Wednesday sets up to be an intriguing day in college basketball given some of the matchups. Connecticut and North Carolina set out to stop the bleeding with conference home games and the Huskies will be without head coach Jim Calhoun against St. John's. George Blaney, who has plenty of head coaching experience, will take over until Coach Calhoun returns and the Huskies need a win going into their game against Texas on Saturday. But the Red Storm can be a dangerous foe given their depth and willingness to compete for forty minutes.
In winning their first fourteen games of the season the Purdue Boilermakers did nothing to dispel the notion that they had a very good chance of getting to the Final Four. But while a record of 14-3 is nothing to disregard there have been some worrisome issues for Matt Painter's squad, who dropped their third consecutive game on Saturday. And the biggest issue may be the tallest man in the rotation, JaJuan Johnson. Over the last three games the junior has averaged just six points per game and struggled through eighteen foul-plagued minutes in Evanston before fouling out.
Top 10 Players of the Decade
It was a decade of change in college basketball, as the one-and-done stud became the norm and the four-year player became increasingly rare. Both categories though, the vets & the one-and-dones, made a large impact on the game, as players like Hansbrough & Williams piled up awards at the same clip as Anthony & Durant. Here's my take on the Top 10, post your list in the comments section.
There really aren't any headline games on the college basketball schedule Monday but there are some games that may be able to hold one's interest for a little while. First off, Rutgers heads south to take on North Carolina in Chapel Hill. To say the least it would be a serious disappointment if Fred Hill's team were pasted like they were in last season's meeting (97-75). North Carolina won the battle on the boards 40-26 and shot 51.5% from the field, but that was a far more seasoned outfit than the one the Scarlet Knights will face on Monday.
With finals week over Saturday can be seen almost as a celebration of that fact with a number of games on the schedule with national ramifications. Tops on the list would be North Carolina taking on Texas in Jerry Jones' new palace in front of a possible attendance of about 70,000. Outside of their win over Pittsburgh Rick Barnes' Longhorns haven't been tested thus far so it will be interesting to see how his freshmen handle the atmosphere.
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While much of the nation will focus on some big college football games on Saturday, there's also a number of attractive basketball games to check out as well. And the fun starts early, with Kentucky receiving their first major test of the season when North Carolina visits Rupp Arena. These are the two winningest programs in the history of college basketball with the Wildcats holding a slight edge, but these are also two very young teams who are still finding their way.