By: Patrick O'Brien
Here’s the latest new surrounding college basketball on Friday.
- Arizona State cooling down in conference play
After starting the season 12-0 and moving up the rankings faster than any other program, the Sun Devils seem to be cooling down entering Pac-12 play. Arizona State now sits 2.5 games back of UCLA in first place and 1-3 in the Pac-12. Thursday’s loss was only the latest, falling to Oregon 76-72 at home. Looking ahead though, the struggles could come to an end with upcoming games against Oregon State, Stanford, and California, all game in which they will be favored in. But Arizona State could be in significant trouble if they happen to take another loss in any of those three matchups.
- Omer Yurtseven proving his worth
When Yurtseven committed to the Wolfpack, he was already looked at as a first-round draft pick. The talk surrounding the seven-footer slowed down after his freshman season averaging 5.9 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. But the talent is starting to show and it has shown in the biggest moments this season. After posting a solid 11-point, 9 rebound performance against Arizona earlier this season, Yurtseven has continued to excel; it has shown in NC State’s last two wins.
Against Duke, Yurtseven posted 16 points, nine rebounds and three blocks in the Wolfpacks’ 96-85 win. He now backed that up against Clemson with his best showing on the season, a 29-point, four rebound and four block performance in the win. It may have taken him a little time but the talent is showing up in a big way for the Wolfpack.
- Bubble-watch teams in action Friday night
No Top-25 teams highlight Friday night but there are several bubble-team matchups that should have the attention for all.
- Marquette at Butler: two teams with big wins this season but still battling in the middle of the pack in the Big East
- Nebraska at Penn State: ultimate bubble teams in a conference that lacks high quality wins
- VCU at Dayton
- Providence at DePaul
4. Buckeyes proving to be a Big Ten contender
Ohio State started off the season with several questions but those questions are now becoming answers in conference play. The Buckeyes sit on top with a 5-0 record after their latest impressive 91-69 win against Maryland on Thursday.
The Buckeyes in conference play are shooting 55 percent from the floor, 47 percent from three, moving the ball exceptional well with 87 assists and only 47 turnovers. They are not only getting it done defensively, averaging 83.4 points per game, but also defensively, limiting opponents to 66.8 points per game. Junior Keita Bates-Diop has led the charge, averaging 20.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game.