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Holiday Wish Lists: What are the nation’s best teams in need of adding this holiday season?

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Over the course of the next three days, we at College Basketball Talk will be cruising through a list of college basketball’s best teams, attempting to figure out who or what they need to add.

Put another way, with the holidays right around the corner, if your favorite team was able to ask for one thing as a gift, what would it be?

Do they need to add a point guard?

Is there enough big man depth on the roster?

Can they shoot?

Can they guard?

Today, we’ll roll through everyone from Maryland to Seton Hall.

Let’s get into it.

MORE: Alabama-Louisville | Syracuse-Xavier
FUTURES: Alabama-Louisville | Maryland-Seton Hall | Syracuse-Xavier

MARYLAND: Fewer turnovers

Can’t suggest the use of Stickum on the level that NFL great Fred Biletnikoff reached during his playing days, but the Terps really have to get this turnover issue under control. The Terps are turning the ball over on nearly 24 percent of their possessions thus far, and while talented Maryland is not in a position where it can essentially throw away nearly a quarter of its possessions. Anthony Cowan Jr., Darryl Morsell and Kevin Huerter do the majority of the ball-handling, and Mark Turgeon needs all three to take a step forward when it comes to valuing the basketball. In a Big Ten that projects to be tight in the middle of the standings, that could be the difference between emerging from that group in good shape or being a bubble team. (Raphielle Johnson)

MIAMI: Someone that can make a free throw

Miami is 349th nationally if free throw percentage, which is a stat that shocked me when I saw it. The Hurricanes have talented guards up and down their roster, but their best free throw shoooter is starting center Dewan Huell at 67 percent? The Hurricanes are also 323rd in free throw rate, meaning that not only do they miss free throws when they actually get to the free throw line, but there aren’t 30 teams that get to the line less often than they do. There are only two teams that get a smaller percentage of their points from the free throw line than Miami does – Army and Kansas – but the Hurricanes don’t rely on the three-ball like those teams do. This is something to keep an eye on. (Rob Dauster)

Bruce Brown Jr. (Eric Espada/Getty Images)

MICHIGAN: Point guard clarity

Michigan currently has three point guards – sophomore Zavier Simpson, freshman Eli Brooks and grad transfers Jaaron Simmons – and none of them have been good enough to take over the role full time. That’s a major problem for the Wolverines considering how important the lead-guard spot is to Michigan’s offense under John Beilein. (RD)

MICHIGAN STATE: More three-point shooting

Tom Izzo and his Spartans are off to a great start but they wish for more three-point shooting help for Cassius Winston. The sophomore point guard has shot a ridiculous 57 percent from distance to start the season but Michigan State only sits at 39 percent as a team. Others like Josh Langford and Miles Bridges have been steady so far. Then there are others like Matt McQuaid and Jaren Jackson Jr. who need to pick it up when it comes to perimeter efficiency. (Scott Phillips)

MINNESOTA: Swag

Getting its swagger back is on top of the Minnesota holiday wish list. Since nearly blowing a game against Alabama when the Crimson Tide only had three players, the Golden Gophers have dropped three of their last five games, and one of those wins was only by one point against a mediocre Missouri Valley team in Drake. Minnesota went from looking like a Big Ten title contender to now being a major question in a down year for the league. Minnesota can regain confidence and be among the league’s best. But this recent slide has been troubling. (SP)

NEVADA: Improved communication

The Wolf Pack had two opportunities for quality wins slip from their grasp earlier this month, as an overtime loss at Texas Tech was followed by a loss to TCU in Los Angeles. Eric Musselman’s squad followed that up with a win over Radford, with the head coach noting afterward that his team needs to get better at communicating with each other. Given the number of new faces on the court one could argue that such an issue is to be expected, but that can lead to mistakes that can be avoided on both ends of the floor. If Nevada is to repeat in a Mountain West that appears to have improved at the top, they’ll need to address this in the games leading up to the start of conference play. (RJ)

NORTH CAROLINA: A freshman big to fast forward three seasons

I’m more bullish on North Carolina now than I ever thought I would be on them this season. Luke Maye has been nothing short of sensational, Kenny Williams has improved and Joel Berry II is Joel Berry II. But the thing this group is missing is a big, physical low-post presence. Roy Williams’ best teams completely dominate the glass on both ends of the floor and have a hoss on the block they can dump the ball down into. They have a couple of freshman this year that look like they could end up being that player is two or three years. So what Roy Williams needs is a time machine, something that can make Sterling Manley or Garrison Brooks a senior instead of a freshman. (RD)

