Friday, December 31, 2010

BYU Still The Team to Beat in the Mountain West

Posted by CoHoops DeAnte Mitchell
The Mountain West conference could be looking at one of the best years in recent history.

The San Diego State Aztecs (14-0) has emerged on the national stage and is now touted as the No. 7 team in all of College Basketball.

Despite being upset by the UCLA Bruins, the No. 16 Brigham Young Cougars (13-1) have been very impressive with All-American Jimmer Fredette who pours in 24.9 points a game.

The New Mexico Lobos (11-2) has been the most impressive team knocking off teams such as Colorado, Arizona State, and Texas Tech.

The UNLV Rebels (12-2) have also been another very impressive Mountain West program.

UNLV won the 76 Classics in-season tournament, as well as picking up wins over Wisconsin, Virginia Tech, and Kansas State.

Last season, the regular season title belonged to New Mexico after defeating BYU head-to-head late in the season, while San Diego State came up victorious during the conference championship.

The last time BYU won a conference championship dates back to '07-08 when the Cougars won the regular season title with a conference record of (14-2). The last time the Cougars took the tournament championship home Mekeli Wesley, and Terrell Lyday were playing for BYU back in '00-01.

BYU's Jimmer Fredette has never won a Mountain West conference tournament title. This season, things could change tremendously.

Despite the re-emergence of San Diego State, the Mountain West conference powerhouse still remains BYU.

Jackson Emery, the 6-foot-3 senior guard, continues to help Fredette in the backcourt. Emery chips-in 11.8 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.5 assist, which happens to be slight drop from his contributions last season.

Sophomore Brandon Davies saw his minutes increase and has taken advantage by chipping in career highs in points with 11.4 points, and 5.2 rebounds.

He continues to get better as the season progresses and averages 15.2 points, 6.7 rebounds in his last four games.

Mind you, Davies only see's the floor for 21.6 minutes per outing.

Collectively, as a team, BYU scores 83.2 points per game, which ranks 10th in the nation. The Cougars also get on the glass pulling down 40.7 rebounds.

The Cougars are my favorite to win the Mountain West because of their balance. BYU has the advantage over UNLV, San Diego State, and New Mexico on the glass.

Not to mention, the Cougars have a great rotation that features almost every premier player on their roster.

For BYU to come away with it's first conference regular season title in three years, and tournament championship in nearly a decade, it must overwhelm on the glass.

Fredette continues to be "Mr. Everything" and plays his part every game. Now it's time for others to step up and contribute consistently when it matters the most.

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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Purdue Deserves Their Share of Praise

Posted by CoHoops DeAnte Mitchell
The flashy, and most secure choice to grab a National Championship remains the undefeated, and untested Duke Blue Devils.

The next best thing is the Ohio State Buckeyes, who continue to impress with POY candidate Jared Sullinger, and are off to their best start since '05-06.

You'll also hear names such as Kansas, Syracuse, Pitt, but many fail to acknowledge the (12-1) Purdue Boilermakers.

Before the season, Purdue was arguably one of the best teams in the nation returning JaJuan Johnson, E'Twaun Moore, and Robbie Hummel for a National Championship run.

During the first practice of the season, Hummel went up and immediately knew that he had re-torn his ACL and would soon be sidelined for the season.

Last season, without Hummel, the Boilermakers were able to sneak past both Siena, and Texas A&M before losing to the eventual National Champion Duke Blue Devils.

This season, head coach Matt Painter has his Boilermakers winning, while continuing to be one of the best in the nation without their best player.

Johnson, and Moore have been everything to Purdue. Collectively, the two account for more than 50 percent of the Boilermakers scoring.

That might sound like trouble, but no team has been able to slow down Johnson or Moore as they scored in double-figures in every game this season.

Purdue's only blemish came against the Richmond Spiders (10-3), who managed to overwhelm the Boilermakers on the glass with a 44-35 advantage. Richmond also scored 35 of its 65 points in the paint, as well as 11 coming off second chances.

Purdue hasn't allowed that to happen again, which is one of the reasons why the Boilermakers are riding a seven game win streak.

Purdue opened Big Ten play with a rout of Michigan 80-57, and will look to continue dominance in the Big Ten against Northwestern New Years Eve.

This Purdue team has problem, as does every team, but more positives than anything. The Boilermakers have established themselves as one of the top teams in the nation, and could compete for a Big Ten title against formidable teams like Ohio State, Michigan State, and Minnesota.

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Auburn Guard Andre Malone Leaves Program

Posted by CoHoops DeAnte Mitchell
Two years after signing his National Letter of Intent to attend Auburn University and play for head coach Tony Barbee and the Auburn Tigers (5-7), Andre Malone decided it was best to find another program to play his final two years of College Basketball.

Malone participated in 11 games this season logging an average of 25-minutes per outing.

He was also the second leading scorer with 11.7 points a game, while adding 3.4 rebounds, and nailing 44 percent of his three point attempts.

His career high came during the second game of the season where he poured in 28-points, and four rebounds in a 79-68 loss to Samford.

Head coach Tony Barbee commented on the sophomore leaving the program by saying "He just felt it wasn't the right fit, and I agree."

Malone had offers from programs like Cincinatti, LSU, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Xavier. All those programs are familiar with Malone as a player, and could have a possibility of landing the 6-foot-5 guard.

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Sunday, December 26, 2010

2010-11 College Basketball Week 7 Review and Week 8 Preview

By Marc Daley


Observations from the week that was:


  • The big reason for Baylor's nightmare trip to Hawaii is simple: selfishness. Top scorer LaceDarius Dunn shot an abysmal three for fifteen from downtown against Washington State (which is having their best season since the days of Derrick Low and Kyle Weaver). Florida State outrebounded the Bears by fourteen in their next loss. True, the Seminoles have the one of the bigger front lines in the country but Baylor isn't exactly Lilliputian with the likes of Perry Jones, Quincy Acy and Anthony Jones. If the Bears want to assume the mantle of Big 12 contenders they have to come together as a unit.
  • If you took a look at overall records you might think that Cincinnati will be a surprise contender in the Big East this season. The Bearcats are still a tough read, though. Their best win comes against Dayton (68-34) and the only other team they've beaten that has a decent shot at making the Big Dance is IPFW (the only team leading the Summit with an overall leading record). They start the meat of their schedule against DePaul and Seton Hall, who aren't exactly part of the Big East bully pulpit, before their traditional Queen City battle against Xavier. Still, the Bears could learn some lessons from these guys. They're among the nation's leaders in assists and ten players average double figures in minutes, with no one getting more than 25 a contest.
  • Butler can't afford a stumble in conference play if they want to make the tournament but their run in Hawaii is an encouraging sign. Before they headed off to Diamond Head the Bulldogs were a mediocre 3-4 against Division I competition but Matt Howard found his groove again to take over as the team's scoring lead at over eighteen a game. Keep in mind that Howard struggled at the start of last season as well. They still need a third scoring option to make some serious noise on the national scene (Andrew Smith? Zach Hahn?) but figure the Bulldogs to return to the Dance now that they've gotten back on track.
  • Is the SEC set to become like the Pac-10 last season? I doubt it will get THAT bad but look at some of the losses not including Tennessee's recent skid: UNC-Asheville and Samford(Auburn), Nicholls State, Coastal Carolina and North Texas(LSU), St. Peter's(Alabama), Florida Atlantic(Mississippi State), Jacksonville(Florida), Colorado State(Ole Miss) and Furman (South Carolina).


Predictions for the week that will be:


  • Now that you have lifted yourself out of the holiday coma get ready for a wham-bam intra-conference matchup right off the bat on Monday night. Pitt-UConn means one of the top two teams in the Big Beast is getting the bounce right off the bat. The key for the Panthers that most analysts will point to is the ability to stop Kemba Walker but look at the battle between the Huskies' and Panthers bigs.
  • Wednesday night has another top Big East battle between Georgetown and Notre Dame but keep an eye on Illinois and Iowa. The Hawkeyes have been one of the worst BCS schools in the past few years but are actually playing better ball while the Illini are on a two-game skid. If the home team can keep it low-scoring in Iowa City there could be a chance for an upset.
  • And as we end 2010 with a bang watch this doubleheader before heading out for overpriced champagne and hugs from people you don't even know. Kentucky-Louisville figures to be a high-scoring affair between two rivals that are evenly matched for the first time in several years. Follow that up with Minnesota-Michigan State. Don't be surprised if the Gophers are actually favored in this matchup. There doesn't seem to be an easy explanation for the Spartans' woes but when even Tom Izzo is making stupid mistakes it doesn't bode well for a repeat trip to the rarified air of the Final Four.


