NOTE: MEDIA covering the Emerald Coast Classic please make sure to apply for credentials at this link:
(Central time listed)
Thursday, Nov. 8 Games
Nicholls State at Louisville, 6 p.m. ACC Network
Friday, Nov. 9 Games
North Carolina Central at Clemson, 6 p.m.
American at George Mason, 6 p.m. ESPN +
Saturday, Nov. 10 Games
Western Michigan at Ole Miss, 3 p.m., SEC Network
Southern at Baylor, 5 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 11 Games
Nicholls State at Washington State, 6 p.m. PAC-12 Network
Tuesday, Nov. 13 Games
George Mason at Georgia Southern, 6 p.m. ESPN+
North Carolina Central at Cincinnati, 6 p.m.
Western Michigan at Oakland, 6 p.m.
Southern at Louisville, 7 p.m., ESPN
Nicholls State at Idaho, 8 p.m.
UPWARD TREND: In the first three years of the Coach Dave Paulsen era, George Mason has established a trademark. The team finishes ahead of where it was picked by Atlantic-10 coaches and media in the preseason poll.
Picked 12th of 14 in 2016-17, the Patriots wound up seventh; picked 10th last year, they took fifth.
The upward trend continues this season with a predicted fourth place finish by the coaches. Other outlets have been more bullish including Street & Smith’s and Blue Ribbon’s second-place projections behind Saint Louis.
“I’m excited,” says junior guard Justin Kier. “I think it’s going to be a big year for us, but we’ve got a lot to prove. We’re really excited. We’ve got a great group. We’re putting the pieces together.”
“I don’t really care for the rankings. We’ve got to show that we’re one of the best teams in the A-10. You can say what you want — you have to come out and prove it. Otherwise it doesn’t mean anything.”
NEW BASKETBALL ARENA FOR BAYLOR: Baylor administrators are also setting the table for a new basketball facility to replace the Ferrell Center. The new facility would have 6,500 to 7,000 seats, Vice President for Advancement David Rosselli said.
The new arena is part of a $1.1 billion fundraising campaign intended to extend the campus footprint, add athletic infrastructure and elevate the university’s academic profile.
“Baylor plans to develop a new fieldhouse concept that takes its lessons from other Power 5 schools who have renovated or constructed smaller venues that create a more intimate atmosphere that elevates home-court advantage and focuses on fan experience,” a press release from Baylor stated.
The new basketball arena has been in the works for year, behind the scenes and as a murmur in the background. It has been on the “list of things to do” for some time, especially after McLane Stadium was finishing and the focus could be moved to other revenue generating sports.
The Ferrell Center is 30-years old now, and is the oldest intercollegiate athletics facility on campus. While still suitable in many ways, and upgrade or renovation would need to be done to bring it up to the standards that other programs have. So rebuild or build new was the conversation internally. This campaign answers the question, and even gives Baylor fans a look at what the new facility could look like.
PROTECTING THE RIM: If there’s one thing Cincinnati head coach Mick Cronin could count on the past six seasons, it was that his team would protect the rim.
The Bearcats ranked in the Top 10 nationally in block percentage five of the last six years. The year they didn’t, they finished 12th.
Cincinnati’s combination of length, athleticism and timing on the interior has dissuaded teams from willingly attacking the rim, which in turn affected opponents’ ability to score and get to the free throw line. UC ranked in the Top 15 in 2-point field goal percentage defense each of the past six seasons, and the ‘Cats finished in the Top 50 in free throw rate allowed in each of the past four.
“My biggest concern is defense around the rim,” Cronin said. “Gary (Clark) and Jacob (Evans), and Kyle (Washington) a little bit, protected the rim. Tre (Scott) and Nas (Nysier Brooks) had no blocked shots (vs. Tusculum). Neither of one of them had a blocked shot in our Red-Black scrimmage.”
AFFINITY FOR NUMBERS: Stepping foot on Ole Miss campus was a bit of a bizarre homecoming for new basketball head coach Kermit Davis Jr. Raised in Leakesville, Miss., Davis played collegiately at Mississippi State in the 1980s.
Ole Miss introduced Davis as the head coach in March, replacing Andy Kennedy after a 12-year run which saw Kennedy become Ole Miss’ all-time wins leader. After a disappointing 11-16 season last year, culminating in a peculiar departure, it was time for Ole Miss to move on. Enter Kermit Davis.
