NCAA Games of the Week

Mon, 12/27/2010 - 11:56am

Monday December 27th

#4 Connecticut Huskies 10-0 Big East at #6 Pittsburgh Panthers 12-1 Big East

Key Players:

6’1 Sr. Kemba Walker 26.5Pts 4.8Reb 4.0Ast 2.1Stl 2.4 3’s 42% 86%FT
6’9 So. Alex Oriakhi 11.3Pts 9.9Reb 2.2Blk 55%FG 62%FT
6’0 Fr. Shabaaz Napier 8.6Pts 2.8Ast 2.1Stl 1.2 3’s 33%
6’8 Fr. Roscoe Smith 7.4Pta 5.9Reb 2.0Blk 42%FG 85%FT
6’5 Fr. Jeffrey Lamb 7.9Pts 4.9Reb 1.6Ast 45%FG 67%FT

6’2 Jr. Ashton Gibbs 16.5Pts 3.4Ast 45%FG 3.1 3’s 45% 85%FT
6’4 Sr. Brad Wanamaker 12.9Pts 5.2Reb 5.6Ast 1.8Stl 50%FG 76%FT
6’6 Sr. Gilbert Brown 11.2Pts 4.7Reb 3.2Ast 1.2 3’s 40% 72%FT
6’9 So. Dante Taylor 7.5Pts 5.8Reb 1.1Blk 70%FG

Uconn is starting to get deeper as a team as their freshmen have been producing lately and Kemba Walker hasn’t had to carry the load as much. Shabaaz Napier had 9Pts 6Ast and 4Stl in the Huskies 81-52 blowout of a very talented Harvard team. They used a suffocating defense to hold the Crimson to 305 shooting including 4-31 from beyond the arc. Roscoe Smith added 9Pts 7Reb and 2Blk in the game. Oriakhi has struggled as of late. After averaging 11.7Reb and 2.8Blk over his first 6 games, he has averaged 7.3Reb and 1.3Blk over the past 4. Uconn still ranks 2nd nationally in blocks at 7.9, and 5th in offensive rebounds at 16.5 per game.

Pitt coach jamie Dixon got his 200th win in the Panthers 61-46 win over American. Gilbert Brown had a breakout game against Maryland Eastern Shore scoring 28Pts on 11-13 shooting and adding 5Reb and 5Ast. Pittsburgh leads the nation with 20.4 assists per game and is 2nd in offensive rebounds at 17.4.

Key Match Up: Kemba vs. Gibbs
Both of these guys can flat out shoot and both also are big time clutch players. This game should be close and whoever has the ball in their hands last could decide this game.

Wednesday December 29th

#10 Georgetown Hoyas 11-1 Big East at #22 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 11-1 Big East

Key Players:

6’3 Sr. Austin Freeman 18.9Pts 2.3Ast 57%FG 2.4 3’s 49% 87%FT
6’2 Jr. Jason Clark 13.7Pts 3.8Reb 1.6Stl 52%FG 2.2 3’s 45% 76%FT
6’1 Jr. Chris Wright 13.7Pts 6.3Ast 1.9Stl 1.6 3’s 40% 78%FT
6’9 Sr. Julian Vaughn 9.5Pts 7.0Reb 2.1Blk 53%FG 67%FT
6’7 So. Hollis Thompson 8.5Pts 4.8Reb 55%FG 1.2 3’s 48% 67%FT

Notre Dame:
6’8 Sr. Tim Abromaitis 16.1Pts 7.5Reb 2.4Ast 2.0 3’s 35% 84%FT
6’3 Sr. Ben Hansbrough 15.3Pts 4.1Ast 2.7 3’s 49% 76%FT
6’7 Sr. Carleton Scott 12.8Pts 6.8Reb 2.5Ast 1.9Blk 53%FG 1.6 3’s 37% 87%FT
6’8 Sr. Tyrone Nash 10.2Pts 6.0Reb 2.9Ast 44%FG 73%FT

The Hoyas flexed their muscle and showed off their deadly shooting touch in their 86-69 win over Memphis. They shot 57% from the floor led by Austin Freeman’s 24Pts on 9-12 from the floor. Julian Vaughn added 15Pts 10reb and 4Blk in the win as the Hoya defense held Memphis to 39% shooting. Georgetown is 2nd in the nation at 53%FG, 4th at 43% from 3, and 8th in assists.

