Player of the Week:
Will Barton, Memphis, SG, Sophomore, 6-6 175 lbs.
Barton takes home his second Mid-Major Player of the Week for the season after two impressive performances – one on the road against Miami (5-3) and the other at home against Austin Peay (1-9). Memphis thumped Miami, 71-54, and was led by Barton’s 27 points (60.0 FG%). Barton showed his ability to contribute in several facets of the game by using his long arms, quick “hops” and overall athleticism to pull down 14 rebounds and collect 4 steals together with 2 blocks. Earlier in the week, Barton posted 22 points, 13 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal and 1 block in Memphis’ decisive win over Austin Peay, 91-60. For the season, Barton is averaging 19.4 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1.6 SPG and 1.3 BPG, while shooting 52.7 FG%, 33.3 3P% and 66.0 FT%. Through the first quarter of the season, Barton looks like a legitimate first round NBA Draft prospect.
Darryl Partin, Boston University, SG, Senior, 6-6 190 lbs.
Unknown to most of the college basketball world, Partin has played very well early on this season, averaging 23.9 PPG and 4.4 RPG, and he has scored over 20 points in every game. In Boston U.’s two games this past week, Partin led the team in scoring and proved to be a mismatch for opponents. On the road against Saint Joseph’s (6-3), Partin finished with 24 points and 4 rebounds, and Boston U. won the game, 75-68. Against Boston College (2-7, also on the road), he scored 27 points and shot very well from the field and from 3-point land. Partin’s offensive ability has improved significantly from last season, mainly because of his assertiveness this year. Watch for Partin to continue to turn some heads as the season progresses and as Boston U. positions itself for an America East Conference title run.
Through eight games in 2011-12, Towson has lost by an average of 24.2 points per game. Granted, Towson has played some difficult opponents, including Kansas (6-2), Michigan (6-2), Belmont (6-2) and a decent La Salle team (6-3), but it has not shown the ability to score or pass the ball on offense too effectively. Currently, Towson ranks 343rd in team points per game (51.0), 344th in team assists per game (7.5), and 333rd in team field goal percentage (37.1%). Towson and UMBC will square off on Saturday in a matchup of two winless teams. Watch for sparks to fly.
Top 25 Teams
8. Xavier (7-0)
The Musketeers picked up two solid wins last week that are sure to boost the team’s confidence moving forward. On December 3, Xavier beat Purdue (8-2), 66-63, after holding Purdue to 5-18 shooting from three-point land. Preseason All-American guard, Tu Holloway, scored 21 points and finished with 4 rebounds and 4 assists as well. On December 7, Xavier beat a struggling Butler team (4-5), 73-61, and held the Bulldogs to 30.6 FG% and 9.5 3P%. Holloway played another solid game, finishing with 16 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 6 steals. The Musketeers are the best mid-major team in the country and they are proving it.
19. Creighton (7-0)
The Blue Jays beat Nebraska (5-3), 76-66, on December 4. Creighton ranks third nationally in team scoring (87.0 PPG) and team field goal percentage (52.6%). Even more impressive, the team ranks first nationally in assists per game (21.3). Star wingman, Doug McDermott, poured in 24 points against Nebraska and grabbed 12 rebounds. McDermott is easily the best player in the Missouri Valley and Creighton looks like the best team.
21. Memphis (5-2)
Memphis beat Miami (5-3), 71-54, on the road on December 6 after shooting 46.7 FG% and holding Miami to 35.7 FG%. No Miami player scored over 12 points and Memphis guard, Will Barton, posted 27 points, 14 rebounds and 4 steals in the victory. Prior to the Miami game, Memphis beat Austin Peay (1-9), 91-60. The Tigers need forward, Wesley Witherspoon, to start contributing more each game. Against Miami, Witherspoon finished the game with 0 points, 4 rebounds, 0 assists and 0 steals. He has to start playing better for Memphis to “make some noise” in the NCAA Tournament in March. Memphis plays unbeaten Murray State (9-0) on Sunday, December 11.
23. Gonzaga (5-1)
Gonzaga lost on the road to Illinois (9-0), 82-75, this past week. Despite Gonzaga’s great shooting percentage (51%), Illinois’ center, Meyers Leonard, and guard, D.J. Richardson, proved to be a tough matchup for Gonzaga. Leonard finished the game with 21 points and Richardson finished with 19. Gonzaga should get back on-track over the next week or so with some mediocre opponents on the schedule.
Memphis helped itself get back on-track with an easy win over Jackson State (1-7) on Monday, 70-45. Memphis held Jackson State to 30.8 FG% and forced 23 turnovers to help alleviate much of the stress that followed its disappointing performance in the Maui Invitational Tournament.
