PLAYER TO WATCH
Marcus Keene, guard, Central Michigan
It’s almost hard to believe a 5-foot-9, 175-pound guard can average 29.8 points per game and score 40 points or more six times in a season. Keene has the type of nifty ball-handling ability and deep-shooting range not probably seen at the midmajor level since Steph Curry was at Davidson.
GAME OF THE WEEKEND
No. 12 Florida at No. 10 Kentucky, 2 p.m. Saturday (Ch. 4): The Gators are the hottest team among power conference schools with a nine-game winning streak. The Wildcats have won five in a row since a 22-point loss Feb. 4 at Florida. This game has Southeastern Conference title implications, with both teams tied at 13-2. Point guard De’Aaron Fox, Kentucky’s second-leading scorer, is a game-time decision because of a bruised right knee.
Sometimes when success happens so quickly, it’s hard to appreciate just how special the accomplishment is. Looking back at where the Gophers were a year ago at 2-13 in the Big Ten, you could see signs of progress in the future — but not this type of one-year turnaround. But that’s college basketball, where a few newcomers can make a huge difference, especially when the new guys and returning players all buy in and play together.