Ten Questions to Consider: Feast Week

Posted by Matt Eisenberg on November 23rd, 2018

It’s time to take out the Thanksgiving leftovers, make a plate of food and sit back and watch some college basketball. Here are 10 questions to consider heading into this weekend’s slate of games.

Will Virginia be the Next Highly-Ranked ACC Team to Take an Upset (USA Today Images)

  1. Will Virginia come out on top as Battle 4 Atlantis Champions? (Championship Game, Friday 2 PM EST, ESPN) Tony Bennett’s squad squares off against Wisconsin in a defensive spectacular. This mid-afternoon match-up will likely be slow, physical, and must-see tv. Ethan Happ will test the big men of Virginia.
  2. Who will win the Grant Williams/Dedric Lawson matchup? (NIT Tip-Off Final, Tennessee vs. Kansas, Friday 9 PM EST, ESPN2)  Both Grant Williams of Tennessee and Dedric Lawson of Kansas have shined through the first few weeks of the season. Each draws more than seven fouls per 40 minutes of action, so they will be tested to defend each another without fouling.
  3. Will Villanova get back to being Villanova? (Advocare Invitational, Friday and Saturday) After losing consecutive games for the first time since the 2012-13 season, Villanova heads to Florida for the Advocare Invitational. Phil Booth and Eric Paschall shot a combined 7-of-31 on three-point attempts in the two recent Wildcat losses. If they get their shots back, Villanova should sail through this bracket; otherwise Jay Wright’s team could be in trouble in a second-round match-up with either Oklahoma State or Memphis.
  4. Will Miami leave the Wooden Legacy undefeated? (Wooden Legacy, Friday and Saturday) When Miami last played in the Wooden Legacy in 2013, they began the tournament with a loss to George Washington. The Hurricanes begin this tournament against an Atlantic 10 team again this time — La Salle. Miami heads to Fullerton as one of 14 teams with a top 25 ranking in both adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency.
  5. Who will leave Las Vegas after hitting the jackpot? (Las Vegas Invitational Title Game, Friday 6:30 PM EST, Fox) For the first time in the tournament’s 17-year history, the Las Vegas Invitational will feature three ranked teams. North Carolina, Michigan State, Texas, and UCLA came into this tournament having won 16 of 17 games, with the lone loss being the Spartans’ loss to Kansas. A fun Thursday night of action set up Texas vs. Michigan State tonight for the championship.
  6. What can be made of the team that leaves Las Vegas with two losses? (Las Vegas Invitational Third Place Game, Friday 4 PM EST, FS1) While two losses against high-quality opposition in Las Vegas will not be too damaging, what weakness might shine through? Could it be UCLA’s proneness to turnovers? Will Texas be plagued by poor shooting? Could North Carolina’s freshman be overwhelmed in their first big tests?
  7. Which Cougar team will control the pace in a game of differing styles? (Houston @ BYU, Saturday 6 PM EST) Fewer than 10 teams force opponents into longer offensive possessions than Houston. They will be up against a BYU team that is among the quickest to get a shot off in the country. In addition to pace, BYU’s size could play a pivotal role in this game.
  8. Will DePaul start 4-0 for the first time since the 2008-09 season? (DePaul @ Notre Dame, Saturday 12 PM EST, ACC Network) Behind three consecutive 20-point games by Max Strus, the Blue Demons are off to a hot start. Behind his 23.7 points per game and DePaul’s top five offensive rebounding rate, they will test a Notre Dame team who is entering a difficult part to its schedule.
  9. Will Kentucky’s three-point defense improve? (Tennessee St. @ Kentucky, Friday 7 PM EST, SEC Network) Kentucky’s opponents have made 56-of-127 three-point attempts to start the season, putting the Wildcats among the bottom 20 nationally in three-point defense. That defense will be tested by a Tennessee State team that has shot 162 three-pointers in its first five games of the season.
  10. Who will make it past its first true test of the season? (Marshall @ Maryland, Friday 6 PM EST, Big Ten Network) Marshall and Maryland have played a combined six teams among the bottom 100 of the KenPom rankings. Each team’s best win so far has been against Hofstra. Marshall’s star guard Jon Elmore picked up right where he finished last season, having averaged 23 points per game through the first four games.
Matthew Eisenberg (140 Posts)

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