The only team that dropped out of the MD Top 25 poll was Tennessee even though they were higher ranked than Baylor, who dropped two this week. The Vols needed Scotty Hopson and his ultra-cool high fade to escape losing four in a row and look completely discombobulated right now. Notre Dame took their place.


  1. Duke
  2. Ohio State
  3. Kansas
  4. Villanova
  5. Pittsburgh
  6. Purdue
  7. Missouri
  8. Syracuse
  9. Kansas State
  10. Connecticut
  11. San Diego State
  12. Kentucky
  13. Memphis
  14. Georgetown
  15. Minnesota
  16. Michigan State
  17. Texas A&M
  18. Brigham Young
  19. Louisville
  20. Texas
  21. UCF
  22. Baylor
  23. Florida
  24. Illinois
  25. Notre Dame

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Texas Poised to Steal Big 12 Title

Posted by CoHoops DeAnte Mitchell
The Texas Longhorns (10-2) were selected to finish third in the Big 12 conference by the coaches before the season.

Texas returned four key players in Gary Johnson, J'Covan Brown, Dogus Balbay, and most importantly Jordan Hamilton. Hamilton was looked to fill the void of departed senior Damion James, and has done just that.

Freshman Tristian Thompson, and Cory Joseph only added to the star power and the Longhorns are looking great headed into conference play.

Last year, after an undefeated non-conference slate of games, and No. 1 ranking, Texas lack of a true point guard came back to hunt them.

Heading into Big 12 play this time around, Texas has enough star power to finish atop of the tough Big 12 conference.

Head Coach Rick Barnes has key wins over ranked teams such as Illinois, North Carolina and a huge win on the road against Michigan State.

Frosh Joseph has shown maturity by stepping up and making key plays down the stretch. With the game on the line against North Carolina, Josephs nailed what would be a game winner over Dexter Strickland with 1.4 seconds left.

Coach Barnes has always wanted freshman Josephs to be assertive in the offense, and since stepping up against the Tar Heels, he has become a totally different player.

He averages 11.6 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 2.9 assist per game. He is also a great on-ball defender, and can make garbage plays on both ends of the floor.

His counterpart Thompson hasn't been short from magnificent either. Thompson currently leads the Longhorns in rebounding with eight per game, while chipping in 11.2 points.

Thompson's 17 points, and 15 rebounds helped Texas come up with a huge win on the road against the Spartans. Texas managed to finally hand Michigan State its first loss in 53 tries.

Once James graduated and took his talents to the NBA, coach Barnes immediately turned to his sophomore Hamilton to fill the void. Hamilton has been magnificent for Texas this season, and has shown signs of departed James.

Hamilton has been the biggest success story after being sidelined with injury for most of last year. Hamilton leads Texas in scoring with 19.5 points, while also adding 7.3 rebounds, and 2.5 assist per game.

In the past two games against worthy opponents, Hamilton has chipped in a total of 45 points, and 18 rebounds.

The x-factor this season is 6-foot-6 senior Johnson. All season, Johnson has come alive on the glass grabbing 7.3 boards per outing. He isn't shy in the scoring column either chipping in 11.8 points per game as well.

Texas latest win over Michigan State helped solidify its dominance as a basketball power. The Longhorns understand who their superstars are and the ball always seems to find them in late game situations.

The Longhorns are currently on a 4-game winning streak that highlights wins over North Carolina, and Michigan State.

Before the Longhorns can even think about a Big 12 title, they'll have a to win it through Kansas and Kansas State. Both of the two are very impressive Big 12 opponents, and could end up with the title when its all said and done.

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Renardo Sidney Suspended Indefinitely

Posted by CoHoops DeAnte Mitchell
The Mississippi State Bulldogs (7-3) big man Renardo Sidney was suspended indefinitely for violating team rules.

Sidney, who made recently made his debut against the Virginia Tech Hokies, did something uncharacteristic in practice that has sidelined him against the Washington State Cougars (8-1).

Sidney acquired 12 points in his debut on 6-of-11 (54%) shooting, and grabbed four rebounds.

He also tallied four turnovers, and fouled out the game.

No question, the Bulldogs need Sidney on the floor. He has paid back all the money, sat out the NCAA suspensions, and now another team suspension.

The length of the suspension was not announced but it could possibly be for just one game.

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Monday, December 20, 2010

Selby Deserves Some POY Hype

Posted by CoHoops DeAnte Mitchell

Before December 18, many fans in Lawrence, Kansas, screamed "Free Selby" referring to the NCAA suspension that sidelined their combo guard for nine games.

When asked about his freshman, Head Coach Bill Self would always sound enthused about Josh Selby making his debut as a Kansas Jayhawk.

Many pegged Selby as the best guard in the 2010 class, and possibly best overall. However, nobody expected him to have such a breakout performance in his season debut.

The Kansas Jayhawks (9-0) figured out the wait for their prized freshman was well worth it, as Selby turned in a 21-point effort that led them to victory.

Selby nailed 5-of-8 three pointers, as well as grabbing five boards in the win. Not to mention, the 6-foot-2 Baltimore native showed maturity nailing, what would be, the game-winning three against the USC Trojans.

Selby played terrific all game, and granted it was one game but his ability to shoot the ball, and as Coach Self before, bail them out on offense is beneficial.

The Jayhawks had a tough time fighting off the pesky Trojans, but Selby made it possible.

Sure, Selby will have to prove he can consistently put up Player of the Year type numbers on the nations third ranked team. He will also have to display leadership, and lead Kansas to an impressive finish in the Big 12 conference.

The 6-foot-2 combo guard will most likely be inserted in the starting lineup once Kansas faces off against the (6-4) Cal Bears.

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2010-11 College Basketball Week 6 Review and Week 7 Preview

By Marc Daley


Boredom causes people to do funny things. Without boredom, Jackass might have never been spawned, Bonnie and Clyde probably wouldn't have gone on a crime spree and several homes in greater suburbia would have survived the aftermath of childhood mischief. Rarely does it cause a college basketball coach to get ejected from a game on purpose but that's what happened Saturday night when Kentucky was winning comfortably over Mississippi Valley State. Even though the Wildcats were getting awarded charity shots at nearly a three-to-one advantage over the Delta Devils John Calipari took umbrage with the way a call was made, received a technical for his outburst then got his second one in short order before making his way to the locker room.

Mississippi Valley State is a member of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (aka the SWAC) and their fellow members are usually kissed off once the NCAA Tournament starts. This season has been a typical struggle for them as they have only won eight of their 87 matchups against fellow Division I opponents for an embarrassing win percentage of .092. No team has been awarded a seed higher than 16 this millennium. No team has won an NCAA Tournament game (excluding a play-in game) since 1993 when Southern knocked off Georgia Tech.

It's not for lack of effort on their parts. A typical SWAC program's athletic budget is less than that of some high schools. A big reason they play the role of the Washington Generals is their "road warrior" mentality. MVSU hasn't played a home game this season and can't even practice on campus. In order to generate money for "little things" such as travel, uniforms, food and scholarships conference members have to embark on a traveling road show. Top 100 recruits don't even sniff at their recruiting efforts – not that these schools could afford to shell out big bucks to make a decent run at them anyway.

Simply put, the SWAC schools just don't have the resources to compete in Division I.

Not competing isn't an option, but I strongly suggest that the powers that be consider moving down to Division II. Instead of consistently getting their best team in the play-in game year after year and worrying about how their players are going to eat after another humiliating road loss they can play at a level where their budget is more in line with their competitors. Their tournament representative can go in sporting a more robust record than one that is just above the Mendoza line of .500 (for the record, the conference is a solid 9-1 against non-Division I opponents this season).


Unless things change from the foul line and Jacob Pullen gets a more consistent option as a no. 2 guy Kansas State isn't going to the Final Four. The Wildcats are shooting an abysmal .545 from the charity stripe and Pullen scored nearly half of his team's points in their loss to Florida. A potential bigger issue could be their fearsome leader. Frank Martin can make men feel six inches tall with his glass-shattering stares and invective as long as his charges keep winning but keep in mind that Billy Gillispie was able to do the same thing at Texas A&M and Kentucky until he started losing and his act got more outdated than MySpace. Martin has started to make Kansas State nationally relevant on an annual basis for the first time since the early 1980s but is also the same guy that decided to bench starter Curtis Kelly for the first three games as a mind game and also called his team's 34-point victory against Alcorn State pathetic.


