Mon. Feb 6th, 2023

PORTLAND, Ore. — Upsets, plot developments and performances that may come to outline the tales of this season. All of that and much more emerged over 4 days within the Rose Metropolis. Sunday introduced concerning the championship video games and comfort matchups within the Phil Knight Legacy and Invitational brackets. There isn’t a scarcity of issues to get to, so that is my ultimate hefty pocket book of need-to-knows. If you wish to learn up on North Carolina, I’ve a column devoted totally to the Heels’ points. Right here, we’ve to start out with No. 24 Purdue’s thorough and precise 75-56 domination of No. 8 Duke in Sunday’s Legacy title sport. 

Purdue is a top-five staff with the POY frontrunner

Purdue misplaced top-five choose Jaden Ivey plus one of many higher bigs in faculty hoops in Trevion Williams from final season’s staff … and may be higher? In all probability is healthier? That is unimaginable.

Solely Matt Painter, man. 

Heck, in the event you’re the kind of hoops fan who needs to proclaim Purdue is the most effective staff and Zach Edey is the most effective participant by way of the primary three weeks of the season, I can not fault ya. The Boilermakers, who had been unranked to start out November, have blown away expectations and rearranged our understanding of the highest of the Massive Ten. Keep in mind how there have been questions again in October about which staff within the Massive Ten must be thought to be the favourite? Indiana, Illinois and Michigan received consideration. Purdue was not in that dialogue. Good, sure, however top-10 good?

No one had that. 

Now there is not any debate. Proper now, it isn’t shut: In efficiency and in résumé, Purdue is the Massive Ten’s finest. Perhaps it is the most effective staff within the nation. Think about: The Boliermakers received 80-68 vs. West Virginia, 84-66 vs. No. 6 Gonzaga and 75-56 vs. No. 8 Duke. A 3-game romping over 4 days right here in PDX with a median win margin of 16.3 factors. 

If Edey, the 7-foot-4 powerhouse, is not but clearly the most effective participant in faculty hoops — KenPom.com says he’s — he is clearly probably the most unstoppable. Exhausting to see that altering shifting ahead. Via six video games Edey’s had 5 double-doubles and is averaging 21.7 factors and 12.0 rebounds.

“Coach Painter trusts me to play by way of my errors,” Edey mentioned. “If we’re extremely touted after this, it does not actually matter.”

Good factor his stats aren’t as humble as he’s; Edey’s demeanor is that of a glad position participant. That is what he was for the primary two years of his faculty profession. Now he is the centerpiece on a staff that Painter informed CBS Sports activities is as completed and collectively as any group he is had at Purdue at this level within the 12 months. Duke will get the young-team status, and that is honest, however Purdue is youthful. 

It did not look younger in any respect within the Rose Metropolis. Not towards Duke, not in any sport. Think about that the Boilers had been capable of mainly bleed the clock out within the ultimate three minutes. Duke’s two key bigs, Dereck Energetic and Kyle Filipowski, had each fouled out with 2:35 to go. Here is what’s additionally outrageous: Purdue did not permit some extent within the ultimate seven minutes. Utterly reduce off Duke’s water.

“Promise usually comes with guys which have achieved it earlier than,” Painter informed me. “To not say that I did not assume we might come right here and win some video games. However early within the season, it is exhausting. I feel it is exhausting for everyone to sort of piece it collectively. I feel we’ve guys which have good basketball IQs and I feel that basically helps. And we’ve some unselfishness.”

Painter later informed me he is received “human beings” throughout his locker room. Each considered one of them. Which means: well-balanced, keen to be coached, eager to study. It is a group poised for fulfillment. The freshman guard duo of Fletcher Loyer and Braden Smith is the backcourt for the longer term for this staff. They’re already so good and nonetheless have a lot extra to develop. 

“For us to win towards Marquette, West Virginia, Gonzaga and now Duke proper in a row, you understand, we’ve lots of younger guys,” mentioned Painter, “however we even have some guys which can be aggressive and so they do a very good job of taking part in collectively. I feel that is the competitiveness and the unselfishness actually separated us at occasions.”

Separated the complete time at PK85. Purdue was my greatest winner of the occasion. 

