Long Island v Kentucky

Your 2012 SEC/Big East Challenge CBT staff picks

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Tuesday and Wednesday gave us the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, which finished in a 6-6 tie (the Big Ten gets to keep the trophy since they won it last season). The next three days belong to the SEC/Big East Challenge, which consists of 12 games (four games apiece on Thursday, Friday and Saturday). Below are the picks of the CBT staff.

No. 8 Kentucky at Notre Dame

David Harten – Kentucky
Daniel Martin – Kentucky
Rob Dauster – Notre Dame
Raphielle Johnson – Notre Dame
Terrence Payne – Kentucky
Troy Machir – Kentucky
Eric Angevine – Kentucky

CBT pick: Kentucky, 5-2

South Carolina at St. John’s 

Harten – St. John’s
Martin – St. John’s
Dauster – St. John’s
Johnson – St. John’s
Payne – South Carolina
Machir – St. John’s
Angevine – St. John’s

CBT pick: St. John’s, 6-1

Marquette at No. 8 Florida 

Harten – Florida
Martin – Florida
Dauster – Florida
Johnson – Florida
Payne – Florida
Machir – Florida
Angevine – Florida

CBT pick: Florida, 7-0

Seton Hall at LSU 

Harten – LSU
Martin – LSU
Dauster – LSU
Johnson – Seton Hall
Payne – LSU
Machir – LSU
Angevine – LSU

CBT pick: LSU, 6-1

Tennessee at No. 20 Georgetown 

Harten – Tennessee
Martin – Georgetown
Dauster – Georgetown
Johnson – Tennessee
Payne – Georgetown
Machir – Georgetown
Angevine – Georgetown

CBT pick: Georgetown, 5-2

Georgia at South Florida

Harten – South Florida
Martin – Georgia
Dauster – Georgia
Johnson – South Florida
Payne – Georgia
Machir – Georgia
Angevine – Georgia

CBT pick: Georgia, 5-2

No. 6 Syracuse at Arkansas

Harten – Syracuse
Martin – Syracuse
Dauster – Syracuse
Johnson – Syracuse
Payne – Syracuse
Machir – Syracuse
Angevine – Syracuse

CBT pick: Syracuse, 7-0 

DePaul at Auburn 

Harten – DePaul
Martin – Auburn
Dauster – Auburn
Johnson – DePaul
Payne – DePaul
Machir – DePaul
Angevine – Auburn

CBT pick: DePaul, 4-3

Mississippi State at Providence

Harten – Providence
Martin – Providence
Dauster – Providence
Johnson – Providence
Payne – Providence
Machir – Providence
Angevine – Providence

CBT pick: Providence, 7-0

Rutgers at Ole Miss

Harten – Ole Miss
Martin – Ole Miss
Dauster – Ole Miss
Johnson – Ole Miss
Payne – Rutgers
Machir – Ole Miss
Angevine – Rutgers

CBT pick: Ole Miss, 5-2

Alabama at No. 17 Cincinnati

Harten – Cincinnati
Martin – Cincinnati
Dauster – Cincinnati
Johnson – Cincinnati
Payne – Cincinnati
Machir – Cincinnati
Angevine – Cincinnati

CBT pick: Cincinnati, 7-0

Villanova at Vanderbilt

Harten – Villanova
Martin – Villanova
Dauster – Villanova
Johnson – Vanderbilt
Payne – Villanova
Machir – Villanova
Angevine – Vanderbilt

CBT pick: Villanova, 5-2

CBT consensus pick: Big East wins, 7-5

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Defensive progress will determine No. 4 Iowa State’s ceiling

Monte Morris
Associated Press
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Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.

Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.

Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.

Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.

Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.

But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.

No. 24 Cincinnati beats George Washington 61-56

Troy Caupain
AP Photo
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NEW YORK (AP) Troy Caupain scored 16 points, including the go-ahead three-point play with 1:38 to play, and No. 24 Cincinnati beat George Washington 61-56 on Saturday in the championship game of the Barclays Center Classic.

The fact the game came down to a three-point play was ironic as both teams took 22 3-point attempts and there were times it seemed a 3-point shooting broke out.

Caupain’s traditional three-point play gave the Bearcats (7-0) a 55-54 lead. After a missed 3 by the Colonials (6-1) Octavius Ellis, who chosen the tournament MVP, scored on a tip-in. Patricio Garino scored on a drive for George Washington with 29 seconds left.

The Colonials let the Bearcats pass the ball around and they finally fouled when Ellis touched the ball with 14 seconds to play. Ellis, a 56 percent free throw shooter, clinched his MVP award by making both for a 59-56 lead. Two free throws by Caupain with 6.1 seconds left capped the scoring.

Farad Cobb and Kevin Johnson both had 11 points for the Bearcats while Ellis had nine points and seven rebounds.

Garino had 15 points for George Washington, Tyler Cavanaugh had 13 and Joe McDonald 11.

The Colonials finished 11 of 22 from 3-point range, not bad for a team that came in shooting 27.9 percent (29 of 104) from there. The 50 percent doesn’t look so good when you consider the Colonials made five of their first six 3-point attempts and were 8 of 11 from beyond the arc in the first half. They went 16:42 between 2-point field goals but led 30-27 at halftime.

The Bearcats were 7 of 22 from 3-point range but their advantage came at the free throw line where they were 10 of 12 compared to George Washington’s 3 of 4.


George Washington: The Colonials beat Tennessee in the opening round and they were 3 of 15 on 3s. … George Washington was off to its best start since it was8-0 in 2005-06. … The Colonials finished 10 for 34 from 2-point range.

Cincinnati: The win gives the Bearcats a 13-1 all-time record against George Washington and this was their sixth straight. The last win came on Jan. 31, 1976. … Cincinnati is 7-0 for the fourth time in the last six seasons. … The Bearcats are 51-8 in and have won 24 of 25 in November under coach Mick Cronin. They have won 49 straight games when scoring over 60 points. The 60th point against the Colonials came with 6.1 seconds to play.


George Washington hosts Seton Hall on Wednesday.

Cincinnati hosts Butler on Wednesday.