Player of the Week
Ben Hansbrough, G, Notre Dame
Hansbrough put up 28 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists in a win over Marquette, and followed with a 19 point, 7 assist 4 rebound performance in a win at Pittsburgh. He put the Panthers away with a spin move in the lane and a finish at the rim, showing the national television audience that he's more than just an underappreciated little brother who can only shoot from the outside.
Lamb had his best week as a collegiate athlete, scoring 16 and 24 points respectfully in wins over Tennessee and Marquette. Conference leading scoring Kemba Walker was held to a season low 14 points on 5-16 shooting against the Golden Eagles, but his off night proved to be irrelevant as Lamb picked up the slack with his timely shooting and ability to finish plays. The freshman has scored in double figures in his last four games, and should look to become more consistent as he continues to adjust to the size and speed of the college game.
Darius Johnson-Odom, G, Marquette - DJO finished the week averaging over 21 points per game, including a monster dunk over UConn that put the 6'2 guard on the weekly highlight reels. One of the most exciting players to watch in the conference, he’s also one of the more streakier players as well.
After starting 0-6 in conference play, the Friars are coming off two great wins against Louisville and Villanova. Marshon Brooks had another week at the office, averaging over 23 a game and improving his draft stock by the day. With Brooks, Vincent Council and under the radar freshman Gerard Coleman on the floor at the same time, the Friars have enough offensive firepower to hang with any team in the conference.
The Irish are coming off three straight wins, including a five point victory over the 2nd ranked team in the country in their own building. Notre Dame has gotten big time shooting from some of their role players, most importantly Carleton Scott and Scott Martin, who combined to shoot 8-12 from long range in their 5 point win over the Panthers.
Corey Stokes - Yikes. In his last four games, Stokes has shot a combined 11-48 (22%), including 6-30 (20%) from downtown. If you were to say Stokes was in a slump, you wouldn't be lying. Feel like he plays for my New York Mets.
Tim Abromaitis - Strange week for Tim Abromaitis, who notched only 6 points against Marquette, and then went into stealth mode at Pittsburgh finishing with just 2 points on ZERO field goal attempts. Somehow the Irish came away with two wins, but sometime down the line they'll need Timmy to wake up from his nap if they want a chance at making a run deep into March.
After a great win for Steve Lavin's bunch against Notre Dame, St. Johns has dropped three straight, including a 25 point loss to Louisville, a 2 point loss to Cincinnati and another 25 point loss to Georgetown (who they previously had beaten). In those three losses, not one Red Storm player recorded more than 13 points. Next up for the Johnnies, Duke at the Garden for a Sunday matinee.
Losing to Pittsburgh without Kris Joseph? Acceptable. Losing to Villanova with Kris Joseph? Acceptable but disappointing. Losing to Seton Hall by 25 at the Carrier Dome? Embarrassing and alarming. With Boeheim's reluctance to switch out of the zone despite opposing teams shooting the ball effectively, the Orange just watched as Jeremy Hazell hit three after three with room to launch. Syracuse lacks the offensive weapons of a Pittsburgh, Villanova or Connecticut, making it tough for them to climb out of an early hole being that they only have one real shovel.
Top 5 Rebounders
1. Rick Jackson, F, Syracuse - Jackson leads the conference in rebounding at 11.8 per game, and ranks third overall in the entire country. His high rebounding rate can be attributed to the fact that he rarely leaves the paint to score or defend, considering his position in Boeheim's 2-3 zone. Regardless, his strong frame, long arms and deceptively quick feet allow him to gain position around the rim. What makes him special is his ability to be in the right place at the right time, especially on the offensive glass where he brings in 4 per game.
2. Herb Pope , F, Seton Hall - Pope has been on a tear as of late, hauling in rebounds at a much higher rate than he was earlier in the season. He maintains a constant motor and a high energy level- add that to his wide frame and strong build, and Pope becomes a real pain in the ass to move out of the way. At only 6’8, Pope is a terrific rebounder who suffers from a limited offensive game.
3. Gary McGhee, C, Pittsburgh - At 6'10 250 lbs, McGhee is a big, mean, ugly lookin fella who takes no prisoners under the boards. He eats up space like a fat guy who needs both arms rests when flying in coach. In just 21 minutes he averages 8 rebounds per game, which is equivalent to 15 rebounds in 40 minutes, good for tops in the Big East. His length, strength and intensity make him a fan favorite, and a key cog in Pittsburgh's deep and balanced lineup.
4. Alex Oriakhi, F/C, UConn - Oriakhi's frame is one that can translate to NBA play, and one that he uses to pull down 9 rebounds per game. His length, strength and explosiveness make him awfully tough to box out. Combine his physical tools with his impressively soft hands, and that my friends becomes a great foundation for a promising big man.
5. Marshon Brooks , G, Providence – A 6’5 guard that’s 5th in the conference in rebounding? This is true, as Brooks has an uncanny ability to track down loose balls and crash the boards. His high activity level and excellent length allow him to get above the rim and fight with the big boys under the glass. Averaging 7.5 rebounds per game only boosts the value of this talented scorer from Providence.
*** Honorable Mention
Mouphataou Yarou, F/C, Villanova
Bilal Dixon, F, Providence
Antonio Pena, F Villanova
- Corey Stokes and Corey Fisher combined to shoot 4-26, including 1-13 from downtown in Villanova’s loss to Providence. On this particular night, I think the Wildcats would have struggled to beat a team of trained monkeys.
West Virginia’s leading scorer Casey Mitchell has been suspended indefinitely for violating team rules. After the Mountaineers didn’t record a field goal in 13 second half minutes in their loss to Louisville, I wonder how long indefinitely will become?
Preston Knowles is 4 for his last 24, including 3-16 from downtown.
Notre Dame beats St. Johns by 15, then loses to them by 18. Notre Dame loses to Marquette by 22, then beats them by 5. My advice, don’t bet on Notre Dame games.
*For my sake, let’s hope Gary McGhee doesn’t read NBADraft.net.
Fisher is a dominant6 three point scorer a long with Stokes, Cheek &Waayns and will win the big east
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