#HLMBB Games Preview: November 27th – December 2nd

Photo courtesy of Oakland Athletics

It’s that time of the year again when conference teams start duking it out again. So naturally, we’ve got previews for all the league games on tap this week. Yes, there are some non-conference games happening, but no, they won’t be included as previews. Without further ado, here we go! All times Eastern and on ESPN+.

Wednesday, November 29th

Cleveland State at Youngstown State, 6:30pm – The opener for the night is poised to be the most exciting contest as well. The Vikings, sporting a 5-2 record, are paced by a deep bench, fierce defense and, of course, Tristan Enaruna, who’s been every bit as impressive as predicted before the season. As for the Penguins, the growing pains associated with so many new players that they avoided last season have cropped up on a few occasions. An eight-point loss to Dayton, though, provided some glimpses that the YSU tide may be turning.

Green Bay at Purdue Fort Wayne, 7pm – For those of you scoring at home, the Phoenix currently have as many wins in the first three weeks this season than they did during the entire 2022-23 campaign. Their first league opponent, though, is a Mastodons squad that has been off to a historically fast start at 6-1. Green Bay will have to contend with a number of PFW weapons, not the least of which being Rasheed Bello and Quentin Morton-Robertson.

IUPUI at Wright State, 7pm – Had not been for a last-second jumper that just missed, the Jaguars might have had to deal with losing to a team that didn’t exist last year…at all. Fortunately, that didn’t come to pass, but that will be little comfort when having to follow that up with a trip to the Nutter Center and a Raiders squad that barreled through Illinois State, 74-49. The Jags will have to not only contend with the Trey Calvin-Tanner Holden 1-2 punch, they’ll face a Wright State frontcourt that will certainly cause them some headaches.

Oakland at Detroit Mercy, 7pm – The 4-3 record is incredibly deceptive to when you consider that the Grizz beat Xavier and the defeats were hard-fought battles against Ohio State, Illinois and Drake. The Titans have a couple of those close losses, too, against Mississippi and Eastern Michigan, but the other four have been by much wider margins, leaving them at 0-6. Detroit Mercy is super thin up front, and, as a consequence, Trey Townsend can look to have a field day at Calihan Hall. Oakland’s focus will be on containing Jayden Stone and making anyone other Titan beat them.

Robert Morris at Northern Kentucky, 7pm – The Colonials are thankful to have back Josh Corbin, who scorched Fairleigh Dickinson for 34 points. The Norse, on the other hand, is still making adjustments to the frontcourt, where it looks as if Keeyan Itejere is becoming the main guy. If Sam Vinson and Marques Warrick play like Sam Vinson and Marques Warrick, Northern Kentucky, specifically on its home court, will be tough to beat.

Saturday, December 2nd

Northern Kentucky at IUPUI, noon – The Jaguars will enjoy being at home, but for how long during this tilt remains to be seen. The Norse have way too many weapons throughout the rotation to take lightly. IUPUI has to get outstanding games not only from Jlynn Counter but its forward, particularly Qwanzi Samuels and Yves Nkomba. Otherwise, Northern Kentucky will look to close this game out quickly.

Youngstown State at Robert Morris, 2pm – Given where both teams are in terms to progressing with their new players, this contest has to potential to be very exciting. The Penguins will need the deep bench they’ve brought in to outlast the Colonial onslaught, which is led by Corbin and their own star transfer, Justice Williams. There will also be a key match-up up front, where Stephaun Walker and Markeese Hastings will have to do yeoman’s work against a YSU rotation that includes two seven-footers.

Purdue Fort Wayne at Oakland, 3pm – Another absolute barnburner should be shaping up at the O’rena between the Mastodons and the Grizz. Townsend will once again present a mismatch for Purdue Fort Wayne, although Anthony Roberts will certainly be up for the task. For Oakland’s part, the Golden Grizzlies will need to keep the Mastodons from getting hot from beyond the arc, which Morton-Robertson has been adept at during this young season.

Detroit Mercy at Cleveland State, 3pm – If this game was being played at Calihan Hall, where the Vikings have historically struggled, this might be a different story, and the Titans might have a chance. But with the game at the Wolstein Center and Detroit Mercy having way too many questions in the rotation outside of Stone, Eduardo Del Cadia and Marcus Tankersley, Cleveland State is certainly planning to overwhelm the Titans with players up and down the rotation who can make their lives miserable.

Milwaukee at Green Bay, 7pm – The old saying goes that when it comes to rivals, throw the records out. That was especially true last season, when the Phoenix, playing under an interim coach, shocked the Panthers, who were leading the league at the time. Milwaukee would love to return the favor and have the firepower to do so. But with Green Bay slowly but surely progressing with its new lineup, that old adage may come true once again.

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