Big East Blog

Player of the Week

Darius Johnson Odom

Darius Johnson-OdomDarius Johnson-OdomHe's simply been the man for one of most dangerous teams in the country. DJO scored a season low and a team high 17 points in a bold win at Wisconsin, knocking down big-time shots in baller fashion. Johnson-Odom showed off his pretty step back jumper, an attractive asset to have when it comes to evaluating prospects. His ability to score off the dribble and excel as a spot up shooter help offset some of the concerns over his size and lack of position. He's been a model of consistency, averaging 19.8 points on 57% shooting from the floor and 46% from downtown. With Marquette quietly playing some of the best ball in the country, DJO should see a rise in national press as one of the more gifted seniors in the game.

Heatin' Up

Mouphtaou Yarou F/C, Villanova

21 and 11 against Penn, 19 and 7 against Santa Clara. Key Stat: 19 free throw attempts between both games. Good sign of improvement.

Ryan Boatright PG, UConn

Boatright was the difference maker in Connecticut's win over Arkansas, finishing with 23 points, 6 assists and 5 boards. Boatright made plays as a facilitator in the half court and in transition, and proved effective splitting the D and shooting from outside.

Hollis Thompson SF, Georgetown

Thompson drilled a 3 off a dribble-handoff from 25 feet out to beat Alabama. He's averaging 17 a game over his last 3, shooting 10-17 (58%) from downtown. Thompson's range and stroke to go along with his ideal length for a 3 make him a compelling prospect.

Coolin' off

Scott Marin, F, Notre Dame

Martin lit up the scoreboard against Gonzaga, finishing with 1 point. I think I'd rather score 0 points than 1.

Blake Nash, G, South Florida

As a starter, Nash is 2-15 from the floor over his last 3. You shouldn't be allowed to shoot that poorly with a name like Blake Nash.

Power Rankings

1. Syracuse

They made a very solid Florida team look average Friday night, and had it not been for some deep threes from Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton, the score could have been a lot more lopsided. Between Scoop Jardine's length and Brandon Triche's strength, the Syracuse backcourt is tough to break down. Fab Melo looks revitalized as a sophomore, increasing his activity level and motor on both sides of the ball. With a back line of Melo, freshman Rakeem Christmas and Baye Moussa Keita, the Orange force opposing offenses to skip the ball around the perimeter until there's just enough room to launch a 25 footer. Sprinkle in forward CJ Fair and guard Dion Waiters, and there's just no useless bodies to take advantage if your the opposition. Few teams can afford to shoot 3-17 from downtown and still beat a quality team like Florida.

2. Connecticut

Calhoun's rotation is just oozing with talent. Jeremy Lamb has become the country's most lethal perimeter scorer, yet could still stand to be more aggressive on the offensive end. Connecticut got a huge boost from Ryan Boatright on Saturday, whose quickness and energy gave the offense a new look. With Boatright's enthusiasm injected into the lineup, the Huskies offense becomes one of the most dynamic forces in the country.

3. Marquette

Marquette has a strong nucleus with Johnson-Odom, Jae Crowder and Vander Blue, who provide a balanced mix of skills and strengths. With the emergence of Todd Mayo, brother of OJ, as a scoring threat off the bench, Buzz Williams' crew has numerous weapons than can fire from all cylinders. Davante Gardner has been efficient and productive in his limited role, who along with Chris Otule, give Marquette some authority in the paint. Saturday's victory at Wisconsin was a true statement-win, and one that should catapult the undefeated Golden Eagles into the next tier of quality teams.

4. Louisville

Louisville has proved that suffocating defense can offset nauseating offense. That offense struggled mightily against a soft Vanderbilt defense, as they possess little to no shot-creating ability outside of Peyton Siva. However, their clamp-down full-court press is enough to shake any backcourt, forcing offenses to operate in uncomfortable conditions. Offensively, Siva's ability to penetrate the defense does create open looks for players who couldn't get them for themselves. They're definitely vulnerable, but they'll make you really have to earn it.

5. Georgetown

Jason Clark is playing at another level this year, and is heavily responsible for Georgetown's hot start. He's averaging 17 points on 43% from downtown, and has posed as the go-to scorer on a team that was missing just that. If there's anyone who knows how to create open looks on the perimeter it's coach Thompson, whose style of play puts shooters like Clark and Hollis Thompson in the best position to produce. With center Henry Sims playing well and freshmen Otto Porter contributing valuable minutes, Georgetown should remain a tough out for anyone on the schedule.

Weekly Thoughts

Good win for Cincinnati, who outscored Georgia by 15 points in the second half to overcome a 9 point deficit after 20.

Henry Sims looks sharp despite his awkward, lanky frame. Against Alabama he was dishing dimes out of the post and spinning baseline Olajuwon style.

That Louisville offense is too shaky for me. Don't love them as a tournament team.

West Virgina getting some good minutes from freshman Jabarie Hinds, who's scored in double figures 4 out of 5 games.

If I had to pick a team today to win the national title, I'm going with Syracuse. Too much depth, talent and size. Too good defensively.

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