Player of the Week

Greg Mangano, Yale, C, Senior, 6-10 240 lbs.

The Ivy League standout has bullied several opponents this season with his size and physical presence in the paint. Penn (12-10) and Princeton (11-10) were Mangano’s most recent victims as he posted double-doubles in each of those games this past week. Against Penn, he posted 23 points (8-14 shooting) and 10 rebounds, and against Princeton, he posted 20 points (6-17 shooting) and 12 rebounds. Mangano has led Yale to a 15-5 record this season and he’s the premier low-post threat in the entire conference, followed by Keith Wright of Harvard who’s at a distant second. Mangano has finished 11 games with 20 points or more, including a “beastly” outing against #7 Florida (19-5) on December 31 when he finished with 26 points and 15 rebounds. His ability to shoot with either hand in the paint helps him create definite challenges for opposing defenders, as well as his fundamental box-out techniques. For the season, Mangano is averaging 19.0 PPG, 10.0 RPG, and 2.5 BPG and NBA scouts are taking notice.

Who’s Hot?

Ramone Moore, Temple, SG, Senior, 6-4 190 lbs.

Moore has been “lights out”  over Temple’s last five games, averaging 22.2 PPG on 50.0 3P%. Temple is now 18-5 and much of that record can be attributed to Moore’s outside shooting ability that stretches defenses and creates difficulties in executing help-side defense. This week against George Washington (8-16), Moore finished with 25 points (6-14 FG, 3-6 3P), 4 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals. Temple won that game, 79-72. Earlier in the week at Rhode Island (5-20), Moore scored 22 points (9-20 FG, 2-7 3P) and collected 5 rebounds as the Owls downed Rhode Island, 73-56, and last week against Fordham (9-13), Moore finished with 25 points (9-16 FG, 6-8 3P) and 5 assists. Watch for Moore’s sharpshooting ability to help put Temple in a favorable position to win the Atlantic 10 Conference.

Who’s  Cold?

Fairleigh Dickinson (2-22, 1-12)

This team has struggled mightily this season in several facets of the game as their 2-22 record attests. Fairleigh Dickinson’s two wins this season came against St. Peter’s (5-19) and Bryant (2-23), who happens to be keeping Fairleigh Dickinson company in the cellar of the Northeast Conference. Combining a 13.6 margin of defeat with being ranked 319th in PPG (59.8) and 303rd in FG% (40.5) this season, this squad will have to look to be the spoilers of another Northeast Conference team’s NCAA Tournament dreams.

Top 25 Teams

9. Murray State (23-1, 11-1)

The nation’s last unbeaten team suffered its first loss of the season last night at the hands of Tennessee State (16-10). Despite Isaiah Canaan’s 31 points, Murray State could not muster a win against the Tigers, who were led by Robert Covington’s 17 points and Kenny Moore’s 16 points.

13. San Diego State (20-3, 6-1)

Beat TCU (13-10), 73-73, last Saturday and will have another intriguing matchup with #14 UNLV (21-4) tomorrow.

14. UNLV (21-4, 5-2)

Ousted a quality Wyoming squad, 68-66, last Saturday. UNLV will look to avenge an earlier loss against #13 San Diego State (20-3) tomorrow in what should be the weekend’s best matchup.

16. Saint Mary’s (22-3, 11-1)

Went on the road to “The Kennel”  in Spokane, WA and lost to Gonzaga (19-4), 73-59. The Gaels looked overmatched and could not harness Kevin Pangos’ three-point shooting. Pangos ended up with 5 three-pointers and 27 points. For the game, Saint Mary’s shot 38.2 FG% and Gonzaga shot 52.8%. Also of note, Gonzaga out-rebounded Saint Mary’s, 36-26.

17. Creighton (21-4, 11-3)

The Blue Jays are on a cold streak after losing two consecutive games: one to Evansville (12-12) and the other to Northern Iowa (16-10). They play Wichita State (21-4, 12-2) tomorrow in an intriguing matchup that I predict will land Creighton a third consecutive loss.

25. Harvard (20-2, 6-0)

Beat Columbia (13-9), 57-52, and Cornell (8-12), 71-60, in the past week. A late season matchup with Yale and Greg Mangano looms in the future.

Mid-Major Power Rankings

   1. UNLV (21-4)
   2. San Diego State (20-3)
   3. Gonzaga (19-4)
   4. Saint Mary’s (22-3)
   5. Murray State (23-1)
   6. Memphis (17-7)
   7. Temple (18-5)
   8. BYU (20-6)
   9. Harvard (20-2)
  10. Creighton (21-4)

Top 5 Colonial Conference Players

1. Ryan Pearson, George Mason, PF, Senior, 6-6 237 lbs.

With a figure resembling a younger Charles Barkley, Pearson has led George Mason to a 20-6 record and a share of the conference lead. For the season, Pearson has 10 double-doubles, 9 games over 20 points, and he’s scored in double figures in 22 of George Mason’s 26 games. His most impressive game was on the road at College of Charleston (15-10) when he posted 35 points (15-25 FG), 14 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block. More recently, Pearson finished with 29 points (11-18 FG) and 15 rebounds against James Madison (10-16) in a victory over a familiar conference foe. Pearson does not extend the floor for the offense, but he does provide brute strength and consistent energy for his team. He is a force in the paint and he is a major reason why George Mason appears poised to earn an NCAA Tournament bid.

2. Keith Rendleman, UNC-Wilmington, SF, Junior, 6-8 215 lbs.

Rendleman displays an intriguing mix of athleticism and efficiency in his style of play. He has a long wingspan, he can get up-and-down the court with the best of them, he can block shots, he rebounds well, and he rarely takes “bad” shots. He’s the type of player that most teams will “single out” during warm-ups because he just looks like a stud player. In UNC-Wilmington’s 24 games this season, Rendleman has scored in double figures in 21 of those, and he’s posted an overall stat line of 15.0 PPG, 10.9 RPG, 1.0 APG, 1.3 SPG, 1.1 BPG, while shooting 54.5 FG%.

3. Mike Moore, Hofstra, SG, Junior, 6-5 200 lbs.

Hofstra is 8-18, but Mike Moore will likely be on the all-conference team by seasons end. His 19.3 PPG places his atop the Colonial Conference in scoring. His 24 games of scoring in double figures further legitimizes his ability to score, although he doesn’t shoot the ball very efficiently (42.0 FG%, 37.4 3P%). Moore is the one player on Hofstra that must be guarded night-in and night-out.

4. Saddle Devon, Delaware, SG, Sophomore, 6-2 205 lbs.

Devon plays on a young, developing Delaware squad (12-12) that has fared well in conference games (8-6 conference record) and he has been asked to carry much of the load for the team this season. Devon has not disappointed. He has scored over 20 points in 11 games (including 2 games with 30 or more points), and he has reached double digits in 23 of Delaware’s 24 games. Devon is a very streaky shooter and he takes several ill-advised shots every game, but he finds ways to score and puts his team in position to contend late in games.

5. A.J. Davis, James Madison, SG, Junior, 6-6 210 lbs.

Davis is a quality perimeter player in the Colonial Conference and I would expect him to make a run at the conference Player of the Year honors next season. He averages 16.6 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 1.9 APG, 1.8 SPG and shoots decently well – 45.5 FG%, 35.0 3P%, 72.3 FT%. His best outing this year came against Delaware (12-2) when he finished with 30 points (10-19 FG, 4-7 3P) and 6 rebounds. Davis’ chiseled frame and physicality make a him a tough guard for any opposing defender.

Greg Mangano