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Lexington Preview: Top Matchups

By Alec Kinsky, D1 Circuit, 04/23/15, 7:00PM EDT


EYBL Lexington tips off tomorrow at 6:30 EST, the last open-period session before Peach Jam. College coaches should be treated to plenty of high level basketball during the EYBL debut in Kentucky, with tremendous match ups scattered across the three days.

Check out the entire EYBL Lexington schedule here or at the bottom of the page, and keep reading below to evaluate the session's top games.

Friday: April 24

No. 3 Pro Skills vs. No. 5 Team Takeover

The second set of Friday games feature two of the league's undefeated. Team Takeover should be getting VJ King back at full strength, shoring up an extremely impressive rotation. Pro Skills proved to be a defensive powerhouse in session 1, utilizing their size and athleticism to create havoc with their zone. This is probably the the top matchup of day one.  Expect this to be a slow, grind-it-out battle between two top 10 teams.

RIVALRY GAME: No. 8 MOKAN Elite vs. No. 4 St. Louis Eagles

ESPN 2016 No. 1 recruit Jayson Tatum faces off against ESPN 2017 No. 2 Michael Porter Jr. in what should be a an instant classic. Both players dazzled in the opening four games, leading their teams to 3-1 records despite stiff competition. Both squads are loaded and expect to be contenders deep into the season. Experience may come into play here, as the Eagles are one of the more veteran teams on the circuit.

No. 10 Arkansas Wings vs. No. 7 Georgia Stars

The third top-ten matchup of the night features a pair of 3-1 teams, both with very impressive rosters. The Georgia Stars' frontcourt features three ESPN Top 30 players, and their backcourt is not far behind. They have all the tools to be Peach Jam Championship contenders, but the same could be said about the Arkansas Wings. Malik Monk will need his supporting cast - especially Eric Curry and Mitchell Smith - to be competitive in the paint.

Howard Pulley vs. Team Final

This is a grudge match from last year, when Howard Pulley broke up Team Final's perfect regular season record. Luckily for Team Final Director Rob Brown and company, this game isn't being played at 8:00 am. Both teams play small and should match up well. The premier individual matchup is Lamar Stevens versus Gary Trent, who will both need to be on point for their teams to win. 

Saturday: April 25

No. 9 PSA Cardinals vs. No. 2 Houston Hoops

PSA will get a chance to continue their momentum against a loaded Houston Hoops squad. These two teams match up well against each other, and it may be decided by the Hoops' ability to defend Omari Spellman inside. There aren't many teams more balanced than the Hoops, and if they can win this, they have a favorable schedule to go undefeated through two sessions. Expect 6-foot-8 junior Robert Williams to continue his impressive play inside for Houston.

No. 1 Team CP3 vs. No. 7 Georgia Stars

This one will be fun. ESPN No. 2 and Hampton MVP Harry Giles takes on Udoka Azubuike, Abdulhakim Ado and Wendell Carter, in what should be one of the best frontcourt battles of the weekend. CP3 rolled through session one with relative ease, but will need to be clicking on all cylinders to maintain their No. 1 ranking. Stars' guards Trent Forrest and Jared Harper will be pivotal.

E1T1 vs. The Family

Both of these squads have scary potential, and both will likely be needing a win here. The Family battled through a tough first session schedule, but their core and surrounding role players are tough to ignore. Cassius Winston and MIles Bridges are as good as duos come, and they'll have to perform at a high level to beat an E1T1 team that debuts ESPN 2016 No. 25 Maverick Rowan. The 6-foot-6 junior joins an already supremely-talented squad, so be on the lookout for a strong weekend from Florida's finest.

New York Lightning vs. Las Vegas Prospects

Coming ready to play in the first set of Saturday games will be crucial, especially for these two squads. The Prospects impressed during session one, and have a real chance to replicate their success after looking at their schedule. The Lightning beat the No. 3 Eagles and had No. 2 Houston Hoops on the ropes, so they are capable of playing with the league's best. Troy Brown said he wanted to go undefeated one session, and a win over the Lightning would give him and his Prospects a great shot.

RIVALRY GAME: Team Final vs. NJ Playaz

This matchup is awesome every year. Last season, the Playaz lost to Team Final early in the regular season in a hard-fought battle. Team Final won the EYBL regular season title, and the Playaz took home the Peach Jam title. Both are back with guard-heavy lineups who compete as hard as any team in grassroots basketball. An grind-it-out east-coast battle will be going down in Lexington, Kentucky. The winner adds a huge win to their resume.

Sunday: April 26

Albany City Rocks vs. Seattle Rotary Style

The City Rocks surprised in session one, unleashing a backcourt attack that was highly productive. Kevin Huerter, Howard Washington and Quinton Rose will have a tough task on their hands with Rotary, a squad that returns budding superstar Jaylen Nowell. Adding him to Jashaun Agosto, Daejon Davis and Alphonso Anderson should allow Rotary to score with the best of them. They need a big second session to stay in the hunt, and a win over the Rocks would boost momentum.


RIVALRY GAME: All Ohio Red vs. King James

This is the game of the weekend. The battle for Ohio is taking place a few hours south of the border, but the travel would be well worth it. The matchup features 20 of the best players in Ohio and bragging rights will be on the line. King James just missed out on our first week rankings, contrary to All Ohio, who sputtered to a 1-3 opening session. They have a lot of talent on their roster, so it would be surprising to see their struggles continue. This game will be intense, that is a certainty.

RIVALRY GAME: Mac Irvin Fire vs. Chicago Meanstreets

Chicago's two EYBL representatives will battle six hours south of their home city, an epic battle that provides all-out bragging rights to the winner. Mac Irvin looked solid in session one, and they'll be getting back the services 6-foot-11 stretch-four Nick Rakocevic (ESPN Scout Grade: 80). MeanStreets struggled during the first session, but they compete as hard as anyone and have quite a bit of talent across their rotation. These teams know each other very well, so this rivalry game is highly anticipated.

Friday: April 24

Saturday: April 25

Sunday: April 26