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As the calendar flips to January 2024, the college basketball landscape is ablaze with excitement and anticipation. Teams are battling it out on the courts, striving to secure their spot in the coveted NCAA tournament.

In this blog post, we delve into the latest developments, standout performances, and the top-performing teams making waves in the ever-competitive world of collegiate hoops.

Purdue Boilermakers

The Purdue Boilermakers have been making headlines, resulting in favorable FanDuel NCAAB odds, and Zach Edey is at the forefront of their success. Edey’s dominance on the court is as impressive as a year ago, and it’s a force to be reckoned with. But there’s more to the story than just Edey’s excellence.

One noticeable change for the Boilermakers this season is their faster pace of play, averaging 71.5 possessions per game compared to 64.2 in the previous season, according to KenPom. Coach Matt Painter attributes part of this increased speed to players like Braden Smith, Fletcher Loyer, and Lance Jones, who push the tempo and shoot the lights out from beyond the arc.

Speaking of Braden Smith, he has shown significant improvement, thanks in part to his maturity and physicality. Watching videos from the end of the previous year, one might not even recognize him. Smith now exudes confidence, plays with great pace, and has become a key contributor to the Boilermakers’ success.

Lance Jones is a significant addition to the team this season, whose defensive prowess, toughness, and quickness make him a valuable asset. He also adds depth to the offensive game, capable of creating opportunities and taking shots when needed. While he may occasionally take some contested shots, Jones unquestionably elevates the team’s ceiling.

Houston Cougars

As we move forward in the college basketball season, Houston stands out as the only undefeated team in Division I. However, the question arises: how good are the Cougars?

The answer lies in their dominant defense, which ranks first in adjusted defensive efficiency, turnover percentage, 2-point defense, block percentage, and steal percentage. Their 3-point defense, while not as elite, still ranks at number four. The Cougars’ defensive prowess is evident in their ability to limit opponents’ scoring, with only one team managing to crack the 1.0 point-per-possession barrier against them.

But it’s not just their defense that’s noteworthy. Houston also boasts a top-15 offense, thanks to elite offensive rebounders and high-level guards. The Cougars are proving to be a well-rounded and formidable force in college basketball.

Kansas Jayhawks

The Kansas Jayhawks are holding their own near the top of the Big 12, although it hasn’t always been easy. One of their recent victories, which came against TCU, involved a late-game heroics by Hunter Dickinson. Dickinson drew a flagrant foul in the final seconds, securing a two-point win for the Jayhawks. He scored 30 points during the game, showcasing his importance to the team.

Despite the win, Kansas slid to third place in the rankings, with Purdue and Houston ahead. Their last loss was back in November, and their upcoming matchups, including a game against No. 9 Oklahoma, promise to be exciting battles. The competition in the Big 12 is fierce, and the Jayhawks face an uphill battle to maintain their position.

UConn Huskies

Due to an unfortunate setback, the UConn Huskies, a formidable college basketball force, navigated a challenging stretch early in the Big East slate. Donovan Clingan, the towering star center whose presence in the paint is pivotal to the team’s success, has been sidelined by injury. As the Huskies step onto the court with a 2-1 record in the face of adversity, they’re determined to prove they can weather this storm.

The road ahead is not without its trials. Their upcoming schedule features matchups against competitive opponents like Butler, Xavier, and Georgetown, presenting a stern test of their resilience and depth. These games are not merely contests on the schedule; they are opportunities for the Huskies to demonstrate their mettle and adaptability.

The anticipation of Donovan Clingan’s return hangs like an unanswered question. When will their star center, standing tall at 7-foot-4, make his triumphant comeback? UConn fans, a passionate and dedicated bunch, eagerly await the day when Clingan is back in action, ready to dominate the paint again.

If Clingan can make a healthy return to the lineup, there’s a palpable sense that UConn could swiftly reclaim its status as the Big East’s favorite. The potential impact of his presence is immense, and his return could reignite the Huskies’ championship aspirations.

Tennessee Volunteers

The Tennessee Volunteers have been turning heads with their outstanding defensive performance. Coach Barnes has instilled a culture of relentless defense in his team, and it’s paying off in a big way.

Tennessee’s defensive excellence is characterized by five players playing as a cohesive unit with no weak links defensively. Their effort on the court is remarkable, and they consistently display teamwork on defense. Their guards apply excellent ball pressure and have strong rim protection from their bigs. Additionally, they possess “positionless” players who can switch on defense, adding to their versatility.


As we continue to follow the college basketball season in 2024, it’s clear that these teams will play a significant role in shaping the narrative of this exciting sport. Stay tuned for more updates as the season unfolds and the race for supremacy in college basketball continues!

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