Player of the Week:
DVauntes Smith Rivera, Georgetown
The stocky freshman scored a career-high 33 points off the bench in a home drubbing of DePaul. Smith-Rivera connected on 10/12 field goals, 5/6 three-pointers and 8/10 free throws in a comprehensive offensive outing. Earlier in the week he put up 14 points in a rugged, defensive triumph at Cincinnati. Big East play has brought out the best in him, raising his level rather than shying away from the pressure and physicality of Hoya rivalries. With Otto Porter currently listed as “questionable” for Saturday at Syracuse, Smith-Rivera could make his first collegiate start in front of 35,000 fans at the Carrier Dome. When given time to set his feet and bend his knees, his stroke from deep is effortless. The zone plays right into his strengths, and whoever Georgetown sends through the middle of the2-3, they are likely to find the open man. Smith-Rivera is also comfortable pump faking and dribbling into a mid-range jumper, or drawing contact.
Myles Mack, Rutgers
With Eli Carter done for the year after suffering a broken leg, the onus is all on Mack if the Scarlet Knights are to remain competitive in the final weeks. He carried his end of the bargain in tight road defeats at DePaul and at Villanova, averaging 26 points on 60% shooting, 2 three-point makes, 6 FT makes, 6 rebounds, 3.5 assists and a steal. Mack had been settling for much of the season in an offense that lacked rhythm or ball movement. Attempting 21 shots inside the arc and 14 free throws (91%) is a welcome sight.
Michael Carter Williams, Syracuse
Carter-Williams recorded his first double-double since January 2nd in a blowout victory over previously red hot Providence. The Friars lack size at the guard position and MCW was able to maneuver them like chess pieces to find the open man. He finished with 15 points, 12 assist, 5 rebounds, a steal and a block. He dished out just 3 assists at Seton Hall with Brandon Triche acting as the primary facilitator, but grabbed 9 boards (5 off.) to go along with his 14 points. Carter-Williams has attempted 16 free throws to ZERO three-pointers in the last two games; a winning recipe no doubt, but unlikely to sustain with Georgetown/Marquette/Louisville on the upcoming docket.
Vander Blue, Marquette
Coming off his first single-digit scoring game in Big East play (7 at Georgetown), Blue rebounded with consecutive 19-point efforts last week. He torched Pittsburgh and Seton Hall for a composite 15/22 shooting mark and 4/8 from distance. Despite being undersized, Blue has light feet and a long wingspan making him a tremendous perimeter defender. If his offensive exploits continue, expect the junior to force his way onto the 2014 mock.
Ryan Boatright, Connecticut
The consistent sophomore encountered rare turbulent waters offensively versus the aggressive defenses of Villanova and Cincinnati. He made 5/19 field goals and attempted only 3 free throws en route to 13 total points in the two games. Boatright will take his out his vengeance on DePaul this weekend as Connecticut continues to play out the string before watching postseason play from home.
Jerian Grant, Notre Dame
How swiftly the mighty can fall. Grant stood atop this article seven short days ago, but fatigue predictably set in after two grueling battles. He missed the mark on 18 of 24 shot attempts and committed 8 turnovers in roads tilts at Providence and Pittsburgh. A Sunday matinee with Cincinnati in South Bend is not likely to end with a tasteful stat line either.
Top 5: Vertical Leapers
1. Peyton Siva, Louisville
2. SirDominic Pointer, St. Johns
3. Victor Rudd, South Florida
4. Michael Carter Williams, Syracuse
5. Jamee Crockett and Charles McKinney, Depaul
Honorable Mention: Kris Dunn, Providence and Wally Judge, Rutgers
·Providence senior Vincent Council dished out 18 assists this week, setting a new conference record in the process (431). He has at least 7 assists in eight straight games.
·Marquette forward Jamil Wilson has scored in double figures in five consecutive contests. The Golden Eagles sixth man averaged 11.5 points and 8.5 rebounds this week.
·Syracuse senior Brandon Triche averaged 21.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2 steals this week. His backcourt mate steals the headlines, but Triche is compiling a rock solid campaign.
·Mouphtaou Yarou continued his mastery of the double-double with 11 & 16 at Connecticut and 10 & 12 versus Rutgers. He has now has six DD’s in 14 Big East games.
·Georgetown forward Nate Lubick has posted 9 points, six rebounds and 4 assists per over his last six.
·Keep an eye on Rutgers combo forward Kadeem Jack the rest of the way. The redshirt sophomore has loads of untapped potential and should finally receive the PT to showcase it.
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