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NCAA Daily Links

Wed, 12/21/2011 - 10:49am

Hello readers, hope your Channukah was happy, your holidays are jolly and your basketball is FANTASTIC! Right now, college basketball is at a point where amazing happens until we get a nice NBA gift on Christmas, so let's break down the latest on NCAA Daily:

Syracuse Stays #1, Bucks Bucknell
(Donna Ditota/The Post-Standard The Post-Standard)

SyracuseSyracuseTo borrow a famous line from KRS-One, "The AP Poll, is down with us, the Coaches Poll, is down with us, we're #1!" Well, Syracuse is probably singing some variation of that, as the deep, unbeaten, Orangemen remained a near unanimous first place team in the nation. Jim Boeheim's bunch is at 12-0 after an 80-61 beat down on the Bucknell Bison. The story with Syracuse is, while they may not have a typical "star" player, they go deep to the point of having two possible starting line-ups on their team. Considering most of the top teams in the nation usually play thin rotations of around 7-8 players, this energy can bode in Cuse's favor.

The Orangemen also have a wealth of experience, particularly in the form of Kris Joseph and Scoop Jardine. Joseph, a Montreal import, would be the closest thing on the team as far as a "star". The senior wing is leading the team in scoring (14.6 ppg) and rebounding (5.7 rpg), plus he can play just about anywhere in Syracuse's powerful zone defense. He makes very few mistakes and has become a much improved shooter putting him firmly on the NBA radar.

Fifth year senior Scoop Jardine looks to be the leader of this team and definitely is their floor general. He is not an elite level athlete and he may not be your traditional point guard, but when the team needs someone to take initiative, Jardine is the guy. It has become a constant trend that Scoop starts slow and finishes with a bang. He has consistently led Syracuse on second half runs and yesterday's game against Bucknell was no different. As he describes it:

"I go with the flow of the game,” Jardine said. “The first half is just trying to get a feel for the game and trying to get everybody involved and seeing how everybody’s playing me without pressure. I missed some easy shots early, but shots I’m capable of making in the second half, I got set and I made shots. I’m just taking what the defense gives me.”

Jardine scored 12 of his 14 points in the second stanza, behind Joseph's 17 for the team lead. Cuse plays Tulane on Thursday before opening up Big East play at Seton Hall on December 28.

Bob Knight Honored, Sullinger Returns in Latest #2 Ohio State Contest
(The Lantern/Matt Edwards)

Former Ohio State alumnus and legendary Indiana University coach Bob Knight was presented with an alumni award at last night's Buckeyes game against Lamar. The Lamar team, coached by Knight's son Pat, were handed a 70-50 loss as Jared Sullinger played in his usual dominant fashion. The sophomore big man was questionable after a left foot injury during Saturday's contest against South Carolina, but he seemed to look pretty good as he finished with 18 points and 11 boards, leading the game in both categories.

With a healthy Sullinger, it is my belief that Ohio State does indeed have the greatest weapon currently in college basketball. He is nearly impossible to keep out of the paint, gets to the line consistently and has wide shoulders that give him fantastic body separation. Keeping him off of the glass is equally challenging, Sully's presence make the Buckeye's a contender.

Ohio State is not a terribly deep team, but they have a legitimate couple of scoring threats in sophomore Deshaun Thomas and senior William Buford, plus a solid PG in soph Aaron Craft. With Sullinger, they have shown they are incredibly difficult to beat. Their only loss so far this year was with Sullinger in street clothes and they still gave the home team, Kansas, a tough test.

#3 Kentucky Crushes Samford
(Kyle Tucker/The Courier-Journal)

Without starting PF Terrence Jones, the Wildcats still had no problem dropping the hammer on Samford as they cruised to an 82-50 victory. Sophomore shooting star Doron Lamb led the charge with 26 points in his usual impressive offensive array. Lamb is shooting over 50% from long range on the year, has a beautiful tear drop floater and is leading the Cats on the year averaging 16.7 ppg.

Lamb apparently gets to practices early and leaves late, a mentality that has been led Kentucky to form "The Breakfast Club". It is more of an homage to the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls rather than the classic John Hughes film of the same name. That Michael Jordan led squad developed a habit of getting up early in the morning and putting in extra work before practice. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was the one who began organizing these early workouts with thoughts of the 72-10 team. John Calipari planted the seed, Kidd-Gilchrist ran with it and Lamb is one such player reaping the benefits along with others.

Marquis Teague is a regular at these early morning practices and it seems to be paying dividends. As coach John Calipari's teams are usually oriented around the dribble drive offense, the point plays a major role. Teague was considered by many as the best incoming PG in the nation, many feeling he would have a flawless transition like Calipari's last 4 point guards, all of whom were NBA lottery picks. Teague has improved as the season has progressed and had 14 points yesterday to go with 5 assists. Anthony Davis, another "Breakfast Club" member, had 5 blocks, 3 steals and 9 boards, though he definitely needs to put in some more time on developing his post scoring. Beyond dunks, Davis does not have much of a go to move.

