By Dennis Berry
Better late than never.
Remember that when it comes to the basketball review for this week. It was a rough weekend on my end as I spent most of the weekend without my phone, which in turn made me feel disconnected to the world as I could not scan twitter during games. Cannot really blame that for being late with this post, just could not find the time, due to projects and Christmas shopping.
Anyway it is a day late, but let's take a look back at the week that was.
Last week was filled with great college games. There were four match ups of Top 10 teams. They were all great games, expect for one.
#3 Duke 63 vs. #2 Ohio State 85 - This game was a blow out from the start. It was 11-0 OSU before you knew it. After the game you heard a lot of national media talking about how Duke was tired from traveling back from Hawaii. Well it is more than that; Duke just did not match up with the Ohio State. The Buckeyes were just athletic for the Blue Devils and would have won by at least 10 points even without the fatigue of travel.
#9 Wisconsin 57 vs. #5 North Carolina 60 - Wisconsin proved that they are a team that will make anyone play their style of game. It's just hard watch. The Badgers controlled the tempo of the game not letting Carolina get out and run. If Jordan Taylor had a better night shooting (6-20 from field, 3-11 on three's) the Badgers might have won. North Carolina was still coming off the loss to UNLV and had a bigger game in the coming days, but Harrison Barnes kept the Tar Heels from losing.
#10 Florida 68 vs. #4 Syracuse 72 - This was a great game to watch. Florida really struggled to shoot the ball, especially in the first half. The bad shooting from the Gators let Syracuse get out and run. The Orange had 16 fast break points to the Gators 8. Another area the Syracuse took advantage was in offense rebounding, they had 17 offensive rebounds, which lead to 15 points.
All those were just warm-ups for the big game to end the week.
#5 North Carolina 72 vs. #1 Kentucky 73 - This matchup had been talked about since their last match up in the Elite 8 in March. North Carolina returned all their key players and Kentucky with another top ranked group of freshmen. The game lost a little luster after the North Carolina loss to UNLV, but the game lived up to the hype. Kentucky jumped out to an early lead, but Carolina answered with a strong three point shooting display (which is unusual for the Tar Heels). The control the game until a late second half run by Kentucky gave the Wildcats the lead. They held on after a game saving block by Anthony Davis sealed the win.
This game featured as many 12 future first round draft picks. Hopefully we will see this matchup again on a Monday night in April.
Three of the four match ups listed above were brought to use thanks to ESPN. They brought together the ACC/Big Ten and Big East/SEC for match ups to determine which conference was the best on the hardwood.
The Big Ten defeated the ACC 8-4. It was the third straight year the Big Ten beat the ACC after losing the challenge for the first 10 years.
In the fifth year of the SEC/Big East Challenge brought a new format. Instead of playing games on neutral courts with limited teams, this year the format became like the ACC/Big Ten challenge. 12 match up of teams of equal records from last year. The Big East reclaimed the trophy winning the challenge 8-4.
It will be interesting to see what happens to these series in the future with teams coming and going due to conference realignment.
Another team has to deal with the loss of a key player because of a season ending injury. Minnesota lost forward Trevor Mbwake for the season to a torn ACL. Mbwake was having a great season for Minnesota and gave fans reason to believe they could make some noise in the Big Ten. With the loss of Mbwake is just another tough break for coach Tubby Smith.
For the second week in a row a Kentucky provides it. Terrence gets the feed, turns to face North Carolina's John Henson. A pump fake later, Jones throws it down with two hands over Tyler Zeller.
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