Player of the Week
Mike Moser, UNLV, PF, Sophomore, 6-8 195 lbs.
Moser continued his excellent play this season by posting two double-doubles this past week. In those two games, UNLV beat Boise State (10-9) and New Mexico (16-4). Moser’s inside presence against Boise State was not hard to notice as he gathered 21 rebounds and scored 18 points. UNLV only won by five points, but Boise State did not have an answer for keeping Moser off the glass. UNLV’s big win over New Mexico placed UNLV firmly atop the Mountain West Conference with San Diego State. In that game, Moser finished with 14 points, 10 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Through 22 games Moser is averaging 14.2 PPG, 11.7 RPG, 2.4 APG, 1.8 SPG, 0.8 BPG, while shooting 47.0 FG%.
Travis Bader, Oakland, SG, Sophomore, 6-4 180 lbs.
It’s difficult to argue that any player has been scorching the nets more than Bader, who posted 37 points yesterday in Oakland’s (12-11) victory over South Dakota State (16-6). He shot 12-18 from the field, including an incredible 10-14 from three-point land. Keep in mind that Bader came off the bench in that game. In Oakland’s three games prior to South Dakota State, Bader finished with point totals of 17, 21, and 21. Expect Bader to see some more playing time and sneak his way into the starting lineup.
Arkansas Pine-Bluff (2-18, 1-6)
This team has been anything but “hot” this year. Having lost their 18 games by an average of 16.7 points, Arkansas Pine-Bluff has a very steep hill to climb if they even want to contend in their conference tournament. Of Arkansas Pine-Bluff’s 18 losses this season, their 48-point loss against Cincinnati (15-6) trumps them all. Granted, Cincinnati is from the Big East and recruits much bigger talent than Arkansas Pine-Bluff, but 48 points? That’s a major loss. The SWAC conference doesn’t have a team with a winning record and that could bode well for Arkansas-Pine Bluff’s pursuit of racking up a few more wins. Currently, the team ranks 326th in points per game (58.9) and 308th in rebounds per game (31.1).
Top 25 Teams
11. Murray State (20-0)
Beat SIU-Edwardsville, 82-65 last Saturday. The Racers are the only unbeaten team in the country.
12. UNLV (19-3)
Beat Boise State (10-9) on the road, 77-72, in overtime, and beat New Mexico (16-4), 80-63.
13. San Diego State (18-2)
Won decisively against Air Force (11-7), 57-44, and Wyoming (16-4), 52-42. Jamaal Franklin posted 12 points and 11 rebounds against Wyoming.
15. Creighton (19-2)
Pasted Indiana State (12-9), 75-49, and beat Drake (12-9), 77-69.
21. Saint Mary’s (20-2)
The Gaels won two games on the road this week: one against Santa Clara (8-12) and the other against Loyola-Marymount (12-9).
Mid-Major Power Rankings
1. San Diego State (18-2)
2. UNLV (19-3)
3. Saint Mary’s (20-2)
4. Murray State (20-0)
5. Memphis (14-6)
6. Creighton (19-2)
7. Gonzaga (16-3)
8. Harvard (16-2)
9. Temple (14-5)
10. Middle Tennessee State (19-2)
Top 5 Mountain West/Plains Players
1. Doug McDermott, Creighton, SF, Sophomore, 6-7 220 lbs.
McDermott is easily the best player in the mountain west/plains region of the country and possibly the best player of all mid-major players. He ranks 3rd nationally in points per game (23.5) and he’s scored in double figures in every game for Creighton this season, including 15 of 21 games with over 20 points. Here are a few of McDermott’s standout performances this year: 44 points at Bradley (6-16), 30 points at Drake (12-9), and 25 points and 12 rebounds at #13 San Diego State (18-2). Creighton won each of those games. While McDermott is one of the nation’s finest offensive threats, he does not contribute much on the defensive end (0.1 SPG). Shooting 61.3 FG%, 50.0 3P%, and 82.5 FT% helps fans and most analysts look past his subpar defensive contributions.
2. Damian Lillard, Weber State, PG, Junior, 6-3 195 lbs.
Lillard leads the nation in scoring (25.1 PPG) and he’s rapidly played himself into a legitimate NBA Draft prospect for the 2012 draft. Lillard has scored in double figures every game this season, including five games with over 30 points – 41 vs. San Jose State, 38 vs. Portland State, 36 vs. Saint Mary’s, 31 vs. Southern Utah, and 30 vs. Eastern Washington. Lillard combines great ball-handling skills with an uncanny knack for getting to the hoop. His shooting stroke is smooth and consistent, making him one of the toughest matchups for any opponent Weber State faces. He has led Weber State to a 16-3 record and a current first place ranking in the Big Sky Conference. Watch for Lillard to gather some All-American considerations as the season moves on. Lillard’s stat line: 25.1 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 3.7 APG, 1.3 SPG, 46.8 FG%, 45.5 3P%, and 90.9 FT%.
3. Drew Gordon, New Mexico, PF, Senior, 6-9 245 lbs.
The senior low-post threat has 11 double-doubles this season and has played his way into NBA Draft consideration for the 2012 draft. Gordon has some impressive games under his belt: 21 points and 11 rebounds against Boston College, 13 points and 20 rebounds against Oklahoma State, 23 points and 19 rebounds against New Mexico State, and 14 points and 12 rebounds against UNLV. Gordon is a force in the paint and reminds many of former New Mexico standout, Kenny Thomas. He plays slightly conservative on the offensive end of the court; he could easily be a 18 PPG, 10 RPG type of player.
4. Dominique Morrison, Oral Roberts, SF, Senior, 6-6 210 lbs.
Morrison is a scorer and dominates the ball on offense for Oral Roberts. He scored in double figures in 22 of 23 games this season and he’s shot the ball very well (50.0 FG%, 46.7 3P%, 83.7 FT%). Morrison stretches defenses with his outside shooting ability and he keeps defenders “on edge” with his quick first step and his pull-up jump shot skills. Morrison scored 38 points against South Dakota State (16-6) recently, but he does not only post impressive numbers against “lower level” competition. Against Xavier (13-7), Morrison finished with 19 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists, and against Texas Tech (7-12), he scored 26 points.
5. Brandon Davies, BYU, PF, Junior, 6-9 235 lbs.
An intriguing blend of nimble footwork and great length. Davies is BYU’s most talented player and when he’s playing with confidence, he’s extremely productive. He had a great chance to showcase his skills when BYU played #7 Baylor (18-2) in December. In that game, Davies guarded Perry Jones III – an eventual lottery pick – for much of the game and Davies finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds. More recently, Davies had 21 points and 22 rebounds in BYU’s win over San Diego (8-12) and 29 points in BYU’s win over Pepperdine. For the season, Davies averages 14.3 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1.2 SPG, 1.3 BPG, while shooting 50.0 FG% and 73.6 FT%.