Thu, 01/13/2011 - 08:59 — Raphielle Johnson
If Minnesota (12-4, 1-3) is to entertain any thoughts of being a top five team in the Big Ten Thursday night is a game they must have. Visiting "The Barn" is #8 Purdue (15-1, 4-0), a team that's performed much better than some expected in the preseason when forward Robbie Hummel went down with a torn ACL. The two biggest reasons why Matt Painter's team is ranked in the Top 10 are seniors JaJuan Johnson (19.4 ppg, 8.3 rpg) and E'Twaun Moore (18.8 ppg, 6.0 rpg), two players who have played at an All-Big Ten level for much of the season to date.
Tue, 12/28/2010 - 04:43 — Raphielle Johnson
The Kohl Center should be rocking for the Big Ten opener between Wisconsin (10-2) and border rival Minnesota (11-1), a game that could hold even more importance come March for resume reasons. Tubby Smith's Golden Gophers have an in-season tournament title (Puerto Rico Tipoff) to their credit already, a run that includes likely valuable wins over North Carolina and West Virginia.
Sun, 12/19/2010 - 08:42 — Raphielle Johnson
The plan for head coach Bill Self was to bring along freshman guard Josh Selby, who missed nine games due to NCAA suspension, slowly against USC on Saturday. The Baltimore native didn't enter the game until after the first television timeout, but it became apparent quite early what his addition means to their attack. And by the end of the game Selby became the difference between Kansas extending their home win streak to 65 games and having to start a new streak.
Sat, 12/18/2010 - 04:03 — Raphielle Johnson
Saturday usually marks the transition from the fall semester to winter break for most schools and with that comes the mid-season additions that many like to analyze in regards to their possible impact. And no addition may be bigger than that of freshman guard Josh Selby to the Kansas Jayhawks, who host USC at Noon. Bill Self's team has done fine without him in the win column as they're still undefeated on the season. But a look at their backcourt thus far reveals the need for a player who can make things happen in an explosive fashion, and the Baltimore native fits that role to a T.
Mon, 12/06/2010 - 04:36 — Raphielle Johnson
While you never want to say that a game is a "must-win", make no mistake about the importance of North Carolina getting a win over Kentucky on Saturday afternoon. While Roy Williams' team had wins over UNC Asheville and College of Charleston before losing at Illinois, UNC's play will be measured by its performance in the games against elite competition.
Sat, 12/04/2010 - 15:41 — Raphielle Johnson
The question that's dominated discussion for many in regards to the Gonzaga Bulldogs has been what's up with Elias Harris. One of the best freshmen in America last season, Harris has been dealing with shoulder and knee injuries in the Bulldogs' 4-2 start. Can he increase his production on Saturday when the Bulldogs take on Illinois in Seattle? Whether or not the swingman is healthy enough to make a significant impact will determine whether or not the Bulldogs are able to knock off the Illini in an environment that while defined as "neutral" will be anything but.
Wed, 12/01/2010 - 20:09 — Raphielle Johnson
While focus on the ACC/Big Ten Challenge relegated this game to the backchannel knows as ESPNU there was little doubt as to what would be the game of the night. And boy did Georgetown and Missouri live up the expectations, putting forth a classic that required overtime to render a verdict. And when the dust settled it was Georgetown, who was down four with 26.1 seconds left in regulation, leaving the Sprint Center in Kansas City with a valuable non-conference victory.
Tue, 11/30/2010 - 19:05 — Raphielle Johnson
While Tuesday marks the second day of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, which the ACC leads 1-0 thanks to Virginia's win over Minnesota last night, the best game on the schedule may actually tip off in Kansas City. Two teams expected to contend for their respective league titles meet at the Spirit Center as Georgetown faces Missouri. The Hoyas are the more tested of the two teams to this point in the season, having won the Charleston Classic as well as beating Old Dominion on the road in their season opener.
Fri, 11/19/2010 - 15:20 — Raphielle Johnson
The great thing about early-season matchups the caliber of the semifinal doubleheader at Madison Square Garden is that it's a great litmus test for the teams in regards to where they are now in relation to where they'd like to be come March. All four teams in the 2K Sports Classic benefitting Coaches vs. Cancer showed off skills that should serve them well as the season wears on but they also displayed issues that must be rectified as well.