A few tv programming notes before the predictions: the Rutgers game will be televised on The Big 10 Network. Fox Sports has rights to the Seton Hall game (this could mean Fox Sports 1 or a Fox Regional Sport Network). And, if you can't make it to Charlottesville, it's looking like an online viewing experience for the UVA gamne (ESPN3). Still no word yet on whether there will be any coverage offered for the Penn State game. OK, let's take a crack at it:
GRAMBLING STATE: 103-67 W..Doug Williams isn't walking through that door. And even if he did, he's not a young man plus he played a different sport.
at Rutgers: 80-76 W. Should have won that game two seasons ago; did win that game last year. Jack and Mack are both back. Nevertheless, we take the floor confidently in this one. Last meaningful game for the Knights saw them score 31 against Louisville. OK, that will have been 8 months ago but you never know about lingering effects.
at Virginia: 76-61 L. Joe Harris is gone but their tenacious defense under Tony Bennett is not.
LONGWOOD: 83-59 W. Not happening again on my watch.
at Seton Hall: 78-67 L. Over the final month of last season, the Pirates were good enough to defeat Villanova, Xavier, Butler, and Georgetown. And, they pick up one of the nation's top high school players in Isaiah Whitehead.
UMBC: 94-75 W. As a freshman, Lasan Kromah hit 5 three pointers IN THE FIRST HALF against UMBC. Just wondering if Paul, Yuta, Anthony, Darian, Matt might be reading this. (Nick, it's OK for you to read this too.)
CHARLOTTE: 61-60 W. Last time out two seasons ago was a blowout win. I suspect that the Niners get very up for this game and play it close. Because it's at Verizon, someone hits a buzzer beater (I'll go with Joe).
DEPAUL: 75-71 L. The law of averages suggest that there should eventually be a bad slip at Smith Center and an Oliver Purnell coached team is not a bad candidate to pull it off. It's easy to think of the Blue Demons as the worst team in the Big East but last year, they were good enough to win at UW-Milwaukee, at Northwestern, at Butler and of course, spank the Hoyas in the Big East tournament.
at Penn State: 71-64 L. The great Tim Frazier departs but PSU returns 4 starters and over 70% of its scoring from last year.
Ohio: 68-60 W. Clark Kellogg's kid is finally gone as is another Bobcat coach (took the BC job, I think). Good time to be playing them.
Colorado (assuming they beat DePaul): 80-70 L. Spencer Dinwiddie leaves early and was drafted by the Pistons. Still, his injury last year forced this tream to learn to play without him and while they couldn't keep up their torrid pace with Dinwiddie, they didn't exactly fall apart either.
3rd Place game (likely against Wichita State or Nebraska); Won't predict a score but I will sadly predict a loss against either.
VMI: 91-80 W. A little tougher than one might expect but a win is a win heading into conference play.
This leaves GW at 7-6 headed into conference play. 8-5 if you reverse my risky DePaul win at Smith Center.