Thursday, December 31, 2015

As league play begins, we forecast this year's AAC season

In its third season, the AAC doesn't appear to be as good as we thought it was going to be just a few months ago. With SMU barred from the postseason, could this be a one-bid league? Probably not, but considering how the league has had the two biggest snubs for each of the last two NCAA tournaments (SMU in 2014, Temple in 2015), it's hard to envision any more than two bids -- at least at this point.

We chronicle all this in today's Register. Meanwhile, with conference play just underway (and UConn readying for its league opener on Saturday at Tulane), here's our picks for the league's award-winners this season:

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Daniel Hamilton, UConn. The most complete player in the league, and possibly its best NBA prospect. Hamilton leads the league in assists, is fifth in reboundng and 13th in scoring. Even with reigning POY Nic Moore back and playing well, we're gonna side with Hamilton on this one.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Dedric Lawson, Memphis. He's got strong competition from SMU's Shake Milton, but Lawson has thus far made the transfer of Austin Nichols far more bearable. He's fifth in the league in scoring and second in rebounding.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Shaq Harrison, Tulsa. Amida Brimah isn't expected back until about mid-February, so we're eliminating him from the competition. With that in mind, we'll throw Tulsa a bone and give it to the player who currently leads the league in steals.

COACH OF THE YEAR: Kelvin Sampson, Houston. No matter how many games SMU wins, there's no way they'll give this award to Larry Brown -- right? Houston was expected to be better this season, and Sampson -- a very good coach -- may have the Cougars even better than expected.


Daniel Hamilton, UConn
Rodney Purvis, UConn
Nic Moore, SMU
Jordan Tolbert, SMU
James Woodard, Tulsa
Troy Caupain, Cincinnati

Shaq Harrison, Tulsa
Quenton DeCosey, Temple
Dedric Lawson, Memphis
Shaq Goodwin, Memphis
Rob Gray, Houston

B.J. Tyson, East Carolina
Gary Clark, Cincinnati
Octavius Ellis, Cincinnati
Louis Dabney, Tulane

Dedric Lawson, Memphis
Shake Milton, SMU
Jahmal McMurray, South Florida
Jalen Adams, UConn
Tacko Fall, UCF

A few awards that won't be announced at the AAC tournament in Orlando in March:

BEST NAME: Tacko Fall, UCF. Is there any competition? That he's 7-foot-6, 300 pounds and playing pretty well (2.5 blocks per game) only adds to his intrigue.

BEST TRANSFER: Jordan Tolbert, SMU. Texas Tech transfer leads the league in rebounding at 10.2 per game, to go with 12.6 points. He's overshadowed Markus Kennedy to this point.

BEST GRAD TRANSFER: Ricky Tarrant, Jr., Memphis. UConn fans love Shonn Miller and Sterling Gibbs, but Tarrant, who started his career at Tulane, then played two seasons at Alabama, may have the bigger overall impact.

BEST JUCO TRANSFER: Rob Gray, Houston. After playing at Howard JC last year, Gray is leading the AAC in scoring at 18.5 points per game.

BEST SHAQ: Shaq Goodwin, Memphis. In a narrow victory, Goodwin, who seems to have been around forever, edges Harrison, who along with James Woodard forms one of the top guard combos in the league.

BEST ATHLETE: Bo Zeigler, South Florida.


BEST SHOOTING GUARD: James Woodard, Tulsa.

BEST SMALL FORWARD: Daniel Hamilton, UConn.


BEST CENTER: Amida Brimah, UConn.

HOTTEST COACH'S SEAT: Josh Pastner, Memphis. (Runner-up: Donnie Jones, UCF).

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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Why is UConn in New Orleans for New Year's/Sugar Bowl week?

Maybe this is a question only the media cares about and fans, players and coaches could care less about, but I had to ask AAC senior associate commissioner for broadcasting and digital content Tom Odjakjian: why schedule UConn to play at Tulane on Jan. 2?

Or, more to the point: why have Tulane play a home game at all this weekend, what with New Year's Eve festivities, followed by the Sugar Bowl on New Year's Day?

The answer simply came down to helping UConn out with travel. The Huskies played Texas in Austin on Tuesday night, as you know, and the league wanted to schedule their AAC opener somewhere within the "Southwest Corridor" of the league's territory. That pretty much means SMU, Tulsa, Houston or Tulane.

