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White Hot

Player of the Week

Coby White, North Carolina

Coby WhiteCoby WhiteThe talented frosh had been fairly quiet until his breakout weekend in the Las Vegas Invitational. Coby White made a name for himself after a 33-point and 19-point performance against Texas and UCLA, respectively. Although North Carolina fell three points short to unranked Texas on a neutral court, it was White who helped his team get back into a manageable winning position. The highly-touted recruit was outstanding from three-point range, converting on 7 of his 10 attempts against the Longhorns. It was the most points by a UNC freshman since a 40-point performance from Harrison Barnes in the 2011 ACC tournament.

The Tar Heels bounced back 24 hours later after the shocking upset to the Longhorns. Coby White and his team landed their first top-25 win of the season with an aggressive offensive performance to outlast #17 UCLA. In another strong effort from the freshman, White had a team-high 8 assists and 4 threes. Roy Williams and Tar Heel fans entered the season with one main question: Can Coby White fill Joel Berry’s shoes? While it is tough for any player to accomplish what Berry did in his four years at North Carolina, White is proving to be a strong ball handler who is more than capable of taking the Tar Heels far. The Las Vegas Invitational was a great indicator of the five-star prospect's scoring and passing abilities.

North Carolina arguably has its toughest stretch of the entire season with three of its next four games versus Michigan, Kentucky, and Gonzaga. Coby White will have to keep the same scoring mentality if the Tar Heels want to secure several top-ten wins in the upcoming
weeks.

Who’s (also) Hot


Virginia Cavaliers

The Cavaliers captured their first signature win of the season against #25 Wisconsin to claim the Battle 4 Atlantis title. Virginia’s offense was not pretty in the low-scoring 53-46 win. The team converted on 37% of their field goals and only 4 of 17 three-point attempts. It was sophomore De’Andre Hunter and the Cavaliers’ defense that ultimately determined the outcome. Each time Wisconsin made a second-half surge, Virginia’s pesky guards forced a much-needed Wisconsin turnover. De’Andre Hunter was by far the most consistent player for the Cavaliers, whose stat line included 20 points, 9 rebounds, and 1 block. Nothing was clicking offensively—Tony Bennett’s team shot a poor 25.9% in the second half. It was Virginia’s gritty pack line defense that pulled out the victory.

Who’s Not

Danny Manning, Wake Forest

Wake Forest Head Coach Danny Manning entered his fifth season with a disappointing 20-52 ACC and 54-73 overall record, along with just one NCAA tournament appearance. Once again, it does not look like the Demon Deacons are going to be a legitimate competitor in the conference. On Friday, Wake Forest led Houston Baptist by 14 with nine minutes remaining in regulation, but the Huskies crawled their way back to send the game to overtime and seal the upset. Although Manning expected the centerpieces of last year’s team to return, he still has talent to work with in Jaylen Hoard, Isaiah Mucius, and Brandon Childress. Even with those assets, Manning struggled to come up with a game plan in what many considered to be a guaranteed win against the Huskies. Manning and his team need to show signs of progress, quick.

Top Five Seniors

1. Luke Maye, North Carolina

After testing the NBA waters during the off-season, senior Luke Maye decided to return to Chapel Hill for one more year. Coming off a monster junior year, the 6-foot-8 forward is close to averaging a double-double again in North Carolina’s first seven games. Maye has enough experience to lead his young team—comprised of mostly freshmen and sophomores — to the top of the ACC. While Maye has had a solid season so far, he must step up in games where his team needs him most. On Thursday night, the Longhorns upset the 7th-ranked Tar Heels in which the senior made just 1 of 5 threes, and shot 33% overall. He is capable of doing much more.

2. Justin Robinson, Virginia Tech

Point guard Justin Robinson has a chance to make a statement in his final season with the Hokies. Robinson has been critical player to Virginia Tech’s recent success. He led the Hokies to back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances—the program’s first back-to-back appearances in over 25 years. Leading the ACC in assists with 6.2 per game, Robinson is an efficient passer and producer. Last week, the senior paved the way with 23 points and 6 assists to rally past #23 Purdue. Virginia Tech has one of its more experienced and talented teams and with the ball in Robinson’s hands, the Hokies are a lethal group.

3. Marcquise Reed, Clemson

The Tigers made the NCAA tournament last year, which was the team’s first appearance since the 2010-11 season. Senior Marcquise Reed looks to take his talented squad to the big dance for the second year in a row and make a deeper run than last year’s Sweet 16 appearance. In an impressive junior campaign, Reed held a team-high in points, rebounds, assists, and steals. The 6-foot-3 guard is averaging nearly 20 points and 4 assists in the Tigers’ first six games. In Clemson’s lone loss to Creighton, Reed scored 27 points and dished out 3 assists. Win or lose, Reed shows up every game and is determined to contribute in any way he can.

4. Torin Dorn, NC State

Guard Torin Dorn enters his last season with the Wolfpack as the team’s top returning scorer. He has played a major role in NC State’s undefeated start to the 2018-19 season. In six games, the senior is averaging 18.2 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 1.5 assists—all up from the previous year. The best news for the Wolfpack is that Dorn is red hot from behind the arc, connecting on 50% of his attempts. This is a significant jump from his junior year, in which he shot 31% from three-point range. After beginning the season with one of the easier non-conference schedules in the country, the Wolfpack will be battle-tested against Wisconsin this upcoming week. Look out for senior Torin Dorn to lead the way.

5, Rex Pflueger, Notre Dame

Last season, Rex Pflueger was named Notre Dame Defensive Player of the Year. Head Coach Mike Brey often tasks Pflueger with defending the opposing team’s best perimeter scorer. Although he does not score many points, the guard is vocal leader on the court that a very young Notre Dame team needs this season. The Fighting Irish had its best offensive performance of the season in a win over DePaul this past weekend. Pflueger scored a career-high 20 points and was a perfect 4 for 4 on three-pointers. Six games in, the 6-foot-6 senior is doing all the dirty work defensively and has been flawless from the charity stripe.

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