-0, neutral floor win vs Georgia Tech
7. Kentucky – 2-0, home win vs Vermont
8. Arkansas – 2-0, home win vs Bucknell
9. DELAWARE – 1-0, won @ Richmond
10. LAMAR – 1-0, win @ Tulsa
11. Missouri – 1-0, neutral floor win vs Iowa State
12. Alabama – 1-0, neutral floor win vs Memphis
13. Seton Hall – 2-0, home win vs Monmouth
14. Monmouth – 1-1, home win vs Bucknell
15. TOLEDO – home win vs Saint Joe’s
16. Louisville – 1-0, home win vs George Mason
17. Missouri State – 1-0, win @ Western Kentucky
18. UC RIVERSIDE – 1-0, won @ Cal (which is only slightly better than buy game)
19. Southern Illinois – 1-0, won @ Winthrop
20. South Carolina – 1-0, road win @ Wofford
21. Creighton – 2-0, home win vs Yale
22. WISCONSIN – 2-0, win vs Yale
23. Butler – 2-0. Home win against Princeton
24. HARVARD – 1-0, home win vs UMass
25. Michigan State – 1-0 in buy games
26. Duke – 2-0 in buy games
27. KANSAS – 1-0 in buy games
28. VILLANOVA – 1-0 in buy games
29. Arizona – 2-0 in buy games
30. Miami FL – 2-0 in buy games
31. WICHITA STATE – 1-0 in buy games
32. Florida – 1-0 in buy games
33. Usc – 1-0 in buy games
34. North Carolina – 1-0 in buy games
35. Cincinnati – 1-0 in buy games
36. GONZAGA – 1-0 in buy games
37. Saint Mary’s – 1-0 in buy games
38. Virginia – 1-0 in buy games
39. West Virginia – 0-1. Lost neutral floor game to Texas A&M
40. Xavier – 1-0 in buy games
41. Purdue – 2-0 in buy games
42. Northwestern – 1-0 in buy games
43. Virginia Tech – 1-0 in buy games
44. RHODE ISLAND – 1-0 in buy games
45. Baylor – 1-0 in buy games
46. Texas – 1-0 in buy games
47. Providence – 1-0 in buy games
48. Michigan 1-0 in buy games
49. Minnesota – 1-0 in buy games
50. FLORIDA GULF COAST – 1-0 with home win vs Illinois State
51. NAVY – 1-1, home win vs Pittsburgh, loss @ Miami FL
52. Smu – 2-0 in buy games
53. Tcu – 1-0 in buy games
54. Oklahoma – 1-0 in buy games
55. Oregon – 1-0 in buy games
56. UConn – 1-0 in buy games
57. Ohio State – 2-0 in buy games
58. NEVADA – 1-0 in buy games
59. Florida State – 0-0
60. Ucf – 1-0 in buy games
61. Kansas State – 1-0 in buy games
62. Maryland – 1-0 in buy games
63. NC State – 1-0 in buy games
64. VERMONT – 0-1. Lost at Kentucky
65. Georgia – 1-0 in buy games
66. Vanderbilt – 1-0 in buy games
67. Ole Miss – 1-0 in buy games
68. Wyoming – 1-0 in buy games
69. BELMONT – 0-1, close loss @ Washington
71. WEBER STATE – 1-0, home win vs Utah State
72. Marquette – 1-0 in buy games
73. Syracuse – 1-0 in buy games
74. Davidson – 1-0 in buy games
75. OAKLAND – 1-0
76. Byu – 1-0 in buy games
77. Saint Louis – 1-0 in buy games
78. Penn State – 2-0 in buy games
79. Washington – 2-0 in buy games
80. Dayton – 1-0 in buy games
81. Vcu – 1-0 in buy games
82. Utah – 1-0 in buy games
83. Saint John’s – 1-0 in buy games
84. Iowa – 2-0 in buy games
85. Mississippi State – 1-0 in buy games
86. Arizona State – 1-0 in buy games
87. Illinois – 2-0 in buy games
88. Colorado – 1-0 in buy games
89. UAB – 1-0
90. Tennessee – 1-0 in buy games
91. Auburn – 1-0 in buy games
92. Iowa State – 0-1. Lost @ Missouri
93. Saint Bonaventure – 0-1. Lost at home to Niagara
94. GRAND CANYON – 1-0, only WAC team with a div1 win
95. MERCER – 0-1, loss @ UCF
96. WAGNER – 1-0 with a road win
97. HIGH POINT – only Big South team with a div1 win
98. TEXAS SOUTHERN – no div1 wins
99. NCCU – no div1 wins



-From Chad: This is why we don’t do Brackets in November.

