Player of the Week
Fletcher Magee – G – Wofford
Magee is under the radar as one of the top shooters and scorers in the country. Scoring 24 points a game, he shoots 59% from the field, 58% from three and has not missed a single one of his 29 free throw attempts on the year. In the win over UNC, he scored 27 points on 10-23 shooting. By his standards, this was an inefficient shooting night.
With that said, numbers are expected to go down against elite competition. The 6-4 junior was still able to lead the team to victory. Shooting ability is a valuable asset right in the league now, and he appears to be one of the best at it.
Jon Elmore – G – Marshall
Elmore played in two close games this week. First, a 99-96 OT win over Ohio in which he recorded a triple double with 20-10-10. He was also 10-10 from the line. On the road against #9 Xavier, the large underdogs only lost by four points, the final score being 81-77. Elmore had 16 points and 9 assists.
One thing that is surprising about his season is his poor shooting from deep. He is shooting 26% from three, down from 35% in his first two years at Marshall. Despite averaging 23.5 points a game, he could easily have more if his shot starts falling with more consistently.
Killian Tillie – F – Gonzaga
The sophomore forward had an impressive week. He started it off with 10 points and 9 rebounds in an OT win against North Dakota.
He was very impressive in the win over IUPUI. On 8-12 shooting, along with 10-10 from the line, Tillie scored 27 points in only 26 minutes. He also contributed 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. The 6’10 forward from France has been getting looks from NBA scouts, and if he continues to play well, he will remain in talks of intriguing prospects.
Wichita State Shockers (9-2, 0-0)
The question has to be asked: Is Wichita State elite or do they just beat bad teams? A loss against Oklahoma paired with their earlier loss to Notre Dame are tough games to be sure, but it is very disappointing to see this team struggle against power conference teams. I feel that they simply do not have the size and athleticism to keep up with some of the elite teams in the country. Trae Young continued his dominance of college basketball and completely outclassed Landry Shamet, another highly regarded player.
Cody Martin – GF – Nevada
After being on the hot list the last week, Cody Martin really cooled off. Although Nevada won both of their games, Martin did not have much of an impact in either. He scored 5 points in 36 minutes against Radford, and 4 points against UC Davis, fouling out after 28 minutes.
Some positives of the two bad games is that he only had one turnover in the two games, and he recorded 5 blocks against Radford. With that said, he is relied on to score the ball, something which he will continue to do as the season continues.
1) Gonzaga Bulldogs (10-2, 0-0)
The Shockers have been unseated as the number one team in the mid-major rankings for the first time this year, and what other team would do it but the Bulldogs? Their roster is shockingly deep, with players like Killian Tillie stepping up of late.
As I have said before, this was going to be a team that needed time to work well together, and they are looking fantastic heading into conference play. 7 players average 8.7 or more points per game, including 5 in double figures.
2) Wichita State Shockers (9-2, 0-0)
Despite the amazing performance of Trae Young, the Shockers had chances to win against Oklahoma, a game they ultimately lost by a score of 91-83. The lone bright spot was Darral Willis Jr., who scored 20 points on 6-10 shooting off the bench to go with his 12 rebounds.
There are legitimate concerns about how good this team actually is. In their first year in the AAC, I am extremely curious to see how they fare in conference play. I am not sure that they were ever deserving of being ranked #3 in the country, and fear that they may be a team that simply beats up on weaker competition.
3) Cincinnati Bearcats (10-2, 0-0)
Coming off an impressive win against UCLA by a score of 77-63, Cincinnati appears to be hitting their stride. Kyle Washington had 19 points to go with 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals and 2 blocks. Jacob Evans went 4-6 from deep on his way to 16 points.
There are still concerns about this offense. I am not sure if they can match a team that scores 90. However, they play phenomenal defense and are a well-rounded team. Another team looking to win the AAC, they will have to find some more consistent contributors for the offense.
4) Saint Mary’s Gaels (10-2, 0-0)
The Gaels are coming off another two impressive wins, and have continued to get production from more players. Jock Landale will always put up numbers, averaging 21 points and 9.5 rebounds a game.
However, it is performances from players like Jordan Ford that have me feeling optimistic about their season. He scored 16 points on 6-10 shooting against Dayton in a 69-54 victory. If they can get consistent scoring from multiple players, this is suddenly an elite team.