UConn additionally belongs within the high 5

The Huskies are 1b to Purdue’s 1a for the most important winner in Portland. Dan Hurley’s off to the primary 8-0 begin of his faculty teaching profession as No. 20 Connecticut beat Iowa State 71-53 to win the PKI late Sunday night time. If we will put Purdue within the high 5, UConn must be in that group as properly. The Huskies have a lot weaponry, toughness, defensive functionality and dimension distribution. When describing their potential, it is exhausting to know the place to start out. UConn destroyed a troublesome Iowa State staff on the glass. Rebound margin is usually a deceiving stat, however there’s nothing deceptive a couple of 29-rebound differential. UConn 48, Iowa State 19. A butt-kicking.

“It was ridiculous,” ISU coach T.J. Otzelberger informed CBS Sports activities. 

Freshman Donovan Clingan is 7-2 and a monster. Once I noticed UConn apply in October, Hurley informed me his hope was he might get 10-12 minutes per night time from Clingan in spot obligation within the first month of the season. Mainly to assist potential All-American Adama Sanogo catch a breather. 

That concept received blown up this weekend. He is shortly gone from position participant to somebody you do not need to take off the ground. Clingan could possibly be the most effective backup heart within the nation and he is solely performed eight video games in faculty. He went for 15 factors and 10 rebounds vs. Iowa State and received the PKI MVP. Sanogo was a non-factor (4 factors) resulting from some foul points. However the truth Sanogo and wing Jordan Hawkins did not have it on Sunday, however UConn received by 18? This appears like UConn’s finest staff for the reason that group that received the 2014 nationwide title — and bear in mind, that staff was a No. 7 seed. There is a far greater ceiling with this squad.

“Now we have a lot depth to the place anybody can step up, we’ve too many gamers for them to fret about,” freshman Alex Karaban mentioned. 

Karaban and Clingan, a pair of baby-faced frosh, flanked Hurley on the postgame podium after a 3-0 run. No one noticed that coming 4 days in the past.

“I’ve talked about our depth, these guys are two top-50 gamers within the nation, so it isn’t a shock they’re taking part in properly,” Hurley mentioned. “I assumed we had been inspired when it comes to the place we could possibly be all year long post-closed scrimmage with Virginia.”

Virginia, like UConn, is undefeated and may declare a proper to top-five standing. 

UConn’s finest general participant was Andre Jackson, who got here off the bench to seize 13 rebounds, rating 10 factors, dish 5 assists and make a few ridiculous athletic performs. What Jackson brings to UConn is a versatility that few different groups have on the prepared.

“Typically I simply stare at him. How did he try this?” Karaban mentioned about his teammate.

“I do not even know what is going on on on the market with him,” Hurley mentioned. “He is like an American ninja. He is an unimaginable participant to look at. Your eyes get drawn to him the entire time.”

No query. UConn will not be solely top-of-the-line groups within the nation, it is also among the many most watchable. High 10 in offensive and defensive effectivity, can play quick, medium-paced or slower. Can play massive or small. And nine-deep. Hurley’s received the most effective roster of his profession. If something, I used to be shocked by how subdued he was in celebration afterward!

Duke a tier or two beneath the highest stage for now

One staff was ranked No. 8 and the opposite No. 24, however these identifiers had been inaccurate. Purdue will rightfully leap Duke in Monday’s ballot refresh. Completely different groups taking part in completely different video games and attempting to realize completely different aims for the time being. Blue Devils first-year coach Jon Scheyer has rather a lot to determine and never lots of time to do it. Duke is not at full pace and can in all probability want the rest of its nonconference slate to collect its identification.

Subsequent up is a house sport Wednesday vs. Ohio State, with No. 25 Iowa within the Jimmy V Traditional not so distant on Dec. 6. 

I am not involved about two-loss Duke proper now. It isn’t at 100%. Energetic and Dariq Whitehead weren’t wholesome all through the preseason, with Whitehead requiring foot surgical procedure. Energetic fouled out vs. Purdue however performed a spirited sport. They want just a few extra weeks to get into constant sport conditioning. 

“I feel we did properly general,” Scheyer mentioned about going 2-1 in Portland. “There’s only a stage that we need to play, and we’ve to learn to win these sorts of video games. It is the little performs you did not have to make in highschool. The rebounds and free balls, being disciplined on protection, all these sorts of issues. And I feel we realized rather a lot from shedding the way in which we did.”

Scheyer mentioned Purdue’s nearly as good as anybody within the nation proper now. Comprehensible to imagine that after getting dropped by 19 in a sport that wasn’t aggressive for a lot of the second half. 

“They’re ridiculously good and Edey is an issue,” Scheyer informed me. “After which attempting to scout someday for a younger staff. It is a handful.” 