Luke Maye (Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

NORTHWESTERN: Their home

The Wildcats wish the Welsh-Ryan Arena renovations were already finished so they could return to playing home games on campus. Experiencing an early-season lull that includes losses to Creighton, Texas Tech, Georgia Tech and Purdue, the Wildcats could really use the pick-me-up of enthusiastic home crowds during Big Ten play. Instead, this team has to settle for playing near O’Hare at the old and dumpy Allstate Arena, where the crowds for Northwestern basketball haven’t translated from last season. (SP)

NOTRE DAME: Bonzie’s perimeter shooting

The return of Bonzie Colson’s perimeter jumper is something that Notre Dame has high atop its wishlist. The senior All-American candidate is once again throwing up unique double-doubles and wrecking opponents on most nights. But Colson’s versatility has also been hindered by a cold-shooting start to the season as he only sits at 29 percent from three-point range. Part of the drop in Colson’s three-point percentage can be equated to uptick in attempts, but Colson has to be able to knock more of them down to keep opposing defenders honest. If Colson finds his perimeter touch, Notre Dame’s offense can become really scary. (SP)

OKLAHOMA: Balance, balance, balance

Lon Kruger would really like more than one season with Trae Young, but not even Santa Claus could deliver that given how dominant the freshman point guard has been. Instead, Kruger is likely asking for consistency from his supporting cast. The Sooners are relying heavily on Young, and he’s awesome, but balance will help on the nights where he doesn’t have it. If that happens, something unexpectedly special could be going down in Norman. (Travis Hines)

OREGON: More trips to the foul line

For the number of offensive options that this team has, they’ve had a tough time getting to the foul line thus far. As a team Oregon has a free throw rate that ranked 228th in the country, which can happen when a team’s top two scorers — in this case Payton Pritchard and Elijah Brown — tend to do more of their scoring by way of the jump shot as opposed to attacking defenses off the dribble. Troy Brown can help in this area given his versatility, and his continued growth (and resulting assertiveness, hopefully) could help Oregon contend in the Pac-12. (RJ)

PURDUE: Michigan State to tank

Purdue is wishing for some Michigan State slip ups in Big Ten play. While the Spartans have been the clear class of the Big Ten early this season, Purdue can easily make the case for being second best in the conference after a seven-game winning streak. Armed with a favorable conference schedule, the Boilermakers only play the Spartans one time and they already earned a road win at Maryland. Purdue doesn’t have to play Northwestern again after already beating them. With that schedule, and an experienced roster, Purdue is hoping to stay involved in the conference title race. (SP)

RHODE ISLAND: Health

The win over the College of Charleston was a struggle for the Rams, but in addition to the win there was some other good news for Dan Hurley’s team: E.C. Matthews was back on the court. Out since the loss to Nevada with a broken wrist, the return of Matthews is a big deal for a team that’s struggled with injuries for much of non-conference play. Cyril Langevine was slowed by a sports hernia, but his play in that win bodes well for the Rams moving forward. So simply put, URI just needs to stay healthy moving forward. With all hands on deck, this is a group that at minimum should make a return trip to the NCAA tournament. (RJ)

Jared Terrell (Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

SAINT MARY’S: Defense

The Gaels have been one of the best offensive teams in the country thus far, ranking third in adjusted offensive efficiency per Ken Pomeroy’s numbers. With the likes of Jock Landale and Emmett Naar on the court, producing on that end of the floor won’t be an issue for Randy Bennett’s team. What has been an issue is the defense, with opponents boasting an effective field goal percentage of 52.6 percent. What would help Saint Mary’s would be an improvement in keeping teams out of the paint, with opponents attempting nearly 34 percent of their shots at the rim according to Hoop-Math. To make a run at Gonzaga in the WCC as many expected in the preseason, Saint Mary’s has to improve defensively. (RJ)

SETON HALL: A pure point guard

It doesn’t even have to be a good one. They just need someone on the roster who is at his best initiating offense, getting into the lane and making people around him better, because they loaded that Khadeen Carrington is being asked to carry does not allow him to be his best self. Last year, playing off the ball, Carrington averaged 17.1 points and shot 42.4 percent from the floor and 38.2 percent from three. This year, as a lead guard, he’s averaging 11.7 points and shooting 36.7 percent from the floor and 21.6 percent from three. Someone to take the pressure off him – or hell, maybe even someone to simply get him some open looks so he can snap out of this slump – would go a long way towards making the Pirates the top 15 team they should be. (RD)

College Basketball Power Rankings: Kentucky drops out of the Top 25

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I’m not sure that this Kentucky season can be considered a worst-case scenario.

Kentucky fans have seen a worst-case scenario.

