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The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

Breakfast Buffet: Battle 4 Atlantis semifinals highlight loaded post-Thanksgiving slate

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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Quinn Cook (Getty Images)

1. The most intriguing matchup of Friday's loaded slate of college hoops will pit Duke point guard Quinn Cook against VCU's frenetic half-court defense. Cook has performed well so far this season since inheriting the job partially because the Blue Devils do not have another true point guard on their roster. He'll face a huge test Friday against a VCU team that forced 22 turnovers against Memphis and harassed Tigers point guard Joe Jackson into a seven-turnover, two-assist night.

2. The second Battle 4 Atlantis semifinal is a matchup that may be won by whichever team relies less on outside shooting. When Missouri struggled for stretches against Stanford on Thursday in a 78-70 victory, it was often because the Tigers settled for contested jump shots rather than pounding the ball inside or having Phil Pressey create off the dribble. Meanwhile, Louisville's suspect perimeter shooting was exposed once again in a 51-46 win over Northern Iowa when the Cardinals went 5 of 22 from behind the arc.

3. Rashawn King, a North Carolina Central guard diagnosed with leukemia at age 17, has been cleared to make his college basketball debut against Wagner on Saturday. This terrific column from CBSSports.com's Gary Parrish tells King's story in detail. When he was diagnosed after he didn't feel right at a football camp one day, doctors told him that his white blood cell count was so high he would have died the next day had he not made it to the hospital.

4. Between a season-ending injury to guard Chris Fouch and three early losses to Kent State, Illinois State and Saint Mary's, Drexel has endured a miserable first two weeks of the season. The Dragons' 76-64 Anaheim Classic loss to the Gaels on Thursday pretty much ended the CAA favorite's hopes of an at-large NCAA tournament bid because there aren't many chances for marquee wins left on their non-conference schedule.

5. Just when it seemed safe to buy into the idea of Xavier being better than expected this season, the Musketeers open play at the Anaheim Classic with a discouraging quarterfinal loss to Pacific. Xavier's defense had been its strength throughout its undefeated start, particularly in a blowout win over Butler, but the Musketeers allowed the Tigers to sink 15 of their last 20 shots to spring the upset.

One of the few highlights for Memphis in Thursday's 78-65 loss to VCU was this two-handed dunk by high-flying D.J. Stephens off an out-of-bounds play. It brought the Tigers within five, but that was not enough to overcome 22 turnovers against VCU's trademark "Havoc" pressure defense.

"When we see their hands on their knees. I saw it a couple of times tonight." — VCU guard Darius Theus on when the Rams knew they had Memphis beat. VCU sank 13 0f 22 3-pointers, pressured Memphis into 22 turnovers and took down the Tigers 78-65 in the quarterfinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament. (CBSSports.com)

• West Virginia vs. Davidson, 12:30 p.m. EST

• Minnesota vs. Memphis, 1 p.m. EST

• Kansas State vs. Michigan, 4:30 p.m. EST

• Iowa State vs. Cincinnati, 6:30 p.m. EST

• Duke vs. VCU, 7 p.m. EST

• Gonzaga vs. Oklahoma, 7:30 p.m. EST

• Oregon at UNLV, 9 p.m. EST

• Missouri vs. Louisville, 9:30 p.m. EST

• Wisconsin vs. Creighton 10 p.m. EST

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