College basketball schedule: No. 10 VCU faces tough test in Florida State

Jamie Squire

VCU, Michigan and Georgetown all host smaller schools in the first round of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off.

After achieving the highest in-season poll ranking in the school's history, VCU will have to turn around a play tough Florida State team on a neutral floor. The clash with the Seminoles will be the fourth game of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off in San Juan, an eight-team tournament held in San Juan. Michigan, Georgetown and Kansas State will also play in the tournament.

The Rams -- led by fifth-year head coach Shaka Smart -- are fresh off wins against No. 25 Virginia and Winthrop. They have outscored their opponents by 21 points per game, thanks to the "havoc" defense that has defined the program in recent years. Florida State is off to a nice to start as well, soundly defeating Central Florida, Jacksonville and Tennessee-Martin.

VCU is led by Treveon Martin, a 6'6 guard who is averaging 16.3 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. Meanwhile the Seminoles are once again chock-full of big men. Leonard Hamilton's squad has six players 6'8 and above that see regular minutes, a tough assignment for VCU's front court.

If the Rams can use their quick hands to create turnovers when Florida State tries to get the ball down low, it's going to be another quality win for VCU as they climb their way up the rankings. The Seminoles, meanwhile, are looking to avenge a 72-71 loss to VCU in the 2011 NCAA Tournament. The game tips off at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Here's the rest of the schedule for Thursday:

No. 19 New Mexico vs. UAB, 3 p.m. ET

With both undefeated in the early going, one team with leave Charleston with a loss to their name. New Mexico has been one of the best scoring teams in the country, averaging 98.5 points on nearly 60 percent shooting in their first two games. This is UAB's second game against a school from a power conference, having defeated Rutgers on Nov. 11.

Several New Mexico players have video game numbers thus far, with Cameron Bairstow and Alex Kirk both averaging gover 20 points per game. Point guard Kendall Williams is averaging 18.5 points to go along with 8.5 assists.

No. 14 Michigan vs. Long Beach St., 5:30 p.m. ET

Fresh off a 77-70 loss to Iowa State, Michigan looks to rebound in San Juan. They take on a Long Beach State team that is familiar with difficult opponents. The 49ers have already faced Arizona and Kansas State on their way to a 1-3 start.

Sophomore big man Mitch McGary was held to nine points while playing just 22 minutes against the Cyclones in his season debut. The pre-season All-American missed Michigan's first two games with a lower back injury.

No. 18 Connecticut vs. Boston College, 7 p.m. ET

After a tough win in its opening game against Maryland, Connecticut has rattled off three straight decisive victories. They will look to move to 5-0 against Boston College, who has dropped games to Providence, UMass and Toledo to start the season.

The Huskies are led by Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright, who each average over 30 minutes per game. Five UConn players have averaged double digits this season, a testament to the balance on Kevin Ollie's roster.

No. 16 Florida vs. Middle Tennessee, 7:30 p.m. ET

The Gators are slowly putting their team back together after pre-season suspensions had them playing below their true talent level. Dorian Finney-Smith returned to the team, but not in time to contribute in a loss to Wisconsin. Damontre Harris and Scottie Wilbekin remain suspended due to rules violations, but the Gators need to move forward without them.

Florida will have one more cream-puff opponent after this game, facing Jacksonville next week. The Gators then go through a hellish stretch, facing three ranked teams (Kansas, Memphis, Connecticut) and the always-tough Florida State. We will know who Florida is after that stretch.

No. 12 Wisconsin vs. Bowling Green, 8 p.m. ET

Wisconsin has been one of the more impressive teams this season, holding wins over Florida and Notre Dame. They got 43 points from 7-foot center Frank Kamisnky against the Irish, but it the team defense that makes the Badgers special. Everyone plays hard and almost every guy on the team is a dead-eye from three.

Bowling Green lost to South Florida in their only significant action of the season. Expect them to have their hands full with Bo Ryan's Badgers.

No. 25 Marquette vs. New Hampshire, 8 p.m. ET

Reeling from a 52-35 stomping at the hands of Ohio State, Marquette is clinging onto their spot in the Top 25. The Golden Eagles will take on a New Hampshire team that has edged out Duquesne and lost to the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Suffice to say Marquette is more concerned with their trip to Tempe on Sunday to face an undefeated Arizona State team.

No. 13 Gonzaga vs. Washington St., 9 p.m. ET

The Zags would get so much more recognition if it weren't for these late West Coast start times. Gonzaga should improve to 4-0 against the dregs of the Pac-12, as Washington State hasn't finished over .500 in the conference since 2008.

Gonzaga is led by juniors Gary Bell Jr. and Kevin Pangos, who have combined to score over 33 points per game this season. Senior center Sam Dower is averaging a double-double in the early going, posting 14.7 points and 10.3 rebounds per game

The rest of the schedule: 
Kansas State vs. Charlotte, 10:30 a.m. ET

Georgetown vs. Northeastern, 12:30 p.m. ET

Nebraska vs. Massachusetts, 12:30 p.m. ET

Georgia vs. Davidson, 5 p.m. ET

Miami (FL) vs. UCF, 7 p.m ET

Wake Forest vs. Citadel, 7 p.m. ET

Clemson vs. Temple, 8 p.m. ET

Indiana vs. Washington, 9 p.m ET

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