Player of the Week
Landry Shamet – G – Wichita State
Shamet was phenomenal against Oklahoma State. He scored 30 points on 6-11 shooting from the field, which is impressive by itself. Add the fact that he was 4-7 from deep and 14-16 from the line and you have a truly dominant scoring performance. With 5 assists, you have an elite performance from possibly the best mid-major player in the country. The Shockers will go as far as Shamet can take them, which as of now, appears to be pretty far.
Brandon McCoy – C – UNLV
In his one game this week, an 89-82 win over Illinois, McCoy was great. 9-11 shooting to score 22 points in addition to 10 rebounds is one of the more efficient lines you will see this year. He also added 3 blocks and 2 steals, which becomes more impressive when you consider he had 0 fouls.
One thing he needs to improve is his free throw shooting. He was 4-10 this game and is 68% on the season. 68% is fine, but he needs to find consistency.
Cody Martin – GF – Nevada
In a loss against TCU, Martin was excellent. 27 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists on 10-13 shooting. In the OT loss against Texas Tech he scored 22 points on 8-12 shooting. He has played 85 minutes over 2 games. In other words, he has not sat in two straight games while keeping his efficiency up.
Valparaiso Crusaders (8-2, 0-0)
I made the mistake of including them in my power rankings last week after being 8-0. They got absolutely wrecked by Purdue, 80-50 in their first true test of the season. They followed that up by losing by one to Ball State, who outside of beating Notre Dame, has not been that good on the year.
Caleb Martin – GF – Nevada
They say twins do not like to be separated, and Caleb had a pretty bad game to complement his brother’s impressive game against TCU. He shot 4-16 to score 17 points, and had 3 turnovers and 4 fouls to go with 2 assists. If both twins were on, they win this game.
1) Wichita State Shockers (8-1, 0-0)
The Shockers only played one game in this past week, but it was a big resume builder. A 78-66 win over Oklahoma State on the road is a fantastic win that the committee will bring up when deciding what seed to give the Shockers. Landry Shamet dominated the game, scoring 30 points.
Wichita State has continued to beat everyone convincingly, save for their one point loss to Notre Dame. If they can carry this into conference play, they will win the AAC in their first year since joining it.
2) Gonzaga Bulldogs (7-2, 0-0)
Another team that only played one game this past week, Gonzaga went into Washington’s arena and destroyed them, 97-70. Johnathan Williams shot 9-14 on route to scoring 23 points to go with 12 rebounds and 4 assists. 6 players were in double figures, including touted prospects Rui Hachimura and Killian Tillie.
The Bulldogs appear to be having yet another great season despite all of their key departures. This is a team that will only improve the later the season goes on. Look out for them in March.
3) Cincinnati Bearcats (8-2, 0-0)
Despite going 1-1 this past week, the Bearcats stay at #3 in the mid-major power rankings. A 6-point loss to #5 Florida in a neutral site game is what was expected to happen, and Cincinnati should be content with the result.
In their other game, giving Mississippi State their first loss of the season, Jacob Evans really stood out. He shot 7-13, including 4-7 from three, to score 24 points. He was also 6-6 from the line, adding to his 8 rebounds and 3 blocks.
4) Saint Mary’s Gaels (8-2, 0-0)
Saint Mary’s finally found some production from some new players in their 97-73 victory over Seattle. Tanner Krebs scored 23 and Jordan Ford added 19. If they can get consistent scoring outside of Jock Landale this suddenly becomes a scary team. Hopefully Krebs and Ford can continue to score the ball, something the Gaels will need if they hope to keep up with some of the better teams in the country.
5) Nevada Wolfpack (8-2, 0-0)
Nevada had a tough loss in what could have been a huge resume builder, an 84-80 loss to TCU. Cody Martin had a phenomenal game, shooting 10-13 to score 27 points. He also added 11 rebounds and 6 assists. Unfortunately, Caleb Martin shot 4-16, and there was not enough production outside the twins to get a win.
To lose two big games against TCU and Texas Tech by a combined 10 points is tough. They really could have used those wins. With that said, the team still looks good and should continue to win games going into conference play.
6) SMU Mustangs (7-3, 0-0)
SMU did not play any games this past week. However, they will not drop because of that. They have had a very difficult schedule and have played well. Shake Milton and Jarrey Foster have been leading the way. This is an impressive roster that will do well in conference play.