This will be a big test for Notre Dame as we still don’t know if the senior laden team is a legitimate contender. In their only real test of the non conference schedule, they lost 58-72 to a young Kentucky team. After this game, they will face Syracuse and Uconn in a brutal 3 game stretch. Carleton Scott continues to fly under the radar as one of the most versatile players in the country. Against UMBC, he had 12Pts 4Reb 6Ast 1Stl 3Blk and shot 2-4 from 3.

Key Match Up: Freeman/Clark vs. Abromaitis/Hansbrough
Both teams average 81Pts a game and both are among the leaders in 3 pointers made with the Hoyas at 8.4 per game and the Irish at 8.3. This game could get wild.

Thursday December 30th

Temple Owls 9-2 Atlantic 10 at #8 Villanova Wildcats 10-1 Big East

Key Players:

6’4 Jr. Ramone Moore 14.9Pts 4.4Reb 2.4Ast 1.1Stl 45%FG 74%FT
6’9 Sr. Lavoy Allen 10.2Pts 6.8Reb 1.5Blk 46%FG 70%FT
6’4 Jr. Juan Fernandez 9.8Pts 3.4Reb 3.9Ast 1.1Stl 33%FG 74%FT
6’6 Jr. Scootie Randall 8.5Pts 5.1Reb 1.2Stl 52%FG 73%FT

6’5 Sr. Corey Stokes 15.7Pts 4.1Reb 1.1Stl 3.0 3’s 41% 97%FT
6’1 Sr. Corey Fisher 15.5Pts 3.2Reb 4.9Ast 1.7Stl 38%FG 77%FT
6’1 So. Maalik Wayns 12.4Pts 3.1Reb 4.8Ast 1.1Stl 39%FG 79%FT
6’8 Sr. Antonio Pena 10.2Pts 7.5Reb 1.1Blk 59%FG 74%FT
6’10 So. Mouphtaou Yarou 8.8Pts 8.1Reb 1.1Blk 51%FG 66%FT

Temple ranks among the leaders in points allowed at just 58 per game. The Owls are going for the trifecta in the Big East as they have already beaten Seton Hall 62-56 and Georgetown 68-65. Ramone Moore dropped 30Pts on 12-18 shooting in the Georgetown win and will have to come up big again in this one. Jr. Michael Eric is averaging 7.5Pts 5.5Reb and 1.9Blk in just 19 minutes of play.

Villanova is deep, experienced and big. The Corey’s make for one of the best backcourts in the nation and Pena and Yarou are big bodies down low. They have had a relatively easy schedule so far and open up conference play against Rutgers, South Florida, Cincinnati and Louisville before playing 7 of their final 14 games against teams that are currently ranked.

Key Match Up: Ramone Moore vs. Corey Stokes
Moore will have to play right in Stokes’ face as he averages 3 3’s per game and can get hot in a heartbeat.

Friday December 31st

#17 Minnesota Golden Gophers 11-1 Big 10 at #12 Michigan State Spartans 8-4 Big 10

Key Players:

6’4 Sr. Blake Hoffarber 13.9Pts 3.6Reb 5.0Ast 1.7Stl 3.0 3’s 39% 85%FT
6’8 Jr. Trevor Mbakwe 13.2Pts 9.8Reb 1.1Stl 1.3Blk 62%FG
6’4 Jr. Davoe Joseph 11.8Pts 2.0Reb 3.3Ast 2.3 3’s 40%
6’11 Jr. Ralph Sampson III 11.5Pts 6.0Reb 2.2Blk 48%FG 71%FT

Michigan State:
6’5 Sr. Durrell Summers 15.2Pts 4.8Reb 2.2 3’s 45% 63%FT
6’1 Sr. Kalin Lucas 14.9Pts 2.2Reb 3.3Ast 1.3Stl 1.4 3’s 41% 78%FT
6’7 Jr. Draymond Green 11.8Pts 8.9Reb 3.8Ast 1.8Stl 1.2Blk 47%FG 1.2 3’s 47%
5’11 Jr. Korey Lucious 7.3Pts 4.1Ast 1.1Stl 1.5 3’s 32%

The Gophers also have had a pretty easy schedule so far as their toughest test was a 72-67 win over then #8 ranked UNC. They are a poor FT shooting team at just 63% and allow their opponents to shoot 37% from 3. 6’8 260lb Trevor Mbekwe is a dunking machine and is also an outstanding shot blocker for his size.

Even though the Spartans 4 losses have come against Uconn, Duke, Syracuse and texas, all top teams, they have been a disappointment this year. I mean, you have to beat one of those teams. In their 55-67 loss to Texas, they shot just 29% from the floor and everyone seems to be struggling lately. Draymond Green is shooting 32% over his last 5 games and Korie Lucious is just 1-15 over his past 3. The Spartans need a win here to get their confidence going as this team is still Final Four material.

