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
Jalen Wilson is playing like a first-team All-American
Many people expected Wilson to take a major step forward for Kansas following the losses of Ochai Agbaji and Christian Braun. He’s living up to the billing. The 6-8 junior had 25 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists in Tuesday night’s 69-64 win over Duke in the Champions Classic and is averaging 21.7 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 4.3 assists in three games this season. Wilson has been a major beneficiary of the Jayhawks’ “small ball lineup”, which has opened up the floor for easy layups in transition.
Tom Izzo put on a tactical show against Kentucky
There’s a reason why this guy has led Michigan State to eight Final Fours during his Hall-of-Fame career. Trailing by a basket at the end of regulation and the end of the game’s first overtime, Izzo devised two perfect plays following two timeouts that the Spartans executed at an elite level. Both conversions extended the game, which Michigan State won 86-77 in double overtime. The Spartans don’t have the most talented roster that they’ve ever had under Izzo, but they’ve shown in their past two games that they’re more than capable of again competing for a Big Ten regular season title. Having a Hall-of-Fame head coach doesn’t hurt either.
Gonzaga visits Texas
The Longhorns had moments of promise a year ago in Chris Beard’s first season as head coach of his alma mater, but they never really seemed like they were a real player nationally despite earning a six seed on Selection Sunday and advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Tonight’s game in Austin should be a good indicator as to just how much Beard’s second squad at Texas is capable of. Conversely, Gonzaga’s ceiling is very much in question. Despite coming back to beat Michigan State last Friday in San Diego, the Bulldogs are still relying on a slew of unproven players — Nolan Hickman (eight points, three assists) and Hunter Sallis (five points, 2.5 rebounds) — to play significant minutes on the perimeter. Remember: One of the main reasons why Gonzaga was able to go a combined 59-5 over the past two seasons and earn back-to-back No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament was because its backcourt featured Jalen Suggs, Andrew Nembhard, and Joel Ayayi.
On The Side
- Duke should feel great about its long-term potential considering that it had a lead late against Kansas on Tuesday without five-star freshman Dariq Whitehead, who was out with a foot injury. The 6-7 Whitehead was a five-star prospect and is expected to return to Blue Devils’ lineup in short order. Don’t be shocked if Whitehead winds up leading this team in scoring.
- Through three games, UCLA’s Jaylen Clark (17.3 points, eight rebounds, 4.3 assists, three steals) is 7-13 from three-point range. Clark made just seven three-point shots during all of last season. The 6-5 junior has been unequivocally the best player in Westwood during the first week and a half of the season.
- Creighton’s Ryan Nembhard currently has an assist-to-turnover ratio of 23:2. That’s almost 12:1 for those of you who are keeping score at home.
- The transfer portal has completely changed the dynamic of “buy games” in college basketball. Mid-major programs now have access to guys that they couldn’t recruit in high school. Meanwhile, power conference programs don’t have the rhythm and chemistry that they used to have because of roster turnover. It’s a whole new ballgame.
- Washington has a gem in 6-1 freshman Keyon Menifield. Mike Hopkins was bullish on Menifield in the preseason and so far he’s delivered, averaging 18.3 points in his first three games. Remember the name.
- Michigan/Pitt (Barclays Center)
- Arizona State/VCU (Barclays Center)
- Florida Gulf Coast at Tennessee
- Iowa at Seton Hall
- Gonzaga at Texas
- The Breakfast Buffet: Zach Edey vs. Duke’s big men, UConn/Iowa State, Saint Louis travels to Auburn
- The Breakfast Buffet: T.J. Otzelberger, Jeremy Roach, UConn looks the part
- The Breakfast Buffet: Duke and UNC step up a weight class in PK85, Kansas/Tennessee, Villanova
- The Breakfast Buffet: UConn/Oregon, Oumar Ballo, Brandon Miller
- The Breakfast Buffet: Bill Self returns, Arkansas, Courtney Ramey