Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Turkey Day is game day for Virginia, Tech, JMU

Never been to Paradise? It's awesome, man. Bob Marley music everywhere. Water so blue it'll spoil your East Coast beach goin' days forevermore. Open air cabs that cost an arm and a leg. Don't even think of renting a car. Driving is crazy in these parts, man. Wanna good deal on a diamond? They'll see you comin' in downtown St. Thomas, where you'll leave with some glitter wondering if the deal is as good as it sounds. No place like it, man. No place.

And before we forget, Happy Thanksgiving, man.

Thursday's games:

Paradise Jam, the Virgin Islands

Hard to believe that these two programs have never met on the court, but that all changes on Thanksgiving when the Cavaliers begin a brutal stretch of games. After the Cyclones comes West Virginia, TCU and Ohio State, all ranked foes. Don't get too stressed about Iowa State's unbeaten mark. The Cyclones' slate of wins comes ever Northern Illinois, Drake and Northern Iowa. But Virginia can't underestimate Kelsey Bolte, shooting a sparking 60 percent (OK, so it's .594) from the field and averaging 18 ppg. While Virginia didn't put in the most polished effort in its last outing against Longwood (they rallied from 16 down for the win), we suspect they'll be ready here. Virginia 66, Iowa State 60

Caribbean Challenge, Riviera Maya, Mexico

- Florida Gulf Coast (2-0) vs. Virginia Tech (4-0), 5 p.m.
Any team that plays in the Atlantic Sun figures to know how to play in a tropical climate. If you think of Florida and Florida State as the big schools from the Sunshine State, then you haven't followed Florida Gulf Coast of late (they're No. 14 in our poll). Two years ago the Eagles stunned Florida in their home opener, and the program has been on the upswing since. They live by the 3 -- last season they finished second in the nation in 3-point shooting, though through two games this season their percentage has dipped to the low 20s. Tech has showed grit in compiling its unbeaten mark, and you get the sense that OT win over VCU filled the young Hokies with loads of confidence. We like Tech here. Virginia Tech 72, Florida Gulf Coast  61

Iowa has won the only two games these teams have ever played, though the last meeting was in 1994. In case you didn't read our earlier post, unless a hurricane strikes, we expect Dawn Evans to head into the 2,000-point club for her career (the senior has 1,983). Evans won't be the only guard on the floor receiving national acclaim. Hawkeye senior Kachine Alexander, averaging a double-double 17 points and 11 boards, is also a Naismith and Wade Trophy candidate. Given the struggles of the Dukes postgame and the fact that senior Jalissa Taylor is still listed as day-to-day with an ankle injury, we're giving the edge to Iowa, but we're betting Evans will get hers. Iowa 77, James Madision 73

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