CBB : Bubble Teams

CBB : Bubble Teams

ASA: Bubble Teams
January 31, 2008

Last week we looked at what was going among the top 25 teams in the country. There’s value to be found throughout college basketball so this week we’ll look at the teams knocking on the top-25 door.

Mississippi State – The Bulldogs played perhaps their best game of the season with a 20-point blowout of No. 15 Ole Miss to extend their winning streak to nine straight. They could be without one of their key reserves for an extended period, though. Guard Ben Hansbrough, brother of North Carolina’s Tyler, had been playing through a fractured left hand but has now come down with a bad case of mononucleosis that could sideline him up to three weeks. Hansbrough is averaging just shy of 10 points per game this year.
   
Connecticut – Starting guard and second-leading scorer Jerome Dyson, along with primary backup guard Doug Wiggins, were suspended indefinitely following an off-court incident. It didn’t really seem to affect the Huskies as they posted back-to-back impressive wins over Indiana and Louisville. The length of the suspensions is still to be determined.

Dayton – Injuries to big men Chris Wright and Charles Little, the team’s two leading rebounders, have had a dramatic affect on the team. Wright has missed the last four games and the Flyers are 1-3 SU and ATS in those games. Both Wright and Little have missed the last two games and Dayton has lost those games by 21.5 points. Both are expected to be out until mid-February.

Louisville – The Cardinals have been a team that lives and dies by the three-pointer this year. They’ve lost six games this year and the common thread in those losses has been poor shooting from deep. Louisville has shot just 41-of-153 (26.8%) from three-point range in those losses. It would be wide to go against the Cards when they are going up against good perimeter defenses.

Oklahoma – Leading scorer and rebounder Blake Griffin made an unexpectedly quick return to the lineup following a knee injury. The freshman was expected to miss up to four weeks but missed only one game, returning to lead the Sooners to an upset win over Baylor Saturday. He has come off the bench in both games since his return but has averaged a healthy 16 points and 9.5 boards in 24.5 minutes per game.

Villanova – Injuries to two key role players have played a role in Villanova’s current three-game slide. Forward Shane Clark, who is fourth on the team in scoring and third in rebounding, played just three minutes Wednesday after suffering from fatigue. Center Casiem Drummond, who is second on the team in rebounding and is one of Nova’s few low-post presences, has played just 10 minutes over the last 11 games due to a stress fracture in his ankle.

Clemson – Sophomore forward Trevor Booker, the team’s leading rebounder and second-leading scorer, could miss Saturday’s game with Boston College. Booker suffered a high ankle sprain Sunday at Miami and has been held out of practice all week. He is listed as questionable for Saturday.

St. Joseph’s – Hawks point guard Tasheed Carr returned Wednesday night from a four-game absence to lead St. Joe’s to a 61-59 win over George Washington. Carr, who leads the team with 6.6 assists per game to go along with 11.8 points, showed no effects from the sprained ankle that forced him out for four games.

Missouri – An off-the-court incident has left the Missouri basketball program extremely short-handed. Five players were suspended indefinitely following a postgame altercation outside of a nightclub Sunday morning. Leading scorer Stefhon Hannah broke his jaw in the incident and could be sidelined four to six weeks. Joining him on the bench will be guard Jason Horton and forwards Darryl Butterfield, Marshall Brown and Leo Lyons. Those five players combine to average 39.6 points, 16 boards and 11.8 assists per game. Missouri’s full-court pressure defense relies on depth to keep players fresh but with five rotation players each averaging at least 13 minutes per game on the bench, keeping players fresh could be a difficult task.

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