Vin Parise is a former assistant college coach and the college basketball insider for NBC Sports. Look for his Top 10 Tidbits every week.
1. As impressive as the Syracuse Orange are, free throw shooting is a major flaw with Jim Boeheim’s team. At 64% they are one of the worst from the charity stripe in the Big East. But that was not the case last night as they shot 17-18 from the line in the 72-66 win over Providence. But I’m concerned that this weakness could bite them one game in March. Remember their one loss this year vs Temple? 15 missed free throws.
2. How about the bounce back of Duke’s Quinn Cook this week. A career high 27 points in the Blue Devils win over Clemson. Cook went 0-11 from the field in the prior game against Wake Forest.
3. At only 8-6 right now it’s easy to not take notice of the Alabama Crimson Tide — but this team is going to scare some people by February. They keep improving and Anthony Grant is in the middle of a serious youth movement. Don’t schedule them next year. Bama currently starts one junior, three sophomores and one freshman.
4. It was a tough 58-56 loss at Madison Square Garden for St. John’s last night by the hands of Rutgers. But no time for the Red Storm to feel sorry for themselves. They battle in less than 48 hours Saturday morning vs Georgetown at the Garden. The Hoyas and St. John’s tip-off at 11:00 am.
5. If you Google efficient point guard, Pierre Jackson from Baylor should pop up — 19.8 ppg – 6.3 assists – 3.6 rebs – 44% from the field – 36% from 3 – 80% from FT Line.
6. Speaking of point guard play, Seton Hall is a team that has taken a lot of knocks this season for turning over the basketball so often. But Kevin Willard’s young guards can build off last night’s Louisville loss. The Cardinals force turnovers better than any club in the nation. Credit Pirates Tommy Maayan and Aaron Cosby for combining for only six turnovers in 54 combined minutes of play.
7. Did you realize that Steve Alford is only 47 years old and has 369 Division 1 wins already? 78 at Southwest Missouri, 152 at Iowa and 139 wins and counting at New Mexico.
8. Despite the disappointing 11 point home loss to Boston College, Virginia Tech’s Erick Green still leads the nation in scoring at 24.6 points per game.
9. Georgetown was not only ice cold offensively in their 73-45 home loss to Pitt, but they could not manufacture points either. Two great ways to manufacture points are pounding the glass and causing turnovers. The Hoyas only had 7 offensive rebounds and only 2 steals in the worst home loss of the John Thompson III era.
10. Here’s a great office pool for the rest of the season – Who will lead the nation in blocked shots when it’s all over? Jeff Withey from Kansas or Chris Obekpa from St. John’s? They are both currently averaging 5.07 blocks per game.
Vin Parise is the College Basketball Insider for NBC Sports. You can catch him on NBC Sports Network’s SportsTalk – Mon-Fri. 6 p.m. ET. Follow him on Twitter @VinParise