Morning Five: 11.13.13 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on November 13th, 2013

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  1. Before the Champions Classic we cautioned you not to read too much into the results no matter how they ended up. We stand by that statement, but we hope that you still tuned in because if you did not, you missed some fantastic November basketball. In the main event/nightcap, Duke superstar Jabari Parker played a sensational first half that led some real-time draft experts to strongly consider changing the order of their daily NBA Mock Drafts right there on the spot. Eventually Parker cooled off (partially aided by Kansas counterpart Andrew Wiggins taking the initiative to guard him), and in the end, it was Kansas that made the statement with a 94-83 win fueled by a 15-4 run to end the game. For a full analysis of the Parker vs. Wiggins duel, check out our postgame write-up here.
  2. In the undercard game that also happened to involve the top two teams in this week’s national polls, Michigan State knocked off Kentucky 78-74 in a game that more than lived up to the hype. While Big Blue Nation will have a tough time dealing with the loss (what fan base ever appropriately deals with a loss?) they should be able to take the loss in stride. The Spartans played like the veteran team that they are while the Wildcats showed flashes of youthful head-scratching combined with signs of brilliance that will put them on the short list of favorites when March rolls around. If we have one issue for the Wildcats going forward it will be the play (and more specifically, the attitude) of the Harrison twins, who at times appeared to lose focus when things were not going their way. The back-breaking play for Kentucky was a late turnover by Andrew Harrison that gave Michigan State just enough cushion with a few minutes left to hang on the rest of the way. For a full analysis of the battle between #1 vs. #2, check out our postgrame write-up here.
  3. The biggest regular season night in college basketball in some time had nearly every major media outlet’s attention on Tuesday, so we’ve parsed through some of the best columns about the two games to help you catch up on everything. TSN‘s Mike DeCourcy writes that Kentucky’s slew of talented but very young players needed this education at the hands of their more experienced Michigan State elders in order to become the team that everyone thinks that it can be. CBSSports.com‘s Gary Parrish argues that, after having watched the oustanding freshman talents of Parker, Wiggins and Randle on display Tuesday night, it’s OK to fall in love with all three of them. At ESPN.com, Andy Katz punctuated in writing what our eyes were already telling us — that this year’s freshman class (which honestly should also include Arizona’s Aaron Gordon) is special. Finally, SI.com‘s Luke Winn came away from the proceedings convinced that, despite all the truth and hype about the precocious freshman on display, Michigan State, with all its experience, talent and coaching, is the team to beat this season.
  4. There actually was some news outside of Chicago’s double-header last night, and for Houston it was of the very good variety. Danrad “Chicken” Knowles, already in the running for the best nickname is college basketball, was cleared on Tuesday to play immediately for the Cougars. Knowles had missed the first two games of the season waiting for a decision from the NCAA clearinghouse, but the former top 75 recruit will be able to suit up for James Dickey’s team as soon as Thursday’s game against Texas-San Antonio. Knowles at 6’10″ will provide a much-needed inside presence for the team in a league that is extremely light in the frontcourt. If Houston is to make a push this season into the top half of the AAC, much of that rise may depend on the incoming Knowles.
  5. On the flip side, Delaware star Devon Saddler has been suspended by his team for a month for an unspecified violation of team rules. The all-CAA guard was averaging 23.0 PPG in the Blue Hens’ first two contests this season, and is only 314 points from becoming the school’s all-time leading scorer. If he can make it back to the team by a target of Delaware’s December 16 game against North Dakota State, that would leave him a minimum of 23 games to capture the record. Given that his career scoring average of 16.3 PPG is well above the 13.7 PPG he would need take over the top spot, he should be on track to still get there. What’s less certain is how the 0-2 Blue Hens will do without their best player in the lineup. Six of the team’s next seven games — while Saddler is expected to be out — are on the road, and a couple of those, at Villanova and at Notre Dame, will be no walks in the park.
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