Last night we had a plethora of games that were fantastic to watch. Games included the Final of the Maui Invitational that came down to the final shot, we also had West Virginia vs Gonzaga, and Illinois vs Baylor as well. I am debating how often I want to write about my CBB report, but for now let us take a look at a busy night of college basketball.
Story Of The Day:
Illinois Is Exactly Who We Thought They Were … FRAUDS!
Illinois looked not so hot last night against Baylor. The Fighting Illini kept it close in the first half, only to get blown out in the second half. Ayo Donsumu led the way for Illinois with 18 points to go along with 6 rebounds and 5 assists. Kofi Cockburn in foul trouble didn’t help Illinois’ case of if they are legit or not. Unfortunately now that they have played a Power Five team in college basketball, the Fighting Illini are stay as pretenders to me. This team can only go so far and last night not having a good night against a top five team doesn’t look well for their resume right now.
Yeah let’s see them right the ship against the UT Martin Skyhawks which is their next opponent. Thanks but no thanks, they have one more big time game before they head into their Big Ten schedule, and that is this coming Tuesday against Duke in the Big Ten/ACC battle. That will be their first road game and it happens to be in Cameron Indoor. It does not look good for Illinois for the future, and they will need contributions by others beside Ayo Donsumu as he can only do so much.
The Non-Disappointment Of The Day:
Baylor and Gonzaga Handle Business Against Top 25 Opponents
Gonzaga and Baylor both looked good against their top 25 opponents yesterday, but with their matchup getting ready to take place on Sunday … I don’t know who I think is going to win this game now. So I am still all in on Gonzaga being the team that everybody has to beat, but last night against West Virginia I saw some telling signs that things need to change before their big game against Baylor.
The Mountaineers were having their way in the first half against the Bulldogs. Gonzaga lost Jalen Suggs for a brief moment, and there were talks that their label as the team to beat took a big hit. All of a sudden Suggs walks out in the second half and Gonzaga played like the team that they are suppose to be this season. The Bulldogs are going to need a full 40 minute performance against this tough Baylor team on Saturday.
Now for Baylor they handled Illinois easily last night. The Bears should feel great heading into this matchup. Baylor is another team that is going to make some noise this year. Jared Butler is going to need a better game especially against this talented team. Now when they look at Gonzaga’s tape they are going to need to follow exactly what the Mountaineers did against them in the first half. Baylor is going to have to pressure Gonzaga’s ball handlers in Suggs and Nembhard. Then they are going to have to do their best to keep Drew Timme off of the block. They do both of those things and get great play from Jared Butler and company this game could easily go in favor of Baylor. Both sides have a chance to win this game. Mark Few vs Scott Drew is going to be a can’t miss showdown.
Surprise Of The Day:
The Texas Longhorns Are Your Maui Invitational Champions
Now I think it is finally safe to say that Shaka Smart has finally brought the University of Texas basketball back on the map. The Longhorns won against North Carolina yesterday after a Matt Coleman step back buzzer beater. One thing I take away from this game is that Texas has a hell of a roster this season. I was high on them coming into the season, but winning the Maui title to start off the year and beating a team like North Carolina has to feel good. North Carolina also missed 14 free throws yesterday, but if Texas looks like they did in the first half watch out.
The Longhorns put the entire college basketball landscape on notice last night with that win. They dominated that entire first half, and looked solid in the second half against UNC. Texas also didn’t have their best game against the Tar Heels and still managed to get the win. This is a positive sign for all Longhorn fans that have waited for them to be relevant again. Another thing for the Longhorns is that their Maui Invitational Championship win will give them confidence moving forward.
Especially since their next game is Sunday against Villanova in the Big East/Big 12 battle. The game is in Austin and the way that Villanova has looked this season, they could make an even bigger splash with a win on Sunday. Conference play is starting soon, and the Longhorns need that confidence going into conference play. Especially when you have to play the likes of Baylor, Kansas. West Virginia, and Texas Tech along the way. This is definitely a team to watch out for right now, they have caught my eye.
-Chris Jones (@cjoneswho1212)
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