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
Kevin Willard has Maryland ahead of schedule
The Terps didn’t just win the Hall of Fame Tip-Off at Mohegan Sun over the weekend — they dominated the tournament. Maryland’s back-to-back wins over Saint Louis and Miami came by an average of 23 points; the Terps had a double-digit lead for the entire second half in both games. For a team that was picked 10th in the Big Ten’s Preseason Poll, this was incredibly impressive. It took Willard until his sixth season at Seton Hall to lead the Pirates to the NCAA Tournament. With this kind of early momentum, he now looks like he has a team in his first year in College Park that has all intentions of making a run at the bracket in 2023. Maryland is now 5-0 with all five wins coming by double figures.
Baylor’s guards are more than a handful
Just ask UCLA. On a night where five-star freshman Keyonte George only scored four points while shooting 2-10 from the field and 0-6 from three-point range, Baylor’s two other primary perimeter starters — LJ Cryer and Adam Flagler — combined for 50 points in an 80-75 win over the Bruins on Sunday in Las Vegas. Cryer — who missed a large portion of last season due to a foot injury — scored 28 points while Flagler had 22. Both players were 4-8 from three-point range. Reserve guard Dale Bonner also added nine points off the bench. There aren’t many perimeters in college basketball that can constantly keep opponents on their heels like this group.
The Maui Invitational
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: This is the best Maui Invitational field that I’ve covered in nearly 20 years on this beat. Opening round action gets going this afternoon as Creighton faces Texas Tech and Arkansas plays Louisville. Tonight, Ohio State will meet San Diego State and Arizona faces Cincinnati. It wouldn’t shock me if six of the eight teams in this field wind up playing in the 2023 NCAA Tournament. This event is appointment television over the next three days.
On The Side
- Alabama’s Brandon Miller looks like the best freshman in college basketball and it may not be close. Blessed with gifts from God physically, the 6-9, 200 pound Miller is an effortless offensive talent that looks like a potential All-American. Miller is currently averaging 20.3 points and 9.3 rebounds while shooting 50 percent from the field and 51.7 percent from three-point range.
- UTEP transfer Souley Boum has had a major impact for Xavier. The 6-3 guard can score, distribute, and rebound. Through four games, Boum is averaging 14 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 3.8 assists.
- Here’s an early “Feast Week” thought: Penn State is an improved basketball team in Year Two under Micah Shrewsberry and could be “in position to be in position” in early February. The Nittany Lions are 5-1, with their only loss coming against Virginia Tech.
- Want a feel good story? Two years after collapsing due to a heart issue, Kansas State forward Keyontae Johnson is flourishing after transferring from Florida. Through three games, the 6-6 forward is averaging 16 points and six rebounds while shooting 54.5 percent from the field.
- The sleeper game of the day in college basketball is the showdown between Akron and Western Kentucky the first round of the Cayman Islands Classic. The Zips return a large nucleus from last season’s team that nearly beat UCLA in the NCAA Tournament while the Hilltoppers are a legitimate candidate to win Conference-USA.
- Creighton/Texas Tech (Maui Invitational)
- Arkansas/Louisville (Maui Invitational)
- Ohio State/San Diego State (Maui Invitational)
- Arizona/Cincinnati (Maui Invitational)
- St. John’s/Temple (Empire Classic)
- 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