How rather more time does Duke want to seek out itself? Think about that the complete roster has had one full apply with everybody obtainable. They do not have chemistry but. It will probably’t solely be Jeremy Roach and/or Kyle Filipowski carrying them to each win. Towards Purdue, these two accounted for 28 factors on 10-of-24 capturing, and Roach was hobbled with a bum ankle. 

“Now we have lots of room to develop, I do not need this to be an entire 12 months factor the place I am saying in March ‘we’ve room to develop,'” Scheyer mentioned. “These subsequent couple of months are large for us to get to know one another.”

“The factor for us is, we will not anticipate that — we’re not experimenting,” Scheyer added. “Now we have to play Ohio State on Wednesday. Now we have to play Saturday, our first ACC sport towards BC. Subsequent Tuesday, we play Iowa in Madison Sq. Backyard. We have by no means had a stretch like this, it is unimaginable.” 

Proper into the fireplace for the younger Scheyer. Give it time. Going 2-1 right here is progress, even with some roster points lingering.

Gonzaga will get sorely wanted win over Xavier

I spent a very good quarter-hour postgame with Bulldogs coach Mark Few, and he admitted that this staff and its psyche would have been hindered considerably if it failed to depart PK85 with fewer than two wins. After cruising late Thanksgiving night time towards Portland State, the Zags had been upended Friday by Purdue, then rallied for an entertaining 88-84 win over Xavier within the third-place sport of the PK Legacy. 

“Extraordinarily vital,” Few mentioned of edging Xavier. “A few of these guys have not skilled this. I do know they had been in our program, however they weren’t taking part in the alpha position. … They’re attempting to determine easy methods to manifest and course of stress, the place all people thinks we’re gonna win each sport and ‘What do you imply we’re not No. 1?’ and all that stuff.”

Few has all the time made certain to construct up robust nonconference schedules, however he mentioned this 12 months is a tier to itself. Gonzaga (5-2) has already performed Michigan State, at Texas, Kentucky, Purdue and Xavier. Subsequent is Baylor (in South Dakota), residence to one of many higher mid-major groups (Kent State), residence towards Washington, then a de fator highway sport towards Alabama in Birmingham on Dec. 17. Could possibly be eight Quad 1 or 2 video games within the first 12 tilts of Gonzaga’s season.

“It is brutal,” Few mentioned. “That is far and away the toughest schedule we have ever performed.”

Keep in mind, Gonzaga additionally had the pay-per-view exhibition vs. Tennessee, which the Bulldogs misplaced. Gonzaga’s received some elementary stuff to work by way of with its guys (they blew lots of assignments within the second half), however for this staff and its schedule (Baylor subsequent, what a biggie), a win right here has to get the Zags higher mentally earlier than attempting to avenge the loss from the 2021 title sport. 

“I simply gotta get to Christmas, man,” Few mentioned. “To be trustworthy with you, we should not have been ranked 2 or no matter we had been. We’re not there but. Now, I do assume there’s some progress that is occurred. Nolan (Hickman)’s grown up down right here. He is significantly better man than he was at Texas. … I feel, Ben Gregg’s gonna give us a distinct entity.” 

Hickman had 14 factors, six rebounds and 5 assists. Guard play is important for Gonzaga’s postseason prospects. Backcourt mates Hunter Sallis and Malachi Smith aren’t on top of things but. Drew Timme had a bizarre night time: 16 factors, seven assists and 7 turnovers. Few informed me Timme has to play like a top-three participant virtually nightly to ensure that Gonzaga to have a shot at a excessive seed and Last 4, however simply as vital to that finish is having a second key chief. Julian Strawther in all probability must be that man. Strawther got here up massive towards Xavier: 23 factors, the vast majority of that within the second half, together with a pair of 3s that helped Gonzaga separate from a Xavier staff that was threatening down the stretch. 

“Jules must play like that,” Few mentioned. 

The distinction for Gonzaga was not lacking a shot within the ultimate 6:30 of the sport. GU completed at 1.19 PPP, Xavier at 1.14. Good hoop. X very almost stole this one. Sean Miller is aware of it. Few and that workers definitely comprehend it. And after each head coaches completed their press conferences, Miller got here to greet Few and so they swapped compliments on one another’s groups. After taking the shut/respectable loss, Miller jokingly (or not!) informed Few he by no means needs to should play Gonzaga once more. He is 3-6 all time towards Few. 

