Around the Top 25: MBB

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UConn’s Men’s Basketball team takes on Oklahoma State in an energy filled game at Gampel Pavilion on Dec. 1, 2022. The UConn Huskies defeated the Oklahoma State Cowboys 74-64 after a slow start for the #8 Huskies. Photo by Erin Knapp/Daily Campus.

Men’s college basketball has been crazy, with no team proven to be the unanimous top team in the country. With the rankings released yesterday, North Carolina, who was the top-ranked team in the preseason AP Poll, dropped out of the rankings, moving to the receiving votes category. Let’s get into the top 25 games that happened the past week. 

Top 25 Matchups 

No. 10 Indiana defeats No. 18 North Carolina, 77-65 

Led by a terrific performance by star forward Trayce Jackson-Davis, the Hoosiers won their ACC-Big Ten matchup at Assembly Hall last week. Despite poor shooting from the 3-point line, Indiana made it up on the other end of the floor with seven steals, six blocks and ten turnovers. They barely won the rebounding battle, 40-39, with neither team giving up any offensive rebounds. Holding the Tar Heels to 33.9% shooting from the floor is no easy task and was key to the victory on Wednesday night. 

No. 17 Duke gets revenge over No. 25 Ohio State, 81-72 

Duke and Ohio State were matched up in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge last season, where the Buckeyes pulled off a massive victory in Columbus over the Blue Devils — at the time, the top-ranked team. This time, Duke had the home-court advantage, and Ohio State didn’t seem to get anywhere. Freshman Kyle Filipowski is having a strong start to his college career, as he’s considered one of the best players in college basketball currently. 

No. 2 Texas stays undefeated with win over No. 7 Creighton, 72-67 

Creighton may have fallen in the new AP Poll, but held their own with one of the best teams in the country currently. Ryan Kalkbrenner and Baylor Scheierman each recorded a double-double, while Ryan Nembhard had 17 points and 6 assists. Marcus Carr led the Longhorns with 19 points. Creighton did not hit their outside shots until late in the game, cutting the 11-point Texas lead down to three. Carr’s free-throw shooting put the Bluejays away, helping the Longhorns improve to 6-0. 

UConn’s Men’s Basketball team takes on Oklahoma State in an energy filled game at Gampel Pavilion on Dec. 1, 2022. The UConn Huskies defeated the Oklahoma State Cowboys 74-64 after a slow start for the #8 Huskies. Photo by Erin Knapp/Daily Campus.

No. 6 Baylor rallies, defeats No. 14 Gonzaga in National Championship rematch 

In the 2021 NCAA Championship game, Baylor destroyed the then-undefeated Gonzaga in Indianapolis. Two seasons later, Gonzaga led 63-56 but Baylor, led by Keyonte George, scored the final eight points to come out victorious, with George leading all scorers with 18 points. Malachi Smith came off the bench for the Zags and dropped 16 points in the one-point loss. Drew Timme, one of the best players in the country, was only held to nine points on Friday night. 

No. 22 Maryland stays hot, defeats No. 16 Illinois, 71-66 

Led by Jahmir Young, Maryland improved to 8-0 with a big win to start their Big Ten schedule. Kevin Willard, in his first year in College Park after many years at Seton Hall, is looking like the Big Ten Coach of the Year. Illinois star Terrance Shannon Jr. led the team with 19 points and seven rebounds, but did not hit one of his five three-point attempts. Coleman Hawkins had 16 points, seven rebounds, and four blocks in the loss. Maryland guard Hakim Hart had 17 points, including five 3-pointers. It was Young who hit a big three with 14.3 seconds remaining that made the difference to put Illinois away. 

Best Performances 

Trayce Jackson-Davis, F, Indiana (vs. North Carolina: 21 pts, 10 reb, four blk) 

Jackson-Davis did it all on Wednesday night to give Indiana a win that, at the time, had the Hoosiers stay undefeated. Indiana’s defense was the difference, and Jackson-Davis did that with his four blocks. 

Jordan Hawkins, G, UConn (vs. Oklahoma State: 26 pts, five 3-pt) 

It seems like a different player every game that steps up for the Huskies, and this time, it was Jordan Hawkins. ESPN’s Seth Greenberg described Hawkins as “the best shooter to come to Storrs since Ray Allen.” On Thursday night, he lived up to that hype, sinking five 3-pointers. 

Jaime Jaquez Jr., G, UCLA (at Stanford: 27 pts, three stl) 

UConn’s Men’s Basketball team takes on Oklahoma State in an energy filled game at Gampel Pavilion on Dec. 1, 2022. The UConn Huskies defeated the Oklahoma State Cowboys 74-64 after a slow start for the #8 Huskies. Photo by Erin Knapp/Daily Campus.

Jaquez led the Bruins to two wins over Stanford and Oregon to begin their Pac-12 schedule. He’s been the team leader, either shared with former UCLA Bruin Johnny Juzang or just himself as the leader of Mick Cronin’s team. Jaquez shoots over 55% from the floor, averaging over 17 points per game. 

Noah Clowney, F, Alabama (vs. South Dakota State: 22 pts, 9 reb, five 3-pt) 

Clowney isn’t the leading scorer for Alabama this season, but showed that the Crimson Tide are not reliant on star freshman Brandon Miller to lead the team every game. Despite shooting 25% this season from behind the 3-point line, Clowney knocked down five triples in their blowout win over South Dakota State. 

Zach Edey, C, Purdue (vs. Minnesota: 31 pts, 22 reb) 

Edey is by far the best player so far in college basketball. He’s been so good, I had to pick which game was better, because he puts up crazy double-doubles nearly every game. 

Top 25 games This Week 

No. 17 Illinois vs. No. 2 Texas (Dec. 6, 7 p.m., ESPN) 

In the Jimmy V Classic, Illinois will take their biggest non-conference test against Texas in Madison Square Garden tomorrow night. Terrence Shannon Jr. against Carr. It should be a great battle. It’s the first time these two teams have met since 2010, where the Longhorns won in overtime. 

UConn’s Men’s Basketball team takes on Oklahoma State in an energy filled game at Gampel Pavilion on Dec. 1, 2022. The UConn Huskies defeated the Oklahoma State Cowboys 74-64 after a slow start for the #8 Huskies. Photo by Erin Knapp/Daily Campus.

No. 8 Alabama at No. 1 Houston (Dec. 10, 3 p.m., ABC) 

Brandon Miller against Marcus Sasser should create fireworks on Saturday in this Top 10 matchup. Two terrific coaches on the sidelines: Nate Oats and Kelvin Sampson. Alabama has won the last two meetings, both last season. 

No. 10 Arizona vs. No. 14 Indiana (Dec. 10, 7:30 p.m., FOX) 

In the Las Vegas Clash, Arizona and Indiana will meet on the hardwood for the very first time. Stars to watch include Indiana’s Trayce Jackson-Davis, Arizona’s Azulas Tubelis and Oumar Ballo. 

No. 13 Maryland vs. No. 7 Tennessee (Dec. 11, 4:30 p.m., FS1) 

Maryland and Tennessee will meet in the Barclays Center, the first meeting between both teams in 38 years. It will be another test for Kevin Willard in his first season in College Park. 

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