The Line with Caroline: Early Season Surprises

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There are always surprises in the college hoops season and there is no better time to be surprised than in December.  Christmas has come early for fans of several programs.

Illinois (#10) is now road tested and approved. The win at Gonzaga was a big one. Brandon Paul has this team 10-0 and in the top ten.  For them to continue to win, their rebounding has to improve (147th nationally) and Brandon Paul will have to continue to be lights out.

Cincinnati is the nation’s second best rebounding team and averaging 84 points per game.  The Bearcats are now 9-0 and ranked #11.  Their upcoming schedule puts them home on December 27 against New Mexico.  Mark it down, it will be a good one.

Minnesota (#16) has only lost to Duke.  Their marquee win against Memphis put Tubby’s team on the map and began to exercise the Lexington demons from the Gopher coach. This team will kick off conference play against struggling Michigan State.  I’d take the Gophers to get another statement win.

New Mexico (#17) is also undefeated with nine wins and zero losses.  The big date is at Cincinnati Dec 27th.  The Lobos have former Iowa head coach and Indiana star Steve Alford at the helm and he is doing everything right at The Pit.

Wichita State beat my beloved Hawkeyes by 12 and now this team is 9-0 which makes the Shockers shocking.  When they finally meet up with Creighton in the new year, we’ll find out if Gregg Marshall’s team is for real.

For more sports talk and other shenanigans, follow me on Twitter @Mihawkeye.

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