Pregame Shootaround 1.1.13: Connecticut-Marquette tips off 2013

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Each day, CollegeBasketballTalk brings you the “Pregame Shootaround,” which will lay out a preview for the slate of games that night. We’ll take a look at some key match-ups and important games, as well as make some predictions and point out what you need to watch for. Take a look below at today’s edition:

Note: The weekend editions of Pregame Shootaround will be published half an hour prior to tip-off of the day’s first game.

Game of the Day: Connecticut vs. Marquette (8:00 p.m. ET, ESPNU)
The college sports landscape will be dominated by college football on Tuesday, but Connecticut-Marquette provides a nice college basketball nightcap.

As Big East play gets underway, the focus for Connecticut will be where it has had success all year–the backcourt. Ryan Boatright and Shabazz Napier make up a duo that accounts for a large chunk of the Huskies’ scoring. Freshman Omar Calhoun has also given a boost, showing that he can be a legitimate third scoring option.

For Marquette, scoring has been about balance. The Golden Eagles are working Todd Mayo into the rotation since he returned Dec. 22 against LSU. Vander Blue and forward Davante Gardner have both boosted their output since Darius Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder left the program after last season.

Mid-Major Matchup of the Day: Stony Brook vs. Manhattan (2:00 p.m. ET)

By staying close until late with Maryland and nearly upsetting Seton Hall, Stony Brook showed that it will be a force in the America East this season. Guards Anthony Jackson and Dave Coley form a good inside-outside combo with freshman forward Jameel Warney. Warney chose Stony Brook and became a focal point from his first day on campus.

Already averaging 11.8 points and 7.2 rebounds per game, he can only improve.

Manhattan has struggled to a 3-8 start this season, but New York native Rhamel Brown is coming off a 25-point, nine-rebound performance against Columbia.

Five Things to Watch

1. Head coach Kevin Ollie is 1-0 since signing a long-term deal with Connecticut. Will stability help the Huskies continue their early season success?

2. The national focus has shifted away from Iowa State since Royce White headed to the NBA draft, but the Cyclones are off to a 9-3 start and are in the nation’s Top 10 in scoring and rebounding.

3. Maryland has won 11 straight games since losing to Kentucky to open the season. They tip against IUPUI at 3:00 p.m. ET.

4. Clemson hit a speed bump on the road against Coastal Carolina on Dec. 19, but face Citadel Tuesday at home.

5. Hofstra is working with a short bench due to injury and suspension, which hasn’t made the early schedule any easier. They face Florida Atlantic on Tuesday.

Top 25 Games

No Top 25 games

Other Notable Games

IUPUI vs. Maryland (3:00 p.m. ET, ESPN3)
Yale vs. Iowa State (1:00 p.m. ET)
Citadel vs. Clemson (4:00 p.m. ET, ESPN3)

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

VIDEOS: Rhode Island, Maryland exchange heated words in Cancun

Dan Hurley
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No. 2 Maryland finally found their rhythm on Wednesday night, blowing out a good Rhode Island team, 86-63, in the finals of the Cancun Challenge.

Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon combined for 34 points and eight assists on 13-for-14 shooting and Robert Carter added 15 points, nine boards, three assists and three blocks. Peak Maryland, which is what we saw tonight, is really dangerous.

But Peak Maryland wasn’t the story after the game, as tempers flared in the waning minutes.

It started when Maryland coach Mark Turgeon called a timeout with less than two minutes remaining. Jake Layman had just hit a three to put Maryland up by 24 points and Turgeon wanted to get his walk-ons in the game. Hurley said to the Maryland bench, “We’ll see you again, boy,” according to Inside Maryland Sports, which prompted this reaction from Turgeon:

After the game, the two teams had to be separated in layup lines. According to reports from IMS and from the Baltimore Sun, Hurley was cursing at Maryland players as he was shaking their hands after the game. According Doug Gottlieb, who called the game for CBS Sports Network, Trimble said that the Rhode Island team wanted to “fight us”:

Wayne Selden stars as Kansas wins the title in Maui

Wayne Selden Jr., Jeff Roberson
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The last time we wrote about Wayne Selden in this space, it was my colleague Scott Phillips who questioned, after a poor performance in the Champions Classic, whether or not Selden is capable of bring a primary scorer for a team with NCAA title aspirations.

At the time, it wasn’t an unfair question to ask.

Selden is a former top 15 recruit. He is a guy who was expected to go one-and-done that played poorly in the first big game of his third year on campus. But after three days it Maui, it appears that the old Wayne Selden is gone.

[MORE: Kansas got Cheick Diallo news today]

He capped an MVP performance in the Maui Invitational with 25 points and seven boards on 8-for-11 shooting as the No. 5 Kansas Jayhawks knocked off No. 19 Vanderbilt, 70-63, in the title game. Selden was terrific for the entire weekend, averaging 21.5 points in the two games against Division I competition and shooting 12-for-17 from beyond the arc in the three game tournament.

It was the best that we’ve seen Selden play during his Jayhawk career, and it came in a game the Jayhawks desperately needed it. Vanderbilt is a damn good team. They’re ranked 19th, which may actually be too low, and they seem to clearly be the biggest challenger to Kentucky in the SEC. They jumped out to a double-digit lead on Kansas in the first half as the Jayhawks seemed to be sleep-walking early in the game.

Enter Selden. He drilled three threes in the first half and scored 13 of the 26 Jayhawk points to keep them close. In other words, he played like a star on a night Kansas desperately needed someone to step up and play like a star. Remember: this is a dude that had enough talent and potential in high school to be considered a McDonald’s All-American and a potential lottery pick. The ability is there:

(That move is filthy.)

The question has always been whether or not he is capable of putting it all together, of being the guy that can be relied upon to make the big play in the big moment, to carry a team with title aspirations.

And to be fair, the jury is still out in that regard. Are we just going to ignore those four free throws he clanged down the stretch?

But seeing Selden have this kind of performance in a game like this against a team that is this good is unquestionably a positive for Kansas moving forward.