The first batch of upsets came through the GSC assembly line Monday night, so let’s review what happened.
Central Arkansas 81, Arkansas Tech 77 (double OT)
I’m still not sure about either of these teams because of their relatively weak non-conference schedules, but I am now convinced that they are similarly talented. Even though it wasn’t reflected in my final score pick (UCA 65-62), I thought the Bears might handle ATU a bit more easily given their coach’s history of solid teams. Arkansas Tech looks like they’re for real, with plenty of contributing players. Ike O’Hanson has taken a larger role as the center this year (pardon the pun), dropping in 17 points and picking up 11 rebounds in this one, and Rone Smith has again been very efficient. On the other hand, UCA was playing without Darryl Jones, who has been their best player so far this season. I expect UCA to be closer to overtaking Harding for the #3 spot in my rankings than they are to .500 at the end of the year.
Computer prediction: UCA 63-62
My prediction: UCA 65-62
Christian Brothers 83, Ouachita Baptist 80 (OT)
In this game, the Buccaneers got exactly what they’ve been needing all year: solid support for star sophomore Kevin Weybright. Weybright had 22 points and 9 boards for CBU, but the Bucs also got 20-point efforts from Roberto Casiano and Sam Bradley and an 11-rebound effort from frosh forward Nick Kohs. It was pretty much the same old story for OBU, which was led by Lucky Butler (21 pts) and George Kirby (14 pts, 10 rebs). Brandon Dawson also had 17 for the Tigers, but it was an otherwise unspectacular performance from the home team. This is the type of close game one should expect from the supposed non-contenders in the division, as the next game also shows.
Computer prediction: OBU 72-70
My prediction: OBU 72-68
Southern Arkansas 64, Henderson State 62
The Muleriders got a last-second shot from Brandon Williams to put them over the edge against the home-team Reddies, so it was not a happy night in Arkadelphia. HSU had just enough trouble shooting to offset their rebounding edge, and SAU ended up on top. Williams and Kenny Langhorne were the top Mulerider performers, with game scores of 12.0 for each, helped along by some solid supporting efforts. Kelvin Brown, Donte Norton, and Randy George all topped the 10.0 mark for the Reddies, with Brown’s 25 points leading both teams in the Henderson loss. The games between these last four teams should be interesting this season, with their quest for wins over the top five being equally so.
Computer prediction: HSU 61-60
My prediction: HSU 63-59
Harding 79, UAM 73
Computer prediction: UAM 83-76
My prediciton: UAM 82-77
Delta State topped NCCAA foe Palm Beach Atlantic at home on Monday night to extend their record to 11-1, so no GSC team was idle.
Computer: 1-3 (8-4 overall)
Me: 1-3 (9-3 overall)
Team with higher net efficiency entering the game: 1-3 (9-3 overall)
Team with better record: 1-3 (8-4 overall)
Home team: 0-4 (4-8 overall)