Who’s in the mood for college basketball?
Here’s today’s edition of The Breakfast Buffet, a daily column that can be found here every morning, keeping you up to date on everything that happened the day/night before and everything that’s to come in the next 24 hours will happen.
things to try
Duke and North Carolina move up a weight class in the PK85
The ACC’s two Blue Blood programs were fortunate to advance to the second round of this tournament on Thursday when the Blue Devils defeated Oregon State by three points and the Tar Heels had to rally to fend off troublesome Portland by eight points. Today it will be even more difficult. North Carolina will take on defensive-minded Iowa State in the semifinals, while Duke will face Xavier, who scored 90 points in his first-round win over Florida.
Kansas lack of size is magnified against Tennessee
The championship game in this year’s Battle 4 Atlantis will showcase the Jayhawks’ small ball alignment against the Vols’ massive size and power. Kansas has consistently used 6-7 KJ Adams as a sophomore in the first six games they have played this season, but it will be interesting to see how he stacks up against Tennessee’s powerful baseline troika of Uros Plavsic, Jonas Aidoo and Olivier Nkamhoua bats, all standing 6-9 or greater. In this game there is an intriguing contrast between the speed and skill of the Jayhawks and the overall strength and scale of the Vols.
Villanova’s schedule is too difficult considering his injuries
That kind of slate would have been a bear even if both Justin Moore (Achilles) and Cam Whitmore (thumb) were healthy. Without them, it’s essentially pushing a boulder up a hill. Moore — who averaged 14.8 points and 4.8 rebounds last season — would have been a first-team All-Big East caliber had he been healthy, while the 6-8 Whitmore was a likely lottery pick in the NBA league Draft 2023 is. That kind of reinforcement would have made a world of difference for Kyle Neptune, who will play 30 of 31 regular-season games against either Big 5 or Power Conference opponents in his first season as Villanova head coach. The Wildcats go into tonight’s game against Portland in the PK85 2-3 today after losing back-to-back games to Iowa State and Michigan State by four points combined.
On the website
- Conner Essegian’s development will be an important key for Wisconsin this season. The 6-4 freshman is a natural goalscorer and his presence helps the Badgers avoid long droughts. Essegian has a total of 30 points over the first two games of Battle 4 Atlantis.
- Kansas State’s Markquis Nowell plays quietly like any point guard in the Big 12. The 5-8 floor general thrives under Jerome Tang, leading the Wildcats offense with a surgeon’s focus. In six games — all of which were wins — Nowell averages 15.3 points, 7.8 assists and two steals.
- Best defensive team I’ve seen this week? State of Mississippi. The Bulldogs, who are 6-0 under Chris Jans in their freshman season, gave up just an average of 52 points in back-to-back neutral site wins over Marquette and Utah.
- DePaul (3-2) will play five of his next eight games away with trips against Loyola Chicago, St. John’s, Northwestern, Duquesne and Creighton. The Blue Demons are also playing without two starters in Caleb Murphy (wrist) and Nick Ongenda (hand). Tony Stubblefield’s team will be hosting Texas A&M in Chicago today.
- Is this the year UNLV (6-0) finally returns to the NCAA tournament? Don’t exclude it from the realm of possibility. The Runnin Rebels have been incredibly impressive in their sophomore year under Kevin Kruger and already have victories over Dayton and Minnesota. UNLV has not competed in the NCAA tournament since 2013.
- Kansas/Tennessee (Battle 4 Atlantis)
- State of North Carolina/Iowa (PK85)
- Duke/Xavier (PK85)
- Alabama/UConn (PK85)
- Gonzaga/Purdue (PK85)