Area college basketball preview capsules
Pittsburgh men at Rutgers
Tipoff: 11 a.m., Rutgers Athletic Center
Records: Pittsburgh (12-2, 0-1 in Big East); Rutgers (9-3, 0-1 in Big East)
Coaches: Mike Rice is 38-38 in his third year at Rutgers and is 111-69 in his sixth year overall. Jamie Dixon is 250-79 in his 10th year as head coach at Pittsburgh.
Probable starters: Pittsburgh – G Tray Woodall, 6-0 Sr. (11.5), G James Robinson, 6-3 Fr. (7.2), F Lamar Patterson, 6-5 Jr. (9.4), F Talib Zanna, 6-9 Jr. (13.4), C Steven Adams, 7-0 Fr. (6.8). Rutgers – G Myles Mack, 5-9 So. (13.3), G Eli Carter, 6-2 So. (17.1), G Dane Miller, 6-6 Sr. (8.5), F Wally Judge, 6-9 Jr. (7.9), C Austin Johnson, 6-8 Sr. (5.6).
Notes: Rutgers leads the all-time series, 24-23. … Pittsburgh has won six straight games at Rutgers since 2001, and the Panthers are 12-3 against the Scarlet Knights since 2000. … Pitt, which is playing in its 15th game this year, is playing its first road game of the season. … The Panthers, ranked No. 24 in the AP and ESPN poll, lead the nation in assists per game and fewest turnovers per game. … Rutgers is coming off a 25-point loss to No. 7 Syracuse.
Mirror prediction: Pittsburgh 62, Rutgers 49
Comment: After starting Big East play 0-7 last season, the Panthers need a win to avoid negative thoughts creeping back in.
Mirror prediction record: 13-1
– Michael Boytim
Bryant at St. Francis men
Tipoff: 4 p.m., DeGol Arena
Records: Bryant (8-4, 1-0 Northeast Conference), St. Francis (1-11, 1-0)
Coaches: Tim O’Shea is 28-103 in his fifth season at Bryant and is 148-198 in his 12th season overall. Rob Krimmel is 1-11 in his first season at St. Francis.
Web stream: NECFrontRow.com
Probable starters: Bryant – G Corey Maynard, 6-3 Jr. (7.9), G Frankie Dobbs, 6-3 Sr. (13.9), G Dyami Starks, 6-2 R-So. (17.9), F Alex Francis, 6-6 Jr. (15.5), F Vlad Kondratyev, 6-8 Sr. (3.3). St. Francis – G Umar Shannon, 5-11 R-Jr. (14.4), G Greg Brown, 6-2 Fr. (2.7), F Earl Brown, 6-6 So. (7.1), F Stephon Mosley, 6-6 Fr. (7.5), G Stephon Wyatt, 6-1 So. (7.8).
Notes: The Bulldogs lead the all-times series, 3-2. Bryant opened NEC play with a win at Robert Morris on Thursday. … This is the first season Bryant is eligible for the postseason as a full-time Division I member. … Dobbs is 16 points away from reaching the 1,000-point plateau. … Bryant is on a three-game winning streak, including a 80-79 victory at Lehigh on Dec. 29. … St. Francis travels to Monmouth and Fairleigh Dickinson next weekend.
Mirror prediction: Bryant 74, St. Francis 68
Comment: St. Francis will definitely make this one interesting after posting an impressive win on Thursday, but the Bulldogs may be a little too strong.
Mirror prediction record: 11-1
– Nate Foreman
Bryant at St. Francis women
Tipoff: 1 p.m., DeGol Arena
Records: Bryant (4-6, 0-0 Northeast Conference), St. Francis (5-6, 0-0 Northeast Conference)
Coaches: Mary Burke is 298-308 in her 22nd season at Bryant. Joe Haigh is 5-6 in his first season at St. Francis.
Web stream: NECFrontRow.com
Probable starters: Bryant – G Jenniqua Bailey, 5-6 Jr. (7.1), G Danielle Douglas, 5-8 Sr. (9.1), G Breanna Rucker, 5-11 Fr. (3.0), F Courtney Schissler, 5-9 Jr. (12.4), F Naana Ankoma-Mensa, 6-0 Jr. (11.9). St. Francis – G Brittany Lilley, 5-8 R-Sr. (3.4), G Kia Gibbs, 5-8 Sr. (10.7), G Alexa Hayward, 5-8 So. (9.3), F Alli Williams, 6-0 Jr. (17.5), F Shene Fleming, 5-11 R-Jr. (7.6).
Notes: This is the conference opener for both teams, as well as Haigh’s NEC coaching debut. St. Francis leads the all-time series, 3-2. The Red Flash are 3-0 against Bryant at DeGol Arena. … This is the first season Bryant is eligible for the postseason as a full-time Division I member. … Williams needs just 10 points to reach the 1,000-point plateau. … The Bulldogs were drilled by Akron, 78-56, earlier this season, an opponent St. Francis defeated. … Haigh has used the same starting five in each of SFU’s 11 games this season. … The Red Flash host Central Connecticut on Monday.
Mirror prediction: St. Francis 82, Bryant 68
Comment: The Flash need to start strong, not only in this game, but in NEC play. It could very well be a successful run for this team.
Mirror prediction record: 8-3
– Nate Foreman