So it only makes sense that if I wrap up each night with a final word, I should be starting the day with a first word.
I’ll be heading to Martin for the first time tonight, as the Skyhawks host Lamar.
But that far from the top game on tonight’s slate
Here’s today’s First Word:
[SIU Edwardsville vs Lipscomb, 12:30 p.m.] The Cougars are still looking for their first win on the young season, but will have a tough time against a Lipscomb team that played both Illinois and Illinois State closer than the Cougars. The good news is that the Bisons haven’t been a great shooing team against Division I competition, but that being said, the Cougars haven’t been a great shooting team against any competition. Turnovers have been a big problem for the Bisons, which the Cougars must jump on to have a chance.
[George Washington vs Austin Peay, 4:00 p.m.] Another team struggling to get their first win, and I wouldn’t be exactly hopeful that win will come against the Colonials from the Atlantic 10. But, GW, much like Peay, couldn’t compete with California. Both teams have pushed tempo in the early going, so expect a lot of shots. But given how each team has played, I might not necessarily expect a lot of scoring. The Governors must stop Tony Taylor, who is averaging 20 points a game so far for the Colonials, the only player in double digits.
[West Virginia (-15.5) vs Morehead State, 6:00 p.m.] This would have been a great matchup a year ago. This season, not so much. The Eagles are the top 3-point shooting team percentage wise in the OVC, but rank 9th in total FG percentage. Morehead State is a team that has struggled defending in the paint, so it will do the Eagles no favors that West Virginia is one of the better interior scoring teams in the nation. Four Mountaineers average double digit scoring, led by 20 point a game scorer Kevin Jones. The Mountaineers also like to push tempo, averaging over 74 possessions a game.
[Tennessee Tech at High Point, 6:00 p.m.] This could be another good test for the Golden Eagles, against a High Point team that lost to Purdue by just 2, and Central Florida by 8. Nick Barbour and Shay Shine are the top scores for the Panthers, neither of which are afraid to shoot the 3. These two teams met last December in Tennessee, with the Panthers coming out 11 point winners. Both teams have shown superior ball control in early games, which could play a factor in the outcome.
[Tennessee State at No. 1 North Carolina (-28) 6:30 p.m.] So your reward for knocking off South Carolina over the weekend? You get to face their much stronger northern brother. There’s not a whole lot to say here: The Tigers are huge underdogs on the road.
[Lamar at UT Martin, 7:00 p.m.] This is where I’ll be tonight, so expect live coverage via Twitter. So the turnovers have come down as of late, which is a good thing. And the Skyhawks are facing one of the worst shooting teams on the young season. But Lamar has managed 2 wins, including wins against Arkansas State and Charlotte, while Martin has yet to beat a Division I team. That’s because Lamar’s defense has been solid in the early season. Good news, Lamar hasn’t forced a lot of turnovers. (I will continue to harp on turnovers until I see improvement for 3 or 4 games solid. Or Terrance Smith returns. Either or) 4 Cardinals average double figures, but there’s hardly any scoring behind that.