-From David:  But we just DID a bracket in November, Chad!!  IT’S POSTED DIRECTLY ABOVE!!!!  Chad is wrong again!!

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News, Notes, and Highlighted Games: Sunday, Nov 12th


-For Chad Sherwood’s UTR Game of the Day – CLICK HERE

-Notre Dame picked up a nice road win at DePaul.  It’s not that beating DePaul is some fantastic feat, but it was a true road game against a team that is at least formidable, and they went in and won without really having to sweat.

-Another note from Friday that I didn’t mention yesterday was that Bill Walton issued what had to have been the greatest and most epic apology in human history!!  It occurred right as UCLA v Georgia Tech was tipping off, and I admittedly missed it live.  He spent the first thirty seconds apologizing ON BEHALF OF THE HUMAN RACE because of the shoplifting incident that involved three UCLA players.  YES!!!  YES!!!  Bill Walton may be the most Hoops HD person out there who isn’t actually on Hoops HD.  He’ll spontaneously begin talking about Grateful Dead concerts while he’s broadcasting games, he wears a t-shirt to work, he periodically gets confused or talks as if he doesn’t have the exact information of what he’s talking about at his fingertips but keeps talking anyway, and every now and then he apologizes on behalf of the human race! What a glorious response to such a stupid act!!  I LOVE THIS GUY!!!  Granted there are times I can’t stand to listen to him, but I love everything he stands for and everything about his spirit.  If nothing else the guy is a huge dose of fun in a game that’s supposed to be fun, but is covered by people who forget that because they’re so obsessed with ‘being professional.’



-MONMOUTH AT SETON HALL.  This is a buy game, but both teams come in 1-0 and despite the fact that Monmouth lost most of their production from the last two years, they still may be good enough to make this interesting.

-GEORGE MASON AT LOUISVILLE.  It’s Louisville’s first official game since the sanctions were handed down by the NCAA, the FBI came calling, and Rick Pitino and Tom Jurich were fired.

-UMASS AT HARVARD.  Both teams come into this one 1-0, but Harvard’s win came against MIT.  We think the Crimson could end up inside the bubble come March, but in order for that to happen they can’t afford to lose games like this.

-VERMONT AT KENTUCKY.  We think Vermont can land inside the bubble, but the reason we think that is largely due to us thinking they can win this game today.  Kentucky is talented, but young.  Vermont blew through their conference last year, was right in there with Purdue in the NCAA Tournament, and has everyone back.  If they can somehow win this game, then it’s the kind of game that can land them in the NCAA Tournament even if they trip up in the conference tournament (and avoid tripping up during the regular season as well). Kentucky didn’t exactly blow out Utah Valley on Friday, so this is definitely a game worth watching today.

-YALE AT WISCONSIN.  Yale is probably overmatched, but Wiscy has a young team so it wouldn’t be surprised if the Bulldogs were able to compete.

-BUCKNELL AT ARKANSAS.  We still really like this Bucknell team despite the fact that they lost their opener at Winthrop.  The problem is that their margin for error is almost down to zero and we aren’t even 48 hours into the season.  Opening with back to back road games is no easy way to start the season, but making the NCAA Tournament and landing inside the bubble isn’t easy either, and these are the kinds of games they need to win in order to make that happen.  They face what we think is a pretty good Arkansas team today and can pick up a win that will look good on their profile.

-PRINCETON AT BUTLER.  Princeton should be reasonably strong this year, and they could compete with Butler today.  We’re still learning about Butler since their coaching change.  We should learn a little more about them today.

-EASTERN WASHINGTON AT WASHINGTON.  Both teams won their first game, and although both are kind of rebuilding, continuing to pick up early wins could help build momentum and speed up the rebuilding process.

NORTH DAKOTA AT HAWAI’I.  Highlighted simply because both teams are 1-0. This is also Chad’s UTR Game of the Day.



