Mid Major Blog

Player of the Week

Khalif Wyatt, Temple, SG, Junior, 6-4 210 lbs.

Wyatt played a fundamental role in preserving Temple’s (22-5, 11-2) top spot in the Atlantic 10 Conference this week. The Owls rolled over Duquesne (15-12) in a 19-point victory and then managed to win on-the-road against La Salle (18-10) in a contest that needed overtime to decide the winner. Against Duquesne, Wyatt finished with 24 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and shot 11-17 from the field and 1-4 from three-point land. Against La Salle, Wyatt posted 25 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block, 2 steals, and shot 7-11 from the field and 4-5 from three-point land. Temple has won 11 consecutive games and has developed a strong case to receive a #5 or #6 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Wyatt and fellow swingman, Ramone Moore, are pivotal parts to the Owls potential to make a run in March. For the season, Wyatt is averaging 17.3 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 3.2 APG, 2.1 SPG, and 48.8 FG%, 40.3 3P%, 84.1 FT%.

Who’s Hot?

Julian Boyd, Long Island University (LIU), PF, Junior, 6-7 230 lbs.

Boyd is a lesser known player in the mid-major realm of college basketball, but he is a beast. Period. He’s slightly undersized for the power forward position, but for mid-major schools he’s an effective size. In the past week Boyd and LIU (21-7, 15-1) have been on a tear, winning three games to help keep them atop the Northeast Conference. In those games, Boyd finished with point totals of 25, 20, and 20, respectively. Not only was Boyd scoring bunches of points; he also collected a total of 29 rebounds in the three games. If Boyd and LIU can continue to win and put up the number of points that has ranked them fourth nationally, LIU could earn a #13 or #14 seed for the NCAA Tournament (assuming it wins the Northeast Conference Tournament). For the season, Boyd is averaging 17.2 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 0.7 BPG, and 53.8 FG%, 35.3 3P%.

Who’s Cold?

Oscar Bellfield, UNLV, PG, Senior, 6-2 190 lbs.

The starting point guard for UNLV (23-6, 7-4) has been on a cold streak in UNLV’s last two games against Boise State (13-13) and New Mexico (22-5). The Runnin’ Rebels beat Boise State, 75-58, but in that game Bellfield finished with 3 points (1-5 FG, 1-3 3P), 1 rebound, and 4 assists. New Mexico thumped UNLV by 20 points last Saturday, and Bellfield didn’t provide much help in that game, finishing with 5 points (2-9 FG, 1-6 3P) and 3 assists. UNLV’s NCAA Tournament run will be heavily influenced by how Bellfield, Mike Moser, and Chace Stanback perform.

School Record Conference Current Projected Seeding
Temple 22-5 (11-2) Atlantic 10 #5
UNLV 23-6 (7-4) Mountain West #5
Wichita State 25-4 (15-2) Missouri Valley #5
Creighton 24-5 (13-4) Missouri Valley #6
Murray State 26-1 (13-1) Ohio Valley #6
New Mexico 22-5 (8-3) Mountain West #6
Gonzaga 21-5 (11-3) West Coast #7
Saint Mary’s 23-5 (12-2) West Coast #7
San Diego State 21-6 (7-4) Mountain West #7
Memphis 20-8 (10-3) C-USA #8
Saint Louis 22-5 (10-3) Atlantic 10 #8
Southern Miss 22-6 (9-4) C-USA #8
Harvard 23-3 (9-1) Ivy #10
Long Beach State 20-7 (13-0) Big West #11
Iona 22-6 (13-3) MAAC #13
Middle Tennessee State 25-4 (14-1) Sun Belt #13
Oral Roberts 25-5 (16-1) Summit League #13
Akron 20-8 (12-1) MAC #14
Belmont 23-7 (15-2) Atlantic Sun #14
Drexel 24-5 (15-2) Colonial #14
Nevada 22-5 (10-1) WAC #14
Bucknell 21-8 (11-2) Patriot #15
Davidson 21-7 (15-2) Southern #15
Valparaiso 20-10 (13-4) Horizon #15
Weber State 23-4 (14-1) Big Sky #15
LIU 22-7 (16-1) Northeast #16
Mississippi Valley State 16-11 (15-0) SWAC #16
Savannah State 18-10 (11-2) MEAC #16
UNC-Asheville 20-9 (15-2) Big South #16
UT-Arlington 21-6 (13-0) Southland #16
Vermont 19-11 (12-3) America East #16