#4 Louisville Cardinals Stay Unbeaten
(Chris Hatfield/Louisville.com)

College of Charleston put up a fight, but Louisville pulled out a 69-62 victory to get to 11-0 on the year. Coach Bobby Cremins has College of Charleston playing some solid basketball and his team even had a lead fairly late in the second half, that is until Kyle Kuric grabbed it back for the home Cardinals. Kuric finished with a game high 17 points for Rick Pitino's team.

Antwaine Wiggins led the Charleston Cougars with a valiant 23 point performance, but late triples by Russ Smith and Chris Smith killed their chances. Big men Gorgui Dieng had a nice double-double with 14 points and 12 boards, while frosh Chane Behanan added 12 and 8 for the victorious Cards. This years Kentucky/Louisville game is on New Year's Eve and should be a fantastic match-up. Even more so if Louisville can defeat Western Kentucky and Georgetown to remain undefeated going into the contest at Adolph Rupp Arena.

No Birch? No Problem! #15 Pitt Bests St. Francis
(Ray Fittipaldo/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Freshman Khem Birch decided to leave the Pitt program, but in the mean time, the Panthers seem to be doing just fine after a 70-47 win over St. Francis (PA). Birch was starting and getting some decent rotation PT, but felt he deserved more and is looking for alternatives. Sophomore forward JJ Moore made a case for more minutes as he scored 15 points off of the bench to lead the game in scoring. Junior Dante Taylor added 14 points and 8 boards (6 offensive), while Lamar Patterson scored 11. Jamie Dixon's clud is now 11-1 and still looks to be a force in the Big East with their tough defense.

Arizona Holds Off Hot Hand Hamilton, Oakland
(Steve Rivera/Fox Sports Arizona)

The 8-4 Arizona Wildcats have not looked like the team many expected when they were in the pre-season AP Top 25, but they have a few players that show flashes. One such player is Solomon Hill, a combo forward who had a career high 23 points to go with 11 rebounds in their 85-73 win over Oakland. Oakland has one of the top scorers in the nation in Reggie Hamilton and the 5'11 senior finished with 31 points and 6 assists. The Cats did force him into 7 turnovers and used a big rebounding advantage to pull off the victory.

Council, Henton Each With Double-Double In Providence's Latest Win
(John Rooke/GoLocalProv)

Junior PG Vincent Council had 17 points and 12 assists, while freshman forward LaDontae Henton had 11 and 12 rebounds in a 67-52 Providence win over New Hampshire. The Friars are now 2/3 of the way to last years win total and 10-2 on the season. Sophomore Gerard Coleman led the team with 20 points, as the Friars get most of their scoring from the aforementioned players and fellow soph Bryce Cotton. It will be interesting to see whether these 4 players will be enough to make them slightly more competitive in Big East conference play this season. Seeing the minutes these four players play right now, even with optimal conditioning, fatigue could become a factor.

Is Matt Carlino BYU's New Jimmer?
(Brian Shaw/Utah Sports Examiner)

Well, lets not get carried away. Brigham Young fans were without a doubt excited for the freshman from Bloomington, Indiana to step onto the court and felt he would be a big help to the team post Jimmer Fredette. Matt Carlino has looked good as advertised in his two games thus far, 18 against Baylor and a double-double (10 points, 11 assists, even adding 7 rebounds) in his first start last night in a 93-78 win over Buffalo. He may indeed be Jimmer's replacement, but is Carlino going to have the same impact for BYU as the recent 10th pick in the 2011 Draft and last years NCAA scoring champ? Jury is still out, but I would say that while Carlino is good, he is no Jimmer.

Gonzaga Takes Down Fellow Cinderella Butler
(News Sentinel Staff Report)

Freshman KEVIN PANGOS scored 19 points to tie with Elias Harris for game high in the battle of the Bulldogs. These two mid-majors who have become NCAA tournament staples had a clash in Spokane with Gonzaga coming out a 71-55 victor. Elias Harris seems to be showing flashes of what put him on the NBA radar as a freshman at Gonzaga. The German import had a tiny sophomore slump, but he is averaging 14 ppg and 8.4 rpg in the early season and taking more initiative for the now 8-2 Gonzaga.

DeQuan Jones Re-Instated To Play For Miami (FL)
(Susan Miller Degnan/Miami Herald)

The Miami Hurricanes basketball team got some good news as athletic wing DeQuan Jones was re-instated by the NCAA after missing the teams first 10 games. Jones had been ruled inactive due to his connection to the investigation of former program booster Nevin Shapiro. UM sent out the following written statement:

“The University of Miami, after consultation with the NCAA, has announced that senior basketball player DeQuan Jones can return to competition immediately. In order to protect the integrity of the ongoing joint inquiry, the University will not comment further at this time.”

Jones is apparently ecstatic about the news and expects to be on the floor with the team as soon as possible.

That is all for today, thank you for reading! The game of the night looks to be Texas facing North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Hope you all get to catch it and see how Myck Kabongo fares against Kendall Marshall. Not to mention if J'Covan Brown's offense will be enough to over come the tremendous size, athleticism advantage of UNC. Stay tuned, as I will have more on this tomorrow for NCAA Daily!

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