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
Indiana visits Xavier
There’s a big game feel surrounding tonight’s matchup at the Cintas Center and that’s for good reason. Indiana (2-0) is the consensus favorite in the Big Ten and Xavier (3-0) has NCAA Tournament expectations under Sean Miller, who was previously the head coach of the Musketeers from 2004-09. Both teams are currently undefeated. A major key in this game is the health of Xavier’s Colby Jones (13.5 points, seven assists, four rebounds), who missed the Musketeers’ last game against Fairfield. Without Jones, Xavier will be hard pressed to beat a team that brings back a large nucleus from last season’s squad that reached the NCAA Tournament, headlined by All-American big man Trayce Jackson-Davis (18 points, 6.5 rebounds).
The Continental Tire Main Event in Las Vegas
This early season tournament feels more like a Sweet 16 doubleheader than it does a pair of games during the second week of the college basketball season. Nevertheless, two gigantic matchups will occur tonight in Sin City as Baylor faces Virginia and Illinois plays UCLA. The winners and losers will play on Sunday. All four teams are currently ranked in the ROTHSTEIN 45 with Baylor and UCLA cemented in the Top 10. The winner of this event — which will be played at MGM Grand Garden Arena — will have two massive victories on its resume that will carry weight all the way to Selection Sunday.
Elite COVID seniors need to be prioritized
Recruiting has changed and I’m not talking directly about the transfer portal. If a senior has an additional year of eligibility due to COVID and is an all-conference caliber player, he needs to be recruited by his current school like he’s a five-star prospect if he can’t secure a multi-year deal in the NBA. Villanova did it last season with both Collin Gillespie and Jermaine Samuels and the result was an appearance in the Final Four. One program that did it last spring and is already reaping the benefits? Penn State. Through four games this season, fifth-year guard Jalen Pickett is currently averaging 16 points, 8.5 assists, and 5.5 rebounds. The Nittany Lions are off to a 4-0 start entering today’s game in Charleston against Virginia Tech.
On The Side
- One thing that’s not getting enough attention? Kentucky’s Oscar Tshiebwe recently had knee surgery and then returned to practice for just one day before going for 22 points, 18 rebounds, and four blocks in Tuesday’s loss against Michigan State in the Champions Classic. There’s a reason why this guy was last season’s AP National Player of the Year.
- Villanova (2-1) needs more out of its guards. Three of the Wildcats’ regular rotation players on the perimeter — Mark Armstrong, Chris Arcidiacono, and Angelo Brizzi — are combining to average just nine points and 1.4 assists. All three of those players are averaging double figure minutes. Villanova will visit Michigan State tonight in the Gavitt Games.
- As a team, Gonzaga currently has 40 assists and 52 turnovers. It had 10 assists and 20 turnovers in Wednesday night’s loss to Texas in Austin. The Bulldogs will next host Kentucky on Sunday night in Spokane.
- The best individual matchup to watch today in college basketball? UCLA’s Jaylen Clark (17 points, 8.3 rebounds, 4.3 steals) against Illinois’ Terrence Shannon Jr. (22.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists). The 6-5 Clark has looked like one of the best defenders in the country while Shannon — a transfer from Texas Tech — looks like he’s on a mission to be one of the best players in the Big Ten.
- Toledo — who’s won four of the last five MAC regular season titles — is averaging 96.7 points through its first three games. The Rockets are the type of mid-major that should be on everyone’s radar prior to the 2023 NCAA Tournament.
- Penn State/Virginia Tech (Charleston Classic)
- Baylor/Virginia (Continental Tire Main Event)
- Illinois/UCLA (Continental Tire Main Event)
- Indiana at Xavier (Gavitt Games)
- Villanova at Michigan State (Gavitt Games)
- 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