Mon, 12/20/2010 - 05:29 — Raphielle Johnson
Finals week kicked off last week with Louisville and Tennessee picking up big wins on Saturday as the Cardinals beat UNLV while the Vols handled Pittsburgh. And what did both teams do in their next act? They lost games many expected them to win to Drexel and Oakland respectively. A key trait of teams who tend to reach high levels come March is the ability to maintain focus and take care of business regardless of the opponent, and that's why the matinee between Jacksonville (6-3) and Florida (8-2) is a game to keep an eye on.
Sat, 12/18/2010 - 04:03 — Raphielle Johnson
Saturday usually marks the transition from the fall semester to winter break for most schools and with that comes the mid-season additions that many like to analyze in regards to their possible impact. And no addition may be bigger than that of freshman guard Josh Selby to the Kansas Jayhawks, who host USC at Noon. Bill Self's team has done fine without him in the win column as they're still undefeated on the season. But a look at their backcourt thus far reveals the need for a player who can make things happen in an explosive fashion, and the Baltimore native fits that role to a T.
Sat, 12/11/2010 - 08:39 — Raphielle Johnson
A pair of undefeated teams will meet in the final game of the SEC/Big East Invitational as #11 Tennessee (6-0) takes on #3 Pittsburgh (10-0) at the new CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh. The Volunteers, who won the NIT Season Tip-Off by beating Villanova in the title game, are actually the top ranked team in the RPI and they've done a good job so far of not allowing the issues swirling around their head coach to affect their play. Three Volunteers are averaging double figures in scoring with freshman forward Tobias Harris (16.7 ppg) and junior guard Scotty Hopson (16.3 ppg) leading the way.
Thu, 12/09/2010 - 08:08 — Raphielle Johnson
Thursday's schedule is a light one in regards to the number of games, but there are games that folks should keep an eye on. At the top of that list is Georgetown (8-0) heading up to Philadelphia to take on Temple (5-2), with the Owls looking to exact some revenge for last year's close loss in the nation's capital. The Hoyas are coming off of a week that featured wins over Missouri and Utah State, and their offensive play has been a major reason why.
Wed, 12/08/2010 - 20:50 — Raphielle Johnson
Eleven games involving Top 25 teams are on the schedule for tonight, with the lone meeting of ranked teams taking place in the second game of the SEC/Big East Invitational doubleheader at Freedom Hall. Notre Dame, winners of the Old Spice Classic, takes on a Kentucky team that's coming off of a close loss at North Carolina over the weekend. While many are obsessing over the question as to whether or not the school's appeal of Enes Kanter's suspension is upheld, the true concern for John Calipari's team right now may be the play at the point despite that lack of frontcourt depth.
Tue, 12/07/2010 - 08:07 — Raphielle Johnson
Tuesday night features one of the best in-season events in terms of both the caliber of play on the court and the larger purpose it serves off of it: the Jimmy V Classic. The doubleheader at Madison Square Garden may feature four ranked teams but they're at different stages in terms of finding out who they are and what they can potentially be. The first game matches a young Memphis squad that's gotten away with inconsistent play of late and a team in Kansas that right now isn't what they'll be in three weeks much less three months.
Sat, 12/04/2010 - 15:41 — Raphielle Johnson
The question that's dominated discussion for many in regards to the Gonzaga Bulldogs has been what's up with Elias Harris. One of the best freshmen in America last season, Harris has been dealing with shoulder and knee injuries in the Bulldogs' 4-2 start. Can he increase his production on Saturday when the Bulldogs take on Illinois in Seattle? Whether or not the swingman is healthy enough to make a significant impact will determine whether or not the Bulldogs are able to knock off the Illini in an environment that while defined as "neutral" will be anything but.
Thu, 12/02/2010 - 19:35 — Raphielle Johnson
While much of the nation turns its attention to the soap opera that is the return of LeBron James to Cleveland, there are three more games in the Big 12/Pac 10 Hardwood series in addition to some key conference games as we approach that part of the season. Arizona State heading to Waco to take on Baylor may be the Pac 10's best chance of picking up a win tonight, although Mac Court should be in frenzy with Missouri visiting Eugene.
Wed, 12/01/2010 - 08:51 — Raphielle Johnson
Wednesday is the final day of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, and with a 4-2 lead following Tuesday's action all the Big Ten needs in order to win the competition for a second consecutive season is two victories. Will one of those two wins come at Cameron Indoor Stadium? That's the question that the Michigan State Spartans hope to answer in the affirmative in the marquee game of the event. Tom Izzo's team won two of three at the Maui Invitational (losing to eventual champion Connecticut), returning home to beat Tennessee Tech with an effort that left the coach less than pleased.
Wed, 11/24/2010 - 17:36 — Raphielle Johnson
Wednesday night marks the end of the EA Sports Maui Invitational, with surprising Connecticut taking on young but talented Kentucky in the title game. Junior point guard Kemba Walker has been a house afire for the Huskies, having scored 30 or more points in each of his last three games. With impressive shot-making ability, handle and the skill to also set up his young teammates the junior from the Bronx has arguably been the best player in America to this point in the season.