The conference season is 1/18th complete after last night, so let’s review the action around the league:
Arkansas-Monticello 87, Arkansas Tech 68
Good things only last so long, especially when you play a very weak schedule like the Wonder Boys had thus far this season. Everything caught up with them last night, and a very good UAM team schooled them to the tune of a 19-point win. UAM point guard M’Jumbe (or “J.B.” depending on who you ask) Williams led the Weevils with 27 points, 13 rebounds (!), and six assists, also getting contributions from guard Nate Newell (20 points) and forward tandem Billy McDaniel and DeMarcus Wilson (30 points and 14 rebounds between them). ATU got 20 points and 9 boards from center Ike O’Hanson and 15 from underrated forward Rone Smith.
Computer prediction: UAM 72-66, prediction quality of 21.5 (lower is better)
My prediction: UAM 75-64, PQ of 16
Central Arkansas 64, Christian Brothers 55
The Bears dictated the slow pace of this game and held the Bucs to just 43 shots through a combination of solid defensive rebounding and forcing turnovers. Guard LeMar Phillips had 17 points for UCA, with Frederick Campbell and Darryl Jones also in double figures. Kevin Weybright had 23 points and 6 rebounds in the loss for Christian Brothers. Things won’t get any easier than for the Buccaneers, who face Ouachita Baptist before a stretch that pits them against my five highest-ranked teams in the division, all in a row.
Computer prediction: CBU 69-68, PQ of 17
My prediction: UCA 70-67, PQ of 15
Delta State 64, Henderson State 58
The Reddies’ struggles continued against the best team in the conference, and they have now dropped five of eight to start what appears to be another down year for the Henderson State program. Jasper Johnson and Jeremy Richardson combined for 35 points and 13 rebounds for Delta State in a game where the pace actually appeared to be dictated by Henderson. Still, the Statesmen toughed it out and won their fifth consecutive game. The Reddies had no standout performers, as scoring leader Kelvin Brown had 19 but turned the ball over five times to limit his value.
Computer prediction: DSU 74-66, PQ of 11
My prediction: DSU 76-65, PQ of 14.5
Ouachita Baptist 70, Southern Arkansas 56
OBU’s Jaranimo Marks had perhaps the worst game I’ve seen all season, but the Tigers still managed to knock off the struggling SAU Muleriders. Marks played 29 minutes, shot 0-3 from the field, had 2 rebounds, 3 assists, and a whopping 10 turnovers. I’m truly amazed that he stayed in the game for that long while playing so poorly. Justin Delamar had the Tigers’ best individual performance with 15 points on 7-9 shooting, plus six rebounds, along with three assists and no turnovers. George Kirby added 14 points and 9 rebounds, and Brandon Dawson and Damon Harris also scored in double figures. SAU had no standout performers.
Computer prediction: OBU 69-64, PQ of 13.5
My prediction: OBU 68-64, PQ of 15
Computer predictions: 3-1, average PQ of 15.8
My predictions: 4-0, average PQ of 15.1
Team with higher net efficiency: 4-0
Team with better record: 3-1
Home team: 3-1
I think I can do better, but we’ll see. I’m just happy to beat my computer prediction. The next round of GSC games is Saturday night, when Harding will open the season at home against a frightening Delta State team.