NCAA Daily Links
December 9, 2011
I know that everyone is hyped over the start of the NBA season and official trades, but David Stern put no hold on the NCAA Basketball action. We had some good games last night and a bunch of great match-ups set for this weekend. So, prepare to be "WoW"-ed (Sorry Chris Paul) as this is your NCAA Daily:
#9 Connecticut First Team To Defeat #25 Harvard
(Don Amore/Hartford Courant)
Coming into Storrs with an 8-0 record, coach Tommy Amaker had many believing the Harvard Crimson might give the Connecticut Huskies a run for their money. Although they played them close throughout a majority of the game, UConn was just too much for them in the 2nd Half of the 67-53 victory. The normally laid back Jeremy Lamb revelled in the moment that his 25 foot three pointer put the Huskies up by 13 points with 8:44 remaining. Lamb's energy rubbed off on the team as they held onto the lead in impressive fashion.
Lamb, the Robin to Kemba Walker's Batman on last year's Huskies NCAA title team, has fully embraced the role of go-to guy. He had 18 points and 7 rebounds and 3 steals in yesterday's contest and is averaging 20 ppg on the season. The long limbed SG seems to be showing what an incredibly complete player he is and is exhibiting possible star potential with his ideal size and fantastic athleticism for the position. After shooting only 5-16 (31.3%) FG in UConn's upset loss against University of Central Florida, Lamb has shot an impressive 19-31 (61.3%) in UConn's last 3 wins.
Connecticut freshman center Andre Drummond played his first game without a protective masked he was forced to wear due to a broken nose he had obtained in pre-season practices. Drummond appeared to be a lot more free flowing, getting UConn's first two baskets of the game on an alley-oop and a dunk. Drummond finished with 12 points (6-7 FG) and 4 rebounds, displaying a great ability to pass the rock. At 6'10 and 260 pounds, Drummond has incredibly rare athleticism for his size and has even been nicknamed "The Natural" by UConn's coaching staff due to his unique abilities. He is still a work in progress as a basketball player, but many feel once he gets a better understanding of the subtleties of the game, he could be a special player.
Tough as nails freshman Ryan Boatright was the other Huskies player in double figures with 11 points. It was only Boatright's third game of the season after an early season NCAA suspension, but he has shown high level athleticism and has drawn comparisons to last years UConn star, Kemba Walker. For the Crimson, forward Kyle Casey scored 12 points, though season leading scorer Keith Wright was held to only 9. Harvard was held to only 36% shooting from the field, stifled by solid perimeter defense from the now 8-1 Huskies.
Huggins, Mountaineers Win in Double OT in return to Kansas State
(John Terry/The Daily Athenaeum)
In West Virginia's coach Bob Huggins first game against Kansas State since his 2007 departure from the team, he scored an 85-80 victory in a couple OT's. Huggins said before the game that he was actually happy to be playing in a game like this, where he at the very least would be going up against a friend and colleague, current Kansas State coach Frank Martin. The Mountaineers PF Kevin Jones was the star of the game, posting a career high 30 points along with 12 rebounds. Jones also hit a crucial three pointer to send the game into its first overtime.
The Mountaineers also got 24 points from senior guard Darryl "Truck" Bryant and 12 points from Turkish junior Deniz Kilicli. The Wildcats were led by Rodney McGruder, who had 20 points in the loss. They also got double figures from guard Will Spradling (16) and forward Thomas Gipson (15). This was Kansas State's first loss of the season as they are now 5-1, while the Mountaineers move to 5-2.
LaDontae Hinton Continues To Impress In Providence Win
The Providence Friars held off the Boston College Eagles, 64-57. Friars freshman forward LaDontae Hinton had 21 points and 7 rebounds in the victory and has been a major bright spot for the team thus far. Providence knew they were going to have to make up some scoring with the departure of star senior MarShon Brooks and Henton has helped take some of the burden. The 6'6 Henton has averaged 13.8 ppg and 8.1 rpg for the 8-2 Friars. The Eagles were led by there own freshman forward, Ryan Anderson, who had 16 points.
Jared Sullinger Probable For Saturday Showdown Against #13 Kansas
Ohio State coach Thad Matta said Jared Sullinger "woke up dancing this morning", which apparently is a very good sign for his possibilities of playing on Saturday. #2 Ohio State's leading scorer and rebounder, Sullinger had been having back spasms and missed Ohio State's last win. Matta gives no guarantees that his star forward will be ready and says that we will likely find out game day.
The game is at Kansas' Phog Allen Fieldhouse and if Sullinger plays, it could pit two of the nations premier PF's against one another. Kansas junior Thomas Robinson has been incredibly impressive in the early season, but he has yet to meet a power forward as strong as Sullinger. Certainly, everyone hopes that the Ohio State big man is at full force for this clash of the titans.
