December 20, 2011

12/20/2011 - 12:17pm

After what many deemed as a disappointing start to his freshman season, Connecticut's latest 77-40 victory showed why people have high expectations for Andre Drummond. Granted, the victory came against the now 4-7 Holy Cross Crusaders, but Drummond finally seems to be coming into his own and had his best game as a collegian. This was the second game Drummond has played without a protective mask he had to wear due to obtaining a broken nose, with his being a much more effective offense force in both Connecticut wins. Against Holy Cross, the powerful big man went for 24 points while making 11-12 field goal attempts (91.7%), adding 8 rebounds plus 5 blocks in 31 minutes of play. To top it off, no fouls, no turnovers.

Andre DrummondAndre DrummondMany might write this off as being one good game against an inferior team, but I think it is starting to show just what Drummond can bring to the table. He is now averaging 9.4 ppg, 6.2 rpg and 3 bpg for guard heavy Connecticut. However, I believe that his numbers should continue to rise and that he will remain a force, even in the rugged Big East conference. The Big East is tough and Drummond should struggle at times. Luckily, he is 6'10 and 260 pounds (at least) and should be up for the physical play, not to mention providing menacing match-up problems with his out of this world athleticism. It is hard not to be excited about Drummond. He has been described as having a "low motor" and as much to passive, but the talent and physical gifts are omnipresent.

Jim Calhoun's team is now 9-1 and for the first time this season, started the intimidating 4/5 duo of Drummond and Alex Oriakhi. They start two sophomore's in the backcourt, Shabazz Napier and Jeremy Lamb, while freshman DeAndre Daniels has been the starter on the wing. Freshman little man Ryan Boatright has been instant offense off of the bench while Roscoe Smith and Tyler Olander can each play multiple front court positions. Each seemed to play their roles to a tee in this latest victory, even with Lamb having an off game shooting the ball. This is a team that has two players currently atop the 2012 Mock Draft and they are showing the nation that they may have what it takes to make a deep tourney run, or a possible run at a second NCAA title.

12/20/2011 - 12:15pm

With Baylor ahead of home team BYU by 3 points, PF Brandon Davies 6'9 lined up for a potential game tying long range shot. Unfortunately for Davies, 5'10 Pierre Jackson swooped in to block the attempt as Baylor left Utah with an 86-83 win to move to 9-0 on the season. Perry Jones III was the star of the contest with a career high 28 points, showing a lot more aggression this season as Baylor's go-to offensive player. Brady Heslip also chipped in 18 points on 6-10 3PT while Jackson added 13 points, 7 assists and the monumentally clutch rejection.

Despite Baylor's length and athleticism, BYU managed to crush them on the glass 41-26. Davies was in fact the main catalyst until his rejected tying attempt and finished with 18 points and 13 boards. Jackson was almost the games scape goat as he missed the front end of a one and one attempt that could have possibly put the game out of reach, but he definitely redeemed himself. BYU still should have a lot to feel happy about for the teams prospects on their first season AJ (After Jimmer). Freshman Matt Carlino had 18 points in his college debut and seniors Charles Abouo and Noah Hartsock both had solid performances to keep them close against a very talented Baylor team.

12/20/2011 - 12:13pm

Not to be outdone by Andre Drummond's coming out game, Anthony Davis continued to impress during his freshman season at Kentucky. Davis scored 14 points, grabbed 18 rebounds and swatted 5 shots in an 87-62 win over Chattanooga. Doron Lamb and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist scored 24 and 17 respectively, but Davis has been the Wildcat that people are dying to talk about.

He is still developing as a post player after a major growth spurt in high school took him from a guard to a now PF/C role, not to mention shooting him up to the top of his HS class rankings. But, as the season wears on, Davis is getting more and more comfortable with his back to the basket.

“It makes the game a lot easier when I stay low, hold your ground when they try to push you up,” Davis said. “If I stay low, I’ll be fine.”

The Wildcats certainly think that he will be as they still are considered one of the better teams in the nation. While Anthony Davis does not have Andre Drummond's girth, he seems to be a freakish athlete in his own right and he had a much smoother transition to NCAA play. The debate on which of these players will be the first taken in the draft is sure to be one that rages on throughout this season. Right now, a majority seem to think Davis has a head start, but I believe once these two play against conference opponents, it should really get interesting.

12/20/2011 - 9:46am

The Crossroads Classic first contest was an incredible success as the inaugural showdown at Conseco Fieldhouse featured a down to the wire classic between Purdue and Butler. With the Boilermakers up 64-56 with 6:40 remaining in the game, they looked like they were thoroughly in control of the offensively challenged Bulldogs. However, with great defense and some smart play calling, Butler eventually took the lead 65-64.

