Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What to Watch For: 2012-2013 College Basketball Season

     College basketball is back in session, so you know what that means. The march to March Madness is also underway. In order to whet your appetite for the upcoming season, I've comprised a list of some of the must-see college basketball games to kick off the year. Small note: I did not include conference games for my list.

  • Wake Forest vs. Connecticut; November 16, 2012. The game's one part of the Paradise Jam at Saint Thomas, which takes place in the Virgin Islands (Birthplace of current Spurs center/forward and Wake Forest Alum Tim Duncan). Having stunned #6 Michigan State in the opening game of the 2012 season 66-62, the Huskies are hoping to return to their status as a basketball powerhouse with Jr. guard Shabazz Napier. Meanwhile, the Demon Deacons look to prove that they're another March Madness team from Tobacco Road.
  • UCLA vs. Georgetown; November 19, 2012. The Bruins boast one of the strongest classes of 2012 with players such as five-star small forward Kyle Anderson (From St. Anthony High in Jersey City, #5 in ESPN150; 97 overall), four-star center Tony Parker (From Miller Grove High in Lithonia, Georgia; #26 in ESPN150; 96 overall), and four-star small forward Jordan Adams (From Oak Hill Academy in Lawrenceville, Georgia; #41 in ESPN150; 95 overall). They'll get their first major test in the Progressive Legends Classic in Brooklyn against Georgetown, who boasts a 2012 four-star player of their own: Oak Hill Academy's (Indianapolis, Indiana) own D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera. Smith-Rivera's ranked #58 in the ESPN150 with a overall score of 94. He's a versatile player and can also play any position on the perimeter.
  • Creighton vs. Wisconsin; November 23, 2012. This game's a part of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic. It's also a potential preview of a March Madness matchup. How will the Jays fare against Bo Ryan and his defensive squad?
  • North Carolina State vs. Michigan; November 27, 2012. A battle of two teams with lofty expectations this season. All eyes will be on Michigan guards Tim Hardaway Jr. and Trey Burke and NC State forward Scott Wood. The Wolverines must not get burned by Wood's catch-and-shoot three balls all night.
  • North Carolina vs. Indiana; November 27, 2012. Two of last year's more explosive offenses go at it in Bloomington. The Tar Heels will have their hands full trying to contain both Hoosier forward Cody Zeller and Hoosier guard Jordan Hulls. It is advised not to miss this game as it could be a prelude to a potential NCAA championship matchup. This game's also a part of the annual Big 10/ACC Challenge.
  • Ohio State vs. Duke; November 28, 2012. Another possibility for the NCAA Championship game or a Final Four matchup, this game pits Thad Matta's Buckeye squad against Mike Krzyzewski's Blue Devils. How will Deshaun Thomas and Ohio State do in an environment chock full of Cameron Crazies?
  • Kentucky vs. Notre Dame; November 29, 2012. The defending champs will head down to South Bend against Jack Cooley and the up-and-coming Fighting Irish. Note that No.1 Syracuse lost here last season, so John Calipari's crew better be careful.
  • Detroit vs. Pittsburgh; December 1, 2012. Will the Pittsburgh Panthers be able to hold off the upstart Titans, who are led by Jr. guard and former McDonald's All-American Ray McCallum (15.4 ppg last season)?
  • Louisville vs. Memphis; December 15, 2012. A great battle of forwards, pitting Louisville's Chane Behanan vs. the Tigers' 6'9" forward Tarik Black. This is also a perfect opportunity for Memphis to pad their resume with an upset over Rick Pitino's squad. Keep an eye out for Cardinals guard Russ Smith, who's Louisville's top returning scorer (11.5 ppg).
  • Kansas vs. Ohio State; December 22, 2012. A Final Four rematch from last season that could provide for more fireworks. Great coaching battle between Thad Matta and Bill Self, too.
     Other games to watch for this season:
  • Michigan State vs. Miami (FL); November 28, 2012.
  • Vanderbilt vs. Xavier; December 6, 2012.
  • Harvard vs. Connecticut; December 7, 2012.
  • Colorado vs. Kansas; December 8, 2012.
  • Florida vs. Arizona; December 15, 2012.
  • Indiana vs. Butler; December 15, 2012.
  • Baylor vs. Gonzaga; December 28, 2012.
  • Missouri vs. UCLA; December 28, 2012.
  • Kentucky vs. Louisville; December 29, 2012.

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