Friday, December 31, 2010

Stanford Ends UConn Gals Streak at 90; Jordan Leads UCF to 13-0

College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, December 30, 2010

All good things must come to an end, so the saying goes, and that includes record winning streaks like the NCAA basketball record 90-game variety that the University of Connecticut women took into Stanford's Maple's Pavilion Thursday night.

The last time UConn had tasted defeat was nearly 1000 days before, and it was the Stanford women who beat them, 82-73, in a 2008 semi-final game of the Final Four. This night, led by inspired play from senior guard Jeanette Pohlen's 31 points, nine boards and six assists, the Stanford women led the entire game, finishing with a resounding, 71-59 win on a night that the Huskies' Maya Moore was fronted, covered and never given any room for comfort.

Moore finished with just 14 points on 5-of-15 shooting, the team, being held in check by Stanford's swarming defense, shot just 33% for the game, hitting just 20-of-61 from the field.

On the men's side, #19 UCF captured the final of the UCF Holiday Tournament with a 68-62 victory over Princeton.

Son of Michael Jordan, Marcus Jordan scored 22 of his game-high 26 points in the second half to rally the Knights past the Tigers, who led 37-29 at the break. Jordan, the only UCF player in double figures, hit 7-of-12 shots from the field and converted 11-of-13 free throws.

Jordan, just a sophomore, has scored in double figures in all but two of UCF's 13 wins this season. The Knights have yet to lose a game as they ready for Conference-USA play. They begin on January 5th with a home game against the Thundering Herd of Marshall.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

780 Wins for Coach K as Singler and Smith Tally 53 Combined

College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, December 29, 2010

After freshman sensation Kyrie Irving went down with a potential season-ending injury a few weeks back, the college basketball community began to re-evaluate the Duke Blue Devils, some even believing that the reigning national champs might come back to earth a little with their star guard on the mend.

It's still a bit early to tell, but the Blue Devils still appear to be the team to beat. In four games since Irving's injury - suffered late in Duke's win over Butler - the Blue Devils have dispatched their overmatched opponents by an average of 43.5 points, including Wednesday's 108-62 pounding of NC-Greensboro.

Proving they still have plenty of firepower, the Blue Devils were led by two seniors, forward Kyle Singler, who poured in a game-high 27 points on 10-of-13 shooting, and Nolan Smith, who threw down a season-high 26 points, hitting 8-of-12 from the field, including 3 of 4 three-pointers, while gathering in 6 rebounds and distributing 9 assists.

Duke moved to 12-0, remaining atop the college hoops rankings, and putting coach Mike Krzyzewski aline in second place with his 780th career win, one more than North Carolina's Dean Smith and closing fast on Bobby Knight's record 802 wins.

Fans and upcoming opponents may get a better feel for just how good the Blue Devils really are when they begin ACC play next week, starting with home games against Miami (FL) on January 2nd and Maryland, January 9th. In between, Duke hosts UAB, a non-conference foe, December 5th.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

#5 Orangemen Rise to 14-0 on Kris Joseph's 27 Points

College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, December 28, 2010

With five Big East teams in the Top 10 nationally, it looks to be another season dominated by the biggest - and baddest - conference in the college hoops universe.

After #6 Pitt dealt 4th-ranked UConn their first loss of the season Monday night, the #5 Syracuse Orangemen found themselves in a position to keep pace with the Panthers when they hosted the Providence Friars at the Carrier Dome. Thanks to an early burst that netted a 10-point lead at the half and a career-high 27 points from junior forward Kris Joseph, the Orange emerged with an 81-74 victory.

Joseph, who spent much of the past two seasons coming off the bench, has been heavily involved in shaping much of SU's 14-0 record to start the campaign. He's scored in double figures in 10 of those contests, scored 25 last week against Drexel and found his range against Providence, hitting 8-of-13 shots from the field, including 4-of-6 from beyond the arc. The 6'7" Montreal native also added five rebounds and four assists in Syracuse's first Big East win.