Purdue's Lewis Jackson missed the first of two free throws, tying the game with 10 seconds remaining and the ball in Butler's possession. After a missed shot, Butler center Andrew Smith sank a put back with 1 second remaining. With Purdue unable to get a good shot off, Butler finished with a 67-65 win and another incredible contest for the highlight reels of Brad Stevens coaching career with the program.

12/20/2011 - 9:39am

Indiana freshman Cody Zeller may not be the NBA prospect that some of his fellow first year big men are, but it is hard to say that any freshman has been more impactful on his team. Zeller had 21 points, 8 boards and a couple blocks to keep the Hoosiers a perfect 10-0 in their 69-58 victory over Notre Dame in the second match-up of the Crossroads Classic. While Notre Dame kept the game close, it seemed they had no answer for the freshman big man, who leads the team in scoring, rebounding, blocks, steals and field goal percentage. The Irish are undermanned in the post, but Zeller keeps doing work no matter who he is up against and may be having the best overall freshman year of anyone in the NCAA.

12/20/2011 - 9:37am

In yet another major weekend performance by a freshman, Todd "OJ's Brother" Mayo scored a team high 22 points as the Marquette Golden Eagles crushed Northern Colorado, 93-72. The Golden Eagles were without leading scorer Darius Johnson-Odom, who was suspended one game for breaking team rules. Mayo has been a major spark plug off of the bench for Marquette and seems to be making a name for himself, beyond his famous older sibling. Golden Eagles senior PF Jae Crowder was his usual solid self with 19 and 11 in the win.

12/20/2011 - 9:34am

The Kansas State Wildcats continued their solid early season play with a 71-58 victory over the ranked Crimson Tide of Alabama. forum legend JNixon-Iggy9 is a notorious fan of Frank Martin's team and had to be loving this victory in getting the Wildcats some credibility after losing some key players from last season. 7 foot junior Jordan Henriquez had a career performance with 17 points and 9 rebounds, while senior Jamar Samuels triggered a late run that helped K-State survive a tough shooting start. The Wildcats are now 7-1, as Alabama's JaMychal Green's 20 point and 9 rebound performance was one of the few bright spots in this tough Crimson Tide road loss.

12/20/2011 - 9:32am

After a disappointing early season loss to Akron, Mississippi State held on for their 10th win in a row over Detroit, 80-75. The Bulldogs imposing front court combination of junior Arnett Moultrie and Renardo Sidney did damage, with 17/13 for the former and 16/7 for the latter. Bulldogs Freshman Rodney Hood made a key jumper near games end to put things out of reach. Mississippi State has some solid guards and athletes, but if they expect to compete with the nations best, their size with Moultrie and Sidney will be their greatest attribute. It would be hard to come by two bigger, more talented players than those two, at least from a stand point of having some weight to back it up.

12/20/2011 - 9:23am

The Washington Huskies continued their string of erratic play in a 93-72 home loss to the South Dakota State Jackrabbits. The Huskies were burned by Jackrabbits guard Nate Wolters, who had 34 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists to lead the 10-4 teams "upset" over the now 5-5 UW. Wolters played the entire game and did not commit a single turnover, garnering high praise from the opposing coach.

“I haven’t seen a performance like that since Jason Kidd was in the then Pac-10 when he controlled the entire game,” Romar said. “ ... I thought it was an awesome performance. One of the best performances by a point guard I’ve ever seen at this level.”

Despite the continued strong scoring provided by Washington freshman Tony Wroten Jr., who finished with 23 points, UW was burned from the perimeter, outshot at the foul line and could not come back from a sluggish start. The Huskies were missing center Aziz N'Diaye due to injury, but they are a much too talented team to lose games like this at home. Nate Wolters obviously is a great player, but with the talent on the Huskies roster, I am not surprised that their coach was incredibly heated.

12/20/2011 - 9:18am

The Missouri Tigers have not played the toughest early season schedule, but they certainly seem to look the part of a national contender as they keep crushing the competition. Their latest 94-56 whupping of William & Mary had 6th man Michael Dixon scoring a career high 30 points for the nations 2nd leading scoring offense. In what was a slow day for usual scoring leader Marcus Denmon, Dixon stepped up, Kim English scored 17 points and Ricardo Ratliffe shot 5-6 for the Tigers. Other than Denmon's slow day, this has become the norm for this team. Bring on the Big 12.