Archive - 2012 - Blog entry
Player of the Week
Keith Appling, Michigan State
Appling helped the Spartans avoid back-to-back 0-2 starts for the first time since 1899 and 1900 – the first two years of the program’s existence – with a great performance Tuesday against Kansas.
It has been, for the most part, a largely forgettable 2011-12 college basketball season for the Pac 12 Conference. But the NCAA tournament selection committee's decision to include just 2 teams (Colorado and California) and leave out the regular season champion Washington Huskies (14-4) was a huge slap in the face to the Conference (especially with a team like BYU getting in).
Player of the Week
From an NBA draft standpoint, Zeller has greatly raised his stock by becoming a better rebounder, a more polished defender and a smarter passer. It's refreshing to see a prospect that understands his weaknesses and uses his time at school to actually make himself a better player. The fact that Zeller has raised his field-goal shooting percentage and his point, rebound, assist, block and steal averages every single season of his college career is a great testament to his strong work ethic and willingness to improve. He capped off the regular season by scoring 19 points (9/11 from the floor) and pulling down 10 rebounds in an 88-70 blowout win at Duke. Not bad. Maybe it doesn't live up to the 30-point, 20-made free-throw standard that he set in his previous game (win against Maryland on Wednesday), but it did help his team win the regular-season title over their rivals. Anyway, Zeller was recently named the ACC Player of the Year, and it's hard to make a case for anybody else with the way he's been producing lately. If he can carry his recent play into the postseason, then UNC has at least a good chance of winning a national championship.
I remember writing about Ian Miller last summer. Florida State wasn't a good offensive team the previous season, and after losing Chris Singleton to the NBA, they needed a new go-to scorer. Miller was a freak athlete and a quality shooter with a year under his belt. It appeared that he would have every opportunity to break out this season. While he didn't become a go-to scorer (not yet, anyway), he is averaging a respectable 10.8 points per game this year and did perform like a hero in last week's FSU/Virginia matchup. Miller scored 15 points in the second half, including the last second tie-breaking triple, to help FSU come back from a double-digit deficit to defeat the Cavaliers and clinch a first-round bye in the ACC tournament. This was only the latest in a series of clutch performances from FSU players. Forward Michael Snaer hit a buzzer-beating three in January to give the Seminoles a victory at Duke. He did it again a few weeks later, making a three with 2.6 seconds left to give his team a 48-47 win against Virginia Tech. Florida State is consistently a great defensive team, and there's little doubt they'll be taking that ability into the tournament with them. If Miller and Snaer are providing offense to go along with that, then FSU becomes a sleeper team.