SMU was out of the question, since the league wants to save marquee matchups like UConn-SMU for later in the season for TV purposes. Tulsa and Houston were options, but Tulane had no problems playing its biggest name foe at home while students are away on break. And while the league blacks out New Orleans for Mardi Gras week, it does no such thing for New Year's.

Since Tulane isn't playing any games this season downtown, the Sugar Bowl crowds wouldn't have too much of an effect. It came down to Saturday or Sunday, and Tulane was fine with Saturday -- as was the league, so it didn't go up against the NFL's final week or the regular season.

And so, here we are. Yes, flights and hotels were a bit more expensive, but again, that's really just a media concern, not the team's.

No doubt, the Huskies are fine with being in New Orleans for New Year's Eve, though I wouldn't expect them to be frolicking around Bourbon Street. UConn typically has an 11 p.m. curfew on the road, so any ringing in the new year will likely have to be done inside the team hotel. Not that any of the players would be expected to get in any trouble -- quite to the contrary, this is one of the nicest, most respectful Husky teams I've covered.

But, let's face it, put a group of college kids in the French Quarter on New Year's Eve and anything can happen.

In other news: That Feb. 20 game at Cincinnati could still possibly be an ESPN Gameday affair, though nothing will likely be certain until at least a couple of weeks in advance. Apparently, Kentucky-Texas A&M is among the other possible games ESPN would feature with its Gameday crew.


Signature win? UConn's victory over Texas Tuesday night qualifies

Granted, Texas was without its double-double averaging big man, Cam Ridley. And the Longhorns may not have been a particularly great team even with him.

But make no mistake: UConn's 71-66 at the Erwin Center Tuesday night qualifies as a very big win. Texas, 8-4, and getting a few Top 25 votes (including mine) the past couple of weeks, is a Big 12 team that should be competitive in the nation's best conference. That alone should guarantee the Longhorns finish the season with a good RPI.

Couple the fact that its a road win (and don't forget, UConn is without Amida Brimah, as well), and this is a real nice one for the Huskies. A true resume-builder.

UConn also has found its true go-to guy -- on and off the floor -- in Rodney Purvis. Daniel Hamilton may be the team's best all-around player, but Purvis is the Huskies' best scorer, and is a leader off the floor, as well.

Now, about those free throws ... that is an issue that Purvis will have to resolve. Otherwise, he's been consistently strong, and clutch, all season.

Finally, here's a piece on Terry Larrier, who has to sit out this season as a transfer but, unlike Purvis, can travel with the team.

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Monday, December 28, 2015

Shaka Smart on UConn, loss of Cameron Ridley, and his former player, Terry Larrier

Shaka Smart met with the media on Monday afternoon in advance of Tuesday's but with UConn. The Longhorns will be without 6-10, 290-pound center Cameron Ridley, who broke his left foot in practice on Sunday and is out indefinitely. Ridley was averaging 12.7 points and 10 rebounds per game.


“He’ll bounce back. This certainly is not the end of his career, it’s just one of those things where it’s an unfortunate injury, unfortunate timing. As a team, we’re just gonna have to rally around him and everyone step up.”

Does this mean Texas will play more of the "havoc" style that Smart mastered at VCU the prior six seasons?

“As I’ve been saying since I got here, havoc is a mindset. It’s a way you think about yourself when you get out of bed. Then, the style of play comes from there. Does it mean we can extend the floor a little more? Does it mean our perimeter guys are gonna be even more involved in everything we’re doing? Yes. Does it mean, on offense, it makes more sense for us to get out and score in transition? Yes. But the mindset part, it’s something that just takes time to learn.”

Both teams will be without their starting centers, with Amida Brimah also out injured.

“Their best lineup, even when he was healthy, was to have four guys that are perimeter-type players in the game, with Daniel Hamilton being the biggest of those. But he’s such a dynamic, triple-threat guy -- he can shoot, drive or pass the ball so well -- that’s their best offensive team. In a way, it makes them harder to guard. Brimah, with what he did on the defensive end, not having him in there affects them defensively, much like not having Cam affects us on defense. Both teams, what we have to do is focus on ways on the offensive end where we can be most effective, and defensively, if you don’t have that big shot-blocker, you have to do a better job with your individual defense.”

Smart was asked if 6-11 Prince Ibeh would start in Ridley's place, and he said he wasn't sure, but seemed to indicate that was likely.