As Miller began to make his method again to Xavier’s locker room in Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Few referred to as him again over and mentioned, “Hey. It is nice to have you ever again.” Miller appreciated the gesture. A cool second between two high-level coaches. 

Villanova’s journey was a catastrophe for the résumé

First-year Villanova coach Kyle Neptune is nowhere close to in the identical scenario as Scheyer and Duke. The shorthanded Wildcats went 0-3 within the PKI, shedding Sunday 74-67 to an underwhelming sub-.500 Oregon staff with six scholarship gamers obtainable. A serious purpose for Villanova’s Portland pratfall: abundant-yet-anemic 3-point capturing. The Wildcats took 108 (sure, ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHT) 3-pointers in three video games and made 32 of them. That is a 29.6% success fee, which is properly wanting the place a staff must be if it may deploy an unleash-the-cannons method.

It is cheap for Villanova followers to start out panicking. A staff with out Jay Wright working the present was given the good thing about the doubt within the preseason; Villanova was ranked sixteenth within the AP High 25. That was a missed analysis by the voters. Villanova does not register as top-50 high quality proper now. At 2-5, this system’s mired in its worst begin since 1991.

Villanova’s subsequent sport? VU welcomes in 7-1 Oklahoma on Saturday. It is the Wildcats’ final nonconference alternative towards a high quality opponent, and profitable that sport shall be necessary to retaining alive any slim at-large possibilities Villanova hopes to have months from now. A loss towards Oklahoma would imply Villanova must win the Massive East Match with the intention to get a bid come March. There isn’t any likelihood a staff that begins 2-6 might rally to win sufficient regular-season video games and develop into an at-large candidate. 

QUICK-HITTERS:

— Alabama going 2-1 by beating Michigan State and UNC will wind up being Quad 1 wins that show essential come March, once I anticipate the Tide to be pushing for a top-four seed. Freshman Brandon Miller had some ups and downs, however he’ll in all probability be a top-20 choose. 

— Otzelberger informed me he was glad to get out of PDX with a 2-1 mark, and I can not blame him. That upset of UNC shall be an all-time reminiscence for these gamers and coaches. Iowa State is restricted offensively and can win greater than 20 video games this season by breaking groups’ spirits. UConn had an excessive amount of dimension and firepower. Iowa State could possibly be 7-1 the night time it performs at Iowa on Dec. 8 in what could be a tasty tilt. 

— Coming into the season, I assumed Florida would make the NCAAs in Yr 1 underneath Todd Golden, however the Gators are 4-3 and haven’t got a top-200 KenPom win but. West Virginia mauled UF on Sunday, 84-55. Gators go away right here 1-2 and face a crucial sport at residence vs. UConn on Dec. 7. 

— Xavier leaves 1-2 with a win over these Gators, the worth of that one W diminished for now. However Sean Miller’s staff performed with Duke for 39 minutes and with Gonzaga for 39 as properly. I do not know what seed line X will land on in March, however I in all probability will not shake the assumption that this staff could have the personnel and training to make the second weekend of the tourney. I spent a while on Thursday and Friday with Miller and could have rather more on him within the coming days.

— Portland (and Portland State) received the good thing about taking part in on this occasion as a result of they’re primarily based within the metropolis. It was good to see Nike afford these groups the chance once more after doing the identical 5 years in the past. The Pilots went 1-2 however aggressively flirted with beating North Carolina and Michigan State. Mark Few jokingly gave nationwide media members grief about not giving the WCC sufficient credit score. (I would argue in any other case up to now 12 months!) Portland ending top-three within the WCC this season appears believable. Coach Shantay Legans has been a revelation there. 

— Three off-the-court notes to shut out. No. 1: If you happen to ever get to Portland and are a music lover, 2nd Avenue Information is considered one of my favourite wax outlets within the nation. You possibly can lose an hour in that place very quickly. After years and years of looking, I lastly discovered a replica of Steely Dan’s debut album, “Cannot Purchase a Thrill.” What a W. No. 2: My finest dinner was at an old-style joint, Jake’s Well-known Crawfish restaurant. Elite meal, basic vibe. And on the donut facet, Portland has many nice choices, however Blue Star stays the clear winner. I will be choosing up one other on the airport on my method out Monday morning. I do not know if or once they’ll have one other Phil Knight-type of occasion right here, but it surely must be each few years not less than. The setup is ideal and it is a basketball-first metropolis. Let’s not wait one other 5 years.

Phil Knight Invitational bracket Phil Knight Legacy bracket

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