Everything basically went to shit in college basketball last week. It was beautiful and fun and Duke lost so all is right in the world. One place in the country where everything went according to plan was in the Big East, though. Villanova looks like the best team in the country and remains undefeated, putting them in the top spot of the AP Poll. Xavier is back in the top ten where they belong. Seton Hall is back in the top 15 where they belong. The chaos throughout the rankings helped out alot with these new rankings. And it will only get better with all but two teams ranked in the top 50 of the kenpom.com rankings.
Is anyone going to be able to stop Blueitt?
Trevon Blueitt is having the year everyone expected him to have. He is scoring the ball with ease from every inch of the floor and leading the Xavier Musketeers to another stellar season. His play has gotten to a point of such complete absurdity that it begs the question, is anyone going to be able to stop him all year?
After a red hot start to the year, he had a tough stretch against Arizona State and Baylor, with 11 and 10 points respectively. Since that stretch, he has rattled off three straight games of 28, 26 and 25 against Cincinnati, Kent State and Colorado, respectively. He is 25 of 42 over that stretch and 21 of 24 from the free throw line. It is obvious that as Blueitt goes, Xavier goes, and there is no indication of him slowing down anytime soon.
Now to answer the question posed. Yes, absolutely someone is going to be able to stop Trevon Blueitt. His name?
I just want to use this opportunity to say Mikal Bridges is the top 3 and D prospect in the 2018 draft
— PJ Guippone (@pjguip1) December 13, 2017
Not me, unfortunately no. Mikal Bridges, who is the best defender in college basketball, will slow Blueitt to a halt when Nova meets Xavier on both January 10 in Philly and February 17 in Cincy. I am going to dedicate an article sometime later this week breaking down why Bridges is capable of stopping one of the most elite offensive players in the NCAA, but the short answer is yes, Blueitt can be stopped.
What is the deal with Georgetown, honestly?
Georgetown is one of the seven remaining undefeated teams in college basketball. They have amassed an 8-0 record against one of the worst schedules physically imaginable. Still, they have not lost to any of those teams yet, which is more than can be said about teams like Iowa or UConn. What it ultimately does is raise the question, does this early success actually indicate anything at all about the Hoyas?
The simple answer is no. There is no option to make a Wisconsin football-esque argument for this team about how they are still beating the competition. Their schedule thus far has been so bad that it really has not changed anyone’s minds about what the Hoyas are, which is the worst non DePaul Big East team and one of only 2 teams in the conference that can not make the NCAA Tournament. They are still ranked 98 in the rankings on kenpom.com. Their production has still been coming from the guys they expected to produce (Jessie Govan, Marcus Derrickson and Kaleb Johnson). Of players averaging 10 minutes per game or more, only one is a Freshman.
Still, it is nice to see the Hoyas not sucking wind. I talked in the past about needing them to be good for the Big East to really feel like the Big East, and it is nice to see them not losing to far inferior competition. It appears that Patrick Ewing has this team focused and productive. Will they continue to succeed? Doubtful, but they are still getting back on track.
Seton Hall is Final Four good
This feels like one of those seasons for the Seton Hall Pirates where the stars are aligning for really big things. Their three best players (Angel Delgado, Desi Rodriguez and Khadeen Carrington) are all seniors, which a rarity in today’s college hoops. Sophomore guard Myles Powell is having a breakout season with almost 15 points and three assists per game. So far, it is translating to success, with only a single loss (by a single point) and two victories over ranked opponents.
I have said it before and I will continue to say it, Seton Hall is the second best team in the Big East and the Big East is the second or third best conference in the nation. They are the biggest threat to Nova in the Big East considering Nova generally has Xavier’s number and they have the formula to stop Trevon Blueitt.
Nationally, they check off all the boxes for tournament success.They have senior leadership, stellar coaching in Kevin Willard, scoring ability from multiple sources in the backcourt and a physically dominant big man.
Some other things
- I watched Nova beat Big 5 rival LaSalle to lock in their number one ranking on Sunday. At the game, Jay Wright was wearing a double breasted suit. The man just oozes class and it is unbelievably overwhelming to consider no matter how cool you become as a man, you will never be as cool as Jay Wright (or any member of Migos, but for different reasons).
- St. John’s really actually totally might be back.
- Butler has been able to succeed despite losing Chris Holtmann and has a chance for a marquee win this week with Purdue visiting them.
- Marquette has one of the best scoring backcourts in the nation, which is something that will not change throughout the year and probably something I will cover endlessly.
- It’s a lot of fun that people are starting to forget about Creighton because they are still really, really good.
- Nova is going to win the National Championship