John GasawayESPN Insider
CloseESPN Insider faculty basketball contributor
First started protecting faculty hoops in 2004
Has written for Basketball Prospectus and the Wall Avenue Journal
Wednesday was a very good evening for gradual begins. Louisville was tied with South Carolina Upstate with 13 minutes remaining, however the Cardinals went on to win 76-50. North Carolina trailed Elon by one on the half, however the Tar Heels finally emerged victorious by the rating of 75-61.
Actually, this pattern bordered on an epidemic: Memphis noticed Little Rock a 9-Zero lead earlier than the Tigers managed to prevail 68-58.
Proper. About Memphis …
Three issues from Wednesday
What dropping Wiseman till January — after which getting him again — might imply for the Tigers’ season
Memphis guard Tyler Harris faces stress from Isaiah Palermo. Justin Ford/USA TODAY Sports activities
The information that the NCAA has suspended Memphis freshman James Wiseman for 12 video games has vital implications for the Tigers, for the American Athletic Convention, and, presumably, for the 2020 NCAA match bracket.
As one would possibly count on, Memphis promptly introduced that it’ll enchantment the NCAA’s ruling. Assuming the penalty stands, nevertheless, Wiseman might be eligible to return for the Jan. 12 recreation towards South Florida. (He already sat out each Saturday’s blowout win towards Alcorn State and Wednesday evening’s extra hard-fought victory over Little Rock. Now, Wiseman can be required to overlook 10 further video games.)
The suspension’s first potential sufferer is what might have been an impressive recreation between Wiseman-equipped Memphis and present No. 20 Tennessee in Knoxville on Dec. 14. Emphasis on “potential” sufferer. Who is aware of, it might nonetheless be an unbelievable recreation and, certainly, for all we all know the Tigers might beat the Volunteers even with out Wiseman. But when Tennessee wins (and seems to be nearly as good as we count on), followers and males’s basketball choice committee members alike might be left to wonder if Memphis missed its greatest shot of the complete season at a top quality win. No different crew on the Tigers’ schedule is at present ranked within the high 25.
As for what’s going to occur to Memphis by way of efficiency, we’ve got to go by the few dozen minutes throughout three video games that Wiseman performed earlier than the suspension. His solely faculty expertise towards non-overmatched competitors got here in a dropping trigger towards Oregon in Portland, the place Wiseman scored 14 factors on 5-of-Eight taking pictures and pulled down 12 boards in 22 minutes towards the Geese.
These are, in fact, sturdy rebounding numbers, however the stat line additionally reveals that Wiseman accounted for a comparatively modest 21% of his crew’s pictures throughout his minutes. He’ll develop into extra assertive together with his offense towards high competitors over time, however now that development might be going down in January as a substitute of in November. Talking of January, Tigers coach Penny Hardaway has misplaced his greatest offensive rebounder and his most formidable rim defender till then.
To make sure, a Memphis that rolled by the American as soon as Wiseman got here again in January might nonetheless earn a very nice seed. Furthermore, one other method of “not many possibilities for high quality wins” can be to say that this schedule seems comparatively accommodating for a crew that simply misplaced its star.
In different phrases, the priority for Tigers followers is not essentially that the crew’s seed will plummet now that the freshman is sidelined for the following 10 video games. It’s as a substitute that Memphis merely will not develop as a crew as shortly and to the identical extent that the Tigers would have had Wiseman been alongside for the complete experience. Meantime, Hardaway has 10 video games to show this crew is rather more than simply James Wiseman.
Hammonds and Edwards type a powerful tag crew for Tom Crean
Georgia held on for an 82-78 win at house over Georgia Tech, and earlier than tipoff Rayshaun Hammonds and Anthony Edwards will need to have agreed to take turns. Hammonds, a 6-foot-9 junior, dominated the primary half, scoring 19 factors on Eight-of-11 taking pictures from the ground. Then Edwards took over after the intermission. The 6-foot-5 freshman is projected because the No. 2 choose within the 2020 NBA draft, and he rang up 16 factors within the second half of what turned out to be a detailed win.
The Bulldogs had power points on either side of the ball in SEC play final season, and it is nonetheless a bit early to gauge UGA’s protection. However, on offense, Hammonds is constant the correct taking pictures at a excessive quantity that he confirmed final season, whereas Edwards is already distributing the ball because the featured scorer and drawing fouls with regularity. The SEC would possibly discover that the Dawgs are scoring with much more effectivity this season.
Yale breaks 100 once more (sure, once more!)
