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The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

Breakfast Buffet: Elias Harris’ improvement helps spark Gonzaga’s hot start

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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Elias Harris (US Presswire)

1. Gonzaga's Elias Harris is quietly showing signs of disproving those of us who have said his game has plateaued the past couple seasons. Harris had 24 points on 9 of 11 shooting and 10 rebounds in the Zags' 81-67 victory over Davidson in the Old Spice Classic title game, increasing his season averages to 15.7 points and 9.2 rebounds per game. The tournament MVP may not develop into the first-round pick many envisioned two years ago, but he has made strides on the glass and defensively since early in his career.

2. Much like last year's Louisville team had to battle through injuries to make the Final Four, it appears this one will too. An MRI taken Sunday revealed standout center Gorgui Dieng's injured wrist is broken. Louisville did not release a time-table for his return, but such injuries traditionally have sidelined players for 4 to 6 weeks, meaning his status for the Dec. 29 Kentucky game is in jeopardy.

3. Anyone holding out hope Villanova will be much improved this season may want to let that pipe dream go. The Wildcats, 13-19 last season, lost their third straight on Sunday as La Salle ended a 10-game losing streak to Villanova by eking out an 77-74 overtime victory thanks largely to 49 combined points from guards Ramon Galloway and Tyreek Duren. Villanova's frontcourt remains the strength of the team, but its backcourt has shown minimal progress.

[Also: Cal Poly hands UCLA embarrassing home loss]

4. It remains to be seen how improved USC actually is this year, but San Diego State's 66-60 victory at the Galen Center was more impressive than you'd think just based off the score. The Aztecs were without second-leading scorer Chase Tapley due to a knee injury and lost top big man DeShawn Stephens, yet they still managed to run their win streak over Pac-12 foes to 10 in a row.

5. When is scoring 21 points in 17 minutes a major letdown? Only after you set an NCAA scoring record in your previous game. Four days after Jack Taylor received national publicity for scoring 138 points in a single game, William Penn University limited the Grinnell College guard to 6 of 21 shooting and 3 of 13 from behind the arc in Sunday's 131-116 Pioneers loss.

Just when you thought you'd heard every possible "Gangnam Style" parody video, BYU fans create one in an attempt to show top recruit Jabari Parker how much the Cougars want him to come to Provo. Solid effort, guys. I give it a B-plus, though I think the 6,300 "Chicago to Provo" T-shirts in Parker's honor at Saturday night's game was more creative.

"It is like Christmas. They are giving gifts away. We are giving it to them. I would rather have them throw it out of bounds. At least we have an opportunity to play defense." -- Michigan State coach Tom Izzo on his team's 20 turnovers against Louisiana-Lafayette on Sunday. The Ragin' Cajuns had 12 steals and came close to pulling an upset before falling 63-60. (Detroit News)

• Get a head start on holiday shopping tonight, folks. The closest thing to a game worthy of your time is Oakland at Tennessee at 7 p.m. EST.

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