|Joseph Young, NCAA’s leading scorer|
We are finally settling into the NCAA season with about three games played thus far. Kentucky has come out of the gates firing on all cylinders (what else is new?) with a 5-0 record, Arizona, Wisconsin and Duke have also raced out to perfect records in the early goings, while the 5th ranked Kansas team is currently 1-1, but it should be mentioned that they did get blown out by the #1 ranked Wildcats.
Here are three games to watch for tonight
#12 Villanova Wildcats (3-0) vs #15 Virginia Commonwealth Rams (3-0)
Two of Villanova’s first three games have been fairly close (defeated Lehigh by 11 and Bucknell by seven points, respectively), but this is a Wildcats team that shows up when it is time to play the big dogs. Dylan Ennis has emerged as the go to guy early in the season averaging 15 points a game to go along with five boards. Ennis can also step out and hit the three, as he is shooting just a shade under 44%. VCU will have to keep Daniel Ochefu off the boards, if they can do that; they have a legitimate chance at taking this match-up. Darrun Hilliard II has been very quiet for Villanova thus far, but that does mean that VCU should not guard him tightly because he can get it going once again. Toledo was the only team that has given VCU trouble thus far, and they still lost by nine points. The Rams are ranked 9th in the country in scoring, which means that Villanova will have its hands full trying to keep up with this high octane VCU offense. Melvin Johnson and Treveon Graham are two players that will have to be guarded closely by the Wildcats because they are the ones that do most of the damage on the offensive end. That being said, both the aforementioned players can step out and hit the three point shot, which really does make them a tough cover for opposing defenses. Villanova’s switching and double teaming will need to be played to perfection. Look for this to be a very high scoring game in the upper 80s.
Prediction: VCU Rams by five
#24 Michigan Wolverines vs Oregon Ducks
Michigan is led by the three headed monster of: Zak Irvin, Derrick Walton Jr. and Caris LeVert. These three players make this Wolverines team run. LeVert is having the best start to the season of the three, averaging 15 points a game to go along with seven boards and six assists. As you can tell by the numbers, LeVert plays on both sides of the court. Michigan ranks 38th in the country with 80 points scored a game, which means that Oregon will have its work cut out for them, trying to contain the Wolverines. Michigan also ranks 17th in three points shooting at just under 46%, so the Ducks will have to get out and contest shots, otherwise it could be a long night. If there is one weakness to this Michigan team, it is their rebounding, where they rank 169thin the country and that is expected, when you essentially have all five starters under 6’9. Safe to say Mitch McGary is missed. The Ducks are led by the #1 scorer in the country, Joseph Young. Young is averaging 26 points this season, but he also grabs five boards and chips in with four assists. Young will be a match-up nightmare for any of the Michigan guards. Apart from Young, Mississauga forward, Dillon Brooksis having a pretty good freshman season putting up 12 points to go along with three boards and three assists. Brooks will most likely be responsible for slowing down, Zak Irvin, which will no doubt be a tough task for the first year player. If the Wolverines standouts can get it going early and often, they have a genuine chance at defeating the Ducks. Young will see a ton of different defenders and I do not think he will have a great game shooting wise.
Prediction: Michigan by four or less
Brigham Young Cougars vs (16) San Diego State Aztecs
Well, this is quite the match-up we have on our hands. BYU ranks 4th in points scored, while San Diego State ranks 3rdin points allowed. BYU is led by Tyler Haws and Chase Fischer, but it should be pointed out that eight BYU players average over five points a game, which means they are not afraid to use their bench, something quite a few NCAA teams do not utilize. The Cougars also rank 30th in rebounding, 15th in field goal percentage, 6th in assists and 16thin steals. These stats show that BYU can play some defenseand not everything runs through their offensive game. The Aztecs defense will really have their work cut out for them in this match-up. It is no secret that San Diego State, more often than not, wins ugly games. For example, in their last game, they beat Bakersfield by a score of 51-27. On the offensive end, the Aztecs are led by Dwayne Polee II and J.J. O’Brien. It is interesting to note that no Aztec player averages more than 11 points a game, which I find fairly remarkable, even though the team, as a whole, is averaging only 61 points a game. When going to the hoop, BYU must be cautious of Skylar Spencer, who averages 3.7 blocks a game. As you may have predicted, Aztecs are 15th in steals per game and 28th in blocks per game, both defensive categories, which is no real surprise here. Defense usually wins games, but I feel that BYU will pull it off tonight.
Prediction: BYU by 10
Ogi is a graduate of Humber College’s Sport Management program. He is the founder of Blago Blogger Sports.