That came during the 2012-13 season, when a Wildcat team that was trending towards the back end of the top 25 lost their star center Nerlens Noel to a torn ACL in February, dooming them to the NIT, where they lost in the first round to Robert Morris.

That is a worst-case scenario, and barring something totally unforeseen, this Kentucky team is not going to turn into that Kentucky team.

This group looks much more like the team we saw the following year, the one that featured Julius Randle, James Young, the Harrison twins and Willie Cauley-Stein and entered the NCAA tournament as a No. 8 seed with a 24-10 record before making a run to the national title game. That team had plenty of talent, but they never quite gelled until March.

This year’s team does not have that same level of talent, but they are running into some of the same problems.

The question is whether or not this group actually has the potential to come together and make a run like that 2014 team.

RELATED: Kentucky just is not that good

And frankly, I still think they do. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has emerged as a go-to guy while Kevin Knox had seemingly regained his confidence before a poor performance in the home loss to Florida. Quade Green has returned to the lineup, as has Jarred Vanderbilt, who might be the key to unlock the potential on this roster.

In an ideal world, Kentucky’s length and athleticism allows them to be one of the nation’s best defensive teams while the playmaking of Vanderbilt and Green makes their offense fluid enough that they overcome some of their shooting issues. I can still tell myself a story where Kentucky finds a way to put it all together for six straight games in March.

But that’s not who they are right now.

And with each passing game, I grow less and less confident that the elite will ever come out of this group.

Kentucky is not a top 25 basketball team right now. They are nowhere near one of the favorites to win a national title right now. And, at this point, Kentucky fans would do well to adjust their expectations, as a trip out of the Sweet 16 should be considered a success.

Here is the full top 25.

1. Villanova, 18-1 (Last Week: No. 1)
2. Purdue, 19-2 (2)
3. Virginia, 18-1 (5)
4. Kansas, 16-3 (13)
5. Michigan State, 17-3 (7)
6. Duke, 17-2 (10)
7. West Virginia, 16-3 (4)
8. Arizona, 16-4 (8)
9. Xavier, 18-3 (11)
10. Oklahoma, 14-4 (6)
11. North Carolina, 16-4 (17)
12. Texas Tech, 15-4 (3)
13. Cincinnati, 17-2 (19)
14. Ohio State, 17-4 (22)
15. Auburn, 17-2 (18)
16. Tennessee, 13-5 (23)
17. Wichita State, 15-4 (9)
18. Clemson, 16-3 (20)
19. Saint Mary’s, 19-2 (NR)
20. Gonzaga, 17-4 (16)
21. Nevada, 18-3 (NR)
22. Florida, 14-5 (NR)
23. Rhode Island, 15-3 (NR)
24. Arizona State, 15-4 (14)
25. TCU, 14-5 (25)

DROPPED OUT: No. 12 Seton Hall, No. 15 Kentucky, No. 21 Michigan, No. 24 Miami

NEW ADDITIONS: No. 19 Saint Mary’s, No. 21 Nevada, No. 22 Florida, No. 23 Rhode Island

VIDEO: Northern Colorado wins game with halfcourt buzzer beater

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Northern Colorado knocked off North Dakota on Saturday night thanks to a half court buzzer-beating three from Andre Spight.

Spight is averaging 20.3 points on the season and finished with 34 points and six assists in the 94-91 win.

Clemson’s Grantham tears ACL

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The news on Donte Grantham’s knee was not good.

No. 20 Clemson announced on Sunday morning that Grantham, the team’s second-leading scorer and rebounder, would miss the rest of the season after tearing his ACL in a win over Notre Dame on Saturday.

“I’m disappointed that Donte’s career at Clemson had to end this way,” head coach Brad Brownell said. “He was putting together a terrific season statistically, but he really helps this team is so many ways. He’s been a pleasure to coach and it has been fun to watch him mature and grow into the leader of our program.”

Grantham was averaging 14.2 points and 7.1 boards this year.

The Tigers are 16-3 on the season and in line to make a run at an NCAA tournament bid.

VIDEO: West Virginia honored Andrew Jones before game vs. Texas

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The West Virginia basketball team donned burnt orange ‘Big 12 Strong’ warmup shirts with the No. 1 on the back in honor of Texas point guard Andrew Jones.

Jones was diagnosed with leukemia earlier this month.

Texas Tech also honored Jones before a game this week, and Texas has raised more than $100,000 for his medical expenses.

Saturday College Basketball Recap: No. 7 Wichita State, No. 8 Texas Tech lose

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PLAYER OF THE DAY

It’s hard to argue with the performance that J.P. Macura had on Saturday. No. 11 Xavier went into Newark and knocked off No. 19 Seton Hall, 73-64, behind 27 points, five boards and three assists from Macura.

