The name of the daily article where I break down some of the key headlines from the previous days’ results has officially changed from Takeaways to the Daily Roundup, so be prepared for that going forward. If you are wanting a reason why the name change, it kind of just rolls off the tongue better and while much of the premises of the article will remain the same, the name change will be intact going forward. Let’s debut the roundup with the first Monday of College Basketball games, which means we are officially a week into the season. AP Top-10 Illinois losing to Marquette will get much of the headlines but otherwise, it was a solid night in College Basketball, with a decent slate of games going on, let’s round it up with some key takeaways from these Monday games.
Shaka Smart is going to have a career resurgence at Marquette
Whether it is this year or next, Shaka Smart’s tenure at Marquette will be met with new levels of success that Marquette hasn’t had in a while, as they will make it to the Tournament and win games once in the Big Dance. Texas and Smart was a bad fit, with the pressure being on winning on the recruiting trail, Shaka Smart lost what it was that made him a good basketball coach and that was by winning on the defensive end. Smart went out this offseason and grabbed two elite defenders in Darryl Morsell and Kur Kuath to pair with a young group of players and the returns have been good thus far. This team gets after opponents on defense and made some people’s All-American André Curbello, look like a complete mess on the court.
Illinois needs to put the ball more in Trent Frazier’s hands
André Curbelo is fun, he’s exciting, he seems to have fun and play with his smile on his face, but that doesn’t mean him touching the ball on every possession is what is best for Illinois. Sure, he and Kofi Cockburn are good in the pick-and-roll, but that’s not going to be available on every possession, and doesn’t need to be either. Curbelo though is just a little too wild to trust him on a consistent basis and while Illinois will win games because of him, they will lose games, like the one against Marquette as well. I think the key comes with putting the ball more in Trent Frazier’s hands, sure he’s not as flashy but he’s a capable ball-handler and a good scorer, so at the very least you have your best pure scorer touching the ball.
Let’s get this trending, it’s time to rank the Washington State Cougars, the sooner, the better as well. This Washington State team is legit, handling business against a really good UC Santa Barbara team was not something I necessarily expected but is exactly what Washington State did. The game was never in doubt, in fact, while the final score would tell you it was a close game when in fact UCSB went on a 7-0 run in the last minute just to lose by 8. The Cougars will have to win other games to get on some people’s radar, but not mine. This team is legit and will be heading to the NCAA Tournament.
Kim English will have to become Missouri’s Head Coach sooner than we thought
The match is already made in heaven, Missouri is going to eventually hire Kim English to step in and be their Head Basketball coach, the transition just will happen quicker than expected. English’s George Mason team is off to a great start, while Missouri just lost at home to UMKC, which is not ideal. Cuonzo Martin hasn’t done terribly but the team is going nowhere and failed to capitalize on their momentum of having the Porter brothers. Sure, last season’s Tournament saved him from an early termination a season ago, but with the way this year is heading, it might have only delayed it a year. I do think Martin is a good basketball coach, and he should land somewhere decent this offseason, maybe Cal should take him back.
Paladins miss a chance to impress
Furman already got national attention by beating Louisville on the road but had a real chance to earn some additional attention and get another likely quadrant one win in the process, leading by three late, the Paladins fouled a three-point shooter, and after Luke Smith made all three the game went to overtime. Not that this was a game Furman was set to win, but leading by three late they should have won, and instead, it gets away from them. We can only hope that Furman remains above the bubble throughout the season so that this loss doesn’t come back to bite them.
LSU wins with Defense?
Yes, you are reading that correctly, LSU won a game because of their defense, which if you’ve watched any LSU basketball over the past few years is a surprise. The Tigers have been poor on that end of the ball in recent years but today was a different story, especially late. They forced the ball away from Darius McGhee and held Liberty to just 38% shooting in their 16-point win against the Flames. The offense remains a concern, as they don’t have the same level of scoring as in past years, but if the defense plays like this they can make the NCAA Tournament.