Following the troika of UConn, Syracuse and Pitt at 4, 5 and 6 in the polls are Villanova and Georgetown, at 8 and 9, respectively. The 11-1 Hoyas open their conference schedule at #15 Notre Dame Wednesday night. The Wildcats play Temple Thursday and begin Big East contests hosting Rutgers on January 2nd. At #22, 11-1 Louisville completes the seven Big East representatives in the AP Top 25. 13-0 Cincinnati did not make the rankings.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Cardinals Flying High as Knowles, Kuric Combine for 56 Points

College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, December 27, 2010

Big East play got underway Monday night with a premier match-up in Pittsburgh, as the #6 Panthers handed Connecticut its first loss of the season, 78-63, despite 31 points from the nation's scoring leader, Kemba Walker.

Out in Kentucky, the Louisville Cardinals were getting in a final pre-conference tune-up, thrashing Morgan State, 104-74, with Preston Knowles going for a career-high 31 points and junior guard Kyle Kuric scoring 25 on 9-for-13 shooting, hitting 7 of 10 three-point shots.

Knowles canned 9-of-14 shots from the field, including 6 of 9 from three-point range as the Cardinals topped the century mark for the third time this season and upped their record to an impressive 11-1. Louisville scorched the nets on a 59% shooting night, nailing 37 of 63 shots and were even more incredible from beyond the arc, knocking down 17 of 23 treys, a 74% performance.

Notable: Will Buford scored 23 points to lead #2 Ohio State to a 100-40 victory over hopelessly-outgunned Tennessee-Martin, extending the Buckeyes' winning streak to 13 straight. The 13-0 mark is the 4th-best start in Ohio State's 112 years of basketball history. Ohio State opens Big Ten play at Indiana on New Year's Eve.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Harper's 25 Points Lead Richmond over Seton Hall

College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, December 26, 2010

There was only one college basketball game played on Sunday, and the Richmond Spiders made sure to get their name on the map, winning, 69-61, at Seton Hall.

Seton Hall had no answers for the inside-outside game of junior Justin Harper. The 6'10" forward dominated from the three-point line, scoring a game-high 25 points, hitting 6-of-8 from beyond the arc and 9-of-17 overall. He also added 8 rebounds to help the Spiders improve to 10-3.

Seton Hall fell to 6-6, with Big East play beginning this week. The Pirates host South Florida on Tuesday, December 28.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Mack Howard Lead Butler to Diamond Head Championship

College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, December 25, 2010

Shelvin Mack led all scorers with 20 points, pacing Butler to an 84-68 victory over Washington State in the championship game of the Diamond Head Classic, Saturday night.

Mack hit 8-of-13 shots from the field, including 3-of-6 three-pointers and had six rebounds for the 9-4 Bulldogs. Matt Howard added 14 points and 11 rebounds. It was his 5th double-double of the season.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Rams Take Cancun, Travis Franklin Unstoppable

College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, December 24, 2010

As holiday hoops tournaments go, the Cancun Governor's Cup (who is the Governor of Cancun, anyhow?) isn't very popular. watching the final on ESPN, it wasn't hard to notice the almost empty gym where Colorado State bumped off Southern Miss Friday night, 63-58.

Empty seats didn't seem to bother Rams' forward Travis Franklin, who was an unstoppable force in the three games of the tourney, scoring 21 in each of the first two Colorado State wins and then posting a career-high 25 points in the final.

A 6'7" senior forward, Franklin spent a lot of time in the lane and at the foul line during his trip to Mexico, hitting 31 of 40 free throws over the three-game span. In Friday's final, he went 9 for 12 from the line and was 8-for-12 from the field, in addition to pulling down nine boards.

The Rams improved to 8-3 overall, after going 16-16 last season.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Fredette Leads BYU to 12-1; Bearcats: Undefeated and Unranked

College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, December 23, 2010

With an 89-68 thumping of UTEP, the 18th-ranked BYU Cougars improved their record to 12-1, as Jimmer Fredette led all scorers with 25 points.

While Fredette, the 5th-highest scorer in the nation (24.2 ppg), was torching the Miners with four of seven bombs from three=point range, he also dished out nine assists and snatched eight rebounds, completing his best all-around performance of the season. The 6'2" senior guard has tallied in double figures every game this season.