Davis comes to Oxford from Middle Tennessee, where in 16 years as the head coach he amassed a 332-118 record, including NCAA tournament bids in three of the last six seasons. At MTSU, Davis was an eight-time conference Coach of the Year, and his success extended well beyond just his conference. In the past three seasons he is 7-1 against SEC and Big 10 schools.
Despite his prior achievements, this is a new journey for Davis. A new town, a new team and heightened expectations in Oxford await. Davis will make his regular season debut on the sidelines on Saturday against Western Michigan, but he has had some experience at The Pavilion with last week’s exhibition against Fayetteville State.
Lighthearted speaking to the media this week, Davis joked about having parked in the same space for 16 years prior to taking the Ole Miss job. All of these subtle superstitions developed during his long stint at Middle Tennessee are now being reset during his first year in Oxford.
LOTS OF NEW FACES: Nicholls State might have a new coach and a roster with 12 new players.
But the goal for the Colonels and first-year coach Austin Claunch remains the same — to continue the success of last season’s Southland Conference regular season championship team.
“It’s really exciting. We’re trying to build off some of that success we had last year,” Claunch said. “It’s a brand new team. A lot of new pieces. We do feel great about the three guys we brought back as sort of a foundation for those new guys to understand what we expect and the standard we want to compete at.”
Claunch, who was an assistant coach at Nicholls for the past two seasons, took over when his former boss Richie Riley left to become the head coach at South Alabama.
BUILDING ON SUCCESS: North Carolina Central, two-time defending Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament champ, opens its 2018-19 campaign when it travels to Clemson Friday.
With new players coming into the fold, LeVelle Moton, in his 10th season as head coach at North Carolina Central, has let the team know that there is plenty of work ahead of them.
“We’re not defending anything,” said Moton, who is a third-most winningest coach in school history with 171 victories. “I tell our kids we’re not defending any titles. It’s our first year together, so we’re going out and trying to win one.
“We had success in the tournament last year for those four days, but we had some bumps in the road due to injuries and maturity. The best thing about having freshmen last year is that they’re sophomores this year. I’m looking forward to coaching this team, and hopefully repeating what we did last year.”
Nov. 8 — What Went Wrong in Opener
Nov. 6 — Baylor Post-Game Press Conference vs. Texas Southern
Nov. 6 — Texas Southern Stuns Baylor
Nov. 6 – Late Rally Spoils Opener
Nov. 6 — The Plus/Minus – Week 1
Nov. 6 – Baylor Basketball Begins
Nov. 5 — Drew Ready to Unveil Mystery
Nov. 5 – Bears Open Season Against Texas Southern
Nov. 7 — Shooting Issues Plague Bearcats
Nov. 7 — Getting Defensive
Nov. 7 — Observations From Season Opener
Nov. 7 — Ohio State Spoils Season Opener
Nov. 6 — Highlights Cincinnati-Ohio State Game
Nov. 6 — Bearcats Fall to Buckeyes in Season Opener
Nov. 6 — Bearcats Facing Questions in Opener
Nov. 5 — Cincinnati Welcomes Buckeyes in “Special” Season Opener
Nov. 5 — Ending Decades Of Bad Blood
Nov. 8 — Patriots Host American
Nov. 6 — Victimized By Hot Second-Half Shooting
Nov. 6 — Late Rally Dooms Patriots in Opener
Nov. 4 — Patriots Open Season At Home Against Penn
Nov. 8 — Season Preview
Nov. 7 — Freshman Embodies Future of Program
Nov. 6 — – Davis Named Preseason All-SEC
Nov. 7 — Colonels Begin Road Trip at Louisville
Nov. 6 — Colonels Win in Claunch’s Debut
Nov. 5 — Colonels Face Mississippi College in Opener
NORTH CAROLINA CENTRAL
Oct. 25 – Trio Earns Preseason honors
Nov. 6 — Jaguars Drop Opener At Alabama
Nov. 6 — – Dugan’s Career Night Keys Season Opening Win Opener
Nov. 6 — – PostGame Press Conference vs. Detroit Mercy
Nov. 5 — – Broncos Host Detroit Mercy in Season Opener