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
Johnny Davis against Keegan Murray
Two of three top scorers in the sport face off tonight in Madison as Iowa visits Wisconsin. The most amazing thing about the rapid ascension of both Davis and Murray? Neither averaged in double figures last season. One year later, both are on pace to be first-team All-Americans. The 6-5 Davis is on the heels of a 37-point, 14-rebound performance in the Badgers’ win at Purdue on Monday and comes into tonight’s game averaging an impressive 22.3 points and 7.3 rebounds. Murray meanwhile, has quickly emerged as the Hawkeyes’ go-to guy following the departures of Joe Wieskamp and Luka Garza. The 6-8 forward is the nation’s top scorer (24.5) and also averages 8.2 rebounds while shooting an incredibly efficient 59.2 percent from the field. Murray had 35 points and eight rebounds in Iowa’s win over Maryland on Monday in Iowa City.
Indiana needs to get Trayce Jackson-Davis more help
The Hoosiers’ All-American big man has done everything except sell popcorn this season, but he’s not going to be able to get this program back to the NCAA Tournament all by himself. Jackson-Davis — who’s averaging 19.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 3.1 blocks entering tonight’s game in Bloomington against Ohio State — needs help. 6-8 junior Race Thompson (10.8 points, eight rebounds) is one of the great utility players in the sport, but he’s not built to be a consistent secondary scorer. Indiana needs someone on the perimeter — Xavier Johnson, Miller Kopp, Parker Stewart, or Tamar Bates — to emerge. The 6-3 Johnson — a transfer from Pitt — is only averaging nine points in three Big Ten games while shooting just 8-30 from the field and 1-5 from three-point range.
UCLA finally returns to action
It’s been nearly four weeks since the Bruins last played because of COVID issues. They’ll return tonight against Long Beach State, a team they’ve already beaten this season by 21 points when the two teams met on Nov. 15th in Westwood. UCLA (8-1) played arguably its best game of the season the last time it stepped on the floor when it controlled things from tip to finish in an 11-point win against Marquette on Dec. 11th in Milwaukee. It will be interesting to see just how much rust this team has after nearly a month away from game action.
On The Side
- Kansas is 33-6 over the last four years in games where David McCormack scores in double figures.
- If you only started watching Duke in December, you’d think that A.J. Griffin was one of the Blue Devils’ top four or five players. The former five-star prospect has responded nicely from a preseason knee injury and is averaging 12 points in his last five games. The 6-6 Griffin allows Duke to play a quicker lineup with Paolo Banchero as a small-ball five-man.
- USC (12-0) is set to return from a lengthy COVID pause tonight at Cal. No team has shot 40 percent or better from the field against the Trojans this season.
- Marcus Carr is starting to get into a rhythm for Texas (12-2). The Minnesota transfer is averaging 19.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 3.5 assists in his last two games. The Longhorns have won six straight.
- Ohio’s Mark Sears is one of the best guards in the country regardless of conference. The 6-1 sophomore is averaging 19.1 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.8 steals while shooting 48 percent from the field and 44.7 percent from three-point range. It isn’t fair to Sears if people compare him to Jason Preston after Preston led the Bobcats to a win over Virginia in last year’s NCAA Tournament, but he’s clearly filling the role that Preston left behind. Ohio is 11-2 with its only losses coming against Kentucky and LSU.
- San Francisco/Loyola Chicago (Utah)
- Ohio State at Indiana
- Maryland at Illinois
- Iowa at Wisconsin
- USC at Cal