Archive - Dec 2010
What a wild week. A number of our Power 16 teams took losses in the last week, so there's definitely some shakeup. Still, never overreact to nonconference losses.
Player of the Week
Scotty Hopson, Tennessee
In a week where the Volunteers played just one game, Hopson still nabs POW honors by a landslide. Hopson scored a career-high 27 points in an 83-76 road victory over third ranked Pittsburgh, showing off the all-court offensive attack NBA scouts have been anxiously waiting for him to unveil. He attacked the hoop finishing with ferocious dunks in traffic, nailed smooth pull-up and J's, was a perfect 3-3 from behind the arc and got to the free throw line five times. When he comes to play with an aggressive mindset, there's little resistance that defenses can offer. He was on a mission Saturday, slicing and dicing through a top echelon defensive unit with a strong foundation and athletic wings. If he wants to re-emerge in the first round conversation, or potentially beyond, these efforts need to become regularity, and not "wow, look what Hopson CAN do”.
Player of the Week
Games played while a team is heading into the end of the term can always be tricky, and sometimes are best simply to get them over with and burn the tape. Ohio State as a team did not have the best showing against IUPUI on Thursday night. The team that had not allowed their opponents to score more than 45 points in any the past four games was not at their typically high level. IUPUI came out scoring on six of their first seven possessions to start the game en route to 35 for the half and a tie ballgame. They followed it up by starting out the second half strong as well scoring on seven of their first nine possessions opening up a nine point lead. Sullinger took advantage of the overmatched Jaguar zone and put in his final 22 points in the final 11:43 to lead Ohio State to a 76-65 win. He ended up breaking the Ohio State freshman scoring record with 40 points in the game, and the first Buckeye to hit the 40 point mark since Dennis Hopson in 1986. With finals over with on Sunday, Ohio State did not have the same problems with slow starts jumping on Western Carolina early with a well balanced attack and ended up cruising to a 25 point win. While Sullinger did not have another 40, he get to the line all afternoon putting in nine of twelve to help get him 17 points on just 8 field goal attempts.
Michigan’s Improved Play
Before the season, it was difficult to see how Michigan would be able to improve in a season where the conference is especially loaded and the two dominant players from last year, DeShawn Sims and Manny Harris, were no longer with them. The beginning of the season did not dispel that sentiment when the Wolverines dropped their two games at the Legends Classic in Atlantic City and struggled mightily to score points having shot 36-115 from the field. Since that trip, however, Michigan has started figuring things out. Darius Morris has made great strides as the leader of the offense and understanding the strengths and weaknesses of his teammates. In their three recent wins over Clemson, Harvard, and Utah, Morris has averaged 15 points, 7.7 assists, 3 steals, 5 rebounds, and only 3 turnovers per game. As Head Coach John Beilein put it "He's 0-fer (on lobs)" but of late he is throwing less of them. In Evan Smotrycz, Tim Hardaway Jr., Zack Novak, and Stu Douglass, Michigan has players around Morris who can score, but none are the above the rim athletes he seems to be accustomed. With the top half of the conference as strong as it with five teams in the top 25, it is unlikely Michigan works its way too far up the league standings, but they are making the case that there are not going to be any gimme games once league play starts.
Tuesday December 14th
By Tyler Ingle
Player of the Week