"Sizzling in the Spotlight" is back!
After the weekend off, VAVEL US' Tyler Bennett and Peyton Wesner are back to previewing and predicting the college basketball contests starting with Illinois State visiting Kentucky and ending with a mid-major matchup of James Madison and Radford.
7:00 PM EST
3-4 Illinois State @ 6-0 1. Kentucky
Illinois State: 73-63 Win - Quincy
Kentucky: 84-63 Win - South Florida
Players to Watch:
DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell (SR)
---15.9 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 1.7 APG, & 1.1 SPG.
Jamal Murray (FR)
---14.8 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 3.5 APG, & 1.3 SPG.
What if Reggie Lynch opted to stay with Illinois State, as opposed to transferring to Minnesota? How good could the Redbirds have been this season? D’Vaughn Akoon-Purcell is a star for Illinois State, and his play will keep tonight's game respectable against the nation’s top team in Kentucky. However, Jamal Murray and company will be too much for the Redbirds to handle, and Kentucky will keep their perfect record intact.
---Kentucky 86, Illinois State 70
Hmm, not sure what to say here. The Illinois State Redbirds are clearly not the same team that pushed a very good Northern Iowa Panthers team to the brink of losing in the 2015 Missouri Valley Conference tournament championship. Explicitely, Dan Muller's group just does not have enough weapons without Reggie Lynch (transferred to Minnesota) and Daishon Knight (graduated) to hang with good teams, i.e. Maryland and Kentucky. Though the Redbirds hung around with the Terpians for 36 minutes last Tuesday in Cancun, Mexico, (thanks to great games from MiKyle McIntosh and Paris Lee) tonight's contest in Lexington is bound to get ugly quick. Look for Kentucky to exploit Illinois State's lack of a true big man with "fab freshman" Skal Labissiere, who will have a three inch height advantage, and Alex Poythress.
---Kentucky 86, Illinois State 64
4-3 James Madison @ 4-2 Radford
James Madison: 89-75 Win @ Marshall
Radford: 86-74 Win @ Penn State
Players to Watch:
Shakir Brown (JR)
---13.3 PPG & 7.4 RPG.
Rashun Davis (SR)
---15.2 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 6.5 APG, & 1.3 SPG.
On Monday night, two of the more impressive mid-major programs will take to the court as Radford welcomes James Madison to town. Radford has been in the headlines since the start of the season, when they took down Georgetown to open the 2015-16 campaign. In their last time out, they upset the Penn State Nittany Lions, also on the road, to score their second win over power conference opposition. Despite the Dukes having performed well all season, even in their losses, it’s tough to overlook the Highlanders on their home floor. With their confidence, having two marquee wins under their belts, they’ll roll over the Dukes at home.
---Radford 82, James Madison 74
To most, this may seem like an easy game to predict considering Radford's victories on the road against Georgetown and Penn State. The truth is, it is anything but. James Madison is not mincemeat; they have four double-digit scorers including two in their guard duo of Ron Curry and Shakir Brown. In fact, the Dukes have a road upset of their own this season for they traveled to Harrisonburg, Virginia, and handedly defeated Marshall. While nothing less than a very close, entertaining matchup should be expected this evening, the Highlanders will not be able to match the scoring power of their opponent. Now to elaborate, Rashaun Davis and Cameron Jones will get their point averages, if not more, but they will not walk away with the victory.
---James Madison 77, Radford 73
1. Bennett 125 pts (98-48)
2. Wesner 119 pts (94-52)
***Spotlight Games are worth two points in opposed to one.