Top 5: The best upcoming college hoops games
by Scott M Gleeson, USA TODAY Sports
Christmas comes early for college hoops fans on Saturday. Here’s our top five games on deck for Dec. 6-12.
Long Beach State at No. 7 Ohio State | Saturday, noon, Big Ten Network
About the 49ers (3-5): Based on its record, Long Beach State doesn’t come off as a dangerous team. However, when considering losses to Southern California, North Carolina, Arizona, and Syracuse, the Big West favorite shouldn’t be overlooked. Returners Mike Caffey (11.4 ppg, 4.1 apg) and James Ennis (16.4 ppg, 7.9 rpg) are still meshing with transfers and freshmen. Former Arizona State leading scorer Keala King’s midseason eligibility can’t come soon enough.
About the Buckeyes (5-1): The loss came in a game at Duke, but the Buckeyes don’t play on the road again until Jan. 5. Ohio State plays well at home, and teams have a tough time handling Deshaun Thomas (21 ppg, 6.5 rpg) in any building. Aaron Craft (12 ppg, 4.3 apg) has been productive, as he was last season directing Thad Matta’s offense, though he shot 3-for-15 vs. Duke and 2-for-9 in a win against Northern Kentucky.
The matchup: If Long Beach State can dictate the tempo, the 49ers will have a chance. But that will be difficult in Columbus. Still, Long Beach State is used to strong competition on the road with one of the more grueling non-conference schedules in the country. An upset would be huge.
Our pick: Ohio State
Colorado at No. 9 Kansas | Saturday, 2 p.m., ESPN
About the Buffaloes (7-1): Colorado won its first six games, including the Charleston Classic title and a double-overtime victory against Texas Southern, for its best start since 1989-90. But a 76-69 upset loss at Wyoming was a setback. The Buffaloes shot a season-low 41.4% and committed 17 turnovers. Colorado has proved to be difficult to guard with four players averaging in double figures. With UCLA struggling and Arizona beatable, Colorado is a legit Pac-12 contender. A road win vs. Kansas is a tough task for any team, though.
About the Jayhawks (6-1): Senior center Jeff Withey (14.6 ppg, 8.1 rpg) has developed into Kansas’ main weapon, while freshman … [For more on Top 5: The best upcoming college hoops games, click here.]