Green Bay vs Minnesota
7:00 PM EST
Minnesota -18.5 over Green Bay (win)
Green Bay enters this season with just two players with significant playing time. Armani Davis and PJ Pipes are decent guards, but 10 of the 16 players on this roster are freshman. This is a team that is very small and very light. The Phoenix have a style of play that will be OK for the Horizon Conference, but not tonight against a physical BIG 10 school. Will Ryan is coaching in his very first game at the D1 level. Minnesota has a lot of turnover from last year as well, but they have the size advantage and should dominate the glass tonight. This is a classic example of men playing against boys. Size means a lot in basketball, especially when that advantage is one for the more recognized team at the larger program. Look for Gabe Kalschuer and Marcus Carr to handle the ball well tonight and for the forwards to dominate in the paint. Brandon Johnson is a great transfer from Western Michigan who can do it all. The Golden Gophers should get a lot of easy buckets in this one. Take Minnesota.
8:00 PM EST
Alabama -20 over Jacksonville State (win)
Ron Harper is a solid coach that had a lot of turnover the last few years. This Gamecocks team took a step back last year and should again this year. The only returning players are big men so I really question how they are going to handle to ball tonight against a scrappy Alabama team. If you don’t have good guard play it’s next to impossible to beat a bigger program, but having no solid experienced guards makes it hard just to get the ball across mid court. Kayne Henry is the only player that returns with significant minutes for Jacksonville State and he isn’t really a guy that can handle the ball well. Alabama did lose Kira Lewis to the NBA draft but the main players return to this team coached by Nate Oats in his second year with the Tide. This Alabama team has a ton of great assist artist like John Petty and Herb Jones. Jordan Bruner and Jahvon Quinerly are great transfer additions to this program that now has a real veteran feel to it. The tempo Nate Oats will have his players create will be overwhelming to this Gamecocks team and they simply won’t keep up at the tempo the Crimson Tide establish. Take Alabama.