College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, December 15, 2012
The pollsters seem to have a pretty good feel for which teams are the best in the nation as there were 17 games involving Top 25 teams and all of them except two won. Determining which team deserves to be numero uno is a topic which appears certain to be argued all the way to the Final Four.
Of those 17 Top 25 games, one involved two ranked teams, as the Florida Gators traveled west to tangle with the Arizona Wildcats, and a tangle is was, not decided until Mark Lyons' running floater with seven seconds left finished a furious final minute in which the #8 Wildcats rallied from a six=point deficit to down the #6 Gators, 65-64.
The only other game that came close to matching the intensity of that contest was earlier in the day, at Indiana, where the unranked - but always tenacious - Butler Bulldogs upset #1 Indiana in overtime, 88-86, when 5'11" walk-on, Andrew Barlow, scored on a spinning jumper in the lane with 2.4 seconds left in the extra frame.
Rotnei Clarke, the transferee from Arkansas, scored 19 points and was sensational at both ends of the floor, as was the Bulldogs' Roosevelt Jones, who had 16 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists.
The singular performance of the day belonged to #3 Michigan's blue chip point guard, Trey Burke, who teamed with Tim Hardaway Jr. to score 52 of the wolverines' points in an 81-66 victory at West Virginia.
Hardaway tied his season high with 25 points, burying four of eight from three-point range, but Burke topped all scorers with his own season high 27 points, on 12-for-16 shooting with eight assists, six rebounds and three steals, all without committing a single turnover in 38 minutes of floor time.
With the #1 team going down to a narrow defeat, one of the few inactives on the day, #2 Duke, should move up to take over the top spot in Monday's new poll, though Michigan will surely receive a solid number of #1 votes.
The Blue Devils are on an extended break, last seen December 8, ripping apart Temple, 90-67, and won't hit the hardwoods again until December 19, when they host Cornell at Cameron Indoor Arena.
The losses by Florida and Indiana drops the number of undefeated teams down to nine. Along with Duke and Michigan, the unbeaten squads are #4 Syracuse, #8 Arizona, #10 Illinois, #11 Cincinnati, #17 New Mexico and unranked Wyoming and Eastern Kentucky.