Player of the Week
Stokes had another huge second half Thursday night, scoring a much needed 22 points in a win over the South Florida. He continues to knock down threes at a ridiculous rate, and has been the primary savior for a team who has lacked consist performances from their core rotation. Stokes' ability to stretch the floor allows fellow guards Corey Fisher and Maalik Wayns to work in space, making everybody's life that much easier on the offensive side of the ball. Scoring over 20 points in each of his last 3 games, Stokes is this week's Big East Player of the Week.
The Orange made the Irish look rather inferior Sunday afternoon, using their athleticism and overwhelming defense to force turnovers and push the tempo where they thrive in transition. With depth and a new shooting weapon off the bench in James Southerland, the Orange have played the best basketball in the Big East thus far.
St. Johns is coming off three consecutive conference wins, the most impressive being a hard fought victory over a tough veteran Georgetown team. I can't say enough about the play of Justin Brownlee, who has shown the ability to operate out of the post as a facilitator for this well coached and experienced team of seniors.
They still haven't beaten anyone of substance, but they still haven't lost yet either. Last night Yancy Gates put on a show, scoring 22 and bringing in 14 rebounds as he dominated Xavier in a 20 point win on National television. Still, the Bearcats lack multiple scoring threats and could struggle against some of the better defensive teams in the conference. Until that happens, they remain one of the few undefeated teams in the nation.
In what was a bad loss to St. Johns, Austin Freeman, Chris Wright and Jason Clark shot a combined 7-25. Without much help in the front court, the Hoyas will need at least 2 of their big 3 to play well in order to beat the best of the East.
The Huskies fell back to earth the past three games, losing in blowout fashion to Pittsburgh, winning in overtime to the 6-10 South Florida Bulls, and losing a tight one to Notre Dame. Looks like teams have finally realized they only need to stop one man.
After a strong December, the Friars failed to cash in on any of the team's early conference matchups. They competed, but faltered when it mattered most, failing to convert the big basket or get the big stop in crunch time. After a promising start, the Friars are 0-3 in the Big East.
Top 5 Sophomores
1. Maalik Wayns, PG, Villanova
Wayns is the top point guard prospect in the conference, and in his last few games he's proven why. He's averaged over 8 assists over his last three, and his rare combination of strength and quickness have allowed him to score and rebound amongst the trees.
2. Vincent Council, PG, Providence
Council's numbers have been excellent this year, scoring 15 a game and dishing out 7 assists. He rebounds well for a guard and shows effort and concentration on defense, leading to almost 2 steals per game. Council and Marshon Brooks have formed to be what has been one of the more dynamic backcourts in the conference.
3. Peyton Siva, PG, Louisville
Siva has played well this year in his first season as the team's primary ballhandler. He lacks size and range from the outside, but he's quick and athletic enough to get to the rim and make things happen. When Siva's game is on and Louisville applies their full court pressure, Pitino's team becomes a difficult team one to beat.
4. Mouphtaou Yarou, F/C, Villanova
Still a bit raw, Yarou has the body and build to play at the next level. His crazy wingspan and impressive mobility for a 6'10 F/C make up for his limited offensive skillset. With his physical tools, he's still one of the more intriguing NBA prospects in the conference.
5. Alex Oriakhi, F/C, UConn
Oriakhi ranks among the top rebounders in the conference, but his offense still hasn't come around. He's got an excellent build at 6'9 240 lbs, and does a fine job of finishing at the rim. It's actually getting there that's been the problem for AO.
- Justin Brownlee has been huge for the St. Johns in their three early conference wins. He racked up 10 assists in his last two, which is impressive considering he's a 6'7 forward.
- Jae Crowder has been quite the addition for Marquette, posting a 29-8-5 line in a win over West Virginia.
- Looks like Darius Johnson-Odom has caught fire. He's 14 for his last 24 attempts from downtown, and scored 21 and 29 consecutively in back to back conference wins.
- After 8 consecutive 25 point plus performances from Marshon Brooks, he finally quieted down scoring 20 against St. Johns. Three days later he scored 28 against Pittsburgh.