Northwestern’s Early Success
Chris Collins is working his magic yet again in Evanston and Northwestern is 3-0 in Big Ten play. The wins over Michigan State, Indiana and Ohio State were all impressive with the ability to display offensive firepower. Their ability to spread the floor with five out concepts make it difficult to guard Northwestern with consistency. Additionally, Miller Kopp has been very good with his ability to create slips to the rim and to be really efficient from three. Getting really good guard play from Boo Buie has set the tone offensively for Northwestern. Pete Nance complements Kopp really well giving Northwestern mobile bigs that can create havoc for defenses. The Big Ten is a gauntlet and their next three games are at Iowa and Michigan followed by a home game against Illinois. If Northwestern can hold up against these teams they will prove to be legit in this conference. Chris Collins has gotten the most out of this team and has Northwestern in a great position.
Marcus Carr is playing like one of the best guards in the country and is coming off leading Minnesota to an overtime win over Iowa. Furthermore, Carr is averaging 24.6 points, 3.8 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game. His ability to take over games and put Minnesota in a position to win tough games has been impressive. He has the capability to be a playmaker for others on a consistent basis. Minnesota is sitting at 8-1 on the season and largely due to the play of Carr. Minnesota has the potential to keep making noise because of Carr’s play, as one of the best players in the country.
Marcus Zegarowski came into the season as a projected All-American caliber player. However, Zegarowski has gotten off to a slow start on the season averaging 13.8 points and shooting 38.5% from the field and 35.9% from three. Therefore, Zegarowski must shoot better to play up to his overall ability and give Creighton the best opportunity to win the Big East. Additionally, Zegarowski needs to be more assertive in finding his rhythm offensively for Creighton to reach its potential. Having players that can score the basketball effectively such as Denzel Mahoney, Mitch Ballock and Damien Jefferson allows Zegarowski to be able to get back to form without pressing. Zegarowski will still be in the conversation for being an All-American player by season’s end and Creighton will be one of the most dangerous teams in the country.
Villanova is finding their way towards reaching their potential as a team coming off a dominant win over Marquette. Furthermore, their ability to defend more consistently showed out with their toughness on the ball and the rim protection of Jeremiah Robinson-Earl. Continued, they have one of the best floor generals in the country with Collin Gillespie leading them. They have Justin Moore and Caleb Daniels giving great play on the perimeter. Next, the growth and development of Jeremiah Robinson-Earl has been evident and gives Villanova a go-to option. Offensively Villanova has no ceiling and if they defend at this level moving forward they will be right in the mix for the National Championship. Now, coming off their COVID-19 pause will be key to how they return to Big East play.
Gonzaga could easily have three All-Americans this season. The development of Drew Timme has been impressive with his ability to dominate in the post with his ability to control the game in transition. Timme is averaging 21.6 points 7.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists. Timme is showing he’s a complete force for Gonzaga as one of the best bigs in the country. The ability of Corey Kispert to score at a high level gives Gonzaga really good stability. His versatility provides Gonzaga to play with a small ball lineup giving opposing defenses difficulty to the matchup. Kispert is averaging 22.4 points while shooting 63.6% from the field and 52.0% from three is excellent. Now, the player who sets the tone for this team is Jalen Suggs who brings a great intensity to this team. As well as, his ability to make plays for others and being dynamic in transition. Suggs averaging 15.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and 5.9 assists shows his versatility and ability to make a significant impact for Gonzaga. This trio is so dynamic especially offensively and will lead Gonzaga to a historic season.
Images Courtesy of, Bleacher Report, CBS Sports, ESPN.com
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