Top 5 Mid-Major Conference Freshman

1. Tony Mitchell Tony MitchellTony Mitchell, North Texas, SF, 6-8 220 lbs.

After missing the first nine games of the season due to NCAA-imposed transfer rules, Mitchell has made his presence felt in the Sun Belt Conference and he’s lived up to the hype that surrounded him coming out of high school. Mitchell was the 8th ranked power forward in ESPN’s 2010 Recruiting Class and originally committed to Missouri before being declared academically ineligible. He’s been a welcome addition to the North Texas (16-12, 9-6) squad as he’s posted 10 double-doubles, scored over 20 points in 5 games, and scored 30 or more points in 2 games. With Mitchell in the lineup, North Texas is 12-7. Mitchell combines elite athleticism with great tenacity and brute strength to average 15.6 PPG, 10.7 RPG, 1.6 APG, 2.9 BPG, 1.1 SPG, and 58.8 FG%, 44.4 3P%, 70.6 FT%. His efficient shooting ability has surprised some and if he’s able to remain at that level of consistency, he could further develop into a legitimate first round NBA Draft prospect. His two best outings of the season came against South Alabama (16-10) when he posted 34 points (11-14 FG, 3-3 3P, 9-11 FT), 16 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals, and against Denver (20-8) when he finished with 30 points (11-19 FG, 1-3 3P, 7-8 FT), 17 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 blocks, and 1 steal.

2. Adonis Thomas, Memphis, SG/SF, 6-6 222 lbs.

Joining the Memphis basketball team as a heralded freshman from Memphis, TN, Thomas put up respectable numbers this season before requiring foot surgery to repair a damaged tendon. He will not play again this season, but Memphis coaches and fans alike are optimistic about Thomas’ ability to be a major contributor on next year’s team. Coming out of high school in the class of 2011, Thomas was ranked the 9th overall prospect (2nd for small forwards) according to ESPN’s annual recruiting rankings. He played well this season and showed sparks of greatness. His developed physical frame and shooting ability made him one of the best freshman in the country and earned him some solid playing time on a talented Memphis roster. He finished his season averaging 9.7 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 0.9 APG, 0.8 BPG, and 48.8 FG%, 41.2 3P%, 70.8 FT%. His top performance came against Tennessee (15-13) when he scored 19 points (7-10 FG, 1-1 3P) and collected 4 rebounds.

3. Dezmine Wells, Xavier, SG/SF, 6-5 215 lbs.

Wells plays on a team where he is the fourth option on offense behind Tu Holloway, Mark Lyons and Kenny Frease. He’s made the best of his circumstances, however, by averaging 10.3 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 1.1 APG and shooting 53.1 FG% and 42.1 3P%. He was ranked as the 14th best small forward in ESPN’s 2011 recruiting class rankings and he hasn’t disappointed. He’s been in the starting lineup throughout the season for the Musketeers and he’s been a key contributor on the glass and on offense. His best game came against Memphis (20-8) when he finished with 19 points (8-10 FG, 3-3 FT), 5 rebounds, and 4 assists.

4. Kevin Pangos, Gonzaga, PG, 6-1 180 lbs.

Pangos has been a stud in the backcourt for the ‘Zags this season. He’s averaging 13.6 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 3.4 APG, 1.2 SPG, and he’s shooting very well – 43.4 FG%, 39.5 3P%, and 84.5 FT%. His ability to shoot the deep ball and penetrate to the hoop makes him a tough guard for any opposing defense (just ask Loyola Marymount and Saint Mary’s). He plays like former Phoenix Suns guard, Kevin Johnson, and he can flat out stroke the basketball: He scored 33 points (9-16 FG, 9-13 3P) against Washington State (14-13), 23 points (7-14 FG, 6-12 3P) against Air Force (13-12), and 27 points (8-16 FG, 5-6 3P) against Saint Mary’s (23-5). Watch for him to gain some momentum to be placed on one of the NCAA All-Freshman teams if he’s able to help Gonzaga win the West Coast Tournament and make a run in the NCAA Tournament.

5. Tashawn Thomas, Houston, PF, 6-8 215 lbs.

Thomas has been a fortunate addition to the Houston Cougars (12-14) lineup this year. The freshman from Killeen, TX has shown great ability to rebound and be a force in the paint, as any Conference USA team will likely tell you. His long wingspan, quick “hops,” and overall feel for the game near the basket have helped him develop into a legitimate all-conference candidate for next season. His “coming out” game this season was against East Carolina (12-14) when he finished with 17 points (8-13 FG), 12 rebounds, and 1 steal. Houston won that game, 82-76. For the season, Thomas averages 10.6 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 1.1 APG, 2.2 BPG, and shoots respectably – 56.4 FG%.

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