This weekend do yourself a favor and enjoy time with your family and friends. But before we sit down for enormous amounts of food while noisemaking toys drive us to the brink of insanity let's take a look at the some of the upcoming action for the week:


Kansas State-UNLV (Tuesday, 9PM EST) The Runnin' Rebels managed to right the ship against Southern Utah following two straight losses to Louisville (not a big surprise) and Cal-Santa Barbara(not as big a surprise as you would think). Outside of San Diego State the Mountain West elite had a week to forget as Brigham Young dropped to UCLA this weekend. It's very possible that the Rebs could lose three of their last four if they drop this contest – concentrating on everyone else and letting Pullen get his might not be a bad strategy.


Missouri-Illinois (Wednesday, 9PM EST) When Missouri's forty minutes of hell is clicking it's heaven to watch. The Tigers haven't scored below 70 points in a game since the opening win over Western Illinois and just lit the pinball machine for 116 against Central Arkansas. Illinois took the opposite approach and built several houses with their bricks in their loss to Illinois-Chicago. Don't expect the Illini to repeat that performance. This should be the most entertaining game of the holiday week.


Georgetown-Memphis (Thursday, 8PM EST) If you're at the relatives, commandeer the TV. If you're staying home, commandeer the TV. Do you really want to watch another holiday special featuring the talents of Nicki Minaj, the Gossip Girl cast and Martha Raye, denture wearer? Tune in to what could be a great individual battle of gladiators gladiating it out with Austin Freeman v. Will Barton.


San Diego State made a big jump in this week's polls while Tennessee took a nosedive following back-to-back losses to noted powerhouses Charlotte and Oakland.


  1. Duke
  2. Ohio State
  3. Kansas
  4. Villanova
  5. Pittsburgh
  6. Kansas State
  7. Purdue
  8. Missouri
  9. Syracuse
  10. Michigan State
  11. Connecticut
  12. Memphis
  13. Florida
  14. San Diego State
  15. Tennessee
  16. Kentucky
  17. Baylor
  18. Georgetown
  19. Minnesota
  20. Illinois
  21. Texas A&M
  22. Brigham Young
  23. UCF
  24. Louisville
  25. Texas

Friday, December 17, 2010

Nebraska Sophomore Christian Standhardinger Leaving the Program

Posted by CoHoops DeAnte Mitchell
The Nebraska Cornhuskers (8-2) Head Coach Doc Sadler said that 6-foot-8 Christian Standhardinger, from Munich Germany, has decided to leave the program.

Standhardinger averaged 9.5 points, and a team-high 5.5 rebounds in his six games of action this season.

Since being absent in the past four games due to an academic issue that has plagued his career early on the Huskers have accumulated a 4-0 record.

Standhardinger has had interest in playing pro ball overseas, but hasn't ruled out a possibility to transfer to another school.

Without Standhardinger, Nebraska is out one of their most proficient scorers and rebounders off the bench.

His career as a Cornhusker closes with Standhardinger averaging 8.4 points, 4.2 rebounds in 16 minutes of action.

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

BYU Cougars Lurking In The Shadows

Posted by CoHoops DeAnte Mitchell
Despite owning a (10-0) record, for the second time in three years, against a formidable schedule, the No. 18 ranked BYU Cougars are having a tough time convincing the nation that it belongs in the National Championship discussion.

The Cougars have wins over Saint Mary's, South Florida, and a blowout of Arizona.

BYU has also struggled at Utah State, and could have easily lost to Saint Mary's if Jimmer Fredette's three-point attempt didn't find the basket with 10 seconds left in the game.

The Cougars embrace one of the most explosive guards in the country. Fredette averages 23.7 points, 4.1 assist, and 3.2 rebounds in 32.4 minutes of action.

Jackson Emery has become a great threat alongside Fredette. He is the second-leading scorer with 11.4 points, while chipping in 3.8 rebounds, and 2.9 steals per game.

The Cougars sucess has steamed from more than just good guard play. BYU is one of the most efficient teams in college basketball. The Cougars have turned the ball over an average of 10.1 times over their first ten games, which is the least for any team throughout the first ten outings.

The Cougars are also very active on the defense end coming away with 9.6 steals per game.

BYU is one of the most balanced teams in the nation. Despite Fredette's cushion in the scoring column, the Cougars are very balanced on the glass. Every player crashes the glass, pulling down 41.7 rebounds per game, which ranks 18th in the nation.

The Cougars seem to be one of the more clutch teams in the nation. BYU plays well with their back against the wall. But, the Cougars could certainly benefit from more marquee wins down the stretch, beginning Saturday against UCLA, a very physical ball club with a great on-ball defender in Tyler Honeycutt.

BYU's tune-up games are in the rear view mirror now as conference season slowly approaches. The Mountain West conference is going to be tough to win. There are three ranked teams in the Mountain West conference including No. 10 San Diego State.

If the Cougars are able to come away with the conference title, it should be in the talks.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Michael Dixon Suspended Indefinitely

Posted by CoHoops DeAnte Mitchell
The Missouri Tigers (8-1) starting point guard Michael Dixon has been suspended indefinitely for violation of team rules.

Head Coach Mike Anderson didn't disclose the violation, but his sophomore guard will miss the first game of his career.

Dixon averages 10.7 points, 4.3 assist, 2.4 steals, and 2.2 rebounds.

Freshman Phil Pressey will most likely step up and fill the shoes of the 6-foot-1 guard.

The Tigers face the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles (4-5) at home without Dixon. Coach Anderson hasn't released the length of the suspension, nor the severity.

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Monday, December 13, 2010

2010-11 College Basketball Week 5 Review and Week 6 Preview

By Marc Daley


With apologies to Dennis Green I decided not to crown Duke as the national champs with several weeks to go in the college basketball season. Now there's even less reason to crown them as young turk Kyrie Irving is out indefinitely. People were still impressed with their recent blowout victories and ready to heed Mr. Green's outburst but let's take a look at some other contenders that look primed to deny a Devil deuce:


Ohio State. All Jared Sullinger did against a IUPUI team that almost gave Ron Hunter another chance at making television history by praising the heavens was put up forty points and carry the Buckeyes on his sizeable back. Wednesday features a matchup against Florida Gulf Coast, who I assume will be sending the Beach Boys (and possibly John Stamos) to the court. Saturday's opponent, South Carolina, should offer more resistance than a set of bongo drums and finely tuned vocal harmonies.


Kansas. The percentage of highly-touted freshmen being allowed to suit up for legendary programs is running at fifty percent as Josh Selby prepares to make his debut against Southern Cal on Saturday. Jayhawk Nation almost collectively choked in the middle of exhorting "Chalk" when Marcus Morris went down with an apparent knee injury in the blowout over Colorado State but he did return to the contest and should be good to go. Even though Ohio State is higher ranked at this point the addition of Selby puts the Jayhawks as the favorite to win the 2011 title.


Connecticut. Considering their struggles last season and adding the departures of some key personnel many pundits would have thought a successful outing for the Huskies would be a return to the Dance. At this rate, they will not only return but thrive. Kemba Walker is making a strong case for national player of the year and if there were an MVP award he would win it hands down. Several of their bigs are also responding, in particular Alex Oriakhi who is averaging a double-double. The race between Connecticut, Pittsburgh and Syracuse for Big East supremacy should be fun to watch.


Tennessee. I've always thought that since Bruce Pearl arrived in Knoxville the Vols had a great collection of talent that couldn't figure out how to play together. This season combined with their Elite Eight run last season has shown that they have meshed well. A nice collection of studs (Hopson, Harris) and role players (Pearl, McBee, Williams) usually makes a great formula for success. Expect them to be in the hunt to finally reach the Final Four for the first time in program history.


San Diego State. Butler came within an inch last year. Gonzaga seems like a threat to do it every year. So what makes the Aztecs a really good candidate to become the first non-BCS school to win the title since 1990? Not only do they have a balanced, deep lineup that features a probably lottery pick (Kawhi Leonard) but keep in mind that their coach has tasted championship glory and been to a total of three Final Fours. OK, they don't have a true point guard, which could be their undoing as they move up the food chain in March. At the very least, they will win their first NCAA tournament game. At best, they could assume the role that the boys from Indianapolis nearly did last year.