-Jacksonville @ Georgetown – Patrick Ewing’s head coaching debut!
-SC State @ Boston College – win gets BC to 2-0
-NC A&T @ Clemson  – both teams 1-0
-Radford @ Ohio State – both teams 1-0
-Central Connecticut @ Rutgers
-Omaha @ Oklahoma
-Navy @ Miami FL – both teams 1-0
-Chicago State @ Purdue
-Charleston Southern @ NC State
-Louisiana Monroe @ SMU
-Southern Utah @ Boise State
-Alabama State @ Iowa
-Fairleigh Dickinson @ Penn State
-UMBC @ Arizona
-UT Martin @ Illinois
-UMES @ Maryland – both teams 1-0, and UMES is an intriguing story given how much their program has improved in recent years
-The Citadel @ Virginia Tech – both teams 1-0
-Alcorn State @ Creighton
-Howard @ Indiana
-Pacific @ Stanford

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Under the Radar Game of the Day: North Dakota at Hawai’i

North Dakota at Hawai’i, 10:00 PM Eastern, Spectrum Sports-Hawai’i/

The Under the Radar Game of the Day heads to Honolulu tonight for the nightcap on Day Two of the annual Rainbow Classic.  On Friday evening, the Rainbow Warriors knocked off Arkansas-Pine Bluff 82-70 while North Dakota defeated Troy 83-80.  The two teams meet tonight with the winner having the edge for the Classic’s championship heading into the third and final day of the round-robin event tomorrow.

Friday night’s win saw three Hawai’i players leading the way, as Mike Thomas and Gibson Johnson each scored 19 points while teammate Jack Purchase scored 18.  Johnson also pulled down 9 rebounds while Purchase dished out 8 assists.  If the Bows’ three-headed monster continues to dominate games this way all season, they will be very difficult to defeat, and will prove that picking them to win the Big West was not a mistake by any means.

Tonight’s opponent for Hawai’i is the Big Sky’s North Dakota Fighting Hawks.  While Hawai’i may have a three-pronged attack, UND is all about how many points Geno Crandall will score.  Against Troy on Friday night, the answer was an impressive 41 to go with 6 boards and 5 assists.  If Crandall can put up numbers close to those again, he has a great chance to lead his team to the road victory.

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News, Notes, and Highlighted Games: Saturday, Nov 11th

CLICK HERE for Chad Sherwood’s UTR Game of the Day, which for the first time ever features this year’s Team of the People!!  #LanceUP


-The biggest surprises from last night were Lamar’s win at Tulsa (although how surprising was that really?), UC Riverside’s win at Cal, and of course Indiana State’s blowout win at Indiana.  It’s a great win for the Trees!  It’s also a reminder that Indiana is rebuilding.  None of those teams were anyone we were projecting into the postseason, so as surprising as they were I do not think they qualify as bombshells quite like Wagner’s win over UConn last year.

-Bucknell started off with a tough road win at Monmouth and came up just short in a thriller.  This is noteworthy because Bucknell’s margin for error to make the NCAA Tournament without the automatic bid is incredibly small, and even though it was opening night it still took a bit of a hit.

-Texas A&M fell behind early against West Virginia, but proceeded to dominate the game for about the last thirty minutes in what is probably the single most impressive showing of any team so far.  That’s a nice neutral floor win for the Aggies that will certainly sweeten their NCAA Tournament profile if WVU goes on to be as good as we think they will



-CANISIUS AT BUFFALO (Big 4).  It’s the season opener!  The winner will be tops in the RPI (with about 180 other teams).  But, our love for mythical conferences like the Big 4 is why we highlight this game.  No other reason.

-NOTRE DAME AT DEPAUL.  DePaul is opening a new arena, and the students get to enjoy the “elevated view” from the second level in what is still the lamest excuse I’ve ever heard for not putting the students down on the floor behind the basket.  Notre Dame looks to be an NCAA Tournament caliber team,and DePaul is DePaul, but this isn’t the easiest road game in the world to open the season with.

-UTAH VALLEY AT DUKE.  This is a buy game, but Utah Valley is liked by many at Hoops HD (not necessarily myself) to do well in the WAC.  This is also their second top five team in a 24 hour period.  If they can beat both Kentucky and Duke, then I will like them.


-SAINT FRANCIS UNIVERSITY AT SAINT MARY’S.  This is a buy game, but the fact that St. Francis U (or STFU as Stalica likes to call them) is a likely NEC frontrunner makes it mildly intriguing.

-EASTERN ILLINOIS AT NEBRASKA.  Buy game, but Nebraska better watch out.  EIU waxed Illinois in a charity game, and many believe Illinois to be better than Nebraska.



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