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NCAA Daily Links

Thu, 12/29/2011 - 9:54pm

December 29, 2011

Welcome college basketball fans, hope you got some good action in last night, because there was a lot of it! We had a couple of teams get their first loss, while a couple more kept their records unblemished. We will start off with a game that had a large number of NBA scouts in the house to top off our NCAA Daily:

#6 Baylor Off To Best Start In School History After Beating #15 Mississippi State
(Matt Stevens/Columbus Dispatch)

Pierre JacksonPierre JacksonIt was an incredibly close contest in Dallas, but Baylor ended up holding on to defeat Mississippi State, 54-52. This game featured a plethora of probable future NBA talent, though no one really blew away the competition with their performance. Baylor junior Pierre Jackson was clutch once again for the Bears as he scored the game winning lay-up with 28 seconds left. The 5'10 JUCO transfer has been Baylor's spark plug off of the bench and had a game high 14 points.

There were a number of NBA scouts in the building and they had plenty of talent to evaluate in this contest. You saw flashes of the talent on both teams, but no one truly stood out as a dominant force. Baylor had the occasional highlight dunk, including a beautiful inbounds play that freed Quincy Acy for an alley-oop. Perry Jones III also had a couple of thunder dunks, showing off the marquee athleticism that has many people seeing the 6'11 player as a lottery lock in 2012. Still, even with these plays, I believe many were left with more questions than answers.

The game's marquee match-up was that of Jones III taking on Mississippi State big man Arnett Moultrie. Neither truly dominated the other, but if you had to say one got the better of the other, the winner would be Moultrie. He had 8 points (3-8 FG, 2-2 FT) and 10 rebounds, while Jones III had 8 (4-13 FG) and 6. Moultrie kept Jones III out of the paint and made it incredibly difficult for him to get good looks at the basket. Also, you read correctly, Jones III had no trips to the foul line. He actually avoided contact consistently rather than trying to use his physicality to draw any. These are things that could come with time, but it was definitely a disappointing showing from a player who one expects more consistency from given his ability. It's hard to imagine him in any first overall pick conversations at the moment.

Quincy Miller, a freshman who is another potential lottery pick for Baylor, had 12 points and flashed some ability that has some thinking he may fit onto the perimeter at the next level. He was strapped with foul trouble and again one might hope he would be more assertive, but Miller definitely showed talent.

Mississippi State's other big talent is Renardo Sidney, who again kept with the yin yang theme of moments of brilliance mixed with moments of despair. Sidney is incredibly talented, but his conditioning is awful and his body language is disheartening. He tied Jalen Steele to lead MSU with 10 points in only 19 minutes, but he fouled out of the game only to be given a technical foul for staring down the referee. Baylor only capitalized on 2 of the 4 rewarded free throws, but on-lookers were left shaking their heads in disbelief that someone could lose composure at such a crucial juncture in the game. Nothing new for Sidney.

The next step for both of these teams will be conference play and my guess is that it will be a roller coaster. They both have an incredible assortment of talent, but they are bound to have issues and both will meet some tough foes along the way that could give them trouble. It was a very close game, but it really left me wondering if either team was a true national contender. They certainly both have players with NBA worthy talent, enough for them to still play poorly and hang in games. Still, while Baylor is 13-0 and has pulled out victories over tough teams in the last two games, I think they will have some tough nights when they play the Big 12's best teams.

#12 Georgetown Hands #4 Louisville First Loss of the Season
(Vox Staff/Vox Populi)

After a sloppy Cardinals victory over Western Kentucky, Rick Pitino knew that his team might have a tough bout with Georgetown. Well, they finally got the wake-up call he expected as the Hoyas beat Louisville, 71-68, handing the Cardinals their first loss. Sophomore guard Markel Starks scored a career high 20 points for the Hoyas, going 4-4 from three point range in the second half. Hoyas freshman Otto Porter also shined in his first Big East conference contest with 14 points and 14 rebounds.

The key to Louisville's issues was their offense and rebounding. They allowed Porter to own the glass, while shooting poorly from the field and line, not to mention allowing Georgetown to shoot a high percentage from three point range. Georgetown definitely appeared to be the aggressor and while their upperclassmen were held to 8-26 shooting on the game, the youth movement put them over the top. Kyle Kuric and Peyton Siva scored 17 and 15 respectively for the Cardinals. This loss will hopefully serve as motivation, because they face in-state rival Kentucky on December 31 at Rupp Arena.

Keith Appling Keys #16 Michigan State's Win Over #13 Indiana
(David Mayo/The Grand Rapids Press)

In what was one of his most complete games as a collegian, Michigan State sophomore Keith Appling scored a career high 25 points to go along with 7 assists as Michigan State handed Indiana their first loss of the season, 80-65. Center Derrick Nix also scored a career high 14 points and did great work with Adreian Payne to stop Indiana freshman Cody Zeller.

"I don’t get a lot of exposure and all that," Nix said of that key matchup. "But the cream will always come to the top. That’s all I’m going to say."

Christian Watford led the way for Indiana with a 26 and 10 performance, but the Hoosiers only got to the free throw line 9 times compared to the Spartans 22 attempts. The Spartans also shot a fantastic 54.7% from the field in the victory.