Finals week is a typical rite of passage among many college students who nearly go crazy from excessive amounts of caffeine and sleeplessness only to end up going crazy from adult beverage consumption and varying degrees of success with hooking up. Since this rite of passage is occurring on many campuses this week don't expect a lot of great action early on but if you can take a break from the mall there's some great matchups on the weekend:


Kansas State-Florida (Saturday, 3:30 ET) I nearly included Kansas State in my discussion of teams most likely to deny Duke a repeat, especially now that Frank Martin has decided to end the mind-game treatment with Curtis Kelly. However, they lost Wally Judge indefinitely and tend to play down to the level of their opponents, as evidenced by their recent struggles against Loyola-Chicago which did not Alfredrick Hughes or Carl Golston on the floor (see mid-1980s for these obscure references). Florida has underwhelmed at times as well, which is surprising considering they haven't played outside the state of Florida this season. The Gators should still be competitive in the SEC but if they stumble again in March that could make four straight seasons without a Dance win. Could Billy D's seat get hot down in Gainesville?


Cleveland State-West Virginia (Saturday, 2 ET) Cleveland State's record is certainly eye-popping at 12-0 but a look at their schedule reveals they've been feasting on the college basketball equivalent of the kid who picked his nose and used an inhaler to get out of gym class. This will be an interesting test against a Mountaineer squad that isn't likely to return to the Final Four but has been competitive with their only losses coming to Minnesota and at Miami.


Texas-North Carolina (Saturday, 4 ET) Had the Tar Heels not beaten Kentucky things would be VERY interesting on Tobacco Road. It would likely be a second straight season at missing the Dance from the same school that went to the Sweet 16 an amazing 18 years in a row at one point. Roy Williams is an alum but that didn't save Matt Doherty. Now that the Heels seem to be gelling (and so do the Longhorns) this game should be labeled "the Redemption Bowl".


Speaking of redemption I welcomed back Minnesota to the Top 25 this week. Tennessee and Syracuse moved in the Top 10 while Michigan State (who could be considered on the nation's more disappointing teams so far) fell from grace.


  1. Duke
  2. Kansas
  3. Ohio State
  4. Kansas State
  5. Villanova
  6. Pittsburgh
  7. Purdue
  8. Missouri
  9. Tennessee
  10. Syracuse
  11. Michigan State
  12. Connecticut
  13. Memphis
  14. Baylor
  15. Florida
  16. Kentucky
  17. Illinois
  18. Brigham Young
  19. San Diego State
  20. Louisville
  21. Georgetown
  22. Minnesota
  23. Texas A&M
  24. UCF
  25. Cleveland State

Enosch Wolf and Josh Selby Set to Debut

Posted by CoHoops DeAnte Mitchell
When both the Kansas Jayhawks (9-0) and UConn Huskies (8-0) strapped up for the first time this season, both respective teams were missing a crucial piece to their roster.

Josh Selby, the No. 1 regarded athlete according to Rivals, could certainly commend the Morris twins talents down low.

Not to mention, giving the Jayhawks a slashing guard that can attack the basket, and finish games down the stretch.

Selby is set to debut December 18, 2010 at 12 PM ET when Kansas takes on the USC Trojans (6-4).

The Jayhawks need someone to take charge of their offense that struggles without a natural point guard. If Selby can be that guy, Kansas could be in contention for another title this year.

Head coach Bill Self has seen steady progression from junior Tyshawn Taylor, so I wouldn't expect to see Selby in the starting lineup right away, although it wouldn't be surprising if he was given the nod.

Right now, the Jayhawks miss Sherron Collins. Despite being the best passing team in the nation, dishing out 20 assist per game, Kansas has trouble taking care of the ball.

During their last game against Colorado State, the Jayhawks turned the ball over 17 times, 11 coming from the guards.

The Memphis Tigers also forced Kansas' guards into 11 turnovers, and 20 overall. Selby isn't know for being a complete point guard, which scares most, but he is a sure ball handler.

Selby can act carelessly with the ball, as does the active Kansas guards, but that can be curbed with more experience.

UConn is also looking forward to welcoming in a talented big man. Last year, Enosch Wolf, a 7-foot-1 center from Germany committed to UConn leaving fans happy about the what he could bring to the team.

After a long wait, Wolf is set to join the team at the end of semester, which is December 18th. Meaning, the German native could suit up for the Huskies December 20th when UConn takes on Coppin State at 7 PM ET.

Despite being one of the better rebounding teams in the nation, Wolf will definitely add a lot of length to UConn's frontline, as well as a defensive presence.

Head coach Jim Calhoun has the luxury of embracing one of the best players in the country in Kemba Walker, but Wolf will certainly help him out on offense.

The Huskies rely so much on their guards without much help from their frontcourt players. Alex Oriahki has been an consistent player for the Huskies and with Wolf alongside, UConn could create a dynamic duo down low.

Not to mention, Wolf is a player that can create offense outside of the paint with his ability to pull up and hit the mid range jumper.

He also has the ability to pass out the post if the double-team comes, and extra bulk helps him continue his dominance on the glass.

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Hoosiers Can't Hold On, Fall to Kentucky 81-62

Posted by CoHoops Josh Dhani
The Indiana Hoosiers played tough, but couldn't hold on against the Kentucky Wildcats as they lost 81-62. The Hoosiers now fall to 7-2 for the season. This is also drops Indiana 0-2 on the road. The Hoosiers were playing great until the final 9:42 of the game, as IU only converted one field goal to help the #17-ranked Wildcats improve to 7-2.

"That certainly hurt us. We wanted to drive, we wanted to get to the basket, and it just wasn't going that way for us," said IU Coach Tom Crean. "There are no excuses. We have to rebound the ball better, especially at the five spot. You have to fight through that at both ends of the floor."

IU was in for an upset as Christian Watford delivered a three-pointer to give Indiana a 57-56 lead. But after that, the Wildcats would go on a 25-6 run and would end the game with a victory. Watford played another great game as usual this season, putting up 19 points. He also had nine rebounds. IU just had a tough time in the final nine minutes.

"If it was a 35-minute game, we very likely would have won the game, but it wasn't and they capitalized and they made some big plays," said Crean. "We didn't make as many. We didn't overcome some of our deficiencies today and they did at the end. As far as battling and believing you can win and being there toe-for-toe, we definitely did that, we just couldn't get over the hump at the end and again, they made some big plays."

But if this were last season, Indiana would have gotten themselves handed. They have been playing strong this season and could be on their way to the NCAA Tournament in March.

Jordan Hulls had ten points while Victor Oladipo also had ten along with an additional four rebounds. Jeremiah Rivers and Maurice Creek added seven.

"We did things today that certainly we haven't done in our time here," he said. "They're things we've got to do more as we continue to get better."

IU will face SIU-Edwardsville next on December 17th. They will be back at home as they play in the Las Vegas Invitational.

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Bruce Pearl Has Vol's Winning Despite Adversity

Posted by CoHoops DeAnte Mitchell
To some, Bruce Pearl's image remains framed by his NCAA violations, and loss to a Division II program in Indianapolis before the season even started.

But, now, coach Pearl has moved on from his horrid off-season to become the best coach in the SEC, or possibly the nation, right now.

The Tennessee Volunteers (7-0) entered the season without many expectations. That notion was decreased once the Vol's fell to Indianapolis, a Division II program.

However, those expectations only grew after an early win over then-No. 7 Villanova 78-68 that moved the Vol's inside the top-20 at No. 17.

After running over Middle Tennessee 86-56, the Vol's received another chance to make a statement over the No. 3 Pittsburgh Panthers.

During the game, junior guard Scotty Hopson had a career night scoring 27 points, on a night where he was 10-of-13 from the field. Remember, Pitt has one of the best defense in the nation.

Tennessee defeated two top-10 opponents, and Pearl's picks up his seventh win over top-5 opponents, and is the only Tennessee coach to be plus-500 on highly ranked teams.

Freshman Tobias Harris has emerged as a consistent contributor for coach Pearl. Harris averages 15.2 points, and six rebounds, which ranks among the top of all freshman.

However, the true explanation as to why the Vol's are continually getting better is the man pacing the sidelines. Coach Pearl has scheduled tough, and his guys have responded.

This is the second season in a row where Tennessee was able to defeat a top-5 opponent. Last year it was No. 1 Kansas, this year Pitt.

