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
Villanova’s trip to Xavier
The second regular season meeting between these two teams occurs with the Wildcats on a four-game winning streak and the Musketeers anxious to prove that they’re a legitimate contender for a Big East regular season title. Villanova’s 71-58 win over Xavier on Dec. 21st in Philadelphia was mostly in part to the Wildcats’ relentless defense. A few weeks later, their offense has finally caught up. Villanova is averaging 77 points in its last two games and has made 17 three-point shots during that span. Junior guard Justin Moore has been a major catalyst, averaging 18.3 points during the Wildcats’ four-game winning streak. The Cintas Center should be on fire tonight as a win for the Musketeers would go a long way in changing their national perception under Travis Steele. Xavier hasn’t made the NCAA Tournament since 2018.
Mark Adams has officially arrived
The college basketball world knew that Adams excelled as Chris Beard’s chief defensive lieutenant during the past five years in Lubbock, but nobody truly knew how he would respond to being Texas Tech’s head coach. They do now. Just days after the Red Raiders beat Kansas at home without both Kevin McCullar and Terrence Shannon Jr., Texas Tech (12-3) went to Waco on Tuesday and earned a 65-62 win over Baylor. While McCullar (12 points, six rebounds, five assists) returned, Shannon remained out of the lineup with a back injury. The victory was again a testament to Adams’ defense as the Bears were held to 17 points below their scoring average thus far in Big 12 play. It was Baylor’s first loss in 22 games.
Auburn still has room for growth
It’s hard to say that about a team that’s won 15 of its first 16 games — with the only loss coming in double-overtime to UConn — but it’s the utmost truth. A big reason why is because the Tigers still haven’t seen peak Allen Flanigan. Auburn’s top returning player from a year ago missed the first two months of the season due to an achilles injury and didn’t make his season debut until Dec. 22nd against Murray State. But he’s starting to show flashes of promise. Flanigan hit several key free throws down the stretch in Tuesday’s 81-77 win at Alabama and is averaging 9.3 points over his last three games. If Bruce Pearl can get this 6-6 veteran to play the way he did last season when he averaged 14.3 points and 5.5 rebounds, the Tigers will have another all-conference player up front to pair with Jabari Smith and Walker Kessler.
On The Side
- Kentucky’s Oscar Tshiebwe entered Tuesday night’s game against Vanderbilt averaging 15.2 rebounds and is statistically the best rebounder that John Calipari has ever coached. The only other players under Calipari that have averaged double-figure rebounds are Julius Randle (10.4), Anthony Davis (10.4), Chris Massie (10.9), and Kelly Wise (10.3, 10.1). Massie and Wise both played for Calipari at Memphis.
- Wake Forest (13-3) won’t have a better opportunity to bolster its NCAA Tournament resume than tonight’s game against Duke in Winston-Salem. The Demon Deacons haven’t heard their name called on Selection Sunday since 2017 and are in their second season under Steve Forbes.
- UConn’s four losses have come by an average of 3.5 points. The Huskies’ only loss when they were at full strength was last Saturday’s three-point overtime defeat against Seton Hall in Newark. Dan Hurley’s squad enters tonight’s game in Storrs against St. John’s at 10-4.
- Tyler Wahl is emerging for Wisconsin (13-2). The 6-9 forward was always a capable defender, but now he’s showing prowess on the offensive end of the floor. Wahl has reached double figures in four of his last five games and is averaging 18.5 points and seven rebounds in his last two outings.
- Stanford has a gem in 6-8 freshman Harrison Ingram. The versatile forward had 21 points and 10 rebounds in Tuesday’s upset win over USC and is a potential first-round pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. Ingram played last summer for USA Basketball’s U19 team at the FIBA World Cup in Latvia.
- Villanova at Xavier
- LSU at Florida
- Duke at Wake Forest
- Minnesota at Michigan State
- St. John’s at UConn
- The Breakfast Buffet: Rick Barnes returns to Texas, Kentucky’s trip to Kansas, Baylor/Alabama
- Midseason All-Americans for the 21-22 season
- The Breakfast Buffet: UConn, UCLA’s weekend will be a test of mental toughness, Purdue/Iowa
- The Breakfast Buffet: Louisville, A big night in the Big East, Oklahoma State building momentum for 22-23
- Episode 326 — Houston’s Kelvin Sampson