Mid Major Blog

Player of the Week:

Mike Moser, UNLV, PF, Sophomore, 6-8 195 lbs.

Mike MoserMike MoserMoser has earned back-to-back Mid-Major “Player of the Week” honors after his performances against UC Santa Barbara, #1 North Carolina and USC over the past week. On Wednesday (Nov 30), UNLV beat UC Santa Barbara, 94-88, in double overtime, and Moser’s 34 points and 10 rebounds paved the way for the Rebels to reach an 8-0 record for the season. Last Saturday against #1 North Carolina, Moser was not intimidated by one of the top frontcourts in the country that included John Henson, Tyler Zeller and Harrison Barnes. Moser out-performed all of them, finishing with 16 points, 18 rebounds and 6 assists. He did foul out and have four turnovers, but he was one of the deciding factors in UNLV’s huge upset against the #1 ranked Tarheels. Against USC, Moser’s 10 points and 13 rebounds helped UNLV to an 11-point victory. For the season, Moser’s stat line is impressive: 17.5 PPG, 13.3 RPG, 3.3 APG, 1.0 BPG and 2.5 SPG. He also leads the nation in rebounding.

Who’s Hot?

Doug McDermott, Creighton, SF, Sophomore, 6-7 210 lbs.

McDermott is a repeat winner of the weekly “Who’s Hot?” award for Mid-Major players after guiding Creighton to a pair of impressive victories against San Diego State (7-1) and Campbell (5-1) this past week. In both games, McDermott had a double-double and shot “lights out” with 52.9 FG% against San Diego State and 68.4 FG% against Campbell. Against San Diego State, McDermott posted 25 points and 12 rebounds and eventually found his sharp-shooting efforts broadcasted on Wednesday (Nov 30) night’s edition of SportsCenter. Against Campbell, McDermott scored 31 points, gathered 11 rebounds and shot 66.7 percent from “trifecta” country. Creighton (5-0) will undoubtedly enter the Top 25 rankings released next week and McDermott is the main reason why the Blue Jays have been so successful.

Who’s Cold?

Florida A&M (0-6)

You would be hard-pressed to find a team that is struggling more than Florida A&M. The Rattlers are winless on the season through six games, and the team has lost its games by an average of 18 points, including a 33-point thumping loss against Georgia Tech and a 22-point loss against Providence. Florida A&M ranks 342nd in FG% (35.1), 316th in points per game (58.3), and 298th in rebounds per game (31.8). With a smaller frontcourt relative to its opponents, Florida A&M may find trouble turning this season around and posting a respectable record.

Top 25 Teams

11. Xavier (5-0)

The Musketeers earned two solid victories against Georgia (4-3) and #19 Vanderbilt (5-2). In its game against Georgia, Xavier definitely looked like the better team and cruised its way to a 70-56 win while shooting 49.0 percent from the field compared to Georgia’s 32.1 percent. Xavier also out-rebounded Georgia, 39-28. On the road against #19 Vanderbilt was Xavier’s first legitimate, late game challenge as the game went into overtime. Xavier dominated the overtime session and won 82-70 behind an impressive rebounding margin of 18 (Xavier: 48 rebounds, Vanderbilt: 30 rebounds). All-American hopeful, Tu Holloway, led the surge with 24 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists, while forward Andre Walker collected 14 rebounds. For the season, Xavier is ranks eighth in the nation for total rebounds per game (42.4).

18. UNLV (8-0)

Easily grabbed the most national attention for mid-major teams this past week by beating #1 North Carolina, 90-80, in Las Vegas. UNLV hustled after every loose ball and posed a difficult matchup against North Carolina’s star-studded frontcourt of John Henson, Tyler Zeller and Harrison Barnes. In addition to Mike Moser’s 16 points and 18 rebounds, forward Chace Stanback added 28 points and 10 rebounds, including two late game three-pointers that sealed the game’s fortune in favor of UNLV. North Carolina’s inability to make free throws (20-33) proved to be one of the deciding factors in the game. Prior to beating North Carolina, UNLV beat USC, 66-55, as the Trojans shot an abysmal 10.0 percent behind the three-point line. Just two days ago, UNLV continued its undefeated season by defeating UC Santa Barbara, 94-88, in double overtime behind Moser’s 34 points and 10 rebounds. Look for UNLV to jump into the top 15 in the national rankings very soon.

19. Gonzaga (5-0)

Gonzaga picked up two victories by defeating Western Michigan (1-6), 76-58, on November 26, and then defeating Notre Dame (5-3), 73-53 on November 30. Center Robert Sacre scored 15 points in both of those games and forward Elias Harris posted a double-double against Notre Dame with 11 points and 15 rebounds. Gonzaga has played well through five games and will face stiff competition on Saturday with a game at Illinois (7-0).

22. Memphis (3-2)

Memphis helped itself get back on-track with an easy win over Jackson State (1-7) on Monday, 70-45. Memphis held Jackson State to 30.8 FG% and forced 23 turnovers to help alleviate much of the stress that followed its disappointing performance in the Maui Invitational Tournament.

