Here’s today’s installment of “The Breakfast Buffet”, the morning column on everything that’s happened from the day/night before and everything that’s going to happen in the next 24 hours.
Things To Sample
Bryce Hopkins takes center stage
You want a a great March Madness storyline? You’ve got one in tonight’s matchup between Providence and Kentucky in Greensboro (7:10 PM ET, CBS). Hopkins — who played just one season for the Wildcats before transferring to play for the Friars — is right in the middle of it. The 6-7 forward only averaged 2.1 points and 1.4 rebounds in just 6.4 minutes last season for Kentucky, but has emerged into one of the best players in the Big East this season for Providence. He enters tonight’s game averaging 16.1 points and 8.5 rebounds. The Friars are on a three-game losing streak and have lost four of their last five games.
The Huskies have again become one of the Big East’s top programs under Dan Hurley, but they’ve yet to win an NCAA Tournament game during his tenure in Storrs. If that changes today in Albany, it will come against one of the best coaches in the history of the sport. Rick Pitino’s squad feature two terrific guards in Daniss Jenkins and Walter Clayton Jr., but will be limited up front against the Huskies’ center tandem of Adama Sanogo and Donovan Clingan. Still, don’t put anything past Pitino. He’s done everything in his brief tenure in New Rochelle except win an NCAA Tournament game against a power conference opponent. This is the game of the day in the NCAA Tournament.
Princeton had a win for the ages
The Tigers didn’t win the Ivy Tournament last season. They also lost Ethan Wright to Colorado and Jaelin Llewellyn to Michigan. None of that mattered on Thursday. 27 years after the late Pete Carril led Princeton to an upset of UCLA in 1996, the Tigers had a comparable victory on the sport’s biggest stage, beating Arizona 59-55 in Sacramento. The most amazing part of the triumph? Princeton shot just 40.6 percent from the field and 16 percent from three-point range, but still managed to beat a team that won the Pac-12 Tournament six days ago in Las Vegas. The Tigers will next face Missouri on Saturday.
On The Side
- Miami’s Norchad Omier practiced on Thursday and will play in tonight’s game against Drake “as long as his ankle didn’t swell overnight”, Jim Larranaga told College Hoops Today. The 6-7 forward averages 13.6 PPG and 9.7 RPG. Tip off for tonight’s game is at 7:25 PM ET on TBS.
- Arkansas is 7-2 in NCAA Tournament games over the last three seasons under Eric Musselman.
- My heart breaks for Virginia’s Kihei Clark, who committed a critical turnover late in Thursday’s loss to Furman. Four years ago, Clark was a starter and a key piece on the Cavaliers’ national title team in 2019. This was a painful way to see his career end. The “dark side” of March is a real thing.
- Xavier will play its first NCAA Tournament game since 2018 today against Kennesaw State (12:40 PM ET, truTV).
- In the past six days, Penn State won an NCAA Tournament game for the first time in 22 years and nearly won the Big Ten Tournament. If the school likes winning, it should get a long-term deal done with Micah Shrewsberry ASAP. The Nittany Lions will next play Texas on Saturday.
- The Breakfast Buffet: UConn’s dominance, Andre Jackson, Florida Atlantic’s path is similar to Loyola Chicago in 2018
- The Breakfast Buffet: Things come full circle for Gonzaga and UConn, Kansas State, Rodney Terry
- The Breakfast Buffet: Markquis Nowell, UCLA will always be left wondering what could have been, FAU
- The Breakfast Buffet: Rick Barnes’ best chance to return to the Final Four, Adama Sanogo, Gonzaga/UCLA
- The Breakfast Buffet: Tobin Anderson, the Big East’s roster of head coaches is elite, Bobby Hurley