Coach Pearl has the Vol's inching closer to being one of the top teams in the nation. Despite adversity, Pearl has kept his composure and willed this squad to the best start (7-0) during his tenure at Tennessee.

Last years coach of the year is very similar to coach Pearl. Jim Boehim of Syracuse, led his team to the No. 1 ranking, and inside the top-5 for most of the year after barely being inside of the top-25 before the season started.

Pearl has a shot at becoming a two-time coach of the year recipient; depending on whether or not the suspension will affect his chances.

He has a great team led by young star Harris, and Hopson. The Vol's have five more ranked opponents on their upcoming schedule. The Vol's have the talent, and passion to continue their dominance on the basketball court.

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Friday, December 10, 2010

UCLA Guard Matt Carlino Will Transfer

Posted by CoHoops DeAnte Mitchell
Freshman Matt Carlino, who has yet to touch the floor this season for the UCLA Bruins (3-4) has decided to transfer to another school according to head coach Ben Howland.

Carlino, from Bloomington, Indiana, chose UCLA over Arizona, Arizona State, Butler, Indiana, and USC.

Carlino was obviously not happy with the playing time he received at UCLA.

Carlino could have been a nice addition to a battered backcourt that needs help off the bench.

Coach Howland said he was totally blindsided by the news because Carlino had such a great practice the day before.

"Obviously I'm disappointed because it leaves us shorthanded," Howland said.

Howland had many chances to play the freshman after Carlino returned from a concussion injury sustained during the pre-season. However, Howland did not and Carlino decides to move on to another program where he can be successful.

I see the schools that initially had a chance at acquiring Carlino out of high school making a push towards acquiring the 6-foot-3 guard. He hasn't touched the court throughout this whole year, and could still have his 4-years of eligibility.

UCLA host Cal Poly at home December 11, which was the most likely time Bruin fans would have finally witnessed Carlino in action.

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No Respect: Top POY Candidates You Hear Nothing About

Posted by CoHoops DeAnte Mitchell
Every year, an established player that returned is usually nabbed as a Preseason All-American, or placed in some elite group heading into the season.

Then, there are the freshman that are coming on strong, and usually get looks as a possible player of the year candidate. Or, some athletes that were lurking in the shadows have come out ready to showcase their skills.

That is a consistent theme in college, and we witness it year-in and year-out.

This year, you can make a case for Jared Sullinger from Ohio State as a POY contender, or freshman Kyrie Irving from Duke.

How about established players like Derrick Williams from Arizona, or Jimmer Fredette from BYU.

You have players like Tyler Honneycutt, and Kemba Walker having coming out seasons, which steals the spotlight away from other contenders that don't get enough attention.

Here is my selection of players who aren't getting enough love as a POY candidate:

Purdue Boilermakers (8-1) - JaJuan Johnson 6'10'' 220 lbs F
Purdue's JaJuan Johnson has been in double-figures in every game they've played this year. He has also racked up four double-digit rebound games, which translates into four double-doubles on the season.

Johnson has career totals in points with 17.6, rebounds with 8.1, blocks with 2.4 and assist with 1.2 per game.

Johnson led his team over Virginia Tech in OT, and continues to be impressive on the offense end. Johnson certainly has the caliber to become a POY recipient, if he can continue to attack the glass, and keep Purdue in the winning column, I think you'll hear more from him.

Washington State Cougars (6-1) - Klay Thompson 6'6'' 200 lbs G
Nobody expects a Naismith winner to come out of the Pac-10, at least while the conference is in turmoil. But, Klay Thompson is putting up some eye-popping numbers, as well as, leading this Cougars attack.

Thompson currently averages 21.6 points, five assist, 4.9 rebounds, and 2.1 steals per game. I haven't seen numbers similar to that since Evan Turner.

With impressive performances to help the Cougars keep things interesting against Kansas State, and to watch Thompson come away with 24 points, six assist, and six rebounds, to go along with seven steals against Gonzaga, Thompson deserves to be in the conversation.

Kentucky Wildcats (6-2) - Terrence Jones 6'9'' 245 lbs F
Terrence Jones is the only freshman from the power six conferences to average a double-double. Jones currently averages 20 points, and pulls down 10.5 boards per game.

Interesting fact, Kentucky's freshman star Jones played less than thirty minutes in both losses this season because of foul trouble.

However, with Jones on the court for 30-plus minutes Kentucky is (6-0). Jones is such a freak of nature, and has the physical gifts of a second-level Lamar Odom. If Jones can continue to put Kentucky in position to win, he shouldn't be absent when talking about POY candidates.

Illinois Fighting Illini (9-1) - Demetri McCamey 6'3'' 200 lbs G
The Illinois Fighting Illini have taken care of business this season against Maryland, Gonzaga, and UNC.

Demetri McCamey, their senior leader, has stepped up big time for the Fighting Illini. He has become a better decision-making guard, which is one of the reasons why the Illini has one loss. McCamey isn't taking bad shots, or throwing the ball away on key possessions; for the most part.

This year, you're seeing a better decision-making McCamey, which will translate well in March. Everyone understands how beneficial point guard play is to a team, and the Illini possesses that with McCamey.

Pittsburgh Panthers (10-0) - Brad Wanamaker 6'4'' 210 G
Brad Wanamaker has the Panthers off to their best start since Pittsburgh was heartbroken later in the season on a last second layup by Scottie Reynolds.

This season, Wanamaker has been the most consistent player on the team. He averages 12.8 points, 5.7 assist, and 5.3 rebounds. This is all coming in 26.8 minutes of play, meaning his stats could rise with more playing time.

Wanamaker means a lot to this Pitt team, if he continues to stay consistent with his contributions, as well as keeping the Panthers in the winning column, Wanamaker can make a case for a Naismith award.

Kansas State Wildcats (8-1) - Jacob Pullen 6'0'' 200 G
Jacob Pullen was an early Preseason All-American, and should have been in the talks as of now. However, after turning in a four point, four turnover night, Pullen has dropped out of the talks.

However, Pullen is still averaging 16 points, four assist, 3.1 rebounds, and 2.1 steals per game. Not to mention, he has three 20-plus games, and high assist nights.

Nonetheless, if Pullen wants to join the POY talks again, he has to step up on the big stage. He showed poise against Virginia Tech, and Gonzaga but not against Duke. He has to step his game up big time during conference play.

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Losing Kyrie Irving Could Be Bad News For Duke

Posted by CoHoops DeAnte Mitchell
The Duke Blue Devils (9-0) head coach Mike Krzyzewski wasn't shy about acknowledging the significance of freshman Kyrie Irving's injury saying it was a serious one. Duke is patiently waiting on news about their highly-touted point guard, but until then, Nolan Smith has to step up for the Blue Devils.

I'd be wrong to say Irving made Duke favorites to win the National Championship, but he is a huge reason most think the Blue Devils can repeat.

With a guy like Irving, it's always a huge loss. He certainly isn't ruled out for the rest of the year, but seeing that most signs points to a season-ending injury, Duke might be without the heart of their team.

Irving brought consistent effort every night. He is an athlete that can uplift any team.

Irving has very good speed, which he utilizes in transition. The opposition may score the basketball, but once Irving has the ball in his hands he is looking to run in transition.

Once he is in transition, Irving either takes it all the way to the rim, or dumps it off to a trailing teammate.

Irving is a point guard in every sense of the word, and without him Duke is without a natural leader to lead the offense.

You can look at senior Smith to lead the team, but in the first action without Irving, Smith went 0-of-8 from the field, and came away with just two points, and 10 assist.

Smith has always been the off-guard, and making him take the lead role may not be the smart thing to do if you're Duke.

Then you have Seth Curry, the transfer from Liberty. Curry is one of the best shooters in the nation, and led a Liberty team to a 23-12 record. Curry should be the favorite to take over with Irving sidelined, but that slows down Duke's offense, and possibly hurts them in transition.

Curry cannot match the speed of Irving, scoring, or intensity; same for Smith, and Andre Dawkins.

So, at (9-0) and three tune-up games ahead for the Blue Devils, fans have to hope Irving's injury isn't as scary as it seems.

Irving means a lot to this team, and obviously without him they're not the same. Duke is still my favorite to repeat, but with Irving out, it will be a lot tougher than the cake walks the Blue Devils are accustom too.

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Kansas Uses Second Half to Down No. 14 Memphis

Posted by CoHoops DeAnte Mitchell
The Kansas Jayhawks reached (8-0) on the season after downing the No. 14 Memphis Tigers (7-1) for the third straight year 81-68.