This win was particularly important for Xavier, who remain just a game out of first place in the Big East and in great position to make a run at getting a top three seed, which would mean they likely won’t have to play Villanova until the Big East title game. The loss is the second in a row for Seton Hall and the their third loss in four games.

THE REST OF SATURDAY’S STARS

  • CARSEN EDWARDS, Purdue: Edwards finished with 22 points, eight assists, two steals and no turnovers as the No. 3 Boilermakers blew out Iowa on the road.
  • MALIK NEWMAN, Kansas: Newman finished with 24 points and seven boards, including a personal 7-0 run with three minutes left to help No. 10 Kansas remain in sole possession of first place in the Big 12 with a 70-67 win over Baylor.
  • BRYCE BROWN, Auburn: Brown finished with 28 points as Auburn erased a 14-point halftime deficit to knock off Georgia 79-65 and remain within a game of first-place in the SEC.
  • DEAN WADE, Kansas State: In a win over No. 24 Kansas State, TCU’s second-straight win over a ranked team, Wade went for 20 pints, six boards, six assists, two blocks and two steals.

TEAM OF THE DAY

Houston landed themselves their first marquee win of the season as they pounded No. 7 Wichita State in Houston, 73-59. Rob Gray led the way with 24 points and four assists, putting the Cougars in a position where earning an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament is feasible. There is still plenty of work left to do, but this is the start they needed.

The bigger question mark, however, is Wichita State, who also lost at home to SMU this week. The Shockers are nowhere near as good as many expected them to be. Their offense isn’t good enough to make up for the fact that they aren’t guarding anyone.

GAME OF THE DAY

Trae Young went for 48 points, 34 of which came after halftime as the Sooners erased a 19-point deficit, but thanks to a Kendall Smith three at the end of regulation, this game went into overtime. Young had shots at the buzzer in regulation and in overtime to win the game and missed both, as the Pokes escaped with an 83-81 win.

Young needed 39 shots to get those 48 points. We went through whether or not that is too many shots for him here.

WTF???? OF THE DAY

Iowa State, who can’t guard anyone and is probably the worst team in the Big 12 this season, knocked off No. 8 Texas Tech, 70-52. The Red Raiders have now lost three of their last four games – all of which came on the road – after winning at Kansas. Texas Tech is also now just 1-3 in the four games since Zach Smith broke his foot, but they also beat Baylor by 24 points and won at Kansas when Smith played 10 total minutes.

So you explain Texas Tech to me. Because I don’t get it.

WHAT ELSE DO YOU NEED TO KNOW?

The Florida Gators moved into sole possession of first place in the SEC thanks to a 66-64 win at No. 18 Kentucky on Saturday. It was hardly a pretty game – Florida shot 33 percent from the floor and 6-for-30 from three – but the Gators were able to hang on thanks to a questionable no-call in the final seconds.

No. 20 Clemson held on to beat Notre Dame at home on Saturday, 67-58, but missing out on a commitment from Zion Williamson wasn’t the only bad news of the day. Star forward Donte Grantham went down with a knee injury midway through the second half. He averages 14.3 points and 7.1 boards. Losing him would be disastrous for the Tigers.

No. 14 Arizona had to rally down the stretch, but the Wildcats did. Trailing by as many as 11 points late in the second half at Stanford, the Wildcats survived as Dorian Pickens missed a three at the buzzer. The win puts Arizona all alone in first place in the Pac-12.

Jalen Brunson scored 23 points and Donte DiVincenzo added 17 points off the bench as No. 1 Villanova blew out UConn in Hartford, 81-61.

No. 13 Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s both won, meaning that the Gaels still hold a one game lead over the Zags in the WCC. Nevada knocked off Boise State, giving the Wolf Pack a two-game lead in the Mountain West.

At this point, Pitt barely counts as ACC competition. But they are and No. 5 Duke beat them 81-54 tonight.

Jevon Carter went for 22 points and eight assists as No. 6 West Virginia knocked off Texas, 86-51. The game was closer than the final score indicates, as the Mountaineers pulled away late.

The star of the day for No. 12 Cincinnati was Gary Clark, who finished with 14 points, 14 boards, two assists, two steals and two blocks, in an 86-60 win over East Carolina.

Luke Maye went for 17 points and 11 boards to lead four players in double figures as No. 15 North Carolina held on to beat Josh Pastner and Georgia Tech, 80-66.

It ended up not being much of a game when the Big Ten invaded Madison Square Garden as No. 22 Ohio State put a beating on Minnesota, 67-49. Minnesota lost Jordan Murphy to an ankle injury in the game as well.