#22 Texas A&M's Khris Middleton set to return Saturday
(Staff Report/Sporting News)
After missing over a month after a surgery to repair torn meniscus, Khris Middleton is set to return for Texas A&M's Saturday meeting with Louisiana-Monroe. The lanky junior wing averaged 14.4 ppg and 5.2 rpg last season and was seen as an intriguing NBA prospect due to his size and scoring ability. A&M has had to win games on defense and are very much looking forward to having a player like Middleton to spread the floor and create some shots. They are 7-1 right now, but had 4 games below 60 points during Middleton's absence.
Match-up of 8-0 Teams As Kentucky Takes on Indiana
(Kyle Tucker/The Courier-Journal)
The Indiana Hoosiers are still not ranked despite being 8-0 on the season, but they will hope to use Assembly Hall to give them a home court edge over #1 Kentucky. Wildcats senior forward Darius Miller has warned the team that Indiana is, “Probably one of the craziest environments we’re going to play in.” After finishing 12-20 last season while losing there last nine games, coach Tom Crean has Hoosiers fans hyped at the teams apparent turnaround.
The game will feature a match-up fans are dying to see, as Kentucky star freshman Anthony Davis will take on Hoosiers star freshman Cody Zeller. Both players are still slight, but incredibly skilled, athletic and already making major contributions. Zeller is leading the Hoosiers in scoring (15.5 ppg), rebounding (7.5 rpg), steals (2.6 spg), blocks (1.6 bpg) and field goal percentage (67.7% FG).
Meanwhile, Davis is averaging 12.3 ppg to go with 9.1 rpg while shooting 67.2% FG and swatting an incredible 4.5 shots per game. I know I am dying to see how Zeller holds up against Davis as his brother, Tyler of North Carolina, was trapped constantly by the Kentucky defense. The Wildcats have withstood every team they have faced thus far, but Indiana should be a very interesting challenge as they some skilled shooters and explosive athletes. Indiana should probably break into the rankings regardless of the result, but this will be a litmus test to see if they can compete with the best.
Can Washington beat #7 Duke at MSG?
(Percy Allen/Seattle Times)
No, no they can't. But, nice try, Huskies. On a serious note, the Huskies do indeed have the talent to compete with the Blue Devils and should offer an interesting match-up. However, they seem a tad undisciplined in their decision making and the Blue Devils kill teams that make too many mistakes. Former UW star guard Eldridge Recasner believes the Huskies have to have the mindset that they can beat Duke, which is a mantra that hopefully the team buys into.
Even if they do, though, the Huskies need freshman guard Tony Wroten to limit his mistakes and step up under the lights of Madison Square Garden. If Wroten steps in with the mindset that he can compete with Duke, than the Huskies chances improve exponentially. Washington's Terrence Ross might be the best player on the floor, even with the likes of fantastic Duke freshman scoring guard Austin Rivers out there as well. Washington's big men might be an issue, but their guards should be able to keep it competitive. That is, if they buy into the mentality that Recasner is preaching.
#15 Pittsburgh Takes on Oklahoma State in Second MSG Match
It's a battle of the Big East versus the Big 12 in the second game of a double header at New York's famed Madison Square Garden. Pittsburgh is 8-1 on the season, their lone blemish at the hands of upset minded Long Beach State. Last years regular season Big East champs, Pittsburgh has been scoring in bunches this season along with playing there usual brand of tough defense.
Senior Ashton Gibbs leads the team averaging 18.9 ppg, while Travon Woodall has been running the point chipping in with 14.1 ppg and 8.3 apg. The 6-2 Oklahoma State Cowboys leading scorer is rugged freshman forward LeBryan Nash at 12.6 ppg. Nash has been inconsistent and somewhat disappointing after having very high expectations on his shoulders, but he is very strong and talented and this could be a brand of game that fits his style. If Nash reverts to the usual, expect this to be a Panthers blowout. If not, than the Panthers probably still take it.
Nurideen Lindsey Decides To Transfer From St. John's
(Roger Rubin/New York Daily News)
St. John's Nurideen Lindsey was just about the closest thing the Red Storm had to a point guard. Now, they will have to look in a different direction, as the sophomore has decided to transfer from the program. Lindsey was considered one of the best JUCO transfers and had major expectations on a St. John's team full of new faces. He averaged 11.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg and 2.9 apg through 9 games. However, in the last two Red Storm games, both losses, Lindsey had only 1 assist to 11 turnovers. The decision seemed to be approved by both side and Lindsey released a statement of apology and thanks to the fans. Will be interesting to see where he ends up, as he definitely has a great deal of talent.
That is todays NCAA Daily, have a fantastic weekend and I will be back with more college basketball news on Monday!