Notable: Yancy Gates came off the bench for Cincinnati to score 18 points with six rebounds, three assists and four steals to propel the Bearcats to their 12st straight win without a loss, beating the flashless Red Flash of St. Francis, 94-58.

The Bearcats play in the rugged Big East, so their streak is likely to end once conference play gets underway next week, but 12-0 is still 12-0, yet the Bearcats haven't even had a sniff of the Top 25 this season.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Longhorns Bounce Spartans, 67-55, as Hamilton, Thompson Star

College Hoops Player of the Day for DAY, Month, 2010

The 19th-ranked Texas Longhorns stormed into East Lansing, Michigan and upended the #12 Spartans by a 67-55 score that had Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo shaking his head as he walked off the court.

The Longhorns' win was the first by a non-conference opponent on the Spartans' home floor since 2003, when Duke took their measure. Texas unceremoniously ended a 52-game streak with tenacious defense - holding the Spartans to 29% shooting and forcing 16 turnovers, very uncharacteristic of a team that's practically been a fixture in the final four under Izzo.

Team high-scorer Jordan Hamilton led the onslaught with 21 points, eight boards, three assists and three steals, and freshman Tristan Thompson had his best game of the season, scoring 17 points and wiping the glass for a game-high 15 rebounds. A 6'8" forward, Thompson recorded his third double-double of his budding career as the Longhorns upped their record to 10-2.

Michigan State slumped to 8-4, though all of the losses have come against ranked teams - Connecticut, Duke, Syracuse - and now Texas. It's a concern for the Spartans as they have no more games in which to prepare for Big Ten play, which commences on January 31 when #17 Minnesota comes calling.

Notable: There have been a spate of losses this week by ranked teams. In addition to the Spartans with four losses, there are four other teams with three losses that were raned in the top 25 this past Monday. On Tuesday, #11 Kansas State lost to UNLV, 63-59, which ironically was excused from the rankings last week. The Wildcats are now 9-3 after top scorer Jacob Pullen and senior starter Curtis Kelly were suspended for allegedly receiving some free duds from a local clothing store.

#21 Illinois was dumped by #9 Missouri, 75-64, after the Tigers blew open a close game in the closing minutes. The Fighting Illini are also 9-3. #18 Tennessee is just 7-3 after losing three straight games and #20 Florida is 9-3, all of which raises the question, what do the pollsters have against 11-0 Cincinnati and 10-1 Louisville? Maybe the fact that there are already six Big East teams in the rankings swayed some of the votes to lesser teams.

At the end of the season, watch how many Big East teams get invited to the NCAA tournament. It sill likely be at least eight and maybe as many as 10.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Lady Huskies Win 89th Straight - Longest Steak Ever

College Hoops Player of the Day for DAY, Month, 2010

Women's hoops is rarely mentioned in this space, but credit where credit is due to the women's program at the University of Connecticut, which extended their winning streak to 89 straight games with a 93-62 victory over Florida State.

With that, the Connecticut women's team surpassed the NCAA basketball record set by the UCLA Bruins men back in 1971-74, under the tutelage of coach John Wooden, who passed away earlier this year.

Maya Moore had a career-high 41 points and 10 rebounds in the win. Coach Geno Auriemma has been there all along, guiding the Huskies to 11 Final Four appearances and NCAA championships in 1995, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2009 and 2010.

The last time the Huskies lost was April 8, 2008, in an NCAA tournament semi-final. The Huskies are 11-0 this season.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Mike Krzyzewski Ties Dean Smith with 879th Victory

College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, December 20, 2010

Normally, this space is the province of high-scorers and big rebounders, but Monday marked a milestone in Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski's incredible career, as the Blue Devils went about their business, pounding little Elon College, 98-72, tying Coach K with North Carolina legend, Dean Smith, for second place all-time in coaching wins, at 879.

Ahead is the all-time high mark of 902 set by Bobby Knight at Indiana and Texas Tech. Interestingly, Duke has 20 more games on their regular-season schedule, so it is possible that Krzyzewski could catch Knight this season, either in the ACC tournament, but more likely in the NCAA tourney, in the 2nd or 3rd round.