Key Match Up: Draymond Green vs. Trevor Mbekwe
Green will have to play away from the rim and rely on his passing abilities to keep Mbekwe from terrorizing the low post.

#2 Ohio State Buckeyes 12-0 Big 10 at Indiana Hoosiers 9-4 Big 10

Key Players:

Ohio State:
6’9 Fr. Jared Sullinger 17.5Pts 10.1Reb 1.3Stl 58%FG 72%FT
6’5 Sr. David Lighty 13.2Pts 4.0Reb 3.6Ast 1.8Stl 1.7 3’s 46%
6’6 Sr. Jon Diebler 12.7Pts 2.5Ast 1.2Stl 3.1 3’s 48% 81%FT
6’5 Jr. William Buford 12.5Pts 4.7Reb 3.8Ast 1.1Stl 43%FG 70%FT
6’2 Fr. Aaron Craft 5.5Pts 2.4Reb 4.7Ast 1.8Stl 55%FG 75%FT

6’8 So. Christian Watford 18.3Pts 5.8Reb 1.1Stl 46%FG 84%FT
6’5 Jr. Verdell Jones III 12.2Pts 2.9Reb 3.4Ast 1.5Stl 48%FG 63%FT
6’0 So. Jordan Hulls 9.2Pts 2.4Reb 3.2Ast 1.2Stl 56%FG 1.9 3’s 52% 78%FT
6’5 So. Maurice Creek 9.2Pts 1.7 3’s 34% 82%FT

Jared Sullinger isn’t the only freshman on Ohio State playing big this year. PG Aaron Craft leads the team in assists and steals and 6’6 Deshaun Thomas is averaging 10.2Pts and 4.9Reb per game and over his last 2, is averaging 15Pts 7Reb while hitting ¾ from 3. The Buckeyes are coming off a 92-63 thrashing of a very good Oakland team as Sullinger had 16Pts 9reb and Craft had 12Pts 7Ast and 4Stl. They forced Oakland into 20 turnovers while only committing 5 of their own.

Coach Tom Crean knows his team is far from contending for a Big 10 title but his team is still young and led by a trio of sophomores. Even with their inexperience and lack of a post presence, the Hoosiers rank 7th in the nation in FG% at 49.

Key Match Up: Sullinger vs. Indiana’s frontcourt
Without any solid post players, Sullinger could have a monster game against the Hoosiers.

#13 Kentucky Wildcats 9-2 SEC at Louisville Cardinals 10-1 Big East

Key Players:

Doron LambDoron Lamb6’8 Fr. Terrence Jones 18.2Pts 9.6Reb 1.4Stl 2.0Blk 44%FG 59%FT
6’3 Fr. Brandon Knight 17.5Pts 3.5Reb 3.5Ast 3.8TO 2.2 3’s 34% 75%FT
6’4 Fr. Doron Lamb 14.2Pts 52%FG 2.3 3’s 56% 81%FT
6’6 Jr. DeAndre Liggins 10.4Pts 4.1Reb 3.0Ast 1.4Stl 1.1 3’s 43%
6’10 Sr. Josh Harrellson 5.0Pts 9.4Reb 1.3Blk 58%FG

6’1 Sr. Preston Knowles 13.7Pts 3.7Reb 2.2Ast 1.7Stl 2.5 3’s 37% 83%FT
5’11 So. Peyton Silva 12.1Pts 2.7Reb 4.7Ast 2.1Stl 53%FG 75%FT
6’4 So. Mike Marsh 9.3Pts 2.8Reb 2.7Ast 1.2Stl 2.0 3’s 27%
6’9 Jr. Terrence Jennings 9.1Pts 5.6Reb 2.5Blk 53%FG 62%FT
6’8 So. Rakeem Buckles 8.4Pts 7.6Reb 1.0Stl 48%FG 57%FT

You can only imagine how good this freshman class would be if Enes Kanter was eligible. As it stands, the 3 they have have been outstanding. Doran Lamb took the spotlight against Winthrop as he set a Kentucky freshman record with 32Pts on 11-12 shooting including 7-8 from 3. Brandon Knight has cut down on his turnovers at an astounding rate. Over his last 4 games, he has averaged 2.3 per game. He had been averaging 4.7 after his first 7 games.

Coach Rick Pitino will have his team ready for this rivalry. The Cardinals exploded for 114points including 16-30 from 3 in their 114-82 win over Western Kentucky as Peyton Silve had 29Pts 8Ast and 2Stl. Preston Knowles has emerged as the team’s go to guy and the Cardinals are a deep team as 10 players average at least 10 minutes a game.

