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Archive - 2012

February 8th

ACC Blog

Player of the Week

Reggie Johnson

Reggie JohnsonReggie JohnsonMiami had a tough start to the season. DeQuan Jones was suspended for the first ten games of the year and Julian Gamble injured himself over the summer and isn't expected to play a game in 2011-2012. Center Reggie Johnson wasn't always around to help in the frontcourt either, having missed the first nine games of the season recovering from knee surgery and trying to get back into game-shape ever since his return. The Hurricanes have managed to get through all of that without losing any substantial ground in the ACC standings, and both the team and Reggie Johnson are starting to heat up. Miami has won four straight games, the most recent of which was an overtime victory at Duke. Like the Seminoles before them, the Hurricanes used their size advantage to stage the upset. Johnson scored a career-high 27 points on 11/17 shooting, while pulling down a season-high 12 rebounds. Standing 6'10" at 285 pounds, he's a matchup nightmare for a lot of teams in the ACC. If he stays healthy, he'll be a game-changer that could propel his team up in the ACC standings and potentially into an NCAA tournament birth.

Hot

Tyler Zeller

Tyler Zeller's best attributes have always been his athleticism, height and offensive skill-set. He can score in transition, in the post, or at the line. He's very slippery, and consequently, draws a lot of contact. But I don't want to go into great detail about that. Instead, I want to talk about what his greatest flaws were considered to be prior to this season. Critics would say that Zeller was too thin and a poor defender. He was also a mediocre rebounder (especially defensively), and not much of a passer. Zeller had lottery-type talent, but several holes in his game. As a senior, it seems he's been working on addressing those weaknesses. He's not getting pushed around as much in the post, and it's leading to better man-to-man defense and rebounding. After a 17-rebound performance against North Carolina State, and an 18-rebound performance against Wake Forest, his average on the season is up to 9.6 (7.2 rpg in 2010-2011). He's also putting up career-highs in steals (1.0), blocks (1.3) and assists (1.0) per game, all in fewer minutes (26.4 mpg) than he played last season (28.1). It appears Zeller is willing to work hard to make himself a better player, which is something that the NBA will take note of.

Cold

February 7th

Big East Blog

Player of the Week

Travon Woodall

Travon WoodallTravon WoodallWoodall has really excelled with the ball in his hands, not only as a playmaker but as a scorer alongside Ashton Gibbs. He dropped 29 points, 6 boards and 5 assists in a win over Villanova after finishing with 24 in a huge win over West Virginia.

February 6th

SEC Blog

Player of the Week

Anthony Davis, Kentucky

Anthony DavisAnthony DavisThe dominance of Davis continues to astound. The one-and-done freshman swatted 15 shots in two games this week, passing Shaquille O’Neal for the SEC frosh record in blocked shots with 116. Davis leads the country with 4.8 BPG, and has eight games of 6+ rejections. On the offensive end, he averaged 20 points in victories over Tennessee and South Carolina, connecting on 15/17 field goal attempts (66% on year) and 10/12 free throws (70%). He added 8 RPG, assisted on 4 buckets and committed just a single turnover (0.9). Davis is a man amongst children, despite hardly an offensive set being run for him. Kentucky faces a rough patch of games in February beginning with tilts versus Florida and at Vanderbilt this week. The feeding on conference cupcakes is over.

Who’s Hot

Kenny Gabriel & Varez Ward, Auburn

The Tigers played tremendous ball this week (home W over Georgia and three-point road L at Mississippi State), and the two names above are a big reason why. Gabriel continued his dynamic ways on both ends of the floor, scoring 19 PPG, grabbing 9.5 rebounds, blocking 2.5 shots, swiping a steal, knocking down 12/13 from the charity stripe and drilling 4 treys at MSU. Ward, who had struggled miserably in recent weeks shooting the rock, averaged 21.5 points, 4 assists and made an eye popping 21 free throws on 24 attempts. When you’re shooting 34% from the field, uncontested opportunities at the line are a welcomed sight.

February 5th

NCAA Power 16 Rankings

Mon, 02/06/2012 - 8:53am

February 4th

Big 12 Blog

Player of the Week

Michael Dixon, Missouri

Michael DixonMichael DixonThe Missouri Tiger's sixth man didn't start the game on the floor for Mizzou on Monday against Texas, but he was definitely there for the finish. His lay-up with 31 seconds left propelled his team to a 67-66 victory over the Longhorns, pushing the Tigers to 20 wins on the season. The 6'1" junior finished the game with 21 points while shooting 9-10 from the field, including 2-2 from three-point range. He also handed out four assists for his team. On the season, he is now averaging a hair over 12 points per game, and almost three assists.

Who's Hot

Royce White, Iowa State

The junior star is continuing his very strong play for the Cyclones, while carrying them toward the top of the Big 12 standings along the way. On Tuesday against the Kansas State Wildcats, the 6'8" power forward proved too much to handle for K-State. In the 72-70 win, he hit the game winning jump shot with 1.8 seconds left. He scored 22 points on 10-17 shooting from the field, grabbed eight rebounds, handed out four assists, had three blocks, and grabbed two steals. He is an all-around threat for his team, and has dominated everyone he has faced this season.

February 3rd

Big Ten Blog

Player of the Week

John Shurna, Northwestern

John ShurnaJohn ShurnaThe Big Ten’s leading scorer put up 28 points on 9-of-13 shooting to keep the Wildcats away from a fourth straight loss on Thursday night against Nebraska. We all know he can go off like this at any given time, but this was his first game scoring more than 22 points since Dec. 18 against Eastern Illinois and his third this season (the Wildcats are 3-0 in those games). He had scored more than 22 eight times at the same point in last season’s schedule. Since the start of last season, Northwestern is 11-2 when Shurna scores above that mark. He also scored 15 points Saturday in a 58-56 heartbreaker against Purdue.

But it was more about how Shurna scored those points that matters. He went 7-of-8 from the free-throw line. Northwestern is 5-0 this season when Shurna makes at least five free throws, a sign of him not totally relying on his 3-point shot (which ranks seventh in the Big Ten at 42.7 percent). He’s attempted the fourth-most 3-pointers (131) in the conference, behind Michigan’s Tim Hardaway Jr., Purdue’s Ryne Smith and Illinois’ D.J. Richardson — with good reason. But when he starts getting to the basket like he did Thursday against Nebraska, good things happen. He had several nice drives that helped put the Huskers away, and maneuvered his way down low for an offensive rebound and tip-in late in the game.

Coach Bill Carmody knows Northwestern (13-8, 3-6 Big Ten, 10th place) can’t afford to sit Shurna, who has played an average 39.3 minutes per game in Big Ten games, and is on the floor for 96.9 percent of the time, both tops in the conference. Shurna stays out of foul trouble and doesn’t turn the ball over — hard to do when you’re the go-to guy. In the past five games, he’s only turned the ball over four times, while dishing out 12 assists.