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
Jabari Smith can do for Bruce Pearl what Carmelo Anthony did for Jim Boeheim in 2003
19 years ago, Boeheim won his first and only national title mostly in part due to Anthony, who took a very good Syracuse team to an elite level during March and early April. Smith is capable of doing the very same thing this season for Auburn. The 6-10 forward — who is in prime position to be the top overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft — never forces the issue on offense, but still possesses the type of generational talent needed to single handedly take over the NCAA Tournament over a six-game span. America still hasn’t seen the best of Smith, who had 14 points on just 10 shots in Auburn’s 80-71 win over Kentucky on Saturday to go with seven rebounds. Smith hasn’t scored more than 25 in a game this season — at least not yet.
Leonard Hamilton is doing Leonard Hamilton things
On Dec. 12th, Florida State was just 5-4. Five weeks later, the Seminoles have won eight of nine and are in sole possession of first place in the ACC. Don’t be surprised. Florida State has finished fourth or better in the ACC in each of the last three seasons and has advanced to the second weekend of the last three NCAA Tournaments. After losing four of its top five scorers — MJ Walker, RaiQuan Gray, Balsa Koprivica, and Scottie Barnes — from last season’s team that lost to Michigan in the Sweet 16, Leonard Hamilton knew that it would take time for things to come together for this particular team. The Seminoles’ top two scorers — Caleb Mills and Matthew Cleveland — were not active members of Florida State’s program last season. “We’re about a month ahead of schedule,” Hamilton told College Hoops Today this week. “We’ve got to keep developing our guys up front.” The Seminoles are now 13-5 overall and will next travel to Georgia Tech on Wednesday.
Michigan’s trip to Indiana
There were some who wondered if the Wolverines were “dead” when they fell to 7-7 a few weeks ago after a lopsided loss at Illinois. Today in Bloomington, we’ll find out if Michigan is — to quote Billy Crystal in The Princess Bride — “mostly dead or all dead”. Indiana (14-4) is playing its best basketball of the season and has won four of its last five games after Thursday night’s dramatic victory over in-state rival Purdue. If the Wolverines can be competitive with the Hoosiers today at Assembly Hall then there’s still hope for them to turn things around as the calendar turns from January to February. Indiana has not lost at home this season.
On The Side
- Is it time to start mentioning Kelvin Sampson as a National Coach of the Year candidate? It certainly feels like it. Houston improved to 17-2 following Saturday’s win over East Carolina, with its two losses coming against Wisconsin and Alabama by a combined three points. Two of the Cougars’ projected perimeter starters — Marcus Sasser (17.7 points) and Tramon Mark (10.1 points) — are out for the season due to injury.
- Seton Hall’s Ikey Obiagu may not score in double figures once this season, but he’s still one of the great intangible players in the sport. The Pirates’ starting center is a fierce rebounder, shot blocker, and screener, as evidenced by his recent performances. The 7-2 Obiagu has grabbed 32 rebounds and blocked 19 shots in his last three games.
- The Big 12 would have had all nine of its teams that are eligible for the NCAA Tournament firmly in position to be in the at-large discussion if Kansas State (10-8) had held on to beat Kansas on Saturday. Oklahoma State is ineligible for the postseason this year.
- Notre Dame (12-6) has won eight of its last nine games and has a win on its resume over Kentucky. The next three games for the Irish are all in South Bend, headlined by a showdown with Duke on Jan. 31st. It’s time for Mike Brey’s team to make a move.
- Memphis (9-8) is 0-3 in games played at Tulsa under Penny Hardaway. The Tigers will look to end that streak today against the Golden Hurricane, who are currently 0-6 this season in American Athletic Conference play.
- Butler at Providence
- Northwestern at Purdue
- Xavier at Marquette
- Arizona at Cal
- Michigan at Indiana