Friday ended up being the most entertaining college basketball slate of the season to date, as the action kicked off at 11:30 a.m. ET with a battle of top 15 teams in UNC and Oregon and ended 12 hours later with No. 15 Utah State facing off Saint Mary’s.
Here are the three things you need to know after Friday’s action.
1. MICHIGAN IS THE BEST TEAM IN THE STATE OF MICHIGAN
The Wolverines were, unquestionably, the most impressive team during Feast Week.
Heading to the Battle 4 Atlantis unranked, they rolled through Iowa State, No. 6 North Carolina and No. 8 Gonzaga en route to the tournament title. Zavier Simpson played like the best point guard in the country, Jon Teske was an absolute force on the interior and while this is yet unconfirmed, I’m checking with sources to see if Michigan actually missed a three during the entire event.
Anyway, it appears as if the Juwan Howard era is going to work out well in Ann Arbor. Here’s a column I wrote on exactly that this afternoon.
2. MARKUS HOWARD WENT FOR 50
Just one day removed from putting 40 points up on Davidson, Markus Howard put up 51 points on USC in a 101-79 win for Marquette.
Howard was 14-for-24 from the floor and 9-for-17 from three. In two games at the Orlando Invitational, Howard has now scored 91 points. He set the record for points scored at the event by midway through the second half of the second game of a three-game tournament.
This is Howard’s third 50 point performance, but it’s the first time that he’s reached 50 without playing an overtime game. The 32 minutes he played to get to 50 points is the fewest by a high-major player in 25 years.
What’s even more impressive is that he is the only Division I player in the past 20 season with multiple 50-point games. He’s just the fourth player in major conference history with a 40 point game on back-to-back days, joining LSU’s Pete Maravich and Bob Pettit and Ole Miss’ Johnny Neumann. There are only two other players in high-major history that have scored 50 points in a game in three consecutive season: Maravich and Oklahoma’s Wayman Tisdale.
I think this Howard guy might be pretty good.
3. CASSIUS STANLEY IS ‘OUT FOR A WHILE’
Stanley has been one of the pleasant surprises in college basketball this season. A starting wing for No. 1 Duke, he entered Friday night averaging 14.1 points while shooting 36.4 percent from three on the season. He’s been one of college basketball’s pleasant November surprises.
On Friday night, he had to be carried off the floor by his teammates. Early in the second half, he had an awkward fall on a wide-open layup, immediately grabbing the back of his left knee. Head coach Mike Krzyzewski called the injury “muscular” and said that it is not believed to be a knee injury, but that Stanley heard a pop and that “he’s going to be out for a while.”
What’s a while?
K said he hopes to get Stanley back after Christmas, but we will not have an exact timeline for his return until after an MRI, which Stanley is scheduled to undergo on Saturday.