It all depends on how many of those 20 remaining games the Blue Devils lose. Being that they're already 11-1, and even without freshman star Kyrie Irving, are considered the favorite to win the NCAA tournament, the chances of Duke winning 34 or 35 games this season is very good. Krzyzewski needs 23 more wins to tie Knight, 24 to become the all-time leader in NCAA history.

Notable: John Shurna scored 26 points to lead Northwestern to their 8th straight win without a loss topping St. Francis (NY), 92-61. With Shurna looking like he'll be one of the top five scorers in the nation and the Wildcats winning by an average margin of 18.4 points, why aren't these guys ranked?

#5 Syracuse dispatched Morgan State, 97-55, to go to 12-0 on the season.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Okoye Scores 24 with 15 Boards, But VMI Loses Badly

College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, December 19, 2010

Not much action in college hoops on Sunday. The only ranked team to see action was #24 Notre Dame, which easily dispatched Stony Brook, 88-62.

The performance of the day belonged to Stan Okoye, one of the better swingmen in the country, who unfortunately plays on a very ordinary team at VMI. Okoye scored 24 points on 10-of-19 shooting and ripped down 15 rebounds as the Keydeta dropped their 5th game in their last 7, 98-70, at Marshall.

VMI began the season 5-0, but has fallen on hard times in the month of December. That hasn't slowed down Okoye, who is averaging a double-double (20.1 points, 10.0 rebounds). Putting his game in perspective, only he and Nick Gore (2-for-3, 4 points) shot better than 50% from the field. Besides those two, the Keydets hit just 13-of-55 shots (24%). In addition to scoring more than a third of his team's points, Okoye also had half of their rebounds.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Gilbert Brown Powers Pitt Panthers to 11-1 Record

College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, December 17, 2010

Gilbert Brown, a 6'6" senior forward, hammered home 28 points as the Pitt Panthers got back on the winning track a week after suffering their first loss of the season, to Tennessee. Brown led four players in double figures to a 97-64 dunking of Maryland Eastern Shore, improving their record to 11-1 as Big East play beckons.

The Panthers start their conference schedule on December 27 with a home game against the Connecticut Huskies. Brown's 28 was his season high, adding five rebounds and five assists in a mere 24 minutes of play. Brown scorched the nets on 11-of-13 shooting, hitting 4-of-5 from three-point land.

Notable: Jordan Hamilton scored 24 points, to go with 10 rebounds, as the #22 Texas Longhorns outlasted North Carolina, 78-76.

Elsewhere in the Big 12, #13 Missouri routed Central Arkansas, 116-63, as seven different Razorbacks tallied in double figures.

A couple of West coast teams scored upset wins, as UCLA humbled #16 BYU, 86-79, and Gonzaga outmuscled #9 Baylor, 68-64.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Princeton May Be Best in Ivy; Maddox Rips 23 on Wagner

College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, December 17, 2010

Last season, it was the Big Red out of Cornell capturing the Ivy League and making some noise in the NCAA tournament. This year, it may be Princeton's turn to return to NCAA's and a chance to play with the big boys, especially if junior forward, Kareem Maddox continues to perform as he has during the Tigers' recent six game win streak.

Princeton started out the season 2-3, with an "excuse me" 97-60 loss at Duke and a couple of close calls in a 65-64 defeat at James Madison and a 69-67 loss at Presbyterian. In those three games Maddox shot a combined 3-for-16 and totaled only 14 points.

But the next time Maddox and the Tigers hit the hardwood, at home against Sienna, Maddox was a different player, hitting 10-of-13 shots from the field, 10-of-12 freethrows for a 30 point, 10 rebound performance and an 86-77 win. Maddox has continued playing at a high level, going for 31 against Tulsa last Sunday and hitting for 23 points in the Tigers' 69-57 win over Wagner on Friday. Maddox was 8-for-12 from the field and hit all seven of his free throws.

8-3 Princeton begins conference play January 28, when they host Brown. They have a light schedule of just four more games until then.

NOTABLE: They came from out of nowhere, and now the Tennessee Volunteers seem to be heading back there, after losing their second straight game to a relatively unknown opponent.

