College basketball, anyone?
The Big Ten-ACC Challenge starts tonight and brings some pretty good games with No. 1 Indiana hosting No. 13. North Carolina and No. 18 NC State at No. 3 Michigan.
No. 2 Duke hosts No. 4 Ohio State on Wednesday night. After Duke beat Minnesota, VCU and Louisville in three straight days last weekend to win a tournament in the Bahamas, the Blue Devils deserve some serious consideration at No. 1.
Ohio State can serve notice that it truly belongs in the top five, too. Should be a good one.
ON THE PROWL: Red-hot Cincinnati served notice that it is for real, too, by beating Iowa State and Oregon over the weekend in Las Vegas. The Bearcats are up to No. 16 in this week’s coaches poll and host Alabama as part of the Big East-SEC Challenge on Saturday.
Sean Kilpatrick was named Big East Player of the Week after scoring a career-high 32 points against Iowa State then getting 16 vs. Oregon. He’s averaging 21 points per game on the season for the 6-0 Bearcats.
A game that might bring a little attention is Cincinnati vs. Xavier in what’s now carefully called the Crosstown Showdown, not the Shootout, on Dec. 19. Xavier went 2-1 over the holiday weekend at the DirecTV Classic in Southern California.
MORE AWARDS: The Big East Rookie of the Week was Jakarr Sampson of St. John’s, a native of Akron who played at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School before transferring to Brewster (N.H.) Academy.
The uber-athletic, 6’8 Sampson is averaging 12.3 points and a team-best 6.2 rebounds per game.
This video from St. John’s Midnight Madness in October offers a glimpse at Sampson’s athleticism.
ANOTHER HOT START: The 5-0 Ohio Bobcats are up to No. 3 in the latest collegeinsider.com Top 25 poll.
Considering Ohio’s entire team is back from last year’s Sweet 16 run, there’s no reason the Bobcats shouldn’t be getting national top 25 votes.
Creighton is No. 1 in the mid-major poll, ahead of Gonzaga. One spot behind Ohio at No. 4 is Murray State, which plays at Dayton on Dec. 22. Akron is No. 17 in this week’s mid-major poll.
Akron plays at Creighton on Dec. 9 as part of a tough stretch that starts this Sunday vs. Middle Tennessee State and ends on Dec. 15 at Detroit.
There’s a good but under the radar game of local interest Wednesday night as Kent State is at Youngstown State. Kent State is off a road win at Nebraska last weekend.