One night has passed, but we quickly head on to another evening of Gulf South basketball tomorrow night. Here are the matchups, Harding’s game not included:
Arkansas-Monticello (8-4, 1-0 GSC West) at Henderson State (3-5, 0-1)
The Boll Weevils are rolling, despite an apparent injury to large inside presence Johnathan Holland, who has not played since the third game of the year. Ordinarily, that would make for trouble ahead, but UAM has even beaten a D-I team this year by 17 points. One would also expect them to have trouble with Charlotte transfer (in his second GSC year) Dedric Spooner of Henderson State, given his size. I’m not going to expect a whole lot out of this Henderson State team, though, because they seem to fail at every opportunity. For that reason, I still expect UAM to win this one, on the strength of their other solid players. Nate Newell, Billy McDaniel, M’Jumbe Williams, DeMarcus Wilson, and Brandon Mayweather still is an imposing starting lineup, one I’m not sure the Reddies could handle even on a good day.
Computer prediction: UAM 66-60
My prediction: UAM 68-61
Ouachita Baptist (9-5, 1-0) at Central Arkansas (8-3, 1-0)
These teams have seen a lot of turnover in the last year, and UCA is probably better equipped to handle the transition. OBU opened against the conference’s weakest team, and now they must visit a perennial power. The Bears beat a similar Christian Brothers team on the road, and I expect Darryl Jones and company to pull out a win in their home conference opener. The Tigers will need a much stronger performance from Lucky Butler (6 pts, 4 rebs against SAU) if they expect to penetrate UCA’s excellent defense and pull off an upset in this one.
Computer prediction: UCA 64-62
My prediction: UCA 66-60
Arkansas Tech (9-3, 0-1) at Southern Arkansas (3-9, 0-1)
This game should be interesting, if only because Arkansas Tech has faced very weak opponents this year. I expect them to beat SAU, but by how much is the question. The Muleriders have to think that this is one of their most winnable home games of the year, so it should be a close game. One battle to watch is that of the super subs: Rone Smith of ATU and Brandon White of SAU. Smith isn’t technically a sub, but his minutes are sparse enough (6th on the team) that he could be. His combination of efficient scoring and rebounding is just what the Wonder Boys could use for, say, 35 minutes a game. White is seventh in minutes for Southern Arkansas despite a similar (though lesser) skill set to Rone Smith. His rebound rate is second among regulars (10 or more minutes per game) on his very weak-rebounding team. With no major changes, though, I expect ATU to pull out a close one.
Computer prediction: ATU 67-66
My prediction: ATU 68-66
I’ll be back later with a more in-depth preview of Harding’s matchup against Delta State.