NCAA Basketball Rebound; Cream Rising?
With all the tournament action going on this week, you may have missed out on some results and action from around the world of college basketball this week. You can probably be forgiven considering the amount of turkey you probably crammed into your pie holes…
What We Learned This Week… If you weren’t taking Duke seriously you might want to think again. The Blue Devils have now defeated two top five teams in Kentucky and Louisville and maybe primed for a #1 spot in the polls. While the Hoosiers are winning games, they haven’t played the schedule Duke has to this point… Speaking of IU, the Hoosiers were down to Georgia and were taken to overtime by Georgetown but were able to win both games at a tourney in Brooklyn this weekend. These were the first real challenges the Hooisers have faced and they will only grow in stature as the season wears on… Michigan beat both Kansas State and Pitt in winning the preseason NIT. What was significant for Michigan was that they were able to handle different tempos of games with success which could serve them well going forward… The already tough Big Ten just got tougher as Illinois went west and won the Maui Invitational. The Illini cruised past a Butler squad that had knocked off North Carolina the day before and showed they will be a force to reckon with in the Big Ten… Shabazz Muhammad finally made his long-awaited debut by scoring 15 points in a 77-70 loss to Georgetown. He was pretty humble afterwards suggesting that he ‘didn’t do a whole lot well tonight.’ It will get better I’m sure.
Looking Ahead to the Week…
Tonight – San Jose State at #12 Kansas The only Top 25 team in action tonight is the Jayhawks who are coming off of a tournament win close to home in Kansas City. Jeff Withey scored 25 points in a 14-point win over St. Louis. KU ranks 125th in the nation in points scored and that number has to go up for this team to be taken a little more seriously in the national discussion.
Tuesday – Two huge match-ups highlight the evening as # Indiana hosts #9 North Carolina. The Hoosiers and Heels both rank in the top 10 nationally in points scored but the Hoosiers rank significantly higher in terms of opponent’s field goal percentage. Read into that what you want but IU hasn’t played quite the schedule UNC has. I still like the Hoosiers at home in their first big match-up of the season.
The other big one one on Tuesday is #16 NC State at #4 Michigan. The Wolfpack are hurting a bit after losing to Oklahoma State and then barely escaping UNC-Ashville by two points. I like Michigan in this one due to the home-court advantage for the Wolverines and the fact they are so well-balanced for many types of games.
Wednesday – The big one on this night is #3 Ohio State at #5 Duke. The Buckeyes blasted DUke last season and are prepping for a hostile environment in Camden Indoor as the undefeated Blue Devils will look to exact some revenge. As athletic as the Bucks are, I like Duke in a nail-biter due to the way they’ve played already in 2012.
Thursday – Marquette at #7 Florida highlights the night as the Eagles travel to Gainesville to play the unbeaten Gators. Marquette’s lone loss on the year was a one-point stunner to Butler. Florida really only has one impressive win and that was a pretty solid beating of then #22 Wisconsin. The Eagles will be a handful due to their solid defense. The athleticism of Florida will be the difference.
Friday – #6 Syracuse travels to Fayetteville to play Arkansas. The Orange did defeat San Diego State, but that was the only team of note the they’ve played this season. The Hogs are 3-2 and have beaten quite frankly, no one of significance. Their two losses are to Wisconsin and Arizona State. Syracuse should roll in this one.