Smart also talked about Terry Larrier, whom he recruited to play for him at VCU last season before Smart took the Texas job and Larrier transferred to UConn.

“Great kid, very, very intelligent ... sometimes too smart for his own good. And I think he’s in a great program. When you leave a place, the hardest thing is leaving a guy like that, because I think that he was really making terrific progress. He came in as a guy with high expectations, came in, like most freshmen, he was taken aback a little bit by some of the challenges you get hit with as a freshman. But he’s through that, and I think that’s the exciting thing for Coach Ollie and his program. He’s got a freshman year under his belt where he’s had a lot of success. Now, he’s learning a new system, a new program. But he has a confidence level, because he’s had some success.”

Smart said he got a chance to speak with Larrier at the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas last month.

“We’ve talked some since the spring. We stay in contact from time to time. It’s always kind of a fine line, because you don’t want to be bothering other people’s players. But as a person, you care about a guy, you worked with him for a year, you spent a couple of years recruiting him. I just gave him a hug, told him I’m proud of him, I love him, and I want to see him keep doing well. He looked good, he continues to get stronger, physically. I’m happy for him.”

Here's what Ollie had to say about Larrier in the Bahamas:

It was pointed out to Smart that he and Ollie have been after many of the same players on the recruiting trail in recent years (Larrier, current Longhorn Tevin Mack, recent UConn commit Alterique Gilbert)

“I think it speaks more to those players. They’re really good players that are sought-after. And UConn’s recruiting at a high level, those guys have done a great job. We tried to recruit Alterique Gilbert, who they signed. They did a great job recruiting him and developing a relationship. That one wasn’t even close. They beat everyone by a mile.”

“Both programs want to bring in high-level guys that are also the type of kids that we want to coach -- good kids, want to get better, want to learn, want to be part of something bigger than themselves. I know that’s something that Kevin values and it’s something that I value.”

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Sunday, December 27, 2015

My AP Top 25 ballot: Goodbye, Louisville

A relatively light week of college basketball makes for a pretty easy AP Top 25 ballot. Only one change: I've added South Carolina and dumped Louisville. It has nothing to do with Rick Pitino classlessly avoiding the media whenever something controversial happens (OK, maybe a little), but really, more to do with the 11-2 Cardinals haven't beaten anyone and have lost to the only two good teams (Michigan State, Kentucky) they've faced.

UConn? Beat Texas on Tuesday, hold serve at Tulane, and can pretty much guarantee Huskies will get my vote next Sunday.

Here ya go:

1. Michigan State
2. Kansas
3. Maryland
4. Oklahoma
5. Virginia
6. North Carolina
7. Xavier
8. Butler
9. Kentucky
10. Providence
11. Arizona
12. Purdue
13. Duke
14. SMU
15. Iowa State
16. Miami
17. Texas A&M
18. Villanova
19. Utah
20. South Carolina
21. Baylor
22. Gonzaga
23. George Washington
24. Texas
25. Monmouth


Old Home Season continues Tuesday for Sterling Gibbs vs. Texas

Sterling Gibbs has already played against the team with whom he originally signed a national letter-of-intent (Maryland), as well as the team he chose UConn over as a graduate transfer (Ohio State).

Next up: playing against the program for whom he played as a freshman (Texas), when the Huskies face the Longhorns in Austin on Tuesday night. There were no hard feelings about his departure from Texas on either side and, in fact, remains in contact with former UT head coach Rick Barnes (who's now at Tennessee).

Is it inevitable UConn somehow faces Seton Hall, the team for whom Gibbs played for two seasons, in the NCAA tournament? (Or, dare I say, the NIT)?

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Thursday, December 24, 2015

Daniel Hamilton goes to "11" (said in fake British/Spinal Tap accent)

Game 2, A.B. (After Brimah) went better defensively for UConn in Wednesday's matinee blowout of Central Connecticut than Game 1. After a sluggish start, the Huskies kept the Blue Devils from doing much of anything offensively, en route to a 99-58 win.

Meanwhile, the Huskies did just about everything on offense. Shonn Miller fell three points shy of a career high with 25 points, with six of his 10 baskets coming off feeds from Daniel Hamilton (more on him later).

