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February 9th, 2015
Phenom / The Next Lebron / Best Player In The Country / Differential / Too inconsistent / Passive / Disappointing / The Next Superstar
Monday is a “Big Night” in the overall scheme of things, Big 12 Conference basketball-wise, with Oklahoma State at Baylor and Iowa State at Oklahoma.
On tonight, that nightly (or daily) game of “Is this the game Kentucky stumbles and suffers its first loss?” resumes when the Wildcats of Coach John Calipari are in Baton Rouge to face LSU.
The Tigers have a pair of posts (in sophomores Jordan Mickey and Jarrell Martin) who probably the most equipped with their Kentucky counterparts better than anyone in the country.
After earning Second Team All-SEC Honors as a Freshman, Jordan Mickey and the LSU Tigers came into this season with a lot of hype and expectations. Most picked the Tigers to finish behind Kentucky and Florida in the SEC and get back to the NCAAT for the first time since the 2008-2009 season. Mickey and the Tigers have delivered and although they have suffered some tough losses in conference over the last few weeks, they are clearly the second best team in the SEC at this point and are on the right track to get back to player meaningful basketball in March. Mickey
A lot has happened since our last Stock Watch, including Caris LeVert’s season ending foot injury and Washington dismissing the nation’s leading shot blocker Robert Upshaw. LeVert showed signs of being a formidable all-around player and in a draft that lacks depth at guard, he has been kept in the mid-first round in 2015 on the assumption that he will declare despite the injury.
A couple of games that could prove to have significant impact on the races in the ACC (No. 4 Virginia at No. 15 North Carolina) and Big 12 (No. 10 Kansas playing host to No. 12 Iowa State) make up a pretty sweet TV double-header Monday night.
And Tuesday marks a home SEC contest game against the University of Georgia that is top-ranked Kentucky’s first contest since becoming the sole unbeaten in college hoops.
It’s a cold Thursday evening in downtown Atlanta. It is early December in the Georgia State University Sports Arena. The Panthers are on the floor warming up as are their opponents for the evening, the Green Bay Phoenix out of the Horizon league. I look to my left and see former UNC Coach and current Indiana Pacers scout Matt Doherty. I look to my right and see former NBA guard and current New Orleans Pelicans scout Anthony Johnson.
There is a boatload of upper-tier matchups across the country this week, among them being:
Texas at No. 14 Iowa State and Syracuse at No. 15 North Carolina (Monday), No. 12 Maryland at Ohio State (Thursday) surprising Oregon State at No. 5 Arizona (Friday), as well as No. 8 Wichita State at No. 12 Northern Iowa and UNC at No. 10 Louisville (both Saturday).
But Duke hooks up in the most high-profile whoppers of the week in Atlantic Coast Conference action – both on the road.
A couple of powerhouses who had endured “struggles”, of late, were back to putting the hammer to foes last week.
The Wildcats from Lexington and Tucson won their four games by a collective margin of 105 points.
And another set of Wildcats – these from Philadelphia – went to 17-1 as Villanova continued to play as if intends to methodically pull away from the rest of the Big East Conference pack.
Conference play is underway, with a higher level of competition allowing prospects to really make an impression on scouts. Some freshmen hit the wall, while some players begin to hit their stride. Here are a few who have excelled and others who are showing some wrinkles over the past week or so.
Justin Anderson 6-6 225 SF Virginia Jr.