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
America may be taking Keegan Murray for granted
It’s not an oversight, it’s an insult. The 6-8 Murray is first in the Big Ten in scoring (23.3), third in rebounding (8.4), and fourth in blocked shots (2.0), but he’s rarely mentioned in the same breath as other All-Americans from the conference like Illinois’ Kofi Cockburn, Ohio State’s E.J. Liddell, and Wisconsin’s Johnny Davis. Iowa (17-7) may not be having the same amount of team success as some of those other teams, but that doesn’t mean that Murray isn’t producing at an elite level. In his last three games, Murray is averaging 30.3 points, 9.3 rebounds, and two blocks. He’ll look to continue his tear tonight in Iowa City as the Hawkeyes host Michigan (13-10).
UCLA needs to get Jules Bernard back on track offensively
Bernard started the season like he was primed to be an all-conference caliber player as a senior. The Bruins need him to regain that form. In UCLA’s last five games, the 6-7 wing is averaging just 9.8 points while shooting 19.6 percent from the field and 13.6 percent from the field. In the first four games of the year, Bernard averaged 18 points while shooting 54.6 percent from the field and 50 percent from three-point range. The Bruins are 15-2 over the past two seasons in games where Bernard makes multiple three-point shots. UCLA (17-5) hosts Washington State (14-10) tonight in Westwood.
The Mountain West still isn’t close to its ceiling
That may be hard for people to grasp when four teams from this league — Wyoming, Colorado State, Boise State, and San Diego State — are firmly in the NCAA Tournament picture, but it’s the utmost truth. The Mountain West is having a breakout year and it’s doing so without two of its best brands — UNLV and New Mexico — contributing at a high level. To be fair, both of these programs are transitioning as they each have first-year head coaches in Kevin Kruger and Richard Pitino respectively. Nevertheless, it speaks to the upside of this league that four teams can potentially reach the NCAA Tournament and neither UNLV or New Mexico is part of that equation. The Runnin Rebels haven’t heard their name called on Selection Sunday since 2013 while New Mexico hasn’t played in the NCAA Tournament since 2014.
On The Side
- Villanova is 124-34 during the five years that Collin Gillespie has been a member of the Wildcats’ program. That’s a winning percentage of 78%.
- Chucky Hepburn — Wisconsin’s freshman point guard — does not have a single turnover in the Badgers’ last two road games at Indiana and Michigan State. Both were wins.
- Tennessee is 11-2 this season in games where Zakai Zeigler (8.7 points, 2.6 assists) plays 20 minutes or more. The 5-9 freshman also has 11 steals in his last three games. Where would the Vols be without this guy?
- One thing that I didn’t think I’d write in this column? Tulane (12-11) is in sole possession of fourth place in the American Athletic Conference. Ron Hunter has the Green Wave in position to make the postseason in his third season in New Orleans.
- A salute to Tubby Smith, who announced his retirement from coaching on Wednesday after spending the last few years at High Point. There was no one on this beat classier than Smith, who also spent time at Memphis, Texas Tech, Minnesota, Kentucky, Georgia, and Tulsa.
- Michigan at Iowa
- UCF at Houston
- San Francisco at Saint Mary’s
- Washington State at UCLA
- Washington at USC
- 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