This was a statement game for Tyshawn Taylor. Taylor finished with 13 points, four rebounds, and four assist, but his defensive effort on Joe Jackson was dominating.

Taylor held Jackson scoreless for the most part of the game, with his only point coming at the free-throw line.

This young Memphis squad could not force enough pressure on the offensive Jayhawks. There were many times where the ball handler made a great lob pass because of the lack of pressure.

That turned into a 19-assist night, as well as a big win.

Markieff Morris scored 16 points, and added six rebounds. His brother Marcus Morris also chipped in 14 points, eight rebounds, as well as Thomas Robinson chipping in 10 points, 10 rebounds off the bench.

The Tigers dropped their first game on the season with a great experience against a top-5 squad. Will Barton stepped up for Tigers pacing them in scoring with 16 points, while adding seven rebounds, and three steals.

Two other players for the Tigers were in double-figures with Charles Carmounche chipping in 12, as well as Chris Crawford adding 15 off the bench.

Memphis leader Wesley Witherspoon turned in another disappointing effort in a game where the Tigers needed him the most. He ended the game 3-of-11 (27%) from the field, and scored eight points, with two turnovers.

With both Jackson, and Witherspoon struggling with the defensive pressure of the Jayhawks, Kansas was able to slowly pull away from Memphis in the second half.

Kansas defeats Memphis for the third straight year in a row. Despite the blemish to UCLA, Kansas has been one of the more impressive teams in the nation.

Memphis was unable to contain Kansas on the glass, and that helped the Jayhawks get over the 21 forced turnovers by the Tigers. Kansas held a 38-26 advantage on the glass, with 11 second-chance opportunities.

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Freshman Phenom Kyrie Irving Surpassing Expectations at Duke

Posted by CoHoops DeAnte Mitchell
Late October in 2009, Kyrie Irving announced his college decision before the nation on ESPNU recruiting insider. Irving was down to Texas A&M, Kentucky and Duke, but we obviously know where he ended up.

As soon as Irving announced his college discretion Duke fans prepped for a possible one-and-done guard. Not just any one-and-done guard, but a Jay Williams type of guard.

Remember his career as a Duke Blue Devil? However, even Jay Williams admits that Irving is currently ahead of him when he was at his stage.

That is something I can agree with. Irving has done very well, leading the Blue Devils to believe he could make up for some of what they lost when star point guard Jon Scheyer graduated.

Irving picked up his third ACC rookie of the week honor after putting on a show against Butler, and Michigan State. He has already jumped in the record books after nailing 13 free-throws against the Spartans, while recording the fourth 30-point outing for a freshman in Duke history.

Senior guard Nolan Smith has said before, Irving is a veteran. During every ranked game, or big game for that matter, Irving is the one to step up.

Unlike many young point guards, Irving takes care of the ball, penetrates the lane and finishes around the rim in easy fashion.

In 28.9 minutes of action, Irving is the second leading scorer for the No. 1 team in the nation at 17.4 points per game. He also adds 3.8 rebounds, and team-highs in both, assist with 5.1, as well as steals with 1.5 per game.

Irving is on pace to become the first ACC Rookie of the Year since Kyle Singler embraced the honors in '08.

Nonetheless, he is currently listed as doubtful against Bradley due to a toe injury that occurred against Butler in the second half that caused him to limp off the floor. reports that Irving is in a walking boot, and did not practice with the team on Monday. With such an easy schedule, Coach Mike Krzyzewski might give his talented freshman the game off.

Irving has the potential to be one of the best freshman in the Blue Devils storied history. He has helped Duke get off to a hot (8-0) start and out-dueled many point guards in the process.

By now, it's clear that all previous expectations need to be raised when referring to Kyrie Irving.

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Monday, December 6, 2010

2010-11 Week 4 Review and Week 5 Preview

Posted by Marc Daley
I know it's only December 6 but if you're looking for teams that could be favorites to hit the Final Four in March look for teams that can win despite playing a bad game. Two popular teams that played ugly this weekend didn't come out on the winning end.

If the Kentucky-North Carolina matchup had been strictly a three-point contest the Wildcats could have called it a day after the first round. However, their offense from inside the money zone was hard to watch. Most of the time, nine for 21 from three is good enough to win – unless you go 15 for 41 from two, get outrebounded by eight and have enough players foul out that you expect your coach to morph into Gene Hackman and declare "My team is on the floor". Somehow, I don't think Jarred Polson, Stacey Poole, Jon Hood and Doron Lamb would have struck fear in Tyler Zeller and Co. had it gone to overtime.

At least that game went down to the wire. Texas inexplicably stole pages from their football brethren and turned in a turkey against a Southern Cal team that was lucky to still be eligible for the postseason this year. It's doubtful that the Trojans will continue after the Pac-10 tournament but if they become a bubble team for any tournament they can put this on their resume as a "quality" win – even though the 'Horns shot 32 percent for the game and were never really in it.

"Bad" has been slang for "good" for several decades. "Bad" can be relative, especially when it relates to teams from the BCS conferences and non-BCS conferences. Bad teams from the BCS conferences will reach double digits in wins by getting the majority of their wins against the bad teams from the non-BCS conferences. Bad teams from the non-BCS conferences will be lucky to grab a handful of victories. However, there may be one team from a BCS conference that may be non-BCS "bad" – Auburn. So far, they have lost at home to this murderer's row: North Carolina-Asheville, Campbell, Samford and Jacksonville. This weekend they faced off against Arkansas Pine-Bluff, which hails from the SWAC (a combined 12-60 this season). The Lions haven't played a home game and have been blown out in every contest. However, they nearly beat the Tigers for their first win until Auburn rallied for a four-point victory. Don't be surprised if the Tigers barely get that handful this season.

Nineteen teams remain undefeated this season. Duke, Kansas and Ohio State are among them, which is about as shocking as a Cincinnati Bengals loss. But just down the road a piece from Paul Brown Stadium you can come in, get warm and watch the Cincinnati Bearcats play their best basketball since the days of Kenyon Martin. Granted, they have beaten up most of the Little Sisters of the Poor conference but do own a 34-point blowout against Dayton. Their defense would make their old master Huggie-Bear proud as they allow their opponents to score barely over fifty points a game. They won't get tested until 2011 when they take on Xavier on January 7 but they could be interesting to watch in the Big East.

The week ahead has a great doubleheader on Tuesday night and some other matchups that look enticing, especially since winter decided to come early. So stay inside where the only cold ones should be in the fridge and check these games out:

Memphis-Kansas and Michigan State-Syracuse (Tuesday, 7 and 9 EST) The number of undefeated teams will decrease by one after the first game. Memphis hasn't had a tough test and nearly lost a big lead to Arkansas State last week. Kansas had some help from the refs against a UCLA team to escape with their lives – the same UCLA team that turned around and lost to Montana. Memphis looks primed to return to the Final Four – in 2012. Kansas still looked primed to get back there this season but this will be a great neutral court test in the Garden.

Syracuse also stands among the ranks of the undefeated but has been walking the tightrope in their last few games, including a nip over a Georgia Tech team that got drilled by Northwestern and lost earlier this season to Kennesaw State. Michigan State is easily the best two-loss team in the nation, which isn't hard to claim when your losses come against UConn and Duke. If the Spartans can get the Orange in foul trouble their thin bench should be exposed and the boys from East Lansing will get back to their winning ways.

Vermont-Brigham Young (Wednesday, 7 EST) Is Tom Brennan back with the Catamounts? In all seriousness, their only loss has come by sixteen to UConn. All eyes will be on Jimmer Fredette, who is continuing to light it up for the Cougars, but keep an eye on Evan Fjeld for Vermont, who is averaging a robust 21 points per game. If he can help the 'Mounts hang tough or even pull an upset they would have to be considered heavy favorites to win the America East and give their first-round opponent fits in March.

Tennessee-Pittsburgh (Saturday, 3:15 EST) Tobias Harris has been good as advertised for the Volunteers, who have already knocked off one Top 10 Big East opponent this year. The Panthers remain the best team who have never had made the Final Four but they look primed to break that streak this season. The key will come down to how well a couple of big men play against each other. While your eyes may go to Harris and Scotty Hopson or Ashton Gibbs and Brad Wanamaker look at the battle between Brian Williams and Gary McGhee. I have a feeling that will decide the contest.

