Hey that was fun, no? Feast Week is now behind us, but it most certainly piqued our interest in the college game, allowing us to see the opportunity for what should be a special season for fans. There were a ton of games, but sitting on the beach for the week prevented me from diving into all of them. From what I was able to observe, here are my five takeaways from Feast Week...
The Maui is still the best early season tourney. With the influx of early season tournaments to keep us busy during Feast Week, some may think that the Maui has lost some of its luster. It hasn't. What once was annually the primary focus of the entire month of November has spawned a number of imitating eight-team, three-game guaranteed tournaments. Watching Duke knock off Kansas in the season's first true thriller reaffirmed that the Maui started this early season tournament game, and granddaddy of them all. If you think there's a better atmosphere than the Lahaina Civic Center, a better announcing trio of McDonough, Bilas and Raftery, and a more meaningful championship game this early in the season, then I can confidently say you are simply wrong.
- Harvard is making me look smart. Not because I went there, but because I had a hunch this team was more than just the Ivy League favorites. The Crimson defeated Utah, Florida State and UCF to win the Battle 4 Atlantis. They're now 5-0, and appear to be able to play at nearly any pace; their game point totals range from the mid 40s to the high 70s. With no conference tournament to keep them on edge, look for Tommy Amaker's club to cruise through league play and clinch that coveted first NCAA Tournament bid in early March.
- Missouri shows just how useful good guard play can be. Let's put to rest any questions asking if Frank Haith was the right choice to replace Mike Anderson in Columbia. Off to a 5-0 start, it's not surprising that the Tigers have an unblemished record, but it is surprising in the way it's been accomplished. With no Laurence Bowers, 83 percent of the team's total minutes have been logged by players 6'6" or less. Previously focused on employing "40 minutes of hell," the Tigers have slowed the pace and are focused on a more half-court based game; taking good shots and tactfully deciding when to trap and double team as a means of creating turnovers. If they keep this up, the Big 12 will be an intriguing three-horse race.
- J'Covan Brown will probably be one of the most polarizing players this season. Currently the leading scorer in the country, you'd have a hard time convincing anyone that Texas' J'Covan Brown is, in fact, the best scorer in the country. But the Longhorns are desperate for offense this season, and it appears Brown can be that guy. The problem is Brown's character, which has been a bit sketchy while in Austin. Those traits reared its ugly head again this week, forcing the Longhorns to lose a game to NC State, one they had full control of for the first 32 minutes. Brown picked up both his fourth and fifth personal fouls out of pure frustration, which spurred the Wolfpack to close the game on a 24-9 run. Naturally, Rick Barnes was quite upset.
- Jared Cunningham is slowly becoming a star. Rob Dauster over at Ballin is a Habit had a nice piece proclaiming that last weekend's Legends Classic was Cunningham's coming out party. The wiry 6'4" junior is averaging 21 points this season, leading the upstart Beavers to a 5-1 start. If this output continues, OSU will contend in the Pac 12, and keep us salivating for awesome Cunningham highlights.