Archive - Jan 2011
The Power 16 was shaken to its core last week as 12 teams suffered at least one loss. We witnessed several surprises in the Big East as Pitt, UCONN, Villanova and Syracuse all lost to teams outside of last week’s Power 16. Ohio State strengthened its hold on the top spot after throttling Purdue and pulling out a close win at Northwestern. Last week also produced a legendary game out of the Mountain West Conference as two top 10 teams squared off and Jimmer Fredette became a household name.
Player of the Week
Providence Senior wing Marshon Brooks is having a breakout senior season, currently 6th in the nation and second in the Big East in scoring at 23.4 ppg. Showing tremendous versatility, his 7.5 rpg is also good for 5th in the Big East. Brooks is considered a potential first round pick for the 2011 draft.
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Player of the Week
Less than a week after crowning Iman Shumpert my ACC Co-Player of the Week, he goes and gives statisticians everywhere hand cramps with a triple-double explosion in last Tuesdays victory over Virginia Tech. On Tuesday, Georgia Tech was hosting a game against a very good Virginia Tech opponent. They were coming off a loss at Virginia, but had won their two previous home games against North Carolina and Wake Forest in an impressive fashion. I'll let the 6'5" junior tell the rest of his story with his unreal stat line of 22 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists and 7 steals. Shumpert also took control of one of the best scorers in the ACC, Malcolm Delaney, holding him to a season low 8 points on 3 of 11 shooting. Shumpert also forced Delaney into 8 turnovers. With Delaney getting eaten alive, the Hokies didn't stand a chance, falling 72-57 to the suddenly respectable Yellow Jackets. Shumpert still has his weaknesses. His efficiency/shot selection is questionable, and his attitude has been considered a red flag by some. The potential is there though. He has good size with long arms. He's quick, explosive and powerful enough to be effective on both ends of the floor. If he can put it all together then he'll be a great NBA prospect.
Whether you choose to include Kyrie Irving or not, there is no denying that Duke's backcourt is one of the strongest in the nation. Nolan Smith, Seth Curry and Andre Dawkins along with hybrid forward Kyle Singler give Duke a great chance to repeat as national champions this season. However, they have a weakness and it's the overall depth of their frontcourt. The Plumlees are athletic and doing some things well, but alone they can't make up for the departures of flop-wizard Lance Thomas and lumberjack Brian Zoubek. Where, oh where will they find a little depth? Enter 6'11" Ryan Kelly, the skinny sophomore sharpshooter who's suddenly becoming a very helpful role player for Coach K and the Blue Devils. His averages on the season are very modest (18.7 mpg, 7.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg) but recently he's seen a great improvement, averaging 28.3 minutes, 15 points and 6 rebounds a game in his last three games. He's been very efficient during this period, shooting 84% from the floor and 80% (8/10) from behind the arc. What Kelly does on the offensive end is open up the court. A big man with such a potent shooting stroke requires attention, which gives Dawkins, Smith and Singler more space to penetrate. Defensively, Kelly's length provides a good shot-blocking presence (1.6 blocks in 18.7 minutes a game). Overall, Kelly is becoming more important than we thought he would be earlier in the season. He's been a pleasant surprise for Duke, and they surely hope he can continue to make a significant impact.
Player of the Week
Ben Hansbrough, G, Notre Dame
Hansbrough put up 28 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists in a win over Marquette, and followed with a 19 point, 7 assist 4 rebound performance in a win at Pittsburgh. He put the Panthers away with a spin move in the lane and a finish at the rim, showing the national television audience that he's more than just an underappreciated little brother who can only shoot from the outside.