This week's poll is full of changes. Three teams drop in, a couple of SEC teams took a dive but it was business as usual for the top four.
  1. Duke
  2. Kansas
  3. Ohio State
  4. Pittsburgh
  5. Michigan State
  6. Villanova
  7. Purdue
  8. Kansas State
  9. Missouri
  10. Memphis
  11. Tennessee
  12. Syracuse
  13. Connecticut
  14. Baylor
  15. Florida
  16. Kentucky
  17. Illinois
  18. Brigham Young
  19. San Diego State
  20. Georgetown
  21. Notre Dame
  22. UNLV
  23. Louisville
  24. UCF
  25. Northwestern

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Butler Down But Not Out Following Loss to Duke

Posted by CoHoops DeAnte Mitchell
The Butler Bulldogs (4-3), last years runner-ups, recently fell to the No. 1 Duke Blue Devils (8-0) 82-70.

With 13:04 left in the second half Ronald Nored picked up a cheap fourth foul after grazing Nolan Smith on a three-point attempt that sidelined him with his fourth foul.

At the 12:48 mark in the second half, Shelvin Mack fired up a three and came down awkwardly.

Many people found out later that it was leg cramps, and instead of coming back in Mack sat for the rest of the game, which hurted the Bulldogs.

With those two on the bench, Duke's knockout punch was a 12-0 run that pushed the game out of range for Butler.

Howard returned only to pick up his fifth foul with 2:17 left in the game, with Shawn Vanzant working to pull Butler closer to the lead.

Thereafter, Duke knocked down nine straight free-throws and marched away with a 12-point victory in the National Championship rematch.

With Butler falling for the third time in seven games, the Bulldogs are off to their worst start since 2005-06. Now many people are starting to count Butler out, but that is not the right thing to do.

The Bulldogs are on a rough stretch with losses coming at Louisville, against Evansville and Duke.

Three losses in which Matt Howard faced foul trouble. Nored, Butler's best on-ball defender, and leader of the defense did not play against Evansville, and with all three, the Bulldogs were 10-minutes away from getting closure on the defending National Champs.

Butler also saw an emerging guard in Vanzant who can score the basketball on offense just as good as any player on the team. Andrew Smith, and Garret Butcher stepped up big for the Bulldogs in the post showing a lot of maturity.

If both can start finishing around the rim, the Bulldogs might establish a lot of depth in the frontcourt. Despite the (4-3) record, I expect the Bulldogs to improve as the season progresses.

The Bulldogs are back to health, hopefully, and have a chance to make a statement against the Xavier Musketeers (5-2) December 9, 9 PM ET.

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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Verdell Jones Leads Hoosiers Past Savannah State, 79-57

Posted by CoHoops Josh Dhani
The Indiana Hoosiers were brought with their first loss of the season to the Boston College Eagles a few days earlier, dropping to 6-1. But no worries for Indiana, as they headed back home to face the Savannah State Tigers, improving to 7-1 with a 79-57 victory.

Verdell Jones led the Hoosiers with 18 points. Christian Watford had 14 and Maurice Creek produced eleven points.

The Hoosiers have won all of their seven home games this season and have extended the streak to eight total after beating the Northwestern Wildcats last season in the finale.

Joshua Montgomery led the Tigers with 15 points, but it wasn’t enough as Savannah State falls to 1-9. They got the Georgia Bulldogs coming up next.

It was a lopsided game, and it was a solid win for the Hoosiers. Jones also had eight rebounds in the game and shot well, having a percentage of 55.3-percent overall.

The Hoosiers scored the first points of the game, but would quickly go on a 10-o run. After that, Indiana was leading 22-12, which would lead to the big win.

Jordan Hulls and Victor Oladipo provided eleven points and nine points respectively. Preston Blackmon added 14 points for the Tigers.

This is a big win for the Hoosiers, as they shake off the loss to Boston College. But now they got a tough game ahead, as they go on to Kentucky to face the Wildcats. Let’s hope for the best. Win or lose, I see a good, close game. The game will take place on Saturday, December 11.

Good win Hoosiers.

Let’s get ready for UK!

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Butler, Duke Re-Match From March; Duke Wins Again, 82-70

Posted by CoHoops Josh Dhani 
It was a re-match of last season’s National Championship. The Duke Blue Devils were leading, 61-59, over the Butler Bulldogs. The Bulldogs were the Cinderella team entering this match-up, but the Blue Devils came out on top with their great veteran experience from coach Mike Krzyzweski. Gordon Hayward had a chance to win the game for Butler, almost making a half-court shot to win the game, but it barely missed!

With Hayward gone, the Bulldogs hoped to bring revenge still on the Devils. It was basically a game going back and forth. But later in the game, star-player Shelvin Mack would injury himself with cramps. He would not return. With that, the Bulldogs were in a hole. But they would bounce back. But later in the second half, Kyrie Irving would get hot, and he would help end the game for a Duke win, 82-70. The Blue Devils improve to 8-0 while Butler falls to 4-3.

This would be Coach K’s 876th career victory, passing coach Rupp on the all-time wins list.

“I’m going to win more I think than Coach Rupp, God bless him, who won’t win any more,” Krzyzewski said of the late coach. “He won a lot of them and he won them in his way and they didn’t play as many games then. Each era has outstanding achievements by individuals, whether they be players or coaches and in this era I’ve been fortunate to have some.

“It’s tough to compare,” Krzyzewski said. “I much rather would have tied him in April than today because I’m going to keep coaching and we should win more games. You get too caught up with what your own team is doing to focus on that kind of stuff.”

It’s the 18th straight win overall for Duke now. Nolan Smith had 24 points while Irving had 21, including 17 in the second half. Like mentioned earlier, Irving hit two keys three-pointers to finish the game off.

“Nolan did a tremendous job tonight. He played like a veteran,” Irving said. “He put us on his back in the second half of this game.”

Smith said, “Kyrie brings a lot. He’s a dangerous point guard.”

Butler will face Xavier next while Duke will the Bradley Braves.
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Louisville Defense Impressive Early

Posted by CoHoops DeAnte Mitchell
With teams like Duke, Kansas, Michigan State, and Ohio State stealing the spotlight early, a team like the Louisville Cardinals (6-0) go unnoticed.

The Cardinals are off to their best start since beginning the '05-06 season with six straight victories.

Louisville has yet to be tested with an average defeat of 25.2 points a game. The Cardinals six early wins include key wins over then-No. 18 Butler, and Florida International.

Rick Pitino's scrappy young squad is doing it with defense.

The Cardinals have forced 114 total turnovers this year. That is an average of 19 per game. Louisville is also tied for fourth in the nation with 12 steals per outing.

Senior guard Preston Knowles leads the Cardinals with 2.0 steals per outing, with five other players checking in with at least one steal per game.

Knowles also adds 11.5 points, and 4.0 rebounds per outing. With such a balanced attack on offense, four other players are in double-figures for the Cardinals.

After a 23-point outing against South Alabama, Mike Marra is now the leading scorer for Louisville with 13 points, 3.8 assist, and 3.3 rebounds.

Sophomore Peyton Siva, the former McDonald's All-American, has made his mark thus far. He is averaging 10.6 points, 3.8 assist, and 1.8 steals per game.

Coach Pitino's team doesn't just play tough defense, it also attacks the glass pulling down 41.8 a game, which also ranks among the top in the nation.

Once the Cardinals get the rebound, Siva is looking to push the ball up court in transition. The Cardinals have a good transition offense that allows them to dish out 19.1 assist per game.

Their assist total also helps Louisville become one of the best scoring teams in the nation. The Cardinals are now the sixth best scoring team in the nation averaging 87.5 points per game. Louisville as a team is also shooting 48 percent from the field.

More impressively, the Cardinals have done most of this without their prized freshman Gorgui Sy Dieng. Dieng hasn't learned to play without fouling which limits his minutes to around 12 per game.

With Dieng on the court, it certainly is a lift for Louisville in the post. However, the Cardinals have been able to cover up his loss with the emergence of sophomore Rakeem Buckles, and junior Terrence Jennings.

Buckles currently averages 11 points along with 8.5 rebounds per outing. He is one guy that gets it done on the glass for Pitino, coming away with two double-doubles on the season.

Jennings chips in his 10.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 3.5 blocks per game. In my eyes, Jennings is one of the top post defenders in the Big East. He has excellent size at 6-foot-9, and always tracks down the ball.