25. Harvard (8-1)
In Harvard’s first game as a ranked team, the #9 Connecticut Huskies (8-1) spoiled the party by winning 67-53. Connecticut standouts, Jeremy Lamb and Andre Drummond, had 18 points and 12 points, respectively, and despite Harvard’s two comeback runs throughout the game, the Huskies were just too talented. Harvard is the Ivy League’s first ranked team since 1998 (Princeton). This loss will likely send them to the “exit” door in the Top 25 polls, but this is a good team that will win lots of games this year.
On the Rise
Murray State (9-0)
The Racers have not lost a single game so far this season and they will face #21 Memphis on Sunday at Memphis. With a 75-58 victory over Dayton (6-3) this past week, Murray State looks ready to get a statement victory against Memphis. Dayton was held to 14.3 3P% and Murray State shot 60.0 3P% in that game. Point guard, Isaiah Canann, is the best player on the team, averaging 20.3 PPG, 3.8 RPG and 3.7 APG.
Top 5 Rebounders
1. Mike Moser, UNLV, PF, Sophomore, 6-8 195 lbs.
Moser’s style of play resembles former Syracuse All-American, Hakim Warrick. He’s a bouncy player that can get up and down the court with ease. He does not have a bulky body, but he’s toned and has a long wingspan that often helps him get rebounds and put-back shots. He’s relentless on the boards and can rebound on both the offensive and defensive ends of the court. For the season, Moser is averaging 15.8 PPG, 12.5 RPG, 3.0 APG, 2.2 SPG and shooting 49.2 FG%. This past week against CS-San Marcos, Moser collected 12 rebounds to keep up his consistent rebounding average.
2. Rob Jones, St. Mary’s, F, Senior, 6-6 240 lbs.
Jones is a Charles Barkley type of player that is not at the same level as “Chuck” athletically, but plays with a similar style. Given that he’s only 6-6, he is at a disadvantage with bigger players; however, that has not affected his rebounding performance. Jones has collected over 10 rebounds in every game this season for the Gaels and he’s averaging 11.5 RPG early on in the year. Jones contributes in the scoring column each game as well with 18.0 PPG and 62.0 FG%. This week, St. Mary’s beat Weber State (5-2), 87-70, and Jones finished with 24 points and 12 rebounds.
3. Corey Petros, Oakland, PF, Freshman, 6-9 243 lbs.
As a freshman, Petros has developed a niche with Oakland this season. He’s the team’s best rebounder and a legitimate low-post threat. He’s big and throws his weight around near the basket to grab rebounds. His offensive game is still improving, but he’s an excellent rebounder. Oakland lost to Ohio (6-1), 84-82, this week and in that game Petros collected 16 rebounds and 23 points. Earlier this season, he finished with 13 rebounds against Tennessee of the SEC.
4. Kyle O’Quinn, Norfolk State, C, Senior, 6-10 240 lbs.
O’Quinn is one of the best mid-major players in the country. He can score, block shots, get up-and-down the floor and opponents must be aware of him throughout games. One of the best parts of his skillset is his rebounding ability. In 2011-12, he is averaging 10.8 RPG to go along with his 14.4 PPG and 3.0 BPG. His wingspan is over 7-feet, which gives him a great advantage on the defensive end with blocking shots and pulling down rebounds. His rebounding performance has not just come on this season though. In 2010-11, he averaged 11.1 RPG with 16.4 PPG.
5. O.D. Anosike, Siena, PF, Junior, 6-8 232 lbs.
Anosike is a relatively unknown player, even among mid-major enthusiasts. His playing style is much like former Providence All-American, Ryan Gomes, but he lacks outside shooting ability (and free throw shooting ability). In Siena’s 64-60 win over Albany (5-4) this week, Anosike finished with 21 points (9-19 shooting) and 18 rebounds. He has been in double digits for rebounding in four out of Siena’s five games in 2011-12. This type of production should earn him a spot on the All-MAAC team by the end of the year.
Its about time Will Barton starting getting some talk as a possible 1st rounder..But i still like to see him play more under control and improve his shooting and decision making...Memphis biggest problem is their lack of rebounding..And alot of people were expecting Tarek Black to be among the conference best big men..But so far he's been a major disappointment..Getting into early foul trouble ..He has more fouls than rebounds.And if Memphis expects to go far in the tournament..Their frontcourt men Black,Witherspoon and juco recruit Simpson must show some type of aggressiveness on the boards...And Witherspoon is once again in another funk..If he only realize his potential..
I like his game, but he has to get bigger. Nice to see he's living up to his potential though.