A-10: Message Sent
Saint Louis and Richmond both had massive wins over two SEC teams in LSU and Kentucky respectively. The ability of these two teams to have big non-conference wins will allow the conference to be a factor come NCAA tournament selection time.
As for Saint Louis, their win over LSU was really impressive. They did it without Hasahn French and Fred Thatch in the lineup. Additionally, the emergence of Gibson Jimerson will be crucial for Saint Louis giving them a consistent three-point threat. The depth of Saint Louis will be really important going into A-10 play and eventually into the NCAA tournament. However, the star power of Javonte Perkins makes this team capable of an NCAA Tournament run with his ability to take over games as he did against LSU.
Richmond coming away with a big win against Kentucky on the road will carry its weight and Grant Golden showed his versatility and matchup issue for teams. The backcourt duo of Jacob Gilyard and Blake Francis can carry this team when it is necessary. The most important factor for Richmond was the emergence of Nathan Cayo who is averaging 20.5 points so far this season and if he continues to perform this will be a difficult team to play against. These two teams are Top 25 teams ready to make noise all season long.
This Gonzaga team could very well be the best team Mark Few has had in his tenure at Gonzaga. This starts with the transition offense of Gonzaga which is very dangerous on the open floor. The team has elevated at the point guard position with Jalen Suggs bringing extraordinary toughness on both ends with a relentless ability to get to the basket.
Drew Timme will be one of the most productive bigs in the country this season. His ability to run the floor and duck in helps him consistently get easy looks around the basket. Gonzaga has the ability to be versatile with Corey Kispert playing the small ball 4. Also, Kispert’s scoring will make the defense extend to get out on him. Joe Ayayi can make plays on both ends of the floor. Having Andrew Nembhard come off the bench showcases the overall talent of this team. Gonzaga showed this past week they are the best team in the country offensively and will only improve in what could be a special year.
Houston has showcased the identity of what this team has been over time under Kelvin Sampson: A defensive juggernaut. This team held Texas Tech to 19 points in the first half and 53 for the entire game. Continued, their ability to control the boards in every game is really important and contributes to winning. Next, the guard play of Houston will continue to grow into one of the best in the country. The elevation of Marcus Sasser is showing his ability to take over games and be that go-to scorer for Houston.
Quinten Grimes provides a consistent ability to score and defend well giving Houston a steadiness that is invaluable. The frontcourt for this team provides great toughness and the ability to rebound consistently with Justin Gorham and Brison Gresham. Kelvin Sampson has this team in a position to be a top 15 team yet again.
It was a very productive week for this West Virginia team, as they won the Bad Boy Mowers Classic. The biggest improvement for West Virginia has been their improved shooting. This is greatly due to the knockdown shooting ability of Sean McNeil who has averaged 13.7 points this season, as well as Taz Sherman’s ability to come off the bench to make shots too.
The big men of this team set the tone with Oscar Tshiebwe and Derek Culver. These two create matchup problems for teams to defend and score around the basket with their shot-blocking ability. The effectiveness of Derek Culver has been tremendous thus far averaging 15 points and 10 rebounds a game shooting 52.9 percent from the field. West Virginia had an impressive week.
This past week, the freshmen in college basketball had sensational performances across the board. First off, Jalen Suggs provided everything and anything to Gonzaga gave them another level of dominance.
The shot-making of Adam Miller for Illinois and Cam Thomas of LSU was impressive.
Cade Cunnigham has shown his playmaking ability for others.
Also, the freshmen perimeter of Marcus Bagley and Josh Christopher has shown their potential.
Jalen Johnson had an 18 point and 17 rebound game in his debut, showing his ability to be the next great wing at Duke.
Of course, the Kentucky perimeter will develop into being dynamic.
Scottie Barnes might be even tougher than Suggs so that speaks volumes.
This freshman class as a whole could be a good as any in a while.
Images Courtesy of, Fox Sports, Lexington Herald Leader, WVU Athletics
You can “Like” The Game Haus on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles written by other great TGH writers along with James!
“From Our Haus to Yours”