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
San Diego State is officially “in position to be in position”
The Aztecs’ 88-point performance in an 11-point win over Ohio State on Monday in the first round of the Maui Invitational was incredibly impressive, especially considering the offensive struggles that this program has had in the past. What does it mean moving forward? The win over the Buckeyes guarantees that San Diego State will play either Arkansas or Creighton tomorrow in the final day of the tournament regardless of what happens in today’s semifinal matchup with Arizona. For a program that plays in the Mountain West and not in a power conference, that type of opportunity is invaluable. Brian Dutcher’s squad already has wins this season over BYU, Stanford, and Ohio State. Over the next two days, it will have two more chances to move the needle. San Diego State is building a legitimate resume that should put it in prime position to earn a quality seed in the 2023 NCAA Tournament.
Anthony Black against Ryan Nembhard
Today’s game between Arkansas and Creighton in the second round of the Maui Invitational is an Elite Eight caliber tilt. One of its highlights is the point guard matchup between Black — a five-star freshman for the Razorbacks — and Nembhard, who was last season’s Big East Freshman of the Year. The 6-6 Black was sensational in Monday’s win over Louisville, finishing with 26 points and six assists while shooting an impressive 9-11 from the field. Nembhard meanwhile, has an assist-to-turnover ratio of 29:4 through five games. These are two of the best floor generals in the sport.
Joel Soriano looks like the most improved player in the Big East
And may not be close. One year after averaging just 6.4 points and 5.5 rebounds, the 6-11 center has recalibrated his game and recalibrated his body. Leaner and quicker than he was last season, Soriano is now reaping the benefits of his hard work. Through five games, Soriano has tallied four double-doubles, including a 15-point, 12-rebound performance in Monday night’s 78-72 win over Temple in the first round of the Empire Classic at the Barclays Center. He’s averaging 13.2 points and 11.2 rebounds entering tonight’s game in Brooklyn against Syracuse.
On The Side
- UConn’s Dan Hurley said Monday on the College Hoops Today Podcast that he plans to use 6-6 junior Andre Jackson in a facilitating role moving forward now that he’s fully healthy. Jackson missed the first few games of the season due to a finger injury and averaged 6.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 3.1 assists a year ago as a sophomore. The Huskies are 5-0 and will next face Oregon on Thursday in the first round of the PK85 in Portland.
- Terrance Arceneaux is a potential wildcard to monitor for Houston. The 6-5 freshman came off the bench and scored 15 points in 19 minutes in Sunday’s win at Oregon. If Arceneaux is a consistent double figure scorer, it will give Kelvin Sampson’s team another major threat on the perimeter.
- North Carolina’s Puff Johnson made his season debut on Sunday against James Madison after missing the first three games of the year with a knee injury. The 6-8 Johnson could give the Tar Heels another dynamic at power forward when Pete Nance is out of the game. Remember: Johnson had 11 points and six rebounds last April when North Carolina lost to Kansas in the national title game.
- UCLA surrendered an average of 79.5 points in back-to-back losses last weekend against Illinois and Baylor in Las Vegas. It is the highest scoring average that the Bruins have allowed in back-to-back games since Mick Cronin’s first season (2019-20) in Westwood.
- Two teams from the CAA — Charleston and Towson — are very much on the national radar. The two programs are a combined 9-1 and Charleston — who won the Charleston Classic for the first time in program history this past weekend — has already beaten Richmond, Davidson, Colorado State, and Virginia Tech. The only loss for the Cougars was on the road at North Carolina.
- Arkansas/Creighton (Maui Invitational)
- Arizona/San Diego State (Maui Invitational)
- Cincinnati/Ohio State (Maui Invitational)
- Louisville/Texas Tech (Maui Invitational)
- St. John’s/Syracuse (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