Is it time to rank Frank Martin's Wildcats? They had an argument before their game against #17 UNLV at Orleans Arena on Saturday evening and if they aren't ranked following the 95-80 win expect some angry fans in the Little Apple. Guards Jacob Pullen (28 points) and Denis Clemente (22 points, nine assists) took control of the game and didn't let go until the verdict was essentially decided early in the second half. As a team the Wildcats shot 57.1% from the field and made more than sixty percent of their shots from behind the arc while limiting the Runnin' Rebels to 28.6% from distance.
To say the least Saturday is a big day for both the Butler Bulldogs and the Pac-10. Butler hosts Ohio State and given the fact that Brad Stevens' team lacks a marquee win the Buckeyes represent one of their last two chances (Xavier) at a solid win before tackling Horizon League play. Ohio State is without the services of the injured Evan Turner, which will be a definite advantage for the Bulldogs.
John Calipari attempted to convince the masses following Kentucky's 64-61 win over Connecticut in the SEC/Big East Invitational that his Wildcats were 4-5 instead of 9-0. Good luck convincing people of that, but what needs no selling is how good of a player John Wall is. Foul trouble sat the freshman on the bench for much of the first half and the turnovers (seven) need to decrease, but the Raleigh, NC native took over down the stretch to deliver the win. Wall led all scorers with twenty-five points and also had six steals in the victory.
After what could best be described as a "boring" night of college hoops Tuesday brings the Jimmy V Classic in New York as well as a few non-conference games that could also have an impact come March. Butler and Georgetown play in the opener at MSG and with both teams running versatile offensive systems with some skilled players it should be a close battle. The Hoyas' stiffest test came against Temple and they needed a basket late in regulation to knock off the Owls.
There are just eleven games on the Thanksgiving Day schedule with tournaments beginning in both Orlando (Old Spice Classic) and Anaheim (76 Classic) while play continues at the Great Alaska Shootout. The showcase game: #16 Minnesota taking on #10 Butler in the third quarterfinal of the day. This is going to be the first test of the season for Tubby Smith's team, who hasn't won any of their three games by less than 25 points. Four Golden Gophers are averaging in double figures, led by guard Lawrence Westbrook's 18.5 ppg.
This is the time of year when college basketball takes a step back in terms of nationally televised games in favor of college football, but there are some intriguing games on the schedule. Kentucky, who's been lights out offensively but hasn't defended at the level that John Calipari desires, hosts a dangerous Rider team licking its wounds following a 79-46 beating at the hands of Virginia. Duke hosts the defending Big South champions in Radford and big men Artsiom Parakhouski and Joey Lynch-Flohr will look to hang with the deep Blue Devil frontcourt.
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