Kentan Facey notched his second career double-double (his other had come last year against ... Central Connecticut!). Rodney Purvis kept his season double-figures streak alive at 11. Even all three walk-ons scored, including a dunk by Christian Foxen (who scored a career-high four points!).

Ah yes, Hamilton. All he did was notch the 11th triple-double in Husky history with 11 points, 11 boards and 11 assists. And the last prior UConn triple-double? Shabazz Napier on ... 11/11 (Nov. 11, 2013, to be exact).

All this from a player once labeled as selfish. Amazing.

As for Facey, talked to him a bit afterwards and asked how he felt about UConn bringing in Shonn Miller as a grad transfer, even though Miller would eat into Facey's playing time. He replied in typically, unselfish fashion.

“I felt like it was going to increase our depth, as you see we need it now," he said. "You never know what’s going to happen, it’s a long season. We definitely need Shonn right now. He had a monstrous game for us. We need that going into Texas and league play.”

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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Amida Brimah out 6-8 weeks with broken finger

UConn has suffered a big blow, as 7-foot junior center Amida Bromah broke the third finger on his right hand during practice and will undergo surgery to repairt it. he is expected to be out for 6-8 weeks.

Here is the release from UConn:

UConn junior center Amida Brimah suffered a broken third finger on his right hand during practice on Monday and will have to undergo surgery to repair the fracture.

Brimah and the team learned the complete diagnosis and the best course of treatment from doctors following an examination on Tuesdaymorning. The 7-foot center from Accra, Ghana, is scheduled to have the surgery on Wednesday afternoon at UConn Health in Farmington. He is expected to miss the next six to eight weeks of the basketball season while recovering.
Brimah missed a game for the first time in his career Sunday with a groin injury as the 7-3 Huskies defeated UMass Lowell, 88-79. It broke a streak of 84 consecutive games played by the Huskies' junior co-captain.

"As I said after the game on Sunday, Amida is one of the best defensive players in the country, so obviously not having him has a big impact on us," UConn coach Kevin Ollie said. "But you never know when somebody can get hurt, which is why everybody always has to be ready to play.

"Everyone will have to lift their level of play --- the big men, of course, but our guards, as well will have to play better defense on the perimeter without Amida in there. We look at it as an opportunity for somebody to step up and have an impact on the game and the program. And I believe every player on this team has the capability to do that."

Brimah, who had started 44 straight games before Sunday, is averaging 7.8 points and 5.2 rebounds per game and has the top field goal percentage on the team at 72.5 percent, which would break his own single-season school record if it extended throughout the year. His 3.0 blocked shots per game currently ranks ninth in the country.

Last season, Brimah was voted the Defensive Player of the Year in the American Athletic Conference and was an honorable mention all-conference pick after leading the country in total blocked shots (121) and finishing second in the country in blocked shots per game (3.46). This season, he was a preseason all-conference second team pick.

UConn's season continues Wednesday with an afternoon (12:30 p.m.) game against Central Connecticut State University at the XL Center.

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Sunday, December 20, 2015

My AP Top 25 this week. This was a tough one

Really wanted to include Monmouth on my ballot this week. Really badly. Love the whole idea of a MAAC school -- or any low-major, for that matter -- getting some love in the Top 25. And it's not undeserved -- the Hawks have defeated five major-conference teams already this season, including at Georgetown, at UCLA, and over Notre Dame and USC (oh, and Rutgers).

Yes, Monmouth did lose at Canisius. But road losses in conference play happen. If you put, say, a Baylor or a Miami or a Texas A&M or a Gonzaga (or a UConn) in the MAAC this season, I guarantee you they'd lose a game or two on the road in league play at some point.

Ultimately, though, maybe there just wasn't enough room for the Hawks on my ballot. Although four top-10 teams all lost this past week, only four of the 15 teams I had ranked 11-25 lost. And the only one I'm bouncing out is four-loss UCLA.

I had to get Utah in. The Utes are 9-3 and fresh off Saturday's win over Duke at MSG. To get Monmouth in, I would have to drop a team that didn't lose last week, which is something I never do.

Until now.

I had Marquette ranked No. 25 last week after its win at the Kohl Center over Wisconsin that drove Bo Ryan into retirement. But as much as I love road wins, the Badgers aren't very good. Neither is LSU, the only other Power 5 team Marquette has defeated. And the Golden Eagles have lost to Belmont (along with Iowa).

