The game between Duke and Kansas more than lived up to the pregame expectations on Wednesday night, but it was an unsung hero who stepped to the forefront late. Tyler Thornton, essentially a defensive substitute when Austin Rivers picked up his fourth foul, knocked down a pair of critical three pointers late to catapult the Blue Devils to the 68-61 win. Duke earned their fifth Maui Invitational title and moved to 15-0 all-time in the prestigious early season event.
Two of the blue bloods in college basketball get together in Maui with the Maui Invitational title on the line as #6 Duke (6-0) takes on #14 Kansas (3-1), and there are a number of interesting players to keep an eye on. The player under the microscope nationally for the Blue Devils has been freshman guard Austin Rivers, with some failing to remember the lesson taught last season regarding the mistake of knee-jerk reactions to games in November (see: Barnes, Harrison).
Obviously with college football still going strong the Saturday slate will be a bit light with regards to marquee matchups, but there are some interesting teams to keep an eye on. Syracuse is the highest ranked team to play on Saturday, and they host a Fordham team that many will expect the Orange to blow out. The Rams do return forward Chris Gaston, one of the top players in the Atlantic 10, and freshman point guard Devon "Fatty" McMillan is a playmaker who has already excited the Fordham fan base. But will Tom Pecora's team have enough to knock off Syracuse?
Question: Outside of the generally accepted top four (UNC/UK/Ohio State/UConn) who do you think can win the national title?
America East: Albany
(1) Ohio State: lost in Sweet 16 to Kentucky