Power 5: Duke Cruises (Nov 14th)

  1. Duke (2-0) – The Blue Devils cruised the way you would expect them to beating Marist and Grand Canyon. In both games, Duke scored over 90 points despite not having 3 of their freshman (Harry Giles, Jayson Tatum and Marques Bolden). The one freshman that did play was Frank Jackson. Jackson has gotten off to solid start scoring 18 against Marist and 21 against Grand Canyon. This week, the Blue Devils will take on a bigger challenge as they play Kansas (November 15th) at Madison Square Garden.
  2. Kentucky – When you talk Kentucky, you talk freshman but on opening night, they were led by a couple of veterans. Sophomore Isaiah Briscoe and senior Derek Willis led the Wildcats to a 23 point victory over Stephen F Austin. The Canisius game was different for the freshman. Malik Monk and and De’Aaron Fox got over opening night jitters as Kentucky routed the Golden Griffins. Fox scored 21 while Monk scored 16. What could be a concern for Kentucky is their three point shooting. In the first two games, they are a combined 9-34.
  3. Villanova (1-0) – Villanova’s title defense run started with an easy victory over Lafayette. The Wildcats had a balanced attack in the 88-48 win. Mikal Bridges contributed heavily off the bench with 16 points and 8 rebounds. Bench play will be a recurring question for Villanova. On most nights, they will be able to get away with average bench play but if they want to beat the upper echolon teams and make another National Championship run, they’ll have to find some punch from the reserves. National Championship hero, Kris Jenkins, hit for 16 points while Preseason Big East Player of the Year, Jason Hart, scored 13.
  4. North Carolina (2-0) – The Tar Heels started off the season with two wins which was expected. UNC defeated Tulane and Chattanooga with relative ease. Two stats you need to keep an eye on when it comes to the Heels is their three point shooting and their free throw percentage. They have struggled with shooting consistently from long range the last few seasons and last year free throw shooting (and rebounding) was a source of pain at times. The Heels have started off 16-35 from the three poing line. With UNC being smaller this season, it will be even more important to hit perimeter shots. The good thing could be with the lane not being as clogged, their could be more driving lanes. That’s where free throw percentage comes into play. Getting to the free throw line wasn’t a problem in the first two games but the free throw percentage was only 70% (40-57).
  5. Oregon (1-0) – It seems unfair to drop Kansas out after their tough loss to Indiana but the Jayhawks will have a chance to make a statement when they play Duke this week. The Ducks were in the top 5 in most of the polls (just not this one) coming into the season and they posted a solid win at home versus Army. Coach Dana Altman got an extension earlier in the week and was pleased to see sophomore Tyler Dorsey drop 21 while freshman Payton Pritchard chipped in with 15 points. The Ducks are without Dillon Brooks (injury) and were outscored by Army in the second half. We should get a better look into Oregon as they will play a true road game at Baylor this week.

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