College Hoops Monday: Your Commentary
The big game on Monday matches up the nation's top-ranked team and one of the hotter teams in the Big 12. Kansas has taken care of all comers since their loss at Tennessee, taking full control of their contest at Texas last Monday. However, in Texas A&M they'll take on a squad that's playing better basketball than the Longhorns were and Mark Turgeon's team is also "more secure" in their roles than Texas was. Donald Sloan has taken ownership since good friend Derrick Roland went down with a fractured leg at Washington back in December, averaging 19.3 points per game in the 12 games since Roland's injury. But the key for the Aggies will be how well they defend one of the nation's best offenses.
Kansas leads the Big 12 in offensive efficiency and averages just over eighty-three points per game on the season. Sherron Collins leads the way at the point, equally adept at scoring himself and distributing the ball to teammates who contribute to the conference's best shooting team (they lead the Big 12 in both field goal and three-point percentage). A&M will also need to rebound as a group led by Cole Aldrich ranks second in the conference in rebounding margin; however it's up to the Jayhawks to remember to get the big fella the basketball on the block. Brian Davis and company will have their hands full with the likes of Aldrich and the Morris twins (Marcus and Markieff), and with eight players averaging at least fifteen minutes per game Bill Self doesn't lack for answers.
Virginia and Maryland make up their postponed game as well, with the winner taking a step towards NCAA Tournament inclusion. The Terrapins need to defend their home floor while also making up for Saturday's disappointing showing at Duke, and the Cavaliers need a win to bolster what was an underwhelming strength of schedule. And in the Big East, Villanova looks to continue their march towards a one-seed with a win over a reeling Connecticut squad that we may all finally be facing reality with. Key Huskies made comments during head coach Jim Calhoun's leave of absence along the lines of "he'll know what to do with us when he gets back". A bit troubling; at what point do the upperclassmen step up and "take ownership" of the team? Unfortunately for them it may be too late, even with a win in Philadelphia.
7p ESPN Connecticut at Villanova
7p ESPNU South Carolina State at Morgan State
9p ESPN Kansas at Texas A&M
9p ESPNU Jackson State at Texas Southern
7p Rider at Saint Peter's
8p Virginia at Maryland
8p Jacksonville St at Austin Peay
Kansas over Texas A&M: The Aggies will hang around for most of the game but in the end it will be the Jayhawks' offensive execution that nets a few key baskets in the end. Kansas can get themselves in trouble if they neglect to get Aldrich the ball but that's not going to happen. Kansas wins by five.