Here's how the Big 12 teams stack up over the last five years according to conference wins. There are substantial gaps (at least 6 wins) between tiers. With the change in conference membership, and certain programs in flux, the next 5 years of Big 12 basketball could be much more fluid.
Overall Rank: #96
The first "Big Monday" of the season delivers a pair of undefeated teams (in conference play) in the Big East followed by "Bedlam" in the Big 12. Villanova visits Louisville in a game that should prove to be entertaining given the deep backcourts. Villanova will have to deal with a Louisville defense that pressured full-court only to fall into an active 2-3 zone. But they've got plenty of playmakers and perimeter shooters with Scottie Reynolds and Corey Fisher leading the way. The key for the Cardinals will be to turn the Wildcats over while limiting their own miscues.
With Christmas Day rapidly approaching the nation gets its first look at UTEP forward Derrick Caracter. Of course he's already played in three games for the Miners (two double-doubles) but there will be questions regarding the Louisville transfer's level of commitment. But head coach Tony Barbee has given Caracter a ringing endorsement and if on his game he could give Oklahoma all they want and then some in Oklahoma City at the All-College Classic.
Had you told someone that UCLA lost to Portland the result likely wouldn't have registered much shock. The Pilots have already beaten Oregon and Eric Reveno's team is expected to be a challenger to Gonzaga in the WCC. But 74-47? Portland got off to a good start and their offensive efficiency combined with the Bruins' offensive ineptitude resulted in a game that got out of hand; the margin reached thirty points in the second half. Guards T.J. Campbell and Jared Stohl each scored fifteen points to lead the Pilots, who shot 11-for-20 from behind the arc and 54.2% from the field.
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.
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- Bracketology: Saturday Night NCAA Tournament Projection
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