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Monday, November 12, 2007

First Looks Around the Country

Rather than watch an awful football game, I tuned into ESPN2 tonight to happily find a full slate of college hoops. It just so happens that a total of three Wisconsin opponents were on in back-to-back games. So it was time to scout.

First up was Duke, which hosted New Mexico State. This game was a route early on. Duke looks much more athletic and aggressive at guard, pressuring the opponent into an endless amount of turnovers. Point guard Greg Paulus had a bad year in 2006, but he looked much more in command of the team tonight. Still, he's the latest in a long line of easy to hate Blue Devils.

As I've said before, I think the Badgers match up well with the Dukies, but they will need to contain the damage done by guys like DeMarcus Nelson and Jon Scheyer (22 points). The media is all over freshman Kyle Singler, a highly-rated recruit, but I didn't see much of him. For UW, I think Marcus Landry and Brian Butch can both have as good of a game as they want to in Durham. I can also envision Hughes and Flowers frustrating Paulus into a bad game.

In the next game, Ohio State downed UW-Green Bay, 91-68. The Phoenix played some heady basketball early, but could only hang tough for so long. Jamar Butler is back at the point for the Buckeyes and he was unconscious from 3-point land tonight, hitting on 5-of-7 treys for a total of 17 points.

Freshman gem Kosta Koufos is legit. He's incredibly athletic for a 7-footer and impressed me with how well he moves. Of course, Green Bay's lineup is so slight and/or short across the board, it would be hard not to dominate inside. Major problem. Also, Koufos and Othello Hunter wear the largest shorts in college basketball history -- are they sweatpants?!

In other news, another Big Ten freshman had an even more impressive debut than Koufos. As you might expect, it was #23 -- Indiana's Eric Gordon -- who exploded for 33 points in his first game on a variety of slick moves. There are a number of ridiculously talented frosh this season, just like last year, and many of them made their mark tonight. UCLA is on now and I'll be watching rookie Kevin Love in the post. I think Derrick Rose of Memphis may be the best of them all, but I'll have to wait to get a look at the Tigers.

In other news on state teams:
- Marquette is not exactly clicking on offense.

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