Ringing the Bell

Player of the Week

James Bell

James BellJames BellThe Villanova guard continues to be one of the leading forces behind the Wildcats’ stay atop the Big East standings. In two games last week, Bell averaged 23 points and six rebounds against Temple and Xavier. Against the Musketeers on Feb. 3, the senior scored 27 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the 81-58 win. Bell shot 10-for-14 from the field and also dished out 3 assists against Xavier. The Florida native scored 19 points and grabbed four rebounds in a 90-74 win over Big 5 rival Temple on Feb. 1.

Who's Hot

Bryce Cotton

The senior played two complete games the past week in which Providence went 1-1 as he extended his 20-point game streak to four. Against DePaul on Feb. 1, Cotton scored 28 points on 9-of-15 shooting from the field in a 77-72 win on the road. The Arizona native also dished out six assists against the Blue Demons. Cotton was once again an offensive force in the Friars’ next game out, going for 32 points in a loss to St. John’s on Feb. 4. Although his team fell 86-76, Cotton was outstanding shooting the ball, going 11-for-25 from the field and finished with 32 points. The guard hit six 3-pointers against the Red Storm, also dishing out six assists and grabbing four rebounds.

[Player: R.J. Curington]

Due to suspensions and injuries, Oliver Purnell has had to drastically alter his lineup in recent games, giving room for R.J. Curington to show his abilities late in his freshman season. Averaging just five points per contest, the guard has scored in the double-digits the last three games, including a 22-point performance against Providence on Feb. 1. Curington played 30 minutes against the Friars, and shot 7-for-15 from the field, while also grabbing five rebounds in the 77-72 loss.

Who’s Not

Ryan Arcidiacono

While Villanova remains the class of the Big East after the first week of February, Arcidiacono continues to struggle in the Wildcats’ recent games. The guard has now failed to score in double-digits in three-straight games, including just four points against Xavier on Feb. 3. Against the Musketeers, the sophomore was 2-of-6 from the field in 30 minutes of playing time. Two days prior, Villanova traveled to Philadelphia rival Temple and easily dispatched the Owls 90-74, but Arcidiacono once again was inefficient offensively. The guard was 2-for-6 shooting, finishing with just six points, while committing four personal fouls.

[Player: D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera]

While he has been a consistent scorer for the Hoyas recently, most of his points have been coming from the charity stripe. Smith-Rivera has really struggled to hit his shot recently, going 7-for-35 from the field in Georgetown’s last three games, including 0-of-14 from behind the 3-point line.

Top-5 Coaches

1. Buzz Williams – While never predicted to be among the nation’s elite, Williams’ Golden Eagles are often found breaking brackets come March. Marquette has reached five-straight NCAA tournaments and was last season’s regular season conference champion en route to a trip to the Elite 8.

2. Jay Wright – The headman at Villanova has made the Wildcats the perennial power in Philadelphia and the Big East Conference. Wright’s team made the Final Four in 2009, two trips to the Elite 8, four trips to the Sweet 16, and has made the NCAA tournament in eight of the last nine seasons.

3. Greg McDermott – Although the addition of his son Doug has greatly helped his cause, McDermott has turned has maintained Creighton’s national prominence as they jumped to the Big East this season. Prior to coming to the State of Nebraska, he spent four seasons as the head coach of the Iowa State Cyclones and five at Northern Iowa.

4. Ed Cooley – Providence's 44 year old head coach was recently named assistant for the Under 18 USA men's National team. Cooley has proven to be both a formidable recruiter and coach. He has ushered a quick turnaround for the Providence program over the past 2 plus seasons, after a 5 year stint at Fairfield.

5. John Thompson III – JTIII has brought the Hoyas back to the national prominence the program experienced under his father. His team made the Final Four in 2007 with Jeff Green and Roy Hibbert, and has reached the NCAA tournament in all nine of his seasons in D.C.

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