This is always a great time of year for holiday tournaments. It provides everything from upsets by mid-majors to games between top 5 teams.
Nevada has been taking care of business against teams they should take care of business against. The latest was a 110-87 victory over UMass in the Las Vegas Invitational. Caleb Martin is averaging 21 points in 28 minutes. His Offensive Rating is 128.7 with True Shooting Percentage 63.1%. He’s one of the most efficient players in the country. If that wasn’t enough, Jordan Caroline continues to be a double-double machine. The Wolfpack’s first challenging game on paper will be December 1st at USC.
Hate to “punish” Duke for their loss to Gonzaga but here we are. The Blue Devils had a chance at the end of a game that you could argue the Zags dominated. Despite the heartburn over Coach K’s decision to run 5-out at the end of the game, the Blue Devils did get at the rim and had multiple chances to tie. There are worse things in the world than a neutral court loss to Gonzaga. Up next is a home game against Indiana. It’s the perfect bounce back game. Solid, traditional program on your home floor. Expect Duke to put on a show for their home fans.
It was finally time to move the Cavs out of the top spot. It’s not their fault that others have had a tougher schedule and more impressive wins even though a neutral court win over Wisconsin is impressive. The Cavs will get another chance to show how good they are when they travel to College Park to play the 24th ranked Maryland Terps. The Terps are a team to watch in the Big Ten and Wednesday will provide a chance to get their arena rocking. This will be a great test of Tony Bennett’s crew.
What a great week for the Jayhawks. Neutral court wins over Marquette and Tennessee were impressive. The Tennessee had a Final Four feel to it. In the 87-81 overtime win, Dedric Lawson had 24 points, 13 rebounds and five assists. Coach Bill Self has to be happy by how he team reacted when they were challenged. The Vols led by as many as nine points in the second half before Kansas responded with the victory the NIT Season Tip-Off.
The Zags jump up to number one after back to back wins over Arizona and Duke. Even though the Wildcats game didn’t get as much pub, it was just as impressive. After being down by eight in the first half, the Zags flipped the switch and dominated the second half. The Bulldogs outscored Arizona 54-29 in the last twenty minutes. That led to their match up against Duke where they pulled off a two point win despite some shaky free throw shooting down the stretch. Hachimuru and Clarke both came up with huge blocks including the game clinching one by Clarke.