5) SMU Mustangs (10-3, 0-0)
The Mustangs had an impressive week at home, with three wins including an 86-63 victory over Boise State. In that game, which had 5 players in double figures and Jarrey Foster contributing 9. With that type of balance, this is a team that can beat anyone on their home court. The question remains whether or not they can perform on the road.
6) Nevada Wolfpack (10-2, 0-0)
Nevada bounced back from two straight losses with two wins against some weaker teams. 77-62 over Radford and 88-73 over UCD. Jordan Caroline has played quite well of late, including 25 points and 15 rebounds against Radford. As this team continues to grow, they should continue to win games and score a lot of points. Caroline and the Martin twins can take the Wolfpack far.
7) St. Bonaventure Bonnies (9-2, 0-0)
Jaylen Adams is continuing to get back and into form for the Bonnies, who won another two games this week. They had a good win at home against Vermont 81-79. Matt Mobley has also been scoring at a high clip, with pair each averaging just under 18 points a game. They could be the best team in the A-10 conference.
8) UNLV Running Rebels (10-2, 0-0)
The Running Rebels have continued to mesh as a team and have reaped the rewards as a result. Led by Brandon McCoy, they have a solid offense with great inside defensive presence. All of their starters can score, and they have good ball movement. I am optimistic about this team going forward.
9) Boise State Broncos (10-2, 0-0)
Despite an ugly loss against SMU, the Broncos remain on the power rankings due to their talent. While not having the greatest strength of schedule, I am a believer in Chandler Hutchison and believe that they can continue to play well going into conference play. Justinian Jessup has been very efficient, averaging 15 points a game on 52/52/89 splits. If they can get more scoring from their other players, this is a sneaky good team.
10) Wofford Terriers (8-4, 0-0)
Wofford sneaks on due to their phenomenal win, 79-75 over #5 UNC on the road. It was their first win over a top-25 team in school history. Fletcher Magee is leading the team with a dominant scoring season. They are certainly a threat to win the Southern Conference, and will gain a lot of confidence and momentum following this amazing win.
Top Five Scoring Guards
1) Fletcher Magee – G – Wofford
The second leading scorer in the nation behind Trae Young, he has demonstrated insane efficiency for the numbers he is putting up. A lot of these guards on this list shoot well below 50%, but Magee is flirting with 60%. We will see if he can maintain these ridiculous percentages.
2) Matt Scott – G – Niagara
Scott is another player that is shooting well for his high usage. At 49% shooting from the field and 34% from deep, the senior is averaging 24 points a game with 7 rebounds and 3 assists. He is a very well-rebounded player that is having a fantastic scoring season. This is his most efficient season by far, while also being his highest volume. I have been impressed with his play this year.
3) Jon Elmore – G – Marshall
Mentioned earlier in the blog, Elmore has been shooting relatively well and averaging 23.5 points a game. He is at 44% from the field yet only 26% from three. With that said, I am confident that his shot is going to start falling. He was at 36% both of the past two years. He also recorded a triple double against Ohio.
4) Jordan Howard – G – Central Arkansas
The 5’11 senior guard has been scoring well in his highest usage season to date. He is shooting 45% from the field and 40% from deep, averaging 24 points a game. His numbers have only been going up as of late, including 32 points in an OT loss to Morehead State. As his usage continues to rise, I expect his scoring to do the same. Hopefully he can keep his efficiency where it is as well.
5) Matt Morgan – G – Cornell
Scoring 24 or more on over 50% shooting in each of his past 5 games, Morgan has been having a fantastic season for the Big Red. He is at 53% from the field and 44% from deep, for an average of 23 a game. He has also demonstrated the ability to get to the line, shooting 86% from the stripe on over 5 attempts a game. If he can continue to be this efficient, this is one of the better teams in the Ivy League with Morgan at the lead of their offense.
Jordan Goodwin, St. Louis
One of my favorite players to follow in all of college basketball, Goodwin had a fantastic week. In a close loss, 63-60 on the road at Oregon State, Goodwin shot 9-15, including 3-6 from deep, and scored 22 points. He then scored 16 points on 5-11 shooting. His three-point percentage has finally hit double digits, and is now sitting at 15%. Averaging 11 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals a game, Goodwin does a little bit of everything. He is still just a freshman and may need to stay in school for a couple of years, but this could be one of the better players in the nation in a year or two if he can develop a shot.