So, I put Monmouth at No. 25 and dropped Marquette (even though it didn't even play this past week). Wanted to get UConn in there, as well, but the Huskies still don't have a real marquee win and misfired on their chances to score big wins over Maryland and Gonzaga. And that Syracuse loss isn't looking so great, either. And let's face it, the Huskies' too-close-for-comfort, 88-79 win over UMass-Lowell didn't really inspire a vote of confidence. Even if Omar Calhoun is truly back. And even if Amida Brimah watched the game from the bench.

Trust me: if the Huskies win at Texas on Dec. 29, they'll be back in my Top 25. Maybe even before then, who knows?

1. Michigan State
2. Kansas
3. Maryland
4. Oklahoma
5. Virginia
6. North Carolina
7. Xavier
8. Butler
9. Kentucky
10. Providence
11. Arizona
12. Purdue
13. Duke
14. SMU
15. Iowa State
16. Miami
17. Texas A&M
18. Villanova
19. George Washington
20. Utah
21. Baylor
22. Louisville
23. Gonzaga
24. Texas
25. Monmouth

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Sunday, December 13, 2015

My AP Top 25 ballot this week

First off, we'd love to see you Monday night at 7 p.m. at the Barnes & Noble at Buckland Hills Mall in Manchester for a book signing for Rebound!: The Incredible Story of UConn Basketball's Comeback from Defeat to Dominance. It's the story of the Huskies' run to the 2014 national title, and I think it makes a great stocking stuffer!!! (But hey, I'm a bit biased).

Speaking of potential bias, on to my Top 25 ballot this week. I wasn't going to vote for UConn, what with three losses now after Tuesday night's loss to Maryland at Madison Square Garden.

Then I was going to vote for UConn, after: a.) the Huskies' impressive win on Saturday over an admittedly not very good Ohio State team and b.) a whole bunch of teams I had surrounding the Huskies on my ballot last week (Utah, Gonzaga, Syracuse, Vanderbilt, Cincinnati, West Virginia) also losing. And let's face it, a pair of three-point losses to Syracuse and Gonzaga, and a 10-point loss to Maryland isn't anything to be ashamed of, right?

Well ... sorta. It's starting to look like Syracuse and (maybe) Gonzaga aren't all that great. I actually bounced the Orange from my poll after their loss to St. John's on Saturday. I also got rid of Utah, Vanderbilt, Cincy, West Virginia and ... UConn. I kept the Zags, since they beat UConn, plus their three losses have been to Texas A&M, Arizona and UCLA, which trumps Gonzaga, Syracuse and Maryland -- if that makes any sense.

Also switched a bunch of teams around, dropping some of them a few slots even if they had perfect weeks. It's still early enough to maneuver teams who have been better (or worse) than I expected at the start of the season.

1. Michigan State
2. Kansas
3. Maryland
4. Oklahoma
5. Kentucky
6. North Carolina
7. Virginia
8. Xavier
9. Iowa State
10. Duke
11. Purdue
12. Providence
13. Arizona
14. SMU
15. Butler
16. Villanova
17. Baylor
18. Miami
19. UCLA
20. George Washington
21. Texas A&M
22. Louisville
23. Gonzaga
24. Texas
25. Marquette

Friday, December 11, 2015

Book signing prior to UConn-Ohio State game Saturday morning

Yes, I'm biased. But I think a book chronicling UConn's unlikely run to the 2014 national championship would make a great stocking stuffer? Don't you?

Anyway, I'll be signing copies of my book, Rebound: The Incredible Story of UConn Basketball's Comeback from Defeat to Dominance, on Saturday at the UConn Co-Op Store, prior to the Huskies' noon bout with Ohio State, starting around 11 a.m. Yes, the title is a little vague. Yes, they should have put Shabazz on the cover. But it is the story of UConn's run to the '14 title, starting at Kevin Ollie's 2012 introductory press conference and ending at Jerry's World in Arlington, Texas.

Anyone filtering through the store en route to the UConn-Ohio State game across the street at Gampel at noon, we'd love for you to come by!

Hope to see you on Saturday! (And if you can't make it, we'll have a signing on Monday at 7 p.m. at the Barnes & Noble at the Buckland Hills Mall in Manchester).

Getting back to Saturday's game, Ollie is looking for the Huskies to get tougher. And that means tougher from the get-go. He also realizes that time is tickin', and the idea that new players still have to "feel-out" their place with UConn's returnees is over.

