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Breakfast Buffet: Ill-timed injuries may derail Big Sky favorite Montana

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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Montana's Will Cherry (Getty Images)

1. Big Sky favorite Montana lost more than just a basketball game when Davidson beat the Grizzlies 93-87 on Saturday evening. Already without leading scorer Mathias Ward as a result of a sprained arch suffered its previous game, Montana also lost all-conference guard Will Cherry when he injured the same foot he broke before the season. Cherry fears it's broken again, which would be a crippling loss to a team that had Cinderella potential in March had it been full strength.

2. As Michigan lost three of four games and Indiana surged to the top of the Big Ten and the national rankings, Victor Oladipo rode that momentum to the forefront of the national player of the year race. On Sunday, Michigan point guard Trey Burke sent a reminder that, yes, he's still here, scoring 26 points on just 11 shots and dishing out eight assists to lead the Wolverines to a 71-58 win over Illinois.

3. Arizona took advantage of the uncertainty about Ben Howland's future at UCLA and landed a Los Angeles recruit the Bruins wanted badly. Point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright, a consensus top 50 recruit in the class of 2014, committed to the Wildcats on Sunday, meaning he'll likely be the understudy to Duquesne transfer T.J. McDonnell for a year before taking over the starting job.

4. It looks increasingly possible that Seton Hall's top recruit in the class of 2013 may never don a Pirates uniform. Aquille Carr, the diminutive yet high-flying Baltimore guard known as the "Crimestopper," told the Baltimore Sun he is considering playing professionally overseas next year. "Seton Hall is still my choice right now," Carr said. "But I'm thinking about a lot more stuff that I could advance to. I think I'm ready to make it like my job."

5. One of the biggest reasons Oklahoma is in position to return to the NCAA tournament in just Lon Krueger's second year of a rebuilding process is because the Sooners' seniors have not balked at ceding playing time to talented newcomers. Andrew Fitzgerald,Sam Grooms and Cameron Clark, who had amassed a combined 165 starts prior to this season, have started just three games combined this year.

The pressure of matching his father's basketball exploits hasn't always been easy for Shawn Kemp Jr. to cope with, but the Washington sophomore is starting to emerge as a key contributor for the Huskies. And Saturday night against Arizona State, he even had a tomahawk dunk that surely conjured up memories of the Reign Man for Seattle-area fans.

"I'd be the first to tell you I don't know. Good question to ask him. I think he's been up and down offensively at times but never, ever, ever defensively. And maybe all those things are getting to him a little bit and (he's) putting a little pressure on himself. ... He does look like a different player right now than the one two weeks ago." -- Michigan State coach Tom Izzo on the cause of point guard Keith Appling's recent struggles. Appling followed a poor game against Indiana by playing shoddy defense and scoring three points on 1 of 6 shooting against Ohio State (Detroit Free Press)

• Syracuse at Marquette, 7 p.m. EST

• Kansas at Iowa State, 9 p.m. EST

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