Archive - Jan 19, 2012
A short week ago, I said I believed that Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was the best freshman at the nation at the halfway mark. Since than, Kentucky's other player in the running for the award, Anthony Davis, has already re-taken the lead. After an incredible 27 point and 14 rebound performance against Arkansas, Davis has leapt over the freshman wall with a vengeance. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist still is a fantastic freshman, but Anthony Davis has been a menace in SEC play and has rightfully moved to the top of my (and I am sure many others) rankings of the top first year guys in the nation.
After his massive showing against Baylor yesterday, it seems like Thomas Robinson has separated himself from the pack in the NCAA National Player of the Year race. Kansas lost twins Marcus and Markieff Morris to the NBA and had a number of key freshmen denied eligibility by the NCAA. Still, led by the powerful PF Robinson, they have remained one of the best teams in the nation and have gotten off to a 5-0 start to possibly win their eighth straight Big 12 title.
It was a huge contest at Allen Fieldhouse on Martin Luther King Jr. Monday as two top 10 Big 12 rivals were on display. Baylor had won their first 17 contests and wanted to make a statement that they were amongst the elite by keep a perfect record with a major road victory over Kansas. Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson both had huge performances to make sure Kansas kept the inside track for an eighth straight conference title in a 92-74 beatdown.
Player of the Week
Annihilated. Devastated. Obliterated. Adjectives used to describe Florida State's TV-MA massacre of the #3 ranked North Carolina Tar Heels. The Seminole's Saturday slaughter caught a few of us off-guard, as the team had been struggling through the season up to that point. Unlike many teams, FSU lacks a real go-to scoring option, instead relying on a balanced team effort to compete for wins. The victory over one of the top teams in the nation was not only made possible by the teamwork, physicality and defense of the Seminoles, but also Deividas Dulkys. The 6'5" senior guard erupted for a career-high 32 points (as many points as he scored in his previous nine games combined), leading his team to a 90-57 win at home against the Tar Heels. He made 12 of his 14 shots from the floor, 8 of 10 from behind the arc and had four assists with four steals to top off his brilliant performance. Also impressive was the fact that Dulkys made 28 three-pointers in a row during the shootaround prior to the game. Yeah, he was pretty hot and it will probably have been the biggest performance of his career when everything is said and done. I wouldn't count Florida State out of consideration from the ACC tournament this year if they stay hot (they've won three in a row). The team projects well in the ACC due to their excellent size and defense, and simply need more offense to play up to their potential.
What's that? Oh, he's a seven-foot freshman playing for Boston College. Yeah, they're still playing in the ACC. No, seriously. They've even won two games in a row. Pick your jaw up off the floor, reader; they had to win at some point. Clifford scored 15 points in each of the narrow victories over Clemson (final score of 59-57) and Virginia Tech (61-59). He's averaging 9.8 points on 59.2% shooting and 5.3 rebounds on the season; maybe not groundbreaking numbers, but solid for a freshman regardless. As an offensively-skilled center, he could be a key piece in the Eagles' rebuilding effort along with fellow frosh Partick Heckmann and Ryan Anderson. And they really are rebuilding, perhaps contrary to their current winning ACC record (2-1, tied for second in the standings).