Starting Five: Michigan State and more
Don't look now, but Cassius Winston and Michigan State have got things rolling again. Five-star senior Greg Brown took in a visit over the weekend and has more planned. Also, the waiting game for Gonzaga begins now that they've landed five-star Jalen Suggs and more in Eric Bossi's Starting Five.
ROUNDTABLE: Final Four revisions, 2020 predictions and more
MICHIGAN STATE ROLLING
There was some worry about a Michigan State team predicted to do big things this season through the Spartans first stretch of games. They only went 5-3 and looked a little lost while adjusting to the loss of guard Josh Langford. A tough schedule didn't make things any easier, either.
Now, Tom Izzo is probably loving that his team had to fight through some adversity because the Spartans have bounced back big and they're my team of the weekend after an 87-69 pummeling of rival Michigan, giving them seven straight wins.
Just in case anybody forgot, the Spartans look like a legitimate Final Four contender. Not surprisingly the biggest reason for their surge is the play of standout senior point guard Cassius Winston. Winston has been playing really well of late and with his 31 points and nine assists against the Wolverines, he reminded the country why he was a popular pick for player of the year and All-American awards during the preseason. Right behind Winston, big man Xavier Tillman turning into a double-double machine has been hugely beneficial.
It's still pretty early in Big Ten play, but as far as I'm concerned the Spartans have established themselves as the team to beat and are looking like a threat nationally.
FIVE-STAR BROWN TAKES IN MEMPHIS
Five-star forward Greg Brown took his third official visit when he checked in on Penny Hardaway and the Memphis Tigers this weekend.
He'll be on the road again soon.
Having now visited finalists Auburn, Memphis and Texas, the 6-foot-8 skywalking combo forward will see Kentucky this weekend. It also sounds as if a visit to Michigan (who would replace North Carolina as a finalist) is being worked out for February.
So, what to make of all of this movement?
Not a lot just yet, but it is a pretty good indicator that Brown is getting closer to decision-making mode and could come as early as mid to late February.
For a while now, Texas has been figured to be the favorite because of the hometown advantage. But, after Brown sees Kentucky this weekend he'll be pretty familiar with many other campuses and from what I've heard there really isn't a favorite as both Auburn and Memphis are right there with Texas as Brown preps to visit Lexington.
I would love to have something a little more concrete on exactly where Brown's recruitment stands, but there just isn't any clarity at this point.
WAITING GAME STARTS FOR GONZAGA WITH SUGGS
Gonzaga got great news on Friday night when five-star point guard Jalen Suggs committed. The athletic, tough and high scoring floor general's commitment moved the Zags into a tie at No. 6 with N.C. State in the 2020 team rankings. Coming on the heels of 2019's No. 4 ranked class, Mark Few and his staff are heating up in Spokane.
But, as I mentioned in my commitment article on Friday night Zags fans are going to have to hold their breath. Now that he's official, it's going to become a question of how serious Suggs wants to be about pursuing professional options overseas. I'll say this, most other kids and those around them who have had overseas rumors attached to them have tried to downplay them. Not so much with Suggs. For that reason, I wouldn't exactly be counting on Suggs ever wearing a Gonzaga jersey.
That's what makes the commitment of four-star guard Dominick Harris so important. Don't get me wrong, Harris has always been a good get for the Zags, but given that Suggs may not ever make it to campus he's more important than ever.
The good news here? Harris has been outstanding all winter long at Temecula (Calif.) Rancho Christian. He's really maturing physically and has taken his athleticism to another level. Combine that with his ability to shoot, size and defensive ability and whether it be Suggs, Harris or both, Gonzaga looks to be set at the point for next season.
KENTUCKY BREATHING A SIGH OF RELIEF
I know it hasn't always been pretty as Kentucky looks to find reliable scoring and works through some issues offensively. But, I've not wavered from my feeling that John Calipari has a legitimate Final Four contender in Lexington.
When I saw point guard Ashton Hagans go down clutching at the back of his ankle/leg on Saturday, I saw the Wildcats season potentially going up in flames. I can't even imagine what the Big Blue Nation faithful must have been thinking.
However, the fear subsided when Calipari said that the injury is relatively minor and that Hagans should be ok. So maybe he misses a game or two (maybe he doesn't) but the important thing here if you are a Wildcat fan is that Hagans is ok.
I'm going to steal a stat from David Sisk who does great work covering recruiting and x's and o's for our Kentucky, Minnesota and Vanderbilt sites. Hagans has been averaging 14.3 points, 8.4 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game over the last 10 contests. That's rock solid and All-SEC type production right there. On a team without a lot of consistency, the loss of that level of nightly contribution could have been disastrous.
PROVIDENCE LANDS THREE-STAR FORWARD
Not a bad week for Ed Cooley and the Providence basketball program.
They wrapped their week up on Sunday night by landing a commitment from three-star forward Jyare Davis. Already a three-time all-state player in Delaware, Davis was off the national radar last summer but the buzz has been that he's been strong during his senior year and is showing why he was a well-known prospect early in his career.
Davis seems like the perfect kind of guy for Cooley. Perhaps a little overlooked, athletic, tough and more of a tweener between the three and four than somebody that you lock into one spot. Davis can definitely play in the Big East.