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College Hoops Takeaways: Purdue Flexes Muscle, Kentucky Facing Crossroads


extreme hd iptv
extreme hd iptv

by extreme hd iptv

A massive weekend for men’s college basketball is in the books, with four top-10 matchups in 24 hours headlining a needle-moving slate of games across the sport’s landscape. The highest-profile games didn’t produce any instant classics, but we still learned plenty from those games as conference championship races continue to shape up with the calendar flipped to February.

Purdue cements itself as Big Ten favorites

Purdue has been the most popular pick for the Big Ten crown since the preseason, but entered the week a game behind Wisconsin at the top of the league. There was a path for the Badgers to surprise everyone and claim a third conference championship in five seasons, but that path likely required beating the Boilermakers in Madison Sunday. Instead, Purdue asserted itself firmly as the league’s team to beat with an impressive road win, finding a way to beat a top-10 team in a hostile environment despite shooting just 3-for-11 from three.

Jones (No. 55) led Purdue with 20 points in Sunday’s 75–69 win over Wisconsin.

Kayla Wolf/USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin did impressive work to slow down Zach Edey, whose 18 points and 13 rebounds represent, somehow, a quieter afternoon for the defending National Player of the Year. But point guard Braden Smith was outstanding in the first half and veteran wing Lance Jones took over in the second, with the two combining for 39 points. Consider it a missed opportunity for the Badgers, who shot just 16% from three on the game and went 0-for-11 from beyond the arc in the second half.

Kentucky’s defense is officially an issue

Two weekends ago, Kentucky was flying high off an explosive 105-point showing against Georgia, appearing to morph into a true national title contender. Since then, the Wildcats have lost three of four, including a pair of home games in the last week against Florida and Tennessee. The effort against the Vols was particularly concerning, as Kentucky gave up 103 points on nearly 1.4 points per possession, trailing wire-to-wire to slip further behind Rick Barnes’ club in the SEC race.

Kentucky’s defense now ranks outside the top 100 nationally, per KenPom. That type of number has generally been seen as an eliminator for seriously contending for a championship. So while it’s obvious that the Wildcats can score with anyone in the country, the overall picture is fairly blurry right now in a season that once looked so promising. Next Saturday’s home game against Gonzaga should be an interesting litmus test to see whether the Wildcats have a defensive mentality shift in them.

Harrison Ingram’s emergence continues at North Carolina

Tennessee’s Dalton Knecht is the popular choice for the award of college basketball’s best transfer, but in terms of overall impact, not many would top North Carolina’s Harrison Ingram. The Stanford import had perhaps his best game as a Tar Heel in the rivalry win over Duke, showcasing the skill set that has made him a perfect fit in Hubert Davis’s system on both ends. Offensively, Ingram drilled five threes to keep Duke at arm’s length, and defensively, he led the team with four steals and 13 rebounds.

Ingram’s ability to impact the game without a ton of touches offensively is exactly what North Carolina lacked last season. He’s not the shooter Brady Manek was for the Tar Heels two years ago, but his presence has had a similar effect, connecting all the pieces together to keep the Heels rolling on both ends. His performance in the win Saturday was a big step towards North Carolina locking up a potential No. 1 seed come Selection Sunday.

Johnny Furphy keeps raising the ceiling for Kansas

A year ago at this time, Johnny Furphy was a little-known 2024 recruit pegged as a potential mid-major player down the line. Now, he’s starting and starring for Kansas, and in the process is looking like one of the best freshmen in college basketball. Furphy scored in double figures for a sixth straight game Saturday in the highest-stakes game of his young career, a huge showdown with a Houston team that ranks as the nation’s best defense.

Furphy has been a perfect fit in the Jayhawks’ starting lineup, spacing the floor at a high level and making an impact in transition without forcing much. He’s playing with confidence on both ends, hanging tough defensively despite his youth. The jump-shooting performance by the Jayhawks Saturday probably won’t be replicated often this season, but it was the most dynamic Kansas had looked offensively this season (at least against high-level competition), and Furphy was a huge reason why.

Hurley has helped the Huskies overcome injuries to amass a 20–2 record.

Wendell Cruz/USA TODAY Sports

Put Dan Hurley in the National Coach of the Year conversation

It often feels as though the National Coach of the Year award is pegged for a coach who overachieves preseason expectations. And while UConn’s Dan Hurley doesn’t necessarily fit that mold given the team’s lofty preseason hype, I’d argue Hurley is as deserving a candidate as anyone right now.

UConn is in prime position to repeat as national champions, which would be the first time since Florida in 2006 and ‘07 for a team to accomplish that feat. The Gators essentially ran it back from their first championship to their second, with all of their key players returning to defend their title. UConn, on the other hand, lost three essential pieces in Adama Sanogo, Jordan Hawkins and Andre Jackson Jr., yet still sits atop the polls and should stay there after a monster road win at St. John’s Saturday. The Huskies have also done that despite dealing with multiple injuries: Donovan Clingan has missed multiple stints with foot injuries, and star forward Alex Karaban sat vs. St. John’s with an ankle sprain. Hurley has pressed all the right buttons, both in recruiting and in games, to keep the Huskies on track. Outside of Bill Self, there might not be a coach I’d rather have on my sideline than Hurley.

Gonzaga is approaching auto-bid or bust territory

Gonzaga hasn’t missed the NCAA tournament since 1998, a streak that dates back to Dan Monson’s first season in Spokane. That’s officially in doubt after yet another missed opportunity for an elusive Quad 1 win Saturday, with the Bulldogs falling to Saint Mary’s at home. Gonzaga is now 0–5 in those games this season and 3–6 against the top two quadrants, leaving a résumé sorely lacking in quality wins with scant opportunities to get them in WCC play. A win at Kentucky Saturday might be a must for Gonzaga to remain in play for an at-large bid. Otherwise, the Bulldogs would need to win the WCC tournament in March to punch a ticket to the Big Dance.

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