New Math

Player Of The Week

EC Matthews, G, Junior, Rhode Island

EC MatthewsEC MatthewsMatthews was one of the most interesting Mid Major players coming into this season. In 2014, he was one of the best young players in the Atlantic 10 Conference, averaging 16.9 points per game. He was forced to miss all but 10 minutes of the 2015 season after tearing his ACL on opening night. So how has he recovered and responded to his injury? Well he’s picked up right where he left off, averaging 20.0 points per game and an extremely high efficiency rate early with a 71.9 field goal percentage. He has his Rams team sitting at 3-0 and traveling to play the #24 Cincinnati Bearcats on Saturday. If he goes out and continues to perform like this, he will draw more looks from NBA scouts.

Who’s Hot

Alec Peters, F, Senior, Valparaiso

One of the best seniors in the country, Peters leads his Valparaiso Crusaders as a performer and a leader. Peters has been a four-year player for the Crusaders and has played a vital role in every season. In his last three seasons, almost every statistic of his has increased, including minutes, rebounds, and field goal percentage. And his points per game? This season he is off to a blistering start, averaging 26.3 points per game from his 18.4 last year. He has also been a steady three-point shooter the last three seasons, as this is one trait of his game that could make the 6’9” forward NBA material. He has his team at 3-1 and will look to make Valpo the top team in the Horizon League this season.

Eric Mika, F, Sophomore, BYU

After the BYU Cougars lost so much talent from last season, many wondered how head coach Russ Rose would get his team to rebound (no pun intended). Eric Mika looks like he’s ready to answer that call. Mika was a good player in his freshman year of 2014, but decided to leave school the following year to venture on a mission trip to Italy. Without the leave affecting his college standing, Mika now returned to a Cougar team in need of help. To start the season, the 6’10” sophomore forward has average 22 points per game, 11.5 rebounds per game, and has been a defensive force in the paint. Mika has paced his team to an early 2-0 start. He is a big dude down low and is efficient with the ball near the hoop. He could turn some heads in the West Coast Conference if he keeps this play up.

Semi Ojeleye, F, Junior, SMU

Ojeleye was one of the best additions to the Mustangs from last season, after he transferred from Duke and had to sit out last season due to transfer rules. He has immediately made an impact on his squad and helped them jump out to a 3-0 record. Ojeleye has averaged 22.7 points per game to start, his field goal percentage is at 55.0% and he has already knocked down more three-pointers than his last season at Duke. He is so effective because he can space the floor; he can drive to the hoop and also knock down a jump shot, making him a very tough matchup. Ojeleye led his squad past a tough Pittsburgh team and added 24 points in the win. If he keeps up this play, he will be one of the best players in the American Athletic Conference, let alone college basketball.

Who’s Not

Troy Caupain, G, Senior, Cincinnati

Just because Caupain is on this list doesn’t mean he isn’t playing well. He is leading the Bearcats in assists and has at least 30 minutes in each of the first two games this season. Those two games came against significantly worse teams in Albany and Brown, games that Caupain should have had field days against. He has started the season at 9.0 points per game, which is decent but not what many expected from him. It’s so early in the season and next week he could easily turn it around and dominate in all facets. But right now, the preseason American Athletic Conference Player of the Year is not playing at his expected level.

Josh Cunningham, F, Sophomore, Dayton/Dayton Flyers

Cunningham makes this list not so much based on his performance but for his injury. Cunningham transferred to the Flyers after the 2014 season from Bradley and is was now eligible to play this season. In the second game of the year, he severely injured his ankle and has been ruled out indefinitely and there is no timetable on a return yet. Cunningham was expected to be an integral part on the Dayton team but it now looks like he will be out for a long time. A lot of hype and expectations will have to wait.

Dayton themselves are still reeling from the loss of Cunningham. Head coach Archie Miller will need to find a way to get his team to play at a high level without Cunningham. The Flyers were almost upset in their last game against Alabama but managed to pull out a 77-72 win. It remains to be seen how Dayton will respond to the loss of Cunningham, but it will all start at home on Saturday when they take on one of their toughest opponents in #17 Saint Mary’s.

Connecticut Huskies

The whole UCONN team gets this nod for their poor start to the season. They are 1-2 and down in the standings of the American Athletic Conference. Shockingly, they lost their first two games at home to Wagner and Northeastern in games they should have won. They have 33 turnovers in their first 3 games, have a 38.8 field goal percentage and an abysmal 26.9 three-point percentage. The Huskies and head coach Kevin Ollie need to find a way to turn around the rough start. This was a team that won their first-round game of the NCAA tournament last season and the national championship in 2014. What’s encouraging is that it’s only been three games and they are coming off a tight win against Loyola Marymount. Watch to see if Ollie gets his team turned around.

Top 5 Undefeated Teams To Start

5. Rhode Island Rams (3-0)

4. SMU Mustangs (3-0)

3. Yale Bulldogs (2-0)

2. BYU Cougars (2-0)

1. Gonzaga Bulldogs (2-0)

Mid-Major Ranked Teams

14. Gonzaga

17. Saint Mary’s

21. Rhode Island

24. Cincinnati

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