An in-state rivalry will be one of the top matchups on Wednesday night with Vanderbilt heading east to take on Tennessee in Knoxville. Thanks to South Carolina knocking off Kentucky the Commodores lead the SEC East with a 4-0 league record but they could have some company after Wednesday night. Kevin Stallings' team has won nine straight but this will be their toughest challenge by far, especially considering their tendency to struggle away from Memorial Gym in big games.
Led by future #1 NBA pick John Wall, this year's freshman class will be one to remember. What makes it particularly interesting is that not all of the top performers are at power conference schools. The WCC, CUSA, A10, MWC, WAC, and others have top-level rookies that can play with the best in the country. Here's a list of the Top 25 freshman in the country so far, with a bias on actual performance as opposed to potential. While players like UNC's John Henson may one day tear up NBA harcourts, this list focuses on the guys who are getting it done right now.
On a night that saw some of the nation's best teams go on the road and pick up victories it was appropriate that one of the less experienced teams fell in front of a raucous crowd. North Carolina started off slowly and paid dearly at Clemson, falling by the final score of 83-64. Trevor Booker led the way with 21 points while Demontez Stitt (20 points) and Tanner Smith (14 points, six rebounds, five steals) helped make life difficult for North Carolina. Dexter Strickland scored seventeen off the bench but he was the only player to score in double figures for the Tar Heels.
With Memphis in flux following the departure of John Calipari, this might be the year someone like Tulsa, Houston, or UTEP breaks through. The other contenders better act quickly as Memphis has locked up a monster recruiting class next year..
Overall Rank: #118
Conference Rank: #5 Conference USA