Key Match Up: Silva vs. Knight
Silva will use his gritty defense to try and slow down the facilitator of the up tempo Wildcat offense.

Northwestern Wildcats 9-1 Big 10 at #14 Purdue Boilermakers 11-1 Big 10

Key Players:

6’8 Jr. John Shurna 23.3Pts 5.3Reb 3.4Ast 1.6Stl 61%FG 3.3 3’s 63% 71%FT
6’5 So. Drew Crawford 15.5Pts 4.6Reb 2.7Ast 47%FG 1.6 3’s 30% 90%FT
5’10 Sr. Michael ‘Juice’ Thompson 14.8Pts 4.8Ast 1.6Stl 50%FG 2.4 3’s 39% 67%FT
6’11 Jr. Luka Mirkovic 7.1Pts 7.4Reb 2.2Blk 50%FG 60%FT

6’10 Sr. JaJuan Johnson 19.8Pts 7.9Reb 2.2Blk 51%FG 73%FT
6’4 Sr. E’Twaun Moore 19.4Pts 5.8Reb 2.8Ast 1.8Stl 48%FG 2.1 3’s 43% 72%FT
6’2 So. John Hart 8.4Pts 4.5Reb 2.1 3’s 46%
5’7 Jr. Lewis Jackson 4.5Pts 2.8Reb 4.0Ast 48%FG

John Shurns is not nearly getting the attention he deserves. His shooting percentages are just ridiculous. Drew Crawford is as versatile a player there is as evidenced by his 25Pt 9reb 8Ast 2Stl 3Blk performance against St. Francis. ‘Juice’ Thompson has played as good as any PG in the Big 10 and also deserves some attention.

Purdue is led by 2 senior All American candidates in Johnson and Moore. After those 2 however, the talent drops pretty fast. Johnson is averaging 26.7Pts over his last 3 while shooting 63% from the field, while Moore has struggled averaging 13.5Pts while shooting 36% from the floor. 6’5 So. DJ Bird scored 15Pts on 5-7 from 3 in their 77-52 win over IPFW and the Boilermakers will need more of that kind of offense from other players to be a contender in the Big 10.

Both teams lost their leaders before the season started as Purdue’s Robbie Hummel suffered an ACL tear and Northwestern’s Kevin Coble decided to not return to play basketball after injuring his foot.

Key Match Up: Shurna vs. Moore
Moore is a deft defender and will need every ounce of it to slow down the incredible shooting Shurna.

Saturday January 1st

#22 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 11-1 Big East at #5 Syracuse Orangeman 13-0 Big East

Key Players:

Notre Dame:

6’8 Sr. Tim Abromaitis 16.1Pts 7.5Reb 2.4Ast 2.0 3’s 35% 84%FT
6’3 Sr. Ben Hansbrough 15.3Pts 4.1Ast 2.7 3’s 49% 76%FT
6’7 Sr. Carleton Scott 12.8Pts 6.8Reb 2.5Ast 1.9Blk 53%FG 1.6 3’s 37% 87%FT
6’8 Sr. Tyrone Nash 10.2Pts 6.0Reb 2.9Ast 44%FG 73%FT

6’7 Jr. Kris Joseph 14.0Pts 5.1Reb 1.3Stl 45%FG 77%FT
6’9 Sr. Rick Jackson 13.9Pts 11.8Reb 2.4Ast 1.2Stl 2.0Blk 58%FG 49%FT
6’2 Jr. Scoop Jardine 13.3Pts 5.9Ast 2.0Stl 1.4 3’s 31% 69%FT
6’4 So. Brandon Triche 9.2Pts 2.6Reb 3.8Ast 43%FG 76%FT

Since I already broke down Notre Dame above, I will just talk about Syracuse here.

The Orangemen beat up a very good Drexel team 93-65 as Rick Jackson had 15Pts 12Reb and 5Blk. Kris Joseph had 25Pts and 7Reb in the win but has been very inconsistent so far. His past 4 games, he has scored 7,21,5,25 respectively. Brandon triche has started to take over the PG duties from Jardine as he has averaged 6.3 assists over his last 3 while Scoop has averaged 17Pts over that same span. Fab Melo looked as if he might start to break out when he had (pts and 4Blk against Morgan State but he followed that up with 0 points and 2PF in 8 minutes against Drexel.

Key Match Up: Abromaitis vs. Joseph
Both are the go to scorers for each team and whoever outplays the other could give his team the win.