One interesting subplot: While UConn had to go up against a player (Diamond Stone) who spurned its advances on Tuesday night, the script gets flipped on Saturday, when the Huskies feature a player (Sterling Gibbs) who spurned Ohio State's advances last spring.


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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Paper trail leads to another tough UConn loss

Let's cut straight to the (paper) chase: Here's what Kevin Ollie said about the technical foul he was called for with 2:44 left and his team having just cut what had been a 20-point deficit down to three:

He later added: “We wanted Jalen (Adams) to deny him but not get a foul. But I just thought it wasn’t a foul that needed to be called at that time. But, the ref made it and Jalen did foul him, it looked like, going back on it. I just slapped the stand, the paper was there and went flying. It’s no big deal.”

Not according to Maryland coach Mark Turgeon.

“The tech definitely helped, no doubt about it,” he said. “It kind of helped us stem the tide.”

So, there you have it. Another terrible first half, another 20-point deficit cut down to three. Another missed opportunity, which UConn is starting to run out of.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Diamond Stone Classic? Not quite -- battle with Maryland important to UConn for other reasons

Obviously, Tuesday night's UConn-Maryland showdown is much more than the "Diamond Stone Classic."

It's important, almost incumbent upon UConn to nail a Top 10 pelt to its wall, because that chance may not come again this season. In fact, the Huskies will likely only have a few more chances to beat Top 25 teams, while there will be plenty of conference and non-conference games that could drag their RPI down.

Rodney Purvis understands:

Still, it's impossible to ignore the fact that Stone, the Milwaukee native, chose Maryland over both UConn and Wisconsin last March. So it's an interesting subplot at Madison Square Garden.

Asked Kevin Ollie if he had gotten to know Stone well during the recruiting process, and he responded, with a smile, "I guess I didn't get to know him well enough."

He then added:

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Sunday, December 6, 2015

My AP Top 25 this week

While I tend to believe the respective strengths of the American Conference and the Big East will be cyclical things, I admit I thought the AAC would have the upper hand this season.

So far, I'm wrong.

Through the first few weeks of the season, the American hasn't overly distinguished itself. SMU is unbeaten but hasn't played an overwhelming schedule and only beat Yale by two points (though, admittedly, the Bulldogs are pretty good). UConn, which I thought (and still believe) is the cream of the crop, lost to two of the three good teams its faced. Tulsa has losses to Arkansas-Little Rock and Oral Roberts on its resume, and I'm not ready to start taking 5-0 Houston seriously yet.

I figured Cincinnati could be UConn's toughest challenger in the league this season, but the Bearcats lost at home to Butler on Wednesday night. Butler is a very good team, of course. It's also a Big East team. And so far, the Big East has been quite impressive, with big wins from Xavier (at Michigan, vs. Dayton), Providence (Arizona, at URI) and now Butler. Villanova's probably the best of the bunch, though it hasn't played much of a schedule yet. And don't sleep on Georgetown, which did lose to Radford at home but has also near-misses against Maryland and Duke and beat Syracuse this past week.

Of course, the Big East suckered me into believing in it last season before nosediving (again) in the NCAA tournament. Maybe I shouldn't fall for the bait again. I am uneasy having four Big East teams in my Top 25 this week, but based on early season results, it's hard not to justify it.

1. Michigan State
2. Kansas
3. North Carolina
4. Maryland
5. Kentucky
6. Virginia
7. Iowa State
8. Oklahoma
9. Duke
10. Villanova
11. Purdue
12. Xavier
13. Providence
15. Arizona
15. SMU
16. Butler
17. Utah
18. Gonzaga
19. Baylor
20. Syracuse
21. UConn
22. Vanderbilt
23. Cincinnati
24. George Washington
25. West Virginia

Thursday, December 3, 2015

UConn wins big, but must avoid "lulls" if it hopes to beat Maryland

Another ho-hum, non-conference win over an overmatched Sacred Heart Wednesday night, right?

Well, for the most part, yes. But the first 11 1/2 minutes of the game continued a disturbing trend for the Huskies -- one they must put an end to if they plan on upsetting No. 2 Maryland on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.

And Rodney Purvis knows it:

Meanwhile, another night, another near triple-double for Daniel Hamilton. Kid is special.

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