Michigan State entered Big Ten play with a losing record (5-6)
for the first time in 27 years, and the Spartans allowed Kentucky
and Syracuse to shoot better than 60%. The last Spartans foe to
hit that mark? Minnesota--on Feb. 13, 1999.
Last season Texas center James Thomas averaged 11.0 rebounds
(first in the Big 12), and he was Texas's third-leading scorer
(11.1 per game). Through Monday, however, Thomas was averaging
only 6.8 points and 7.2 rebounds. On Dec. 29 coach Rick Barnes
replaced him in the starting lineup with freshman P.J. Tucker.
Barnes says the 6'8" Thomas fell behind in the preseason, when
back spasms limited his work in the team's conditioning program.
"His attitude has been great," Barnes says, "but he has lost some
confidence." On Monday, Thomas scored four points and got seven
rebounds in Texas's 79-77 overtime win at Providence. If the
Longhorns (8-2) are to challenge in the Big 12, they'll need the
Thomas of old.
1. The Big Ten is hurting. The league suffered a slew of
embarrassing losses last week: by Minnesota (to Nebraska), Purdue
(Colorado State), Michigan (Boston University), Indiana (Temple)
and Wisconsin (Alabama).
2. For Virginia it's deja vu all over again. After their third
patsy-laden start of at least 8-0 in four years, the Cavaliers
dropped their ACC opener to N.C. State, 86-69, and were beaten by
Providence 84-69 last Saturday.
3. Radenovic fits nicely in a box score. In his first three
games, Arizona's 6'10" freshman forward Ivan Radenovic averaged
12.0 points and 7.3 rebounds.