Off The Boards By Jack Scheuer – February 24, 2016 Edition

Off The Boards

By Jack Scheuer

February 24, 2016 Edition

In a season where big games seem to have been plentiful, none were more important to Villanova and Temple than the ones on this week’s schedule.  Tonight, the number one ranked Wildcats visit # 5 Xavier, a team they walloped, 93 – 64, on December 31.  Nova, with its eyes on a top seed in the tournament, and a possible regional date at the Wells Fargo Center, will have to be at it’s best.  Xavier, playing in front of what I’m guessing will be its biggest home crowd ever, is very talented, and has seven players averaging 20 minutes or more.  That group includes Edmond Sumner (11.4 points per game) who was injured in the last meeting and played only 2 minutes.
Then there is Temple, who had a big road win over Houston on Sunday to stay firmly on the bubble.  However, last night the Owls suffered a critical and resounding loss to Tulsa.  Now, saddled with 10 losses it looks like Fran Dunphy’s team will have to win the AAC Tournament in order to make the Big Dance.
The way things are going this season, with so much excitement even before the big tournament starts, come March we could be seeing more Madness than ever.  Good Hoops; you gotta love it!
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Saint Joe’s, still in good shape despite it’s loss at Davidson and the buzz-saw that was Jack Gibbs, still has to take care of business at UMass tonight, and at home with St. Louis on Sunday.  With Deandre’ Bembry and Isaiah Miles continuing to impress, the Hawks, (22-5), barring a total collapse should make it to the NCAA’s.
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Trivia Time: Who holds the Division 1 single season record for the highest assist average? (13.3). Big hint: He is currently a major college coach. Answer at the end of the column.
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This and That: The guy with the best nick-name in Division 1 is also a pretty good player.  Scoochie Smith (real name Dayshon) is averaging 10.5 points per game and leads Dayton (22-5)  in assists…. La Salle’s 6-7 sophomore forward Yevgen Sakhniuk, has returned from his injury with a bang, hitting on 41 of his 54 shot attempts.( 73.2%)….Kyle Collinsworth, BYU’s 6-6 senior, leads the nation with 4 triple-doubles this season….Ben Simmons is obviously a big-time talent and gets most of the ink, but two other freshmen, Kentucky’s Brandon Ingram and Duke’s Jamal Murray should go very high in the lottery.  Might the Philadelphia  Analytics be interested?…. Upcoming: On Saturday, Villanova visits Marquette, and Temple is at home with Central Florida; La Salle hosts Fordham tonight, and George Mason on Saturday;  Drexel hopes to make it two in a row tomorrow night against Delaware, then meets Northeastern on Saturday, and Penn has a Palestra weekend with Cornell and Columbia…. And whatever happened to Andrew Bynum?
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Answer to Trivia Time: Playing at Southern U. in 1987-88, present Alabama coach Avery Johnson set the single season assist record.

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