Monday, December 5, 2022

TGH Weekend Watchlist for Week One

College basketball’s first weekend of the 2022-23 season is here. While there is certainly a lack of highly touted games, as was on opening night, The Game Haus still has five to discuss that need to be on your watchlist. All five this week will be played today, Friday Nov. 11, including one of the two Veteran’s Classic matchups and a game being played on an aircraft carrier. Here is the TGH Weekend Watchlist for week one.

3 Houston vs Saint Joseph’s | Friday Nov 11, 6:00 am | CBSSN | Veteran’s Classic

While it is a very uneven matchup, this is still a game to watch due to it being one half of the Veteran’s Classic and the Houston Cougars electric team. Houston head coach Kelvin Sampson reached career win No. 700 on Monday in their game against Northern Colorado. He is one of nine current Division I men’s basketball coaches with 700 wins under his belt.

This Cougars team he has this year is good enough to get him to his third Final Four and potentially win his first national championship. Sampson’s got this program rolling through not only the American Athletic Conference, but through the entire nation as well. Houston wants face no. 21 Oregon, Saint Mary’s, No. 20 Alabama, and No. 18 Virginia all before the start of conference play.

Saint Joseph’s was picked to finish No. 13 in the preseason A-10 poll. They lose three of their top five scorers from last season, including the two leaders in Jordan Hall and Taylor Funk. They return the next two top scorers in Ejike Obinna and Erik Reynolds II. Both Verteran’s classic games will be featured on CBS Sports Network, with the second game being played between Princeton and Navy at 8:30.

2 Gonzaga vs. Michigan St. | Friday Nov 11, 6:30 am | ESPN | Peraton Armed Forces Classic

For the first time in over a decade an official college basketball game will be played on an aircraft carrier. Just off the coast of San Diego, the USS Abraham Lincoln will host the showdown of Gonzaga and Michigan St. These are two of the biggest and best programs in the sport. While Michigan St. has low preseason expectations relative to normal Michigan St. standards, the Spartans started off well in an 18-point victory against Northern Arizona. Joey Hauser led MSU with 18 points and 10 rebounds, Pierre Brooks got 14 points, while AJ Hoggard got a near double -double with 9 points and 8 assists.

Gonzaga did what Gonzaga does – tear through their opponent – by beating North Florida by 41 points on Monday. The Bulldogs had a balanced box score with a total of six players scoring in double figures. Preseason All-American Drew Timme led all scorers with 22 points. This should be a good game between the two storied programs. Due to the wind and the game being outside there won’t be much 3-point shooting, or at least good 3-point shooting, but it will still be a great night for the programs, the fans, and the sport.

24 Dayton vs. SMU | Friday Nov 11, 7:00 am | ESPN+

Dayton is the favorite in the A-10 this season as they return their top five scorers including DaRon Holmes II. The Flyers have had one of the best non-power five programs in the sport for some time now and are looking to make a run in the NCAA Tournament this season. The Flyers crushed Lindenwood 73-46 on Monday, and Mustapha Amzil led the Flyers with 14 points off the bench.

SMU lost a lot from last season, including AAC player of the year Kendric Davis who scored 19.4 points a game. Davis has transferred to fellow AAC school Memphis, but the Mustangs got a good showing from Zhuric Phelps in their first game against Texas A&M Commerce. Phelps led all scorers with 28 points. Fellow guard Zach Nutall scored 12 and Louisville transfer Samuell Williamson got a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. While Dayton is likely to win, it will be a good test for the preseason top 25 team. Dayton is an 11.5 point favorite and available to watch on ESPN+.

22 Michigan vs Eastern Michigan | Friday Nov 11, 9:00 am | ESPNU

In a normal year, this would just be a regular Michigan game against Eastern Michigan. But this is not a normal year, because of a player on EMU’s roster making his debut against the Wolverines. Ex-high school star and Memphis transfer Emoni Bates will be making his debut against Juwan Howard’s team on Friday night. When he was younger, Bates thought to be the best high school player since LeBron James. Safe to say that didn’t come to fruition.

Bates eventually reclassified with fellow star Jalen Duren to the class of 2021 and both committed to Memphis. Well, that didn’t go well either as Bates eventually left the program for a while but came back for the NCAA Tournament. He eventually put his name in the transfer portal, and was favored to go to Louisville at first, but then officially made the move to EMU. After some legal trouble a couple months ago, Bates has moved past it and is ready to make his debut on Friday. EMU won its first game against Wayne State 75-66, and Michigan cruised past Purdue Fort Wayne 75-56.

In that game against Purdue FW, returning Center and preseason All-American Hunter Dickinson led with 22 points and 12 rebounds for the Wolverines and Howard’s freshman son, Jett, scored 21 and shined in his debut. Michigan is heavily favored in this game and is looking to climb back up to the top of the Big Ten. However, on the other side, Bates is looking to find that spark and star power he was once believed to have. Hopefully in this new era for him, he can find it and shine.

19 San Diego State vs BYU | Friday Nov 11, 9:00 am

SDSU has a ton of hype going into the season, being picked to win the Mountain West in the preseason. They return star guard Matt Bradley, who overaged 16.9 points per game last season, along with three of their other top four scorers from last season. They bring in a couple of nice transfers in Micah Parrish from Oakland and Darrion Teammell from Seattle. Trammell led the team in scoring in their first game against Cal State Fullerton with 18 points going 4-5 from 3-point range.

BYU had a rough first game against Idaho State, but still won by four points. The Cougars lose their top two scorers from last seasons team, but bring back Fousseyni Traore who got 15 points and 11 rebounds in the Idaho State matchup. Gideon George and Spencer Johnson also got into double figures as well with 10 and 11 points respectively. BYU was picked third along with San Francisco in the WCC preseason poll, and Traore was voted in the preseason All-WCC Team. This is one of the toughest non-conference games for both teams, so it should be a good Friday night matchup in San Diego.

Stay tuned for more college basketball news, among other sports and esports news!

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