Nonetheless, if the Cardinals continue to play this well all around their isn't a reason why Louisville shouldn't be considered contenders in the Big East.

The Cardinals have another opportunity to prove they are for real at home against the No. 23 UNLV Rebels on December 11th, 12 PM ET.

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Friday, December 3, 2010

Player Gets Saved by iPhone App

Posted by CoHoops Josh Dhani
It's amazing how technology has come over the years. With all the cool new phones that are extremely beneficial to us humans, like the iPhone, Android, Smartphone, and others, some even save people's lives.

California high-school basketball star, Xavier Jones, was one of those lucky people saved by technology. In fact, it just took a single iPhone application.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Jones' coach downloaded an app called "Phone Aid" to help him perform CPR on Jones. Jones collapsed during a team practice, but was breathing again soon after the doctors arrived.

"When it happened, that was too much of a coincidence for me," the head coach said.

The star basketball player was at the edge of death.

"I'm just thankful and happy to be here," Jones said. "Things could have been a lot worse.

"I'm just happy to be alive."

Good thing they have a coach like him.

"I can't thank him enough for being there for my son," Xavier Jones' mother, Linda Jones said.

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Kemba Walker Records Triple-Double on Historic Night

Posted by CoHoops DeAnte Mitchell
If there was any question about Kemba Walker being the best player in the nation, he answered all the questions tonight.

Walker lead the No. 9 Connecticut Huskies (7-0) to their seventh straight victory over the UMBC Retrievers (0-7) 94-61, and recorded his first ever triple-double.

After scoring the game's first points from the free-throw line, the Huskies never gave UMBC the lead and soared to victory.

Walker accumulated 24 points, 13 rebounds, as well as 10 assist, and became the eighth player in UConn history to record a triple double.

Walker also joined good company a few minutes into the game reaching the 1,000 point plateau.

Jim Calhoun also reached 830 wins, which is tied for the sixth most in NCAA history.

Completing the historic night, the Huskies as a team pulled down 41 rebounds, 13 offensive, as well as dishing out a season-high 26 assist on 33 made field goals. UConn also drained 12 three-pointers, as well as blocking 10 shots.

All around, it was a very good night for the Huskies with everyone clicking on offense.

Jeremy Lamb scored 12 points, added six rebounds and two blocks. Roscoe Smith, Alex Oriahki, and Niels Giffey all chipped-in 11 points, while sophomore Jamal Coombs-McDaniel reached double-figures for the first time this season with 10 points.

UMBC had two players in double-figures with Travis King pacing the Retrievers with 14 points. Chris De La Rosa added 13 points, five rebounds, and five assist, as UMBC racks up a 0-7 start for the second straight season.

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Jeff Capel's Seat at Oklahoma Getting Hotter

Posted by CoHoops DeAnte Mitchell
There are a lot of upset Oklahoma Sooner (3-4) fans this season. The Sooners started off with a (3-0) record, but stepped outside of Oklahoma and watch their flawless record drop under 500.

That includes a loss to Division II Chaminade 68-64.

Jeff Capel, with former-Oklahoma Sooner Blake Griffin, led his team to an impressive 30-6 (13-3) record in '08-09.

His 30-win season was accommodated by a trip to the Elite Eight where Oklahoma fell to the eventual National Champion North Carolina Tar Heels.

Just two years following his Elite Eight berth, Capel has turned in a disappointing 13-18 (4-12) season with talented players like Tommy Mason-Griffin, Willie Warren, Tiny Gallon, and Cade Davis.

With most of his significant players gone, Capel looked on to his 2010 recruiting class to uplift his roster. However, the Sooners have got off to a disappointing 3-4 start, and racked up 14 straight losses away from home.

Granted, this is an Oklahoma team with only one senior, Davis who leads the Sooners in scoring with 15.6 point per game, and nine new faces that joined Capel's roster this season.

Capel has yet to utilize the ability of his talented freshman Cameron Clark. Clark is more suitable for a half court system, that runs in transition. He excels in transition, and could spark the Sooners if allowed.

Nonetheless, the season is very early and Capel has a chance to turn things around for Oklahoma. However, the talent is there, now it's Capel's turn to lead his team to a victory.

Capel has come from a pair of 12 game win streaks, to a 14 game losing streak away from home, and off to the worst start in the decade. Oklahoma is certainly on pace to miss the tournament for the second straight time, which doesn't sit well with the Oklahoma fan base.

His 2011 recruiting class isn't helping his cause either. It has been two years, and he does have plenty of time to turn the season around, but continuing to lose with a celebrated program like Oklahoma isn't acceptable.

Athletic Director Joe Castiglione could be watching how Capel handles things this year with his current basketball team, and recruiting wise. That could certainly dictate his job security in the future.

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College Hoops: Top Five Point Guards in the Nation

Posted by CoHoops DeAnte Mitchell
In this past decade, the last five National Championship teams embraced a talented point guard that led the way. Think of Jon Scheyer and what he did for Duke.

How about Ty Lawson and his ability to take care of the ball. Taurean Green was apart of the Florida Gators when they won back-to-back National Championship, and helped them stay consistent with scoring, and defense.

There isn't a team in the top-5 currently that can say they'd survive without their lead guard.

Point guards are a great necessity and to be successful, they'll need to be able to handle the ball, and create offense for their teammates.

Additionally, point guards are looked on to lead the way for the offense and always put his team in position to win the game.

I've witnessed these traits throughout the first month of November, and some point guards have caught my eye. As the debate rises of who the nations top-point guard is, here is my stance on the top-5 guards in the country.

5. Chris Wright - Georgetown Hoyas

Chris Wright has the Georgetown Hoyas (7-0) undefeated and off to their second straight undefeated November. Wright came through with the key three point basket against Mizzou that sent it into overtime, and was the one to finish the Tigers off with free-throws in OT.

Wright has blossomed into a great lead guard. He is up to 7.4 assist per game, with two double-digit assist outings.

Wright has been held to double-figures in two games this season, but also turned in an eight, and nine assist nights, which shows you his ability to impact the game without scoring.

4. Kalin Lucas - Michigan State Spartans

Kalin Lucas isn't 100 percent after injuring his achilles tendon last year, but you wouldn't be able to tell if you watched him in action. Lucas' Spartans (5-2) have dropped two games but both to respectable squads.

Lucas is currently averaging 17 points, 3.1 assist, and two rebounds. He is also shooting 46 percent from the field taking an average of 12 shots per game.

Michigan State survived last year without Lucas, but this season he is very beneficial. He helps Michigan State stay competitive with many teams, and is one of the reasons the Spartans were able to stay in the game against Duke.

Without being at full strength, Lucas is still one of the best lead guards in the country.

3. Demetri McCamey - Illinois Fighting Illini

Seeing that McCamey and Deron Williams attended the same college everybody wants to throw out the comparisons. I don't see many key traits, but what I do see is a better decision-making guard.

McCamey averaged 3.4 turnovers last year, but is now averaging 2.3 per outing. That is an assist-to-turnover ratio of 3.44, which is more than his first two seasons combined.

He has great court vision, and finds his teammates in their sweet spots for the score. McCamey is currently second in the nation in assist with 7.8 per game.

McCamey scores, gets his team involved, and leads the Illini to victory. McCamey is a polished college point guard with the ability to be something great at the next level.

2. Kyrie Irving - Duke Blue Devils

You want to know how Kyrie Irving is good? Try leading the No. 1 team in the nation over then-No.3 Kansas State, and the No. 6 Michigan State Spartans by outplaying two experienced guard in Jacob Pullen and Kalin Lucas.

Irving has the unique talent to push the ball up and down the floor without your defense doing much about it. His speed and quickness is just flat out amazing, and Irving always makes plays in the open court.

Irving just dropped a career-high 31 points on Michigan State, and is now on pace to join freshman like Carmelo Anthony that led Syracuse to the National Championship as a true freshman.

1. Kemba Walker - Connecticut Huskies

Kemba Walker, hands down, is the best point guard in the country. You cannot name a point guard that has the ability to lead an average team over two top-10 opponents in a span of two days.

Walker has the ability to take over games with his scoring ability and leadership. During their most recent win against New Hampshire, Walker put UConn on its back and carried them to victory.

Walker benefits UConn on the boards (4.3 rpg), the assist column (3.4 apg), and steals (2.2).

He does everything you want a point guard to do and more. He gets the team involved, takes over games when needed, very consistent, and play defense.

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