23. Saint Louis (6-1)

An undefeated season quickly turned sour for Saint Louis after losing on the road to Loyola Marymount (4-2), 75-68 on Tuesday (Nov 29). Saint Louis played well and did not have any glaring issues on offense aside from committing 15 turnovers. On defense, the team allowed three players from Loyola-Marymount to score 55 of Loyola’s 75 points. The combination of turnovers and lack of defensive stops late in the game landed Saint Louis its first loss of the season. Prior to that loss, Saint Louis had beaten Villanova (4-2) and Oklahoma (4-1) in consecutive games. Oklahoma, the nation’s fourth ranked team in total rebounds at 42 per game, was held to 25 rebounds.

On the Rise

Tulane (8-0)

The Green Wave is 8-0 after capitalizing on a weak early season schedule. Recent wins against Southern (2-5) and San Diego (4-2) and an average victory margin of 22.9 points per game have brought recognition to Tulane’s basketball program. Sophomore forward, Josh Davis, is the team’s top performer with 14.4 PPG and 11.0 RPG.

Top 5 Offensive Threats

1. Doug McDermott, Creighton, SF, Sophomore, 6-7 210 lbs.

McDermott is a cross between Keith Van Horn and Adam Morrison. His excellent shooting percentages from the field (63.0), three-point land (56.5) and the free throw line (86.7) make him a difficult matchup for any opponent. He is not an elite athlete, nor does he have great ball-handling ability, but he knows how to move without the ball and he finds a way to get his shots off. He possesses excellent catch-and-shoot ability, uses good shooting form and just knows how to score. He is not a passer (0 assists this season) and does not do a lot on defense (0 steals, 0 blocks). That will need to improve for him to gather some NBA Draft consideration. McDermott has led Creighton to a 5-0 start to the season and will continue to spearhead the Blue Jays’ offensive game plan.

2. Orlando Johnson, UC Santa Barbara, SG, Senior, 6-5 205 lbs.

Johnson can score in a variety of ways and does not have many weaknesses at all in his offensive game, just ask UNLV (8-0). In UC Santa Barbara’s game against #20 UNLV on Wednesday (November 30), Johnson scored 36 points (11-24 shooting, 3-7 three-pointers), grabbed 10 rebounds, dished 4 assists, and collected 2 steals. Against San Diego State this season, Johnson posted 26 points, 7 rebounds and four assists. For the season, his stat line shows his offensive prowess: 23.8 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 3.3 APG, 1.3 BPG, 1.2 SPG, 45.5 FG% and 41.4 3P%. He has solid athleticism, dribbles the ball well, creates his own shot and shows consistency with his offensive production.

3. Michael Glover, Iona, PF, Senior, 6-7 215 lbs.

Glover plays like former Boston College big man, Craig Smith. He hovers around the rim and gathers lots of rebounds and put-back shots. Dick Vitale would label Glover as the “Windex Man” with all the glass cleaning he does in every game. If he gets the ball in the low post, he’s going to score and he won’t miss too many shots down there. Glover’s height and lack of three-point shooting ability are his only weaknesses because he fits the power forward position better than the small forward position, so opposing defensive with bigger frontcourt players could pose some challenges for him to get his shot off. For the season, Glover has posted 21.2 PPG, 11.0 RPG and 60.0 FG%.

4. Damian Lillard, Weber State, PG, Junior, 6-2 185 lbs.

Lillard is an offensively-minded point guard that can get to the hoop with ease and shoot from long range. Lillard leads the nation in scoring at this point in the season at 25.6 PPG and he will likely find his name near the top of the scoring leaderboard throughout the year. He can dribble, pass, shoot, change directions quickly and get to the basket. His impressive shooting statistics this season show his shooting ability: 46.8 FG%, 41.0 3P% and 86.4 FT%. In a game at St. Mary’s this past week, Lillard scored 36 points (11-18 shooting), and dished out 3 assists. Watch for his name to start popping up on NBA mock drafts for 2012.

5. Eric Griffin, Campbell, SF, Senior, 6-8 190 lbs.

Griffin is unknown to most of the college basketball world, but his dunk against North Carolina A&T has made him a Youtube sensation:, or type “Eric Griffin, dunk, Campbell.” The kid has hops! He’s an outstanding athlete with a long wingspan and he does a little bit of everything on the court, most notably scoring bunches of points. Against Creighton a few nights ago, he scored 29 points (9-13 shooting, 3-4 three-pointers), and had 14 rebounds and 2 steals. Earlier this season against Iowa, he had 23 points (10-11 shooting), 13 rebounds, 6 blocks and 1 steal. In the game against North Carolina A&T, he had 24 points (9-12 shooting), 13 rebounds and 5 blocks. It would be interesting to see him play against stiffer competition to see if he can hold his own. His plays like a bigger version of Brandon Jennings (and shares a similar hairstyle). Watch for Griffin to further legitimize himself as an offensive threat and to find his name near the top of the national leaderboards for scoring. He could play himself into second round draft choice in the 2012 NBA Draft with continued impressive performances.

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Moser has gained back-to-back Mid-Major “Player of the Week” awards after his actions against UC Father christmas Barbara, #1 South Carolina and USC over the past weeks time. On Thursday (Nov 30), UNLV defeat UC Father christmas Barbara, 94-88, in increase in the long run, and Moser’s 34 details and 10 gets rear again made the way for the Rebels to arrive at an 8-0 history for the period. BBTix

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