- Creighton Blue Jays and Wichita State
- ACC/Big Ten Challenge Review
- Kentucky/North Carolina Review
- Are the Georgetown Hoyas a sneaky-good team?
- Harvard v. Connecticut/Kentucky v. Indiana/Ohio State v. Kansas/UNLV v. Wisconsin
A lot of interesting things happened in college basketball this past week. There were some very exciting and intriguing matchups, along with a few surprises. Let’s get right to it.
The Creighton Blue Jays are looking like a legit team right now. They have jumped out to a 7-0 start, beating quality opponents such as San Diego State and Iowa by 23 points. The Blue Jays are led by sophomore scoring-sensation Doug McDermott. McDermott is averaging 23.7 points per game along with 8.5 rebounds per game and shooting 63% from the field and 57% from three! They were ranked #22 to start the week last week, so my guess is that they will jump up a few spots when the new poll is released tomorrow. Keep an eye out for this team. Another team I would like to highlight this week would be the Wichita State Shockers. This is a very talented team, that absolutely beat down a Top 25 UNLV Rebels team on Sunday in Wichita, Kansas. The Shockers got off to a bit off a rough start early on in the season, losing two of their first four games (Alabama and Temple). They are a balanced-scoring team, with six players averaging 8 or more points a game and have played stellar defense up to this point in the season. I wouldn’t be surprised to see both of these teams make it into the Field of 68 come tournament time.
I expected the ACC/Big Ten Challenge to be a little bit more competitive this year. I didn’t expect Duke to get blown out by Ohio State or Virginia Tech to lose to a Minnesota team that had just lost one of college basketball’s best rebounders and low post threats. The Big Ten ended up handing it to the ACC, winning eight of the twelve games. It also looks like the Big Ten might be the best league in the country from top to bottom. Even when Wisconsin goes win-less during the week, the Big Ten still picked up victories over Gonzaga and USC, thanks to Illinois and Minnesota, respectively. It’s still early though.
The Kentucky/North Carolina matchup lived up to all the hype and expectations for an early season game. On college football championship Saturday, most folks had their channels stuck on CBS. I was interested to see just how good some of Kentucky’s freshman are, and they proved it, to me at least: they are really good. When Darius Miller is your worst player on the floor and he is a senior, that says a lot about the type of talent that is out there on the floor, and Miller is not even that bad of a player! Kentucky came out victorious thanks to Anthony Davis‘ last-second blocked shot on John Henson. I hope these two teams meet again, in March!
One team I have never been able to figure are the Georgetown Hoyas. Just a few years ago, they got bounced from the NCAA Tournament by a #14 seed. Last year, they were extremely inconsistent losing their last fives games including their NCAA Tournament game to VCU, 74-56. This year, things have seemed to turn around. At least for now. The Hoyas are 7-1, their only loss coming against Kansas, 67-63. They have earned wins over Memphis and on the road against Alabama. The rest of their schedule has been soft, but they have been taking care of business, winning by an average of 32 points. Remember these names: Jesse Clark and Hollis Thompson.
The Harvard Crimson take on the Connecticut Huskies on Thursday. This figures to be an interesting matchup between the defensive-minded Crimson and the talented Huskies. The Crimson are 8-0 while Connecticut is 7-1. The Crimson defense will be tested.
Kentucky will travel to Assmebly Hall to take on Indiana on Saturday. Indiana is a much-improved team that is looking to send a statement to the rest of college basketball. The Hooisers are 8-0 right now and could be ranked in the new poll that will be released tomorrow, while Kentucky will come in undefeated (8-0) and ranked #1. This will be a heated battle.
Ohio State gets another early season test as they travel to Phog Allen Fieldhouse to take on Kansas. Kansas has had to early season slip-ups against Duke and Kentucky, but they seem to be back on track. The matchup to watch: Jared Sullinger v. Thomas Robinson.
UNLV will travel to the Kohl Center to take on Wisconsin on Saturday. The Rebels are coming off a loss to Wichita State, but they have a game against a team from California that should help them regain their confidence before they arrive in Madison. The Badgers are coming off back-back losses, but they play Wisconsin-Green Bay on Wednesday, so they figure to have their mojo back by then.