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.
It may not feel like it to the respective conferences, but it has been over six years since the ACC raided the Big East, taking with them Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College to reach the mandatory 12 team minimum for a conference football championship game. The Big East, caught flat-footed by the move, promptly raided Conference USA, which in turn raided the Western Athletic Conference, which then invaded the Sun Belt Conference – leading to one of the most dramatic re-alignments in college sports since the expansion of the “major” conferences themselves in the early 90’s.
This much became painfully obvious in Maryland's 69-57 loss to Cincinnati in the Maui Invitational on Tuesday: Greivis Vasquez needs another consistent offensive option to step up. The senior guard from Venezuela is still going to take the majority of the shots and he should. But for no other player to score more than nine points when Vasquez finished with nineteen won't get it done against the level of competition the Terps will have to beat to make a second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.
The game of the day lived up to the hype as Purdue beat Tennessee 73-72 in the title game of the Paradise Jam. E'Twaun Moore led the Boilermakers with twenty-two points while Tennessee's Wayne Chism led all scorers with twenty-four. Tight throughout, the game changed in tempo from the first half to the second. Purdue led at the half 42-41 but the fast tempo made that lead a bit of fool's gold; a game in the eighties wouldn't bode well for the Boilermakers.
Ranking players is more art then science. How do you compare the potential of freshmen with seniors who have already peaked? How much does physical talent come into play versus intangibles and experience? How big a role do numbers play?