Archive - Dec 2011
Despite taking a lead into the half, the Oregon Ducks could not hold off the Virginia Cavaliers as they lost, 67-54. The loss was indeed reminiscent of the Ducks loss to the Cavaliers last season in Virginia, though this time hurt a bit more being at home. Mike Scott continues his strong senior season for coach Tony Bennett's Cavs as he finished with a game high 17 points and 13 rebounds.
Projected No. 1 pick Andre Drummond broke out with a career night Sunday, posting 24 points, 8 rebounds and 5 blocks. Granted, the effort came against Holy Cross, which isn't exactly a basketball juggernaut.
Drummond's performance was noteworthy because he's quickly developing the confidence to be a dominant force on the college level.
Player of the Week
Christian Watford, Indiana
The Hoosiers played only one game this past week, but that’s all junior forward Christian Watford needed to make Indiana history. Watford’s 3-pointer from the left wing Saturday off a brilliant pass by Verdell Jones III hit nothing but net at the buzzer, and Indiana basketball jettisoned back to prominence with a 73-72 win over No. 1 Kentucky. Relive the shot here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPXImXAMStc
Watford scored 17 of his 20 points in the second half as Indiana staved off the Wildcats after blowing a 10-point lead in the second hald. The 6-9 junior who has endured the Hoosiers’ painful rebuilding process under coach Tom Crean took it inside as well as hitting four 3-pointers.
It likely will end up being the game of the Big Ten non-conference season, and Watford displayed the conference’s depth and talent level. He’s the Hoosiers’ fourth-leading scorer after nine games, but one of five on the team averaging double figures. Watford is a well-rounded player and a team leader who could help the Hoosiers into the NCAA Tournament.
Evan Smotrycz and Trey Burke, Michigan
The Wolverines have won three straight games since their puzzling loss at Virginia, and mostly have been led by 6-9 sophomore Evan Smotrycz. He’s hit 7-of-9 from long range the past two games and 11-of-14 overall while averaging 18 points per game. He’s not the most physical player down low but presents match-up problems on the perimeter. He had 20 points and nine rebounds against a dangerous Oakland team on Saturday in Auburn Hills, then 16 and eight in a 63-50 home win against Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Tuesday. He’s also stepped up on the defensive end, totaling five steals in the two wins.
Burke simply has anchored the Wolverines’ backcourt. The freshman from Columbus, Ohio, has led the team in minutes the past two games, and has averaged 17.5 points and eight assists while playing a team-high 37.5 minutes. He’s been able to get into the lane while also stroking it from the 3-point line (6-of-11 in his past two games).
Draymond Green, Michigan State
Green’s 34-point performance in a 74-67 win at Gonzaga this past Saturday was the conference’s second-highest scoring output this season behind Northwestern forward John Shurna’s 37. Green shot 11-of-13, including 4-of-5 from 3-point range. He didn’t get his usual rebounding numbers but had three steals as the Spartans got an impressive road win to get the attention of AP voters.
Deshaun Thomas, Ohio State
Deshaun Thomas did his best to fill in for fellow sophomore Jared Sullinger on Saturday at Kansas. The 6-7 forward averaged 21 points in the past two games, in the Buckeyes’ loss against the Jayhawks and win against South Carolina Upstate. He’s shot a combined 17-of-29 from the field, including 5-for-12 from 3. He’s also turned it over just twice in that span while dishing out four assists and collecting seven rebounds. Thomas needs to get to the free-throw line more often, though. He went 3-of-3 in the past week.
Player of the Week
Donte Poole, Murray State, SG, Senior, 6-3 190 lbs.
This unsung hero for Murray State has been playing under the shadow of talented point guard, Isaiah Cannan, for much of the season. Cannan – largely considered to be a late second round prospect for the NBA Draft – leads the Racers in scoring and handles most of the ball-handling duties for the team. But this past Sunday, Poole stepped out from beneath Canaan’s shadow and drained six three-pointers in Murray State’s victory over the #20 Memphis Tigers (5-3). For the game, Poole finished with 20 points, 2 rebounds and 1 assist on 7-11 shooting and 6-8 on three-pointers. In Murray State’s next game against Lipscomb (6-6), Poole only scored 7 points (2-8 shooting), but had 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. Still, his game changing performance against Memphis earns Poole this spot as the Mid-Major Player of the Week.
Murray State Racers (11-0)
Through one-third of the 2011-12 season, Murray State sits atop the Ohio Valley Conference for overall win-loss records and has legitimized itself as one of the best mid-major schools in the country. Sunday’s impressive 76-72 victory on the road against #20 Memphis (5-3) shows that the Racers are ready to compete against very quality competition. Through 11 games, Murray State has beaten UAB (2-6) of Conference USA, Southern Miss (7-2) of Conference USA, Dayton (7-3) of the Atlantic 10, and now Memphis (5-3) of Conference USA. The backcourt tandem of Isaiah Canaan and Donte Poole poses a tough challenge for opponents, especially considering that both players are shooting over 45 percent from three-point land, and 6’7” post player, Ivan Aska, provides some tenacity in the frontcourt. Murray State’s only significant weaknesses are the team’s lack of height in the frontcourt and consequently its mediocre team rebounding averages (31.7 RPG as a team).
December 16, 2011
Well, it is here. The NBA pre-season kicks off with 4 match-ups tonight. Weeks ago, we were unsure whether there would be a season and now it is only a countdown until we are given the Christmas present of the 66th NBA season. Luckily, we have a college basketball season that has been filled with excitement in the early going and we will break down the most recent stories with this Friday version of NCAA Daily: