Thursday, February 26, 2015

Wofford Wraps Up Southern with 76-72 Win over Mercer; Spencer Collins Splashes in 26

College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, February 26, 2015

With their 76-72 victory at Mercer, the Wofford Terriers captured the Southern conference title and secured the top seed in the upcoming conference tournament.

Spencer Collins led the way with a season-high 26 points, topping all scorers with 7-for-11 shooting, including four of six on three-pointers. The 6'4" junior guard from Easley, SC also canned eight of nine from the foul line.

Wofford was 24-for-44 from the field (54.5%) and nailed nine of 18 from three-point range.

The Southern crown is the third for the 24-6 Terriers, who improved to 15-2 in conference play. They close out the regular season on Saturday at Furman, in Greenville, SC.

Xavier Rathan-Mayes Goes for 35, But Seminoles Fall Short; Hopeful Hurricanes

College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, February 25, 2015

In a heroic effort, freshman guard, Xavier Rathan-Mayes, scored 30 points in the final 4:38, but the Florida State Seminoles still fell to Miami, 81-77.

Rathan-Mayes scored 26 straight points for the Seminoles without missing a shot, as they rallied furiously against the 'Canes. The freshman was 8-for-10 in the final five minutes, pumping in six threes. He finished with 35 points, tying his career high.

Florida State's loss, their second straight, left them with a record of 15-14 (7-9 in the ACC) and more than likely out of the NCAA tournament. The Seminoles lost to Virginia, 51-41, on Sunday.

For Miami, hopes for an at-large invitation still seem a possibility, with their third win in their last four games. The Hurricanes stand at 18-10, with an 8-7 mark in the conference. Their remaining schedule has them hosting North Carolina on Saturday, then they take to the road for their final two, at Pitt (March 4) and Virginia Tech, March 7. Wins in two of three would - considering a good showing in the ACC tournament - give them a fighting chance at a bid.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Dez Wells Flashes, Melo Trimble Finishes as Maryland Socks Wisconsin; Stamps Tourney Ticket

College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, February 24, 2012

The Maryland Terrapins, already a sure bet to make the NCAA Tournament as a high seed with their 22-5 record going into their home game against the Wisconsin Badgers, upped their profile at an opportune time with a signature 59-52 victory at the XFINITY Center in College Park, Maryland.

Dez Wells kept the pressure on the #5 Badgers throughout, scoring a game-high 26 points on 9-for-17 shooting, adding a perfect s7-for-7 from the foul line with seven rebounds and four assists. Freshman sensation, Melo Trimble, scored the Terps' final six points to close out the Badgers, leaders of the Big Ten conference. Trimble finished with 16 points, four boards and a pair of assists.

Maryland took an early 8-7 lead and expanded it to 11 points, the margin by which they led at the half, 31-20.

The win was the fourth straight for the Terrapins, who improved to 11-4 in the conference, good for second place behind the 13-2 Badgers, who lost for the first time in their last 11 games. Ironically, the last time the Badgers faced defeat, it was at Rutgers, who, like the Terrapins, are in their initial season as a member of the Big Ten.

Trimble and Wells were the only Maryland players in double figures. Frank Kaminsky led the Badgers with 18 points.

Maryland shot 48% from the field, compared to Wisconsin's sub-par 38.5%. The Terps also had the edge at the foul line, where they were 9-for-11. Wisconsin was an uncharacteristic 7-for-12 from the stripe.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Shabazz Napier Leads Connecticut to 2nd NCAA Title in Four Years, Drops Kentucky, 60-54

College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, April 7, 2014

Shabazz Napier scored a game-high 22 points and was named tournament Most Outstanding Player, leading the Connecticut Huskies to the Men's Basketball Championship with a 60-54 victory over the youthful Kentucky Wildcats.

Kentucky, down as many as 15 points in the first half, closed the gap to within one, but never led in the game.

Napier was 8-for-16 overall, hitting four of six from three-point land and 2-for-2 from the stripe. He added three rebounds and three steals, dominating the Kentucky backcourt of freshmen guards, Aaron and Andrew Harrison who were a combined 6-for-16 and committed seven turnovers.

The real star of the game, however, was the rim, whenever Kentucky was shooting free throws, because that was the decisive statistic of the game. While the Huskies were 10-for-10 at the foul line, the Wildcats were a woeful 13-for-24, a miserable 54%, many of their misses coming in key situations.

Thus, the national championship belongs to Connecticut for the second time in four years. Napier and fellow senior, Niels Giffey, were a part of both championship teams.

The tournament is over and so its this blog, ending seven years of collage hoops coverage. It's on to other pursuits for me. I'll be the guy in the bleachers with a cold beer and the St. Louis Cardinals baseball cap.

-- Fearless Rick

Monday, March 31, 2014

Shabazz Napier Leads Huskies to Final Four; Kentucky Also Advances

College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, March 30, 2014

As he's been doing for the better part of the season, Shabazz Napier put the UConn Huskies on his back and mushed his team to another important victory, this one over the Michigan State Spartans for a trip to the Final Four in Dallas with a 60-54 victory.

With a game-high 25 points, Napier scored the key buckets and made big plays in the final minutes to lead his squad to their biggest win of the year and a rematch with the Florida Gators in a national semi-final on Saturday.

Napier was just 6-for-14 from the field, but that included a 4-for-9 mark from three point range and perfection at the foul line where he made all nine of his free throws. The senior point guard also grabbed six rebounds and dished out four assists.

Up 51-49 with under two minutes to play, Napier put the Huskies - the 11 seed in the East region - up by four with a short jumper and, after Michigan State's Adreian Payne scored a pair of free throws, Napier was fouled attempting a three-pointer with 30 seconds to go and calmly stepped to the line and sank all three foul shots for a five point UConn lead.

Michigan State missed a three-point attempt and Napier fed Phillip Nolan for a dunk with 15 seconds left which sealed the victory.

The Huskies will face Florida on Saturday, meeting the Gators for the first time since December 2 when they beat the Gators, 65-64. Since then, Florida has run off 30 straight wins and enter the Final Four as the #1 seed from the South region.

The last spot in the Final Four was completed in rousing fashion late Saturday afternoon as Kentucky upset Michigan in the Midwest region final, 75-72. Kentucky, the #8 seed in the region got a clutch performance from Aaron Harrison, who hit four three-pointers in the final eight minutes, the last one coming with just three seconds in the game, breaking a 72-all tie and sending the Wildcats to a Final Four meeting with Wisconsin.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Frank Kaminsky Powers Wisconsin Past Arizona into Final Four; Florida Forward over Dayton

College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, March 29, 2014

In the end, basketball is a team sport, but it really helps your chances of winning when you have a seven-footer who can score nearly half of your team's points in big games.

That's the nature of Wisconsin and its star center, Frank Kaminsky, who scored 28 points for the Badgers in their 64-63 OT win over Arizona in the West regional final.

The junior from Lisle, Illinois with the smooth touch outside and deft moves inside, hit 11 of 20 shots from the field, including three of five from three-point range and three of four from the foul line, leading the Badgers into the Final Four. In 37 minutes of playing time, Kaminsky also collected 11 rebounds, seven of them on the offensive boards, key to keeping the ball alive for the Wisconsin offense and getting more than their fair share of second chance points.

Due to the ruggedly defensive nature of the game, Wisconsin shot just 39.3%; Arizona was only marginally better, at 39.8%.

The Badgers head to Dallas to meet up with the winner of Sunday's Kentucky-Michigan Midwest final in one of the two semi-final games.

The Florida Gators, #1 overall seed in the tournament, ground out a 62-52 victory over the Dayton Flyers, the #11 seed out of the South region. They reach the Final Four and look forward to playing the winner of Sunday's East region final between Michigan State and Connecticut.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

DeAndre Daniels' 27 Points Leads Connecticut past Iowa State, 81-76; Michigan, Kentucky, Michigan State Advance

College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, March 28, 2014

Coming into the tournament, everyone knew that the Connecticut Huskies were a talented group, but they we're very deep, and few thought they'd advance far, but, with an 81-76 victory over Iowa State in the East region semi-final, they're one step away from the Final Four.

The Huskies, having won any number of games and Big East championships at Madison Square Garden, might have felt right at home in the Big Apple, but junior DeAndre Daniels, who hails from Los Angeles and led all scorers with 27 points, it was a special night.

Daniels blew away the Cyclones by hitting 10 of 15 shots from the field, including a pair of three pointers and snatched 10 rebounds to lead the Huskies into the next round.

The Huskies (29-8), the seven seed in the region, meet up with Michigan State (29-8) in the East regional final on Sunday, after the Spartans took out Virginia, 61-59.

Over in the Midwest region, 8th-seeded Kentucky took out defending national champion Louisville, 74-69, the #4 seed, and #2 Michigan scraped by #11 Tennessee, 73-71.

The Wildcats and Wolverines will go at it Sunday, the winner advancing to the Final Four.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Michael Frazier II Leads Florida to 29th Straight Victory, Elite Eight; Dayton, Arizona, Wisconsin Advance

College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, March 27, 2014

Awarded the top seeding in the tournament, the Florda Gators proved their value, disassembling UCLA, 79-68, to advance to the South regional final where they will face the upstart, 11th-seeded Dayton Flyers on Saturday.

Florida established an early lead against the Bruins, led 36-30 at the half and were never headed, cruising to their 29th straight victory, the longest winning streak in the country.

Down 11-8 just six minutes into the game, Florida hit four straight three-pointers - three of them by Michael Frazier II - led 20-16 just 2 1/2 minutes later and held that lead for the remainder of the contest.

Florida's lead would eventually swell to as many as 11 on a few occasions and the Bruins cut it to one point midway through the second half, but the Gators pulled away once again. UCLA could only draw within seven points in the final six minutes as Florida players executed their offense and made free throws down the stretch.

Frazier finished the scoring on a breakaway dunk and was 5-for-8 from beyond the arc, finishing with a game-high 19 points, along with six rebounds and three assists.

On the opposite side of the South bracket, Dayton continued its successful run through the post-season with an 82-72 win over Stanford, the #10 seed in the region.

The West regional final was set for Saturday as #2 Wisconsin hammered Baylor, 69-52, and top seed Arizona handled San Diego State, 70-64.

Friday night's match-ups include Iowa State vs. Connecticut and Virginia vs. Michigan State in the East. The Midwest games are Tennessee vs. Michigan, followed by the blockbuster Louisville vs. Kentucky meeting.