Jan 31, 2014, 3:42 PM EDT
GAME OF THE NIGHT: Manhattan at Iona, 9:00 p.m. (ESPNU)
Whether or not Canisius has company atop the MAAC standings after Friday’s action will depend upon the result of this contest between schools separated by just over ten miles. Both teams can score, with Manhattan scoring just over 78 points per game and Iona averaging a shade over 83. The difference: defense, with Steve Masiello’s Jaspers using their depth and quickness to force opponents into rushed decisions.
As for the Gaels they can be downright indifferent on that end of the floor at times, and it’s an area Tim Cluess’ group has to improve in if they’re to return to the NCAA tournament. The scoring battle between Manhattan’s George Beamon and Iona’s Sean Armand will be fun to watch, and each team has multiple players capable of stealing the spotlight.
THE OTHER GAME OF THE NIGHT: Princeton at Harvard, 7:00 p.m.
This is the first of two meetings between the prohibitive favorite to win the Ivy League (Harvard) and one of the teams most capable of knocking the Crimson off. This is an incredibly important game for the visiting Tigers, who have already lost to Penn and can ill-afford to fall two games behind Harvard in the loss column at this early juncture in the “14-game tournament.”
If they’re to win in Cambridge, Princeton’s likely going to need a big night from senior guard T.J. Bray, who’s averaging 17.2 points per game. And they’ll also need to slow down Harvard forward Wesley Saunders, who’s accounting for 15.0 points and 5.1 rebounds per game.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH
1) Murray State looks to move to 8-1 in OVC play as they visit Austin Peay, a team they beat by 22 less than three weeks ago. Dexter Fields led six Racers in double figures with 20 points in that meeting.
2) Rider needs a win at Saint Peter’s in order to remain within striking distance of the leaders in the MAAC, as they’re currently two games out of first place.
3) Mercer is also on the road, visiting ETSU in need of a win to guarantee that they retain sole possession of first place in the Atlantic Sun. Langston Hall scored 19 points to lead Mercer to a ten-point win in the first meeting, a game the Bears won despite allowing the Bucs to grab 14 offensive rebounds.
4) FGCU’s in hot pursuit of Mercer, and they look to continue that with a win over Stetson. The Hatters have struggled defensively, allowing opponents to shoot nearly 46% from the field.
5) Oakland hosts Youngstown State and the focus will be on senior guard Travis Bader, who enters the game eight three-pointers away from the NCAA’s career record.
OTHER NOTABLE GAMES
- Columbia at Yale, 7:00 p.m.
- Penn at Dartmouth, 7:00 p.m.
- Cleveland State at Detroit, 7:00 p.m. (ESPNU)
- Academic issues expected to sideline St. John’s point guard for fall semester, maybe longer 1
- North Carolina announces receipt of Notice of Allegations from NCAA 2
- LSU’s ’25 is coming’ campaign doesn’t try to hide that they’re monetizing Ben Simmons 1
- Looking Forward: Catching up on the American’s offseason 1
- Five-star center Caleb Swanigan has committed to Purdue 8
- Friday’s most important rule changes only matter if refs actually enforce them 2
- Looking Forward: Catching up on the SEC’s offseason 1
- Sports book lists Maryland as early favorite to win national title (9)
- Five-star center Caleb Swanigan has committed to Purdue (8)
- John Calipari is selling his program when he says national title isn’t a goal (5)
- Frank Kaminsky writes a farewell letter to Wisconsin fans (5)
- Looking Forward: Catching up on the Big East’s offseason (4)