The Daily Preview: Hey Arizona, This Game Actually Counts

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, the 2011-2012 college basketball season has finally arrived, with three games on the slate for tonight.

All of those games will be a part of regional action in the 2K Sports Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, and two of those games will be televised on ESPNU.

Let’s take a look at the matchups:

  • William & Mary at St. John’s7:00 PM ET, ESPNU

There have been some teams around the country that have struggled in exhibition play, and two of those teams happen to be playing on this night. St. John’s is one of them, and even though they won by 30 in their first exhibition contest, their second one brought a few concerns.

They defeated Division III St. Mary’s (MD) 77-70, but a few of their shooting statistics were horrendous. For example, they went 1-12 from beyond the arc. That’s…..not good. However, their free throw shooting was even worse. The Red Storm shot 22-42 from the line, and that’s something that needs to be fixed immediately if they want to compete in close games.

Exhibition play is exhibition play though, and we’ll see what they look like in a much more structured atmosphere. For William & Mary, it all starts with Quinn McDowell, who is a fantastic scorer and shooter. McDowell will without question be one of the top players in a loaded CAA this season. Problem is, McDowell has been injured much of the preseason and he certainly won’t be in mid-season form just yet.

St. John’s still has some work to do, so this one might be a little closer that expected. It’s going to take them a little while to mesh as a unit, and the Tribe has some experience returning. It should be an interesting matchup, but St. John’s should be the better team.

PREDICTION: St. John’s 80, William & Mary 66

  • Eastern Kentucky at Mississippi State – 8:00 PM ET

This one should be easy enough for Rick Stansbury‘s bunch, but we’ve learned to expect the unexpected when it comes to this team.

Without a doubt, how the Bulldogs do this season will depend on how Renardo Sidney plays. Will his attitude get the best of him once again and leave Stansbury with a constant headache? Or will he reach the potential that everyone thinks he can reach, and be one of the most talented players in the country?

We’ll have to wait and see the answer to that. For now, they should be fine here.

PREDICTION: Mississippi State 85, Eastern Kentucky 60

  • Valparaiso at #16 Arizona - 9:00 PM ET, ESPNU

The college basketball world went crazy when Seattle Pacific defeated Arizona a week and a half ago in an exhibition. Luckily, Sean Miller won’t have that one count against his career record.

This game will, however, and we’ll see how the Wildcats look within the flow of a regular season game. They’ll be facing a Valpo team that has a new Drew at the helm, with Bryce Drew taking over as head coach after his father, Homer, retired.

This will be a transition year for the Crusaders, so Arizona is a big favorite here. We still don’t know how good Miller’s squad is, and as the case is with St. John’s, it’s probably gonna take at least a month before all of these players are on the same page.

PREDICTION: Arizona 78, Valpo 57

What are your thoughts on tonight’s games? Could William & Mary upset the Red Storm?

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Tags: Arizona Basketball College Basketball Preview College Basketball Today Mississippi State Basketball St. John's Basketball

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