Fab Melo Dominant As #1 Orange Crush Seton Hall
(Wesley Cheng/The Juice)

As a freshman last season, Fab Melo struggled mightily in the two games he faced off against Seton Hall. Last night was sweet redemption, as the 7 foot Brazilian sophomore put up 12 points, 7 rebounds and a school record 10 blocks as Syracuse cruised in a 75-49 victory. Dion Waiters led the game in scoring with 15 while Seton Hall's Jordan Theodore was the only player on his team to reach double figures with 14. Syracuse also forced an amazing 23 turnovers, 17 coming off of steals. The Orangemen next major chance at a loss could be January 7 against Marquette, though they are still playing that game at home.

#2 Ohio State Drops Northwestern in Big 10 Opener
(Alex Antonetz/The Lantern)

The Buckeyes were absolutely too much for the Northwestern Wildcats in an 87-54 beatdown. Jared Sullinger had 17 points and 14 rebounds, but defense was a key in beating the Wildcats. The Big Ten's two leading scorers, Northwestern's John Shurna (averaging 19.4 points per game) and Drew Crawford (averaging 18.1 points per game) were held to 11 and 13 points, respectively. The star of the game was senior guard William Buford, who's hot shooting led to 28 points to go with 9 rebounds and 4 assists.

"I just let the game come to me, but stay on top of it at the same time," Buford said. "I didn't want to take too many bad shots, which I have a tendency to do, but just let the game come to me."

Sounds like letting the game come to him is what Buford should do more often.

#3 Kentucky Rides Balanced Scoring To Beat Lamar
(Matt Slovin/Beaumont Enterprise)

Pat Knight's Lamar team get a full dose of Kentucky's talent as every Wildcat starter scored in double figures in an 86-64 win. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist led Kentucky's balanced scoring attack with 18 points (5-6 FG, 8-10 FT) and 6 rebounds in only 26 minutes. Kidd-Gilchrist had left the team earlier to spend time visiting his sick mother, but the freshman is showing leadership capabilities beyond his years. His aggressive play on defense has led to issues with foul trouble, but he is living up to his billing as a prime time player in his freshman year. Anthony Davis had 10 points, 13 rebounds and 6 blocks for the Wildcats, who also saw Terrence Jones return to the line-up coming off of the bench. Mike James led Lamar with 29 points in the loss.

#9 UConn Struggles To Hold Off South Florida
(Don Amore/Hartford Courant)

Jim Calhoun must have been pulling his hair out in front of his TV set while watching his Connecticut team barely pull out a 60-57 victory over conference foe South Florida. Calhoun was serving the first of a three game suspension as his star player Jeremy Lamb had 23 big points to lead the Huskies. The Huskies were down by as much as 8 points to the Bulls, but used a 27-15 second half rebounding advantage to squeak away with the win.

The Huskies struggled to get their big men involved, as Andre Drummond only had 4 points (2-5 FG, 0-2 FT) in 36 minutes. Shabazz Napier only shot 1-9 to finish with 4 points and 3 assists on the day. UConn hopefully will give a better effort during their next game against St. John's on New Year's Eve.

Missouri State Pulls Off Big MVC Upset Over #21 Creighton
(Lyndal Scranton/Springfield News-Leader)

Doug McDermott was held to 19 points as the Creighton Bluejays had a rude awakening to open conference play in a 77-65 loss to Missouri State. The Missouri State Bears only had 6 turnovers on the game and shot a great percentage. McDermott, one of the nations leading scorers, was outplayed by Missouri State senior Kyle Weems. Weems had 31 points in the contest, but said it was definitely a team effort in this upset win.

"I know what I'm capable of doing," Weems said. "But it's not a one-man thing. Credit goes to my teammates and coaches for putting me in position to be successful."

Junior guard Anthony Downing put up 26 (11-14 FG, 4-6 3PT) point performance, dishing out 5 assists. The Missouri Valley Conference is going to be pretty tough and will likely see about 3-4 NCAA Tournament bids come there way.

#19 UNLV Scorches The Nets In Latest Victory
(Matt Youmans/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Usually, when a college basketball team scores in triple digits, it means your offense was running on all cylinders. The UNLV Runnin' Rebels offense was basically a Bullet Train as they shot 67.1% in a 124(!)-75 victory over the Central Arkansas Bears. Chace Stanback, who was relegated to coming off of the bench after arriving late for a post Christmas practice, hit 9-11 three pointers as UNLV went 18-32 (56.3%) for the game. Stanback finished with 29 points in 23 minutes to lead 7 double digit scorers on UNLV. This was the highest scoring output by any college team since Utah State put up 126 points 20 years ago! UNLV begins conference play against Hawaii on New Year's Eve.

That was today's breakdown college basketball fans! This will be the last NCAA Daily of 2011! Have a HAPPY NEW YEAR and see you all in 2012!

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I have a niece that attends

I have a niece that attends Mississippi State and she takes classes with Hood and he has stated thats there's 90% chance he might turn pro after the season...

Baylor guards did a great defensive job on Ms State guards..They slowed Bost down and stayed in front of him..Sidney was the most talented player on the floor,but he doesnt seem interested in playing defense he only tries to block shots...He seems to be more in control then last season,but that foul and tech cost them the game..Moultrie might be the SEC Player of the Year and some have him as a 1st round pick,but he seems to be a player like Marreese Speights that has the talent to be a star,but might never reach his potential...

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