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Top 5: The best upcoming college hoops games
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On November 29, 2012 @ 3:00 pm In All,Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Scott M Gleeson, USA TODAY Sports
Even though the ACC-Big Ten Challenge is over, there’s still a smorgasbord of tantalizing matchups up next for college hoops fans. These are no Thanksgiving leftovers. Here are our top five games on deck for Nov. 29 to Dec. 5:
No. 8 Kentucky at Notre Dame | Thursday, 7 p.m., ESPN2
About the Wildcats (4-1): John Calipari’s freshman-laden squad was tested in its first two games — a win vs. Maryland and a loss to No. 2 Duke — but has had a three-game vacation from strong competition with wins against mid-majors. The Wildcats’ next road game will be a true test. Freshman guard Archie Goodwin (19 points a game, 5.2 rebounds, 4.4 assists) has been silky smooth with 50 points in the last two games.
About the Fighting Irish (6-1): Notre Dame’s lone blemish came in an overtime loss to a tough Saint Joseph’s team. Jack Cooley (14.3 ppg and 11.3 rpg) gives the Irish a consistent paint presence, but rebounding is an issue when the 6-9 big man is not in the game. Jerian Grant and Eric Atkins are dual-threat players who have been scoring (23.3 ppg together) and dishing (11.4 apg together).
The matchup: Kentucky wiped the cupboard bare and implemented a new, young roster, while Notre Dame returns all five starters as a Big East contender. This is a perfect game to gauge Calipari’s youngsters’ growth. Or the Irish could expose the Wildcats’ youth and inexperience on their home floor. How well Cooley plays on both sides of the court could determine the outcome.
Our pick: Kentucky
Marquette at No. 7 Florida | Thursday, 9 p.m., ESPN2
About the Golden Eagles (5-1): Marquette’s upset loss to Butler looked a lot better after North Carolina also fell to the Bulldogs. Playing Florida provides a nice measuring stick for Marquette’s Big East capabilities. The Golden Eagles have shown nice balance offensively, with five players averaging more than 8.5 points a game. Arizona State transfer Trent Lockett has made a steady transition, giving the team an offensive boost.
About the Gators (5-0): Florida looked dominant in its first two games, crushing Georgia State by 49 and … [For more on Top 5: The best upcoming college hoops games, click here.]
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