College Basketball on Sling: 6 Teams Still Undefeated as Conference Play Begins, Villanova Still #1

Dec 27, 2016 by Sling Staff

Louisville was the big mover this week, jumping from #10 to #6 with their win over Kentucky, who fell from #6 to #8, with those two representing the only change among the top 10. Now it’s time to get down to conference play, and we’ve got all 6 undefeated teams – Villanova, UCLA, Baylor, Gonzaga, Creighton and USC – battling it out.

Tuesday, December 27

Rutgers (11-2) vs #14 Wisconsin (11-2)
7pm ET on ESPN2

Wednesday, December 28
Wake Forest (9-3) vs #20 Florida State (12-1)
5pm ET on ESPN2

DePaul (7-6) vs #1 Villanova (12-0)
6:30pm ET on FS1

#12 Virginia (10-1) vs #6 Louisville (11-1)
7pm ET on ESPN2

Monmouth (10-2) vs #9 North Carolina (11-2)
7pm ET on ESPNU

The Monmouth Hawks won their ninth straight last Tuesday, raining down 14 3-pointers to defeat the Princeton Tigers 96-90, as Justin Robinson scored 27 on 10-of-18 shooting, and Je’lon Hornbeak added 25 on 8-of-13, to go along with 10 rebounds.

The Tar Heels recovered from their 103-100 heartbreaking loss to Kentucky by taking out their frustrations on the Northern Iowa Panthers, 85-42, with Kennedy Meeks leading all players in points and rebounds with 18 and 8. A look at the box score tells a lopsided tale: the Panthers made just 33.3% of their shots, got to the line 8 times, and had only 6 assists to go along with 17 turnovers. But hey, someday NIU guard Jeremy Morgan can tell his grandkids he got his lunch eaten by the might Tar Heels. In addition to scoring 88.7 ppg, good for 12th in the country, the Tar Heels also pull down the fifth-most rebounds at 44.5 pg, and are 15th in assists at 18.2 pg., and they do it despite no one on the team ranking among the top 50 in any category.

Seton Hall (10-2) vs #10 Creighton (12-0)
8pm ET on FS2

#2 UCLA (13-0) vs #21 Oregon (11-2)
9pm ET on ESPN2

Bryce Alford had a game-high 22 points last Wednesday to lead the UCLA Bruins to an 82-68 win over the Western Michigan Broncos. Alford, a senior, is enjoying the best season of his college career, but the freshman duo of TJ Leaf and Lonzo ball are not to be missed, with Leaf averaging 17.5 ppg along with 9.2 rpg, while Ball is scoring 13.7 ppg, with 5.8 rpg and a team-high 8.3 assists. These guys have faced only one test so far, but it was Kentucky, and they beat ‘em – this is shaping up to be the best Bruins team in a while.

After coming into the season ranked #5, the Oregon Ducks suffered losses to Baylor and Georgetown, tumbling all the way down to #24. But they’ve been inching their way back up, notching their ninth straight win last week, a 75-63 defeat of Fresno State behind Jordan Bell’s 23 points and 8 rebounds. Oregon plays some of the toughest defense in the country, holding opponents to just 63.2 ppg on 37.3% field goal shooting and a NCAA best 8.2 blocks per game. They’ll need to clamp down to stop UCLA, whose 95.8 ppg are second-best in the country.

#23 Cincinnati (10-2) vs Temple (9-4)
9pm ET on ESPNU

#22 USC (13-0) vs Oregon State (4-9)
11pm ET on Pac-12 Network

Thursday, December 29

#13 Butler (11-1) vs St John’s (6-7)
7pm ET on FS1

#8 Kentucky (10-2) vs Ole Miss (9-3)
8pm ET on ESPN2

After sweating out a huge 103-100 win over North Carolina, the Kentucky Wildcats suffered a letdown last week, falling 73-70 to cross-state rivals Louisville. The ‘Cats had led 57-53 on a Malik Monk layup with just under 7 minutes to play, but then watched as Louisville went on an 8-0 to take control for good. Still, led by the freshman trio of Monk (21.4 ppg), De’Aaron Fox (16.3 ppg, 6.8 apg) and Edrice Adebayo (12.5 ppg, 8.0 rpg), these guys are fun to watch.

Senior forward Sebastian Saiz enjoyed one of the best games of his college career last week, scoring 23 points and pulling down 16 rebounds, to lead Ole Miss to a 92-58 win over South Alabama. Saiz is averaging 15-12 on the season, while junior transfer Deandre Burnett leads the team in scoring with 19.2 ppg. The Rebels average 27.3 free throw attempts per game, and they make a respectable 74.1% of them.

Pepperdine (4-8) vs #7 Gonzaga (12-0)
9pm ET on ESPN3

#25 Florida (9-3) vs Arkansas (11-1)
9pm ET on SEC Network

#19 Saint Mary’s (10-1) vs Loyola Marymount (7-4)
11pm ET on ESPNU

Friday, December 30

#11 West Virginia (11-1) vs Oklahoma State (10-2)
4pm ET on ESPN2

#4 Baylor (12-0) vs Oklahoma (6-5)
7pm ET on ESPN2

#3 Kansas (11-1) vs TCU (11-1)
9pm ET on ESPN2

#22 USC (13-0) vs #21 Oregon (11-2)
10pm ET on FS1

#2 UCLA (13-0) vs Oregon State (4-9)
11pm ET on Pac-12 Network

#18 Arizona (11-2) vs Cal (9-3)
11pm ET on ESPN2

Saturday, December 31

#17 Xavier (10-2) vs Georgetown (8-4)
11am ET on FS1

#5 Duke (12-1) vs Virginia Tech (10-1)
Noon ET on ESPN2

Duke is without their second-leading scorer, Grayson Allen, for the time being, as he serves a suspension for tripping Steven Santa Ana during the Blue Devils’ 72-61 win over Elon last week. In discussing the length of the suspension, Coach Mike Krzyzewski told Dan Patrick, “Maybe it’s three [games]. Maybe it’s two weeks. I don’t know. He won’t play until I feel good about the entire situation and where he is at.” This is coach speak for “At least two games, as lng as two weeks. Depends on if we lose a game.”

#1 Villanova (12-0) vs #10 Creighton (12-0)
1pm ET on FS1

The Villanova Wildcats held onto the top spot for the third straight week with a 90-48 trouncing of American University last Wednesday behind senior guard Josh Hart’s 20-7-6 effort. On the season Hart leads the team in both scoring at 20.1 ppg, and rebounding with 6.6.

The Creighton Blue Jays are one of the other six team undefeated teams in the country, their latest win coming last Tuesday over the Arizona State Wildcats, 96-85, as Marcus Foster led all scorers with 29 points, and was one of six Jays in double figures. Foster leads the team in scoring with 19.1 ppg, followed by Maurice Watson Jr with 12.8 ppg and a team-high 9.0 apg.

#20 Florida State (12-1) vs #12 Virginia (10-1)
2pm ET on ESPNU

#7 Gonzaga (12-0) vs Pacific (6-7)
8pm ET on ESPN3

*Watch College Basketball on ESPN2 by subscribing to Sling Orange, on ESPNU, ESPN3 and the SEC Network by subscribing to Sling Orange + Sports Extra, on FS1 and FS2 by subscribing to Sling Blue, and on Pac-12 Network by subscribing to Sling + Sports Extra

All stats courtesy ESPN and Sports Reference CFB.

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