Sunday December 2nd

Miami (FL) 10-3 ACC at 31 Duke Blue Devils 11-0 ACC

Key Players:

6’1 Jr. Malcolm Grant 15.4Pts 2.2Reb 3.5Ast 2.4 3’s 44% 90%
6’3 So. Durand Scott 13.4Pts 4.2Reb 3.8Ast 46%FG 84%FT
6’10 So. Reggie Johnson 12.1Pts 9.5Reb 1.2Blk 58%FG 71%FT
6’7 Sr. Adrian Thomas 8.7Pts 3.6Reb 2.5 3’s 39% 69%FT

6’2 Sr. Nolan Smith 17.1Pts 4.6Reb 5.4Ast 52%FG 74%FT
6’8 Sr. Kyle Singler 17.0Pts 5.5Reb 1.5Stl 45%FG 2.1 3’s 38% 83%FT
6’4 So. Andre Dawkins 12.0Pts 56%FG 2.7 3’s 54% 3’s 76%FT
6’10 So. Mason Plumlee 8.3Pts 7.7Reb 1.2Stl 1.5Blk 58%FG 42%FT
6’2 So. Seth Curry 7.6Pts 2.2Ast 1.4Stl 1.5 3’s 46% 88%FT

Hey Malcolm Grant, drive to the lane more! Over his first 7 games, Grant went to the line 16 times. Over his last 6 games, he has gone to the line 52 times…and he has hit 49 of them while averaging 18.8Pts. Reggie Johnson had 21Pts 12Reb in their 69-61 win over Akron and is the Hurricanes only real post presence. Miami has used 10 different starting rotations this year already.

Everyone has stepped up their game in the absence of freshman sensation Kyrie Irving. Both Singler and Smith are averaging 22Pts over their last 2 and Andre Dawkins dropped 28Pts on 8-14 from 3 against Bradley. Duke is 3rd in the nation in points at 89 per game and is 3rd in 3 point shooting at 44%. Seth Curry has played well in his extended minutes averaging 10.5Pts 3Ast 1.5Stl over his last 2 while hitting 5-11 from 3.

Key Match Up: Grant vs. Smith
Smith is one of the best defenders in the nation and will have his hands full with the suddenly aggressive grant.

Wisconsin Badgers 10-2 Big 10 at #21 Illinois Fighting Illini 10-3 Big 10

Key Players:

Jon LeuerJon LeuerWisconsin:
6’10 Sr. Jon Leuer 19.8Pts 7.3Reb 2.2Ast 1.8Blk 51%FG 2.5 3’s 50% 79%FT
6’1 Jr. Jordan Taylor 15.4Pts 4.2Reb 4.8Ast 1.8 3’s 41% 86%FT
6’8 Sr. Keaton Nankivil 7.6Pts 4.6Reb 1.5Blk 54%FG 88%FT
6’3 Fr. Josh Gasser 6.7Pts 3.9Reb 2.3Ast 41%FG 88%FT

6’3 Sr. Demetri McCamey 15.7Pts 3.3Reb 7.1Ast 1.2Stl 50%FG 2.2 3’s 49% 72%FT
6’3 So. DJ Richardson 11.6Pts 2.0Reb 2.1Ast 2.3 3’s 44% 65%FT
6’9 Sr. Mike Davis 10.8Pts 6.7Reb 1.0Blk 53%FG 60%FT
7’1 Mike Tisdale 10.2Pts 7.5Reb 1.5Blk 48%FG 82%FT
6’4 So. Brandon Paul 8.5Pts 3.0Reb 2.0Ast 1.2Stl 42%FG 67%FT

Jon Leuer is an All American candidate and leads a Wisconsin team that is relentless on defense. Jordan Taylor is another extremely versatile player as he had 19Pts 7Reb 6Ast 3Stl and zero TO against Coppin State and had 20Pts 11Reb and 9Ast against South Dakota State. The Badgers rank 5th in the nation in FT% at 79.

Illinois is riding a 2 game losing streak and simply fell apart at the end of their 64-75 loss to Missouri, allowing the Tigers to score 8Pts in 9 seconds to seal the victory. After going 6-8 from 3 in the season opener, Brandon Paul can’t find the rim as he has gone 9-34 (27%) since and has gone 6-29 in his last 4 overall. All American freshman Jereme Richmond is starting to get more playing time as he has 19Reb 7Ast and 3Blk over his last 2 games while averaging 25 minutes.

Key Match Up: Leuer vs. Richmond
The freshman has been guarding opposing PF all season and will most likely get the assignment against Leuer. He gives up 3 inches in height but his wingspan could cause problems for the 6’10 shooter.

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