It took three overtimes Wednesday, however Yale beat Siena 100-89, powered by 25 factors from Azar Swain. Remarkably, this marks the third time in simply the previous 368 days the Bulldogs have reached the century mark towards a Division I opponent. The truth is, James Jones’ males reached triple digits twice final November, hitting the milestone towards Memphis (in two overtimes) and Bryant (in regulation). Excessive-scoring hoopsters of New Haven, contemplate yourselves saluted.
Three issues for Thursday
Patrick Ewing’s Georgetown crew might be examined by Texas. Scott Taetsch/USA TODAY Sports activities
Alternative knocks, once more, for the Hoyas
Georgetown will face Texas within the 2K Empire Traditional at Madison Sq. Backyard on Thursday evening, and the sport will afford Patrick Ewing’s group an opportunity, we expect, to document a type of high quality wins we’ll be discussing all by February and into March. The Longhorns challenge to be a crew that may go .500 or higher within the statistically sturdy Large 12, and a victory on a impartial ground towards Shaka Good’s males can be a pleasant bullet level on Georgetown’s crew sheet when bubble watching begins in earnest. Nonetheless, there is a twofold query to be answered earlier than we get that far. First, can the Hoyas actually win, and, second, will they be ready in three months for such a recreation to matter?
On paper, a rotation constructed round NC State switch Omer Yurtseven, Mac McClung and final season’s Large East freshman of the 12 months, James Akinjo, has at-large potential. The Hoyas have been picked to complete sixth within the league at Large East media day, however polled only one level behind each Marquette and Windfall. Merely put, the expectation is that this crew will contend for a match bid, and, certainly, Yurtseven has regarded dominant on the boards at each ends of the ground. Then once more, the Hoyas have been thrashed on their house courtroom final week by Penn State 81-66 within the crew’s first take a look at of the season towards a top quality opponent.
This offense has shot simply 7-for-31 on its 3s over the previous two video games, and Ewing’s “huge three” of Yurtseven, McClung and Akinjo is, up to now, trying extra 2-point jumpers (50) than pictures on the rim (45). In different phrases, efficiency has not fairly aligned with the expectations simply but for Georgetown. The sport towards the Horns is due to this fact a welcome and wanted alternative for Ewing and his crew to make that occur.
The ACC’s ‘different’ defensive dynasty
Talking of the 2K Empire Traditional, the nightcap on the Backyard on Thursday will pit Cal towards Duke. Virginia will get the lion’s share of the adoration within the ACC for excellent protection, naturally, however Mike Krzyzewski’s program has been having a reasonably good run of its personal on that aspect of the ball the previous couple seasons. That is doubly spectacular as a result of the Blue Devils, like Kentucky, churn by gamers at a fast fee as ex-Devils transfer on to the NBA. However, Duke has held its ACC opponents to only Zero.97 factors per possession over the previous two seasons, a time interval by which, on common, the league was scoring one thing nearer to 1.03 or 1.04 factors per journey.
Now, this newest Duke crew is giving alerts — early and tentative ones, granted — that it could be as much as the duty of carrying on this custom. Tre Jones is aware of his method round protection, to place it mildly, and the eye-popping Kansas turnover fee within the season’s first recreation (35%) seems to have presaged a not-eye-popping however nonetheless very excessive giveaway fee recorded by the Blue Devils’ three subsequent opponents (24%). Who is aware of, Vernon Carey would possibly end up to own a precious mixture of shot-altering and defensive rebounding abilities. In relation to Duke this or any season, there might be loads of consideration paid to draft inventory, perimeter vary and optimum lineups for scoring. Simply bear in mind to maintain one eye on the Blue Devils’ protection. It could be fairly good.
Is Josh Carlton actually going to be the hardest-working man in high-major hoops this season?
Going into Thursday’s contests, no participant from Division I’s high seven conferences had recorded the next quantity for possession utilization at KenPom.com than Connecticut’s Josh Carlton. After the Huskies’ first three video games, the 6-foot-11 junior was utilizing totally 37.6% of his crew’s possessions on offense whereas he was on the ground. That quantity, in flip, is pushed by three elements: Carlton shoots typically (all 2s), he is tenacious on the offensive glass and the UConn star is fouled with a excessive diploma of regularity.
The newest huge man to hold an exceptionally excessive quantity for possession utilization, Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ, moreover had assists to thank for his preeminence within the workload class. Conversely, Carlton seems to be on observe to operate as a real throwback, a featured scorer who carries the offense by publish strikes, putbacks and foul pictures, interval. On Thursday evening, you may watch him do all of that towards Buffalo within the Charleston Traditional in Charleston, South Carolina.