Joe Sullivan | On College Basketball

Led by Kyle Guy, Virginia is better than expected

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - DECEMBER 03: Jevon Carter #2 of the West Virginia Mountaineers defends Kyle Guy #5 of the Virginia Cavaliers in the second half during a game at John Paul Jones Arena on December 3, 2016 in Charlottesville, Virginia. The West Virginia Mountaineers defeated the Virginia Cavaliers 66-57. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
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Kyle Guy is averaging 9.4 points per game.

Adoption papers have been filed. Sully’s Court has a new favorite freshman, Kyle Guy of Virginia. Guy was instrumental in a big victory for the Cavaliers last week as they beat a good California team in Berkeley, ending the Bears’ 27-game home-court winning streak.

The Cavaliers are better than I thought. They’re playing the style coach Tony Bennett espouses – precise, careful offense and smothering man-to-man half-court defense. They should have been a Final Four team last season, but lost a strange Elite Eight game to Syracuse. They should have had some slippage, but the Cavs will be a factor in the ACC.

Guy, a 6-3 freshman guard, is one of the reasons. Coming off the bench, he’s the team’s second-leading scorer, but has a great all-around game with some you-can’t-teach instincts that make his teammates better.


Then there’s the hair.It even has its own Twitter account @Kyleguyshair.

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People are calling it a man bun, but I think he should claim it is to honor the samurai or perhaps he’s trying to get a role in a Quentin Tarantino film.

He was Mr. Basketball in Indiana and he got away from Indiana and Purdue. Indeed, he’s just the type of guard Purdue needs to elevate to the next level. Virginia will reap the rewards.

A look at last week in college basketball:

Elevator going up:

Brown: When are the Bears any good ever? This year is the answer. They are 8-5, have won seven of their last eight, and are undefeated at home in seven games. The eight non-league victories are the second-most in program history behind the nine recorded by the 2001-02 team. The team’s leading scorer is Stephen Speith, a 6-6 senior forward who’s averaging 16.3 ppg. He’s got a pretty famous older brother, Masters and US Open champion Jordan Speith. Jordan was in attendance at Brown’s last victory over Maine. Princeton, the Ivy League’s preseason favorite, has been wrecked by injuries. Harvard would have to be the favorite now. Maybe the Bears have a chance.

Canisius: The Golden Griffins have won five in a row, including a 106-101 OT win at Saint Bonaventure, a long-time rival. They also lead the nation with six true road victories.


Clemson: The Tigers have won seven straight, including a significant road victory over arch-rival South Carolina.

Harvard: Bryce Aiken is emerging as a force for the Crimson, who notched a nice road win at Houston Friday night. Aiken had a career high 21 points and the freshman guard looks like he’s going to be an outstanding player for four years.

NC State: Prize freshman Omer Yurtseven, a seven-footer, has played only three games, but it seems like it’s been transformative for the Wolfpack, who have won five in a row after a puzzling loss at Illinois. With Yurtseven and freshman guard Dennis Smith Jr., the Pack might be coming together in time for ACC play. Look out.

Oregon: The Ducks have won nine in a row as they head into Pac 12 play and the first game will be a challenge: vs. UCLA on Wednesday night in Eugene, Ore.

Purdue: The Boilers have won six in a row and are poised to make a run at the Big 10 title. The reason they have a chance is sophomore Caleb Swanigan, a 6-9, 250-pound beast. He was projected to be a one-and-done but had an uneven freshman year and returned to school. He is playing now like people believed he would last season, averaging 18.3 ppg and 12.5 rpg.


San Diego State: The Aztecs won the Diamond Head Classic (still an eight-team tournament) and they might be the best defensive team in the country. They still struggle at times offensively, but are clearly a big favorite to win the Mountain West.

Escalator going down:

Colorado State: Early-season victories over New Mexico State and Colorado stamped the Rams as a possible contender in the Mountain West. A loss to Kansas State in Denver (as opposed to Fort Collins) wasn’t too bad, but then losses to Loyola Marymount at home and Long Beach State on the road followed. Maybe not a contender.

Middle Tennessee: I love the Blue Raiders, but they really disappointed me by losing at home to Georgia State.

Richmond: Spidey has lost four of the last six, including being upset by a bad Oral Roberts team Friday night.

Southern Mississippi: Traveling 4,200 miles is a long way to go to lose three games in four days and finish last in the Diamond Head Classic.

Syracuse: We can now say grad transfers don’t always work out because Andrew White (Nebraska) and John Gillion (Colorado State) have not helped the Orange who are 7-5 and suffered the worst loss in Carrier Dome history (36 years) when they got splattered by St. John’s 93-60.

You read that right, it wasn’t Duke, North Carolina or Kansas, but a St. John’s team that will finish near the bottom of the Big East. Syracuse seems to be heading to the bottom of the ACC.

Texas El Paso: A repeater in this list because things have only have gotten worse for the Miners, who finished last in their own tournament, The Don Haskins/Sun Bowl Invitational, losing to Morgan State and UC Irvine.

This week’s Final Four: Duke, Kansas, UCLA, Villanova

This week’s national champion: UCLA

Joe Sullivan can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @GlobeSullivan