Who’s hungry for college basketball?
Here’s today’s installment of “The Breakfast Buffet”, a daily column that can be found here every single morning getting you caught up to date 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
Duke and North Carolina step up a weight class in the PK85
The two blue blood programs from the ACC were fortunate to advance to the second round of this tournament on Thursday as the Blue Devils edged Oregon State by three points and the Tar Heels had to rally to to hold off pesky Portland by eight. Things will get even harder today. North Carolina will play defensive minded Iowa State in the semifinals while Duke will take on Xavier, who scored 90 points in its first round win over Florida.
Kansas’ lack of size will be magnified against Tennessee
The championship game in this year’s Battle 4 Atlantis will feature the Jayhawks’ small ball alignment against the massive size and power of the Vols. Kansas has used 6-7 sophomore K.J. Adams consistently at center throughout the first six games that it’s played this season, but it will be interesting to see how he does against Tennessee’s powerful baseline troika of Uros Plavsic, Jonas Aidoo, and Olivier Nkamhoua, who all stand 6-9 or bigger. There’s a fascinating contrast in this game between the Jayhawks’ speed and skill and the overall strength and girth of the Vols.
Villanova’s schedule is too difficult when you consider its injuries
This type of slate would have been a bear even if both Justin Moore (achilles) and Cam Whitmore (thumb) were healthy. Without them, it’s essentially pushing a boulder up a hill. Moore — who averaged 14.8 points and 4.8 rebounds last season — would have been an All-Big East first-team caliber player if he was healthy while the 6-8 Whitmore is a projected lottery pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. Those types of reinforcements would have made a major difference for Kyle Neptune, who in his first season as Villanova’s head coach will play 30 of 31 regular season games against either Big 5 or power conference opponents. The Wildcats are 2-3 entering today’s game against Portland today in the PK85 after losing back-to-back games against Iowa State and Michigan State by a combined four points.
On The Side
- Conner Essegian’s evolution is going to be a major key for Wisconsin this season. The 6-4 freshman is a natural scorer and his presence helps the Badgers avoid long scoring droughts. Essegian has scored a combined 30 points in the first two games of the Battle 4 Atlantis.
- Kansas State’s Markquis Nowell is quietly playing as well as any point guard in the Big 12. The 5-8 floor general is flourishing under first-year head coach Jerome Tang and running the Wildcats’ offense with the focus of a surgeon. Through six games — which have all been victories — Nowell is averaging 15.3 points, 7.8 assists, and two steals.
- The best defensive team that I saw this week? Mississippi State. The Bulldogs — who are 6-0 in their first season under Chris Jans — only gave up an average of 52 points in back-to-back neutral site wins over Marquette and Utah.
- DePaul (3-2) will play five of its next eight games on the road with trips looming against Loyola Chicago, St. John’s, Northwestern, Duquesne, and Creighton. The Blue Demons are also playing without two starters in Caleb Murphy (wrist) and Nick Ongenda (hand). Tony Stubblefield’s team will host Texas A&M today in Chicago.
- Is this the year that UNLV (6-0) finally returns to the NCAA Tournament? Don’t rule it out of the realm of possibility. The Runnin Rebels have been incredibly impressive in their second year under Kevin Kruger and already have wins over both Dayton and Minnesota. UNLV hasn’t played in the NCAA Tournament since 2013.
- Kansas/Tennessee (Battle 4 Atlantis)
- North Carolina/Iowa State (PK85)
- Duke/Xavier (PK85)
- Alabama/UConn (PK85)
- Gonzaga/Purdue (PK85)
- The Breakfast Buffet: Oscar Tshiebwe, Xavier/Creighton, Keyontae Johnson/Florida
- Midseason All-Americans for the 2022-23 season
- The Breakfast Buffet: Xavier begins its massive week at UConn, Jahvon Quinerly, Bryce Hopkins
- The Breakfast Buffet: Kansas State gets a crack at Hilton Coliseum, North Carolina/Syracuse, Trayce Jackson-Davis
- Episode 378 — Xavier’s Sean Miller