Player of the Week
Marshall Henderson – Ole Miss
It wasn’t pretty and it probably wasn’t the way that Andy Kennedy would have drawn it up but Henderson’s desperation three pointer as time expired was just what the Rebels needed to stay undefeated in conference play. That shot sent the game to overtime where Ole Miss took control for good. Henderson scored a team high 26 points against Vandy and followed that up with a 16 point, 5 steal game against Arkansas. Henderson leads the SEC in scoring and is making a strong case for SEC Player of the Year. He has one of the sweetest strokes in college, unlimited range and no conscience. He also has an uncanny ability to get to the free throw line for someone who spends so much time on the perimeter.
Mike Rosario – Florida
Rosario was known as a big time scorer during his time in the Big East when he played for Rutgers. He averaged over 16 points per game during his time in New Jersey. After taking a back seat to Bradley Beal, Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton a season ago, Rosario is finally getting his chance to shine in Gainesville. He has doubled his output from a season ago and has really come on strong of late as the aforementioned Boynton has struggled with his shot. Rosario has upped his play tremendously in conference play, averaging over 15 points while shooting a sizzling 50% from the field as well as from the three point line. He sat out against LSU but that shouldn’t hurt the rhythm he has been in lately. The Gators are 4-0 in conference play and Rosario is a big reason why.
Phil Pressey – Missouri
The loss of Lawrence Bowers has really hurt the Tigers. The team as a whole has really felt his loss on both ends of the floor but no one has felt his loss more on the offensive end than Pressey. During the three games since Bowers’ injury, Pressey’s scoring has dipped below six points per game and he has just one more point than he does turnovers. Frank Haith said earlier in the season that the offense ran through Bowers and that has never been more noticeable than it is now. The Tigers couldn’t get anything going offensively against the Gators on Saturday and with Bowers expected to miss at least one more game, Pressey will need to get it going for this team to avoid going under .500 in conference play.
Top 5 Player Matchups of the Week
Classic battle of offense vs. defense. Wilbekin is one of the best on ball defenders in the conference. Pope is one of the best scoring guards in the conference. Something has got to give. Considering that Pope has little help around him and the Florida D can be smothering, this one should be an easy win for the Gators.
Releford has been on a scoring tear recently. Alabama has won their last two conference games and will be upset minded as they play host to the Kentucky Wildcats on Tuesday. Goodwin is UK’s best perimeter defender and will be given the task of slowing down Releford.
O’Bryant seems to be getting healthy after an early season injury took him out of the lineup for a few games. He had a season high 14 rebounds against Georgia but will have his hands full trying to fend off Noel who is second in the conference in rebounding. Noel also has four straight games in double figure scoring, his longest streak of the season.
This matchup of undersized and lightening quick guards should be a fun one to watch. Both players are looking to score when they get the ball in their hands and both teams count on them so put up points. Pressey is the superior basketball talent and should dominate this matchup but Ellington is a two sport star that can’t be overlooked.
Stokes and Holloway are two players trending in opposite directions this season. Stokes has slipped on draft boards a little due to his lack of consistent production. Holloway on the other hand has played his way in draft conversation, albeit 2nd round. This battle of two guys who like to battle on the interior should be fun to watch.