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College Basketball - UConn, Duke, Memphis & Illinois

By hagrin - Posted on 05 August 2006

This week will/has told us a lot already about the teams that will be there in March. UConn had its first real test last night against Pitt and came out with a victory - albeit, at home. Grabbing a win against a quality opponent like Pitt shows a lot about how UConn has the talent to turn it up when needed and beat quality teams. However, you have to be concerned by the fact that Gray had a huge night inside against UConn and Armstrong and Boone had decent to shaky games. If not for another great effort by Rudy Gay, who has been turning it on as of late, UConn could have lost this game. UConn is an elite team however and I expectthem to make a major run in March.

Duke has yet another huge test tonight against Boston College, yet another highly ranked team on the road. Tonight will be a very physical game which usually does not favor Duke so this should be a tough game. However, BC doesn't play with the consistency and defensive intensity needed to beat elite teams, so Duke should win this game. However, if they do not, you can bet you will hear the Big East > ACC talk for yet another month (as BC was an old Big East team).

Finally, I have been thinking about the topic of defense. Illinois improved their record to 20-2 with another defensive lockdown of Wisconsin last night. I would have to say that of the higher ranked teams, Illinois and Memphis might be two of the best defensive teams around. Illinois does it with speed and strength where Memphis does it with length and athleticism. Defense does win championships and as long as they can find enough points on the offensive end, Illinois and memphis could also make a solid run in March.