Player of the Week:
Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse
The dynamic playmaking of Williams was on full display in the game altering moments of victories at Louisville and versus Cincinnati. In the former matchup he scored 11 of his 16 points in the 2nd half, seven points in the final 5:37, and gave the Orange the lead to stay with a strip of Peyton Siva and subsequent dunk in the waning seconds. In the latter matchup he scored 14 of his 16 points in the 2nd half and five of Syracuse’s final seven in the last 2:10. His style continues to resemble a mixed bag with little grey area; either flashes of utter brilliance or total erratic performance (11 turnovers). At the end of the day, however, he’s sealing the deal in difficult spots and climbing his way up the lottery. On the week he averaged 7 assists, 4.5 rebounds, 2.5 steals, 2 three-point makes and 5.5 turnovers.
Otto Porter, Georgetown
With the Hoyas second leading scorer, Greg Whittington, suspended for a violation of team rules, Porter has expectedly risen to the occasion. Having entered Saturday’s contest with two made three-pointers in four games, he connected on a combined six (10 attempts) in road tilts with South Florida and Notre Dame. Porter is shooting 45% from distance and 52% from the field thus far during his well-rounded sophomore campaign.
Sean Kilpatrick, Cincinnati
Speaking of filling up the scoring tally and drilling three’s, Kilpatrick is the captain of that ship. The 6’4 guard piled up 57 points this week on 39 shot attempts and 29 hoists from beyond the arc. With his running mate Cashmere Wright nursing a sprained knee on Saturday versus Marquette, Kilpatrick took full advantage scoring a career-high 36 in overtime (previous high 32). Perhaps the most encouraging aspect of that outing was his 10 free throw attempts, but that aggression mojo quickly faded at Syracuse where 15 of his 16 FG attempts came from distance.
Sir'Dominic Pointer, St. John’s
Keeping out of foul trouble and earning more PT, Pointer filled the role of stat-stuffer extraordinaire in triumphs at Depaul and at Rutgers. He posted 13.5 points per game on 9/13 field goals, 10 rebounds, 4.5 assists (4 turnovers), 4.5 steals and 1.5 blocks. His reckless activity has typically resulted in out of control, frequently detrimental play, but this week it paid healthy dividends. Upcoming bouts with Connecticut and Syracuse will test his valor.
Russ Smith, Louisville
Smith followed up a strong 25-point effort versus the Cuse with a nightmare evening at Villanova. The electric guard scored 8 points on 2/13 shooting and 0/4 from deep while committing four turnovers in the 73-64 defeat. That was the 3rd occasion this month in which he shot below 20% in a game where he attempted 10+ field goals (2/11 & 2/13 on January 9th and 12th). Smith brings quickness and explosive scoring, but also carries baggage with a negative assist: turnover ratio and 32% three-point accuracy.
Eli Carter, Rutgers
The Scarlet Knights finished up their season series with St. John’s on Wednesday night and nobody is more elated than Carter. He shot 1/14 with five turnovers at the RAC after clanking 1/11 just two weeks earlier at MSG in a foul-ridden performance. While there is no doubting his predisposition for accumulating buckets, he is thrown off his game by pressure defense (also 1/11 versus Cincinnati).
Cameron Biedscheid, Notre Dame
The sharpshooting freshman wing has hit the skids, making only one of 17 shots over his last three games (0/11 from three) and failing to crack the six-point barrier since December 21st. It should be noted that Biedscheid is still converting a more than respectable 35% from the three-point line on the year.
Top 5 Post Operators
Jack Cooley, Notre Dame
Looking for smooth and traditional? Cooley is not your guy. Looking for effectiveness? 59% will do.
Davante Gardner, Marquette
Gardner doesn’t get much lift at 290 pounds, but he’s skilled with solid footwork and holds deep position. Shooting 84% from the FT line doesn’t hurt.
Chane Behanan, Louisville
Undersized with a low center of gravity, Behanan doesn’t possess polished back to the bucket skills. What he does bring to the table is explosive power in the painted area.
Gene Teague, Seton Hall
Another wide body with underrated foot work and either hand dexterity. After shooting upwards of 60% at Southern Illinois prior to transferring, he’s hitting 54% in the BE.
Kadeem Batts, Providence
It’s been a breakout 2012-2013 campaign for the redshirt junior. Batts in unafraid to initiate contact on the interior and displays a soft touch on short J’s.
Peyton Siva set a career with 13 assists in a road loss at Villanova.
*Freshman Jerami Grant has averaged 31 minutes per game over his past three outings and has rewarded the faith: 9 points/6 boards/1 block.
*Bryce Cotton added two 24-point games to his Big East leading scoring average (21.9).
*Rutgers forward Wally Judge hasn’t recorded a double-digit rebound game since November 12th, the second game of the season.
*Georgetown freshman guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera is leaving his mark on a nightly basis: 10 rebounds at St. John’s, 5 assists versus Providence, 16 points/6 rebounds/4 assists versus South Florida and 14 points at Notre Dame.
*Seton Hall needs big things from Brandon Mobley to win games. The 6’9 sophomore went for 14 points on 7/8 shooting as the Pirates snapped a three-game losing streak versus USF.
*Todd Mayo is slowly rounding into scoring form with five three’s and 17 free throw attempts in his last three. 7 turnovers to 1 assist over his last two not optimal.
*A banged up shoulder has put a kink in the rampage of Shabazz Napier: 6/20 FG’s in his last two. 36 minutes per game is a heavy burden to carry.
*Sixth-year senior Scott Martin may have played his final collegiate game due to chronic knee problems.
*Follow Adam on twitter @AdamGaneles