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
The curtain comes up for UConn
To quote Jeremy Irons in Die Hard: With A Vengeance, “this is where they say the plot thickens”. After winning their first five games by an average of 30.2 points, the Huskies will encounter their first true test of the season when they square off with Oregon tonight in the first round of the PK85 in Portland. The matchup features a mega showdown in the middle between UConn big man Adama Sanogo (21.4 points, eight rebounds) and Oregon’s N’Faly Dante (14.8 points, nine rebounds). We’ll know a lot more about the Huskies’ potential ceiling following three games this weekend in Portland.
Oumar Ballo is exploding like a volcano
This guy had himself a week. In three games at the Maui Invitational, Arizona’s broad shouldered center averaged 21 points and 10.7 rebounds while shooting 27-34 from the field. The 7-foot Ballo had a career-high 30 points and 13 rebounds in Wednesday’s title game win over Creighton. A year ago, Ballo averaged just 6.8 points and 4.4 rebounds. This is clearly one of the most improved players in the country. Arizona — again — looks like one of the sport’s best teams.
Brandon Miller’s first high profile game
Alabama’s five-star freshman has been simply ridiculous out of the gate, but he’s yet to play against an opponent of significance. That changes tonight when the Crimson Tide face Michigan State in the first round of the PK85. The 6-9, 200 pound forward enters the matchup with the Spartans averaging 20.3 points and 9.3 rebounds while shooting 50 percent from the field and 51.7 percent from three-point range. It will be interesting to how Tom Izzo — who’s already led Michigan State to wins over both Kentucky and Villanova — devises a game plan to slow down Miller. The winner/loser of this game will play the winner/loser of Oregon/UConn on Friday in the second round in the PK85.
On The Side
- Arizona is 34-0 when it scores 80 points or more under Tommy Lloyd and 5-4 when it does not. The Wildcats have scored 80 or more points in all six games this season.
- Gradey Dick has separated himself as Kansas’ secondary offensive option behind Jalen Wilson. The 6-8 freshman is averaging 21.5 points in his last two games and is 10-18 from three-point range during that span. The Jayhawks face Wisconsin today in the second round of the Battle 4 Atlantis.
- St. John’s Andre Curbelo is playing like the player that we saw a few years ago when he was a freshman at Illinois. In two games earlier this week in the Empire Classic at the Barclays Center, the 6-1 point guard averaged 18 points, five assists, and 3.5 steals. As Curbelo goes, so will St. John’s (6-0).
- Cincinnati (4-3) is running out of opportunities to earn key non-conference victories. The only game remaining for the Bearcats against a power conference opponent prior to the start of league play is their annual matchup with Xavier in the Crosstown Shootout on Dec. 10th at Fifth Third Arena. Cincinnati has not reached the NCAA Tournament since 2019.
- UAB’s Jordan “Jelly” Walker has scored 25 points or more in three of the five games that he’s played this season. Don’t discount this guy from being an All-American at the end of the year. The 5-11 Walker is currently averaging 24.6 points, 4.2 assists, and 2.4 steals.
- Kansas/Wisconsin (Battle 4 Atlantis)
- Florida/Xavier (PK85)
- Oregon/UConn (PK85)
- Alabama/Michigan State (PK85)
- Purdue/West Virginia (PK85)
- 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