By Jon Rothstein
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Phil Pressey only made one of eight shots in Missouri’s 81-71 win over Villanova on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden — and it didn’t matter with the way he ran the Tigers offense. “Flip” as he’s known in most basketball circles was like a maestro conducting an orchestra, setting the table for his teammates on what felt like every possession. The burgeoning sophomore floor general dished out 12 assists in just 24 minutes of action and looked like one of the premier players at his position in all of college basketball.


The rest of the Big 12 has been put on notice — Marcus Denmon may be the best player in the conference. Whenever Missouri needed a big basket against Villanova, Denmon delivered — and at an impressive percentage. The combo guard scored 28 points while shooting 10-of-16 from the floor and making 6-of-10 three-pointers against the Wildcats, looking every bit like a legitimate Big 12 Player of the Year candidate along with Baylor’s Perry Jones, Kansas’ Thomas Robinson, and Texas A + M’s Khris Middleton.


He may not have arrived on the Main Line with the cache of the rest of Villanova’s freshmen class but Darrun Hilliard looks like a hidden gem for the Wildcats. The southpaw guard has an unspoken toughness to him and an uncanny ability to make timely shots. This kid will be a solid program player for Jay Wright and Villanova for four years.


Abdul Gaddy is a seasoned veteran and does have more experience than Washington freshman point guard Tony Wroten — but he isn’t nearly as talented. Wroten, a lefty from Seattle has all the intangibles of a special facilitator and could be a perfect table setter for the Huskies two marquee wings C.J. Wilcox and Terrence Ross. Don’t be surprised to see this southpaw starting when the PAC-12 schedule begins.


Confident, polished, and full of swagger, Marquette’s Todd Mayo is no ordinary freshman. The brother of current NBA star O.J. Mayo, the 6-foot-3 combo guard is one of the more under the radar first-year players in American considering his skill level and early production. His presence will give Buzz Williams a lethal four-guard rotation along with Vander Blue, Junior Cadougan, and Darius Johnson-Odom.


17 + 11

The numbers of points and rebounds for Missouri big man Ricardo Ratliffe.


The disparity between Washington and Marquette in rebounding. The Huskies outrebounded the Golden Eagles 46-32 despite the 79-77 defeat.


“This is the most unselfish team I’ve ever seen,” Missouri’s Ricardo Ratliffe on Missouri.

“He’s getting there. He’s a little rusty still because he didn’t play at all last year,” Villanova coach Jay Wright on former Bishop Loughlin star Jayvaughn Pinkston, who had 10 points and seven rebounds for Villanova against Missouri.

“We don’t want to be tactical. We don’t want to be technical. We want to be tough,” Marquette coach Buzz Williams on the Golden Eagles’ mindset.

What did you take from Missouri-Villanova? Let Rothstein know in the comments below…

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