7) Boise State Broncos (9-1, 0-0)
The Broncos won yet another game, by a score of 77-54 over Sacramento State. Chandler Hutchison scored 21 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Justinian Jessup scored 18 points on 6-8 shooting, including 5-6 from deep.
The Broncos have been better than expected. While they have not had the toughest of schedules, the team has looked quite good. I am very interested to see how they do in conference play.
8) St. Bonaventure Bonnies (7-2, 0-0)
Jaylen Adams is back, so let’s take this team seriously now. They are 3-0 since his return, and had a big win over Maryland earlier in the season. They are leading the A-10 in terms of record, and have surpassed my expectations. When Adams is able to get back into his groove of scoring 20+ points a game, this is a team that can simply outscore the other team on a given night.
9) Loyola-Chicago Rambles (10-1, 0-0)
Here’s something that no one expected: Loyola-Chicago wins 65-59 over #5 Florida on the road. While it is hard to judge a team off one game, that is an extremely impressive win. Aundre Jackson shot 10-12 from the field and scored 23 points. If they can play well in-conference, this is a surprisingly good team that could play well in March if they make the dance.
10) UNLV Running Rebels (8-2, 0-0)
Big win for the Running Rebels against Illinois. Brandon McCoy shot 9-11 and scored 22 points to go with 10 rebounds. Jovan Mooring scored 27 points including 14-18 from the stripe. This is a big home win against an out-of-conference team. UNLV appears to have found the balance between inside and outside. I feel that they are very underrated outside of McCoy.
Top Five Freshman
1) Brandon McCoy – C – UNLV
The easy choice for #1 on this list, McCoy took no time to get adjusted to the system and start putting up phenomenal numbers. He is shooting 64% to go with 20 points 11 rebounds and 2 blocks. He has shot 68% from the line, not a bad number for a big man. He even hit a three pointer against Arizona, making him 1-1 on the season. There are some concerns about his NBA potential, but in the college ranks, he is absolutely feasting on weaker competition. Expect much of the same the rest of the year.
2) Zach Norvell Jr. – G – Gonzaga
The freshman from Chicago has recently begun to get more minutes over his past four games, and it has paid off for coach Mark Few. Norvell has shown a willingness to shoot the three, although it has not been falling at an amazing clip (33%). He is shooting 48% from the field and has been able to contribute 3 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. He is also at 81% from the line. Norvell has impressed me with how quickly he has fit into this team after missing last year with an injury.
3) Ethan Chargois – F – SMU
Starting as a freshman, Chargois is off to a very efficient start for the Mustangs. He is shooting 56% from the field and 43% from three.12.7 points and 5.4 rebounds per game is very impressive from a freshman on a team that has aspirations to be playing in March. As he gains confidence throughout the year, be on the lookout for him when watching SMU play. His free throw shooting, currently at 69%, will likely improve as he sees more attempts a game and is able to find a rhythm.
4) Kellan Grady – G – Davidson
The guard out of Boston, MA immediately fit into Davidson’s offense. He is averaging 15.4 points, 3 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game. He shoots 47% from the field and 39% from deep to go with 79% from the line. I was particularly impressed with his performance against UNC, where he went 4-7 from deep and scored 18 points. That proves as much as anything that he can score against elite competition. With their powerful offense, the Wildcats could be poised to make a run at the A-10 title despite their current 4-3 record.
5) Jordan Goodwin – G – Saint Louis
I have talked a lot about Goodwin this year, mainly because I find him to be one of the more intriguing players in college basketball. He is the NBA version of Lonzo Ball in college basketball. He shoots 28% from the field and a single digit percentage from three. However, he is able to impact his team in a number of ways. 9.6 points a game, 6.8 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 2.4 steals a game is a solid line. He also has under 2 turnovers a game, pretty solid for a freshman who is handling the ball a lot. Despite his shooting woes, I have faith he can find his shot. Maybe not this year, but I do believe you will hear his name called one day by an NBA team in the draft
Return from Injury Spotlight:
Jaylen Adams – G – St. Bonaventure
The Bonnies needed Jaylen Adams back, and now they have him. The senior guard has been one of the bets scorers in college basketball over the past few years, and he comes back to a team that has been playing well in his absence. They gave him light minutes in his first game back, but in the past two games, it is the Jaylen Adams we have come to know. Although he has not been shooting extremely well from the field (35%), he has been on fire from the line, shooting 91%. He is also at 47% from three. He has had 9 assists in each of his last two games, and 6 steals against Yale. When he is at 100%, look out for this team down the line.