The Vols stunned Villanova on November 26 and then Pitt last Saturday, improving to 7-0, but since has dropped two straight, losing to Oakland, 89-82, on Tuesday and dropping a 49-48 decision at Charlotte Friday night. Tennessee will attempt to snap out of their funk when they host USC on Tuesday, December 23.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Northwestern 7-0 as Shurna Pumps in 28

College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, December 16, 2010 Keep your eyes glued to the Big Ten this season, because it's absolutely loaded.

Not only does the conference boast #2 Ohio State, #12 Illinois and #14 Michigan State, but 9-1 Purdue is ranked #19 and 10-1 Minnesota checks in at #21.

Then there's Northwestern, creeping up on all of the well-known names. In 2008-09, the Wildcats went 17-14. Last season, 20-14, and this year, they're off and running with a 7-0 start, after dismissing American U. Thursday, 78-62.

As usual, leading the charge for the Wildcats was junior forward John Shurna, who upped his scoring average to 23.7 per game after going for 28 points on 9-of-14 shooting. Shurna, 6'8", 215 lbs., comfortable both on the wing and in the paint, canned 3-of-6 outside the arc and was 6-of-8 inside. He also made 7 of his 8 free throws. He's shooting an exceptional 64.3% from the field, which includes 62.2% from three-point land. Shurna leads the Big Ten in scoring, followed - from a distance - by Purdue's E'Twaun Moore, at 20.6.

Shurna's been held under 20 points just once this season, when he played 27 minutes and scored 17 in a 71-45 victory over Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

In Thursday's win, Shurna also contributed 4 boards, 2 assists, 3 steals and 3 blocked shots.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Diebler Hits Nine Straight Threes; Buckeyes Coast to 9-0

College Hoops Player of the Day for DAY, Month, 2010

Jon Diebler misfired on his first two three-point attempts. He missed his last three as well, but, in between, he nailed nine straight shots from outside the arc, tying an Ohio State record while leading the #2 Buckeyes to a runaway, 83-55, win against overmatched Florida Gulf Coast.

Overmatched may be putting it lightly. The Eagles scored just 16 first half points to the Buckeyes' 42. They fared better in the second half, but by then the outcome had already been determined.

Diebler's sharp-shooting display netted him 29 points on 9-of-14 shooting, all from outside the three-point line. He went to the free throw line just twice, making both shots, and added four rebounds and a couple of assists to his night's resume.

The Buckeyes are now 9-0 and have four more "creampuff" games before facing Indiana December 31 to open the Big Ten season, though one of those games is against Oakland, which knocked off #7 Tennessee, Tuesday night.

Notable: There's no immunity from being humbled by a small school this season, the latest victim being UNLV, which found themselves on the wrong end of a 68-62 score, delivered by UC-Santa Barbara. The two teams were tied 30-all at the break, but the Gauchos put up 38 to the Rebels' 32 in the second half for the win, improving to a modest 5-3 record while UNLV fell to 9-2.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Benson Scores 26; Oakland Grizzlies Upset 7th-Ranked Vols

College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, December 14, 2010

With the spread of talent and coaches in the college ranks, big conference teams simply cannot afford to take small conference teams lightly. That point was never more vividly expressed than in Tuesday's 89-82 upset win by the Oakland Golden Grizzlies over the #7 Tennessee Volunteers, and the small school did it on the big school's home court.

Out of the surging Summit League, the Grizzlies have been in search of a statement win, after playing Purdue, Illinois and Michigan State close, but losing all three games. 6'11" senior Keith Benson couldn't be stopped in the post, hitting 9 of 16 shots for a game-high 26 points to lead the Grizzlies to their sixth win against five losses. Benson, the team's leading scorer and rebounder, also snagged 10 boards for his 8th double-double of the season.

The Grizzlies are 2-0 in Summit League play, and, even though 6-5 overall, they're likely better than their record might indicate, as 8 of their 11 games thus far have been played on the road and included some heavy hitters. They still have a date with #2 Ohio State ahead of them, on December 23, prior to a steady diet of Summit League foes.

Notable: It wasn't just the Summit League pulling off upsets Tuesday night. Drexel, out of the Colonial Athletic Conference, stormed into Freedom Hall and shocked #20 Louisville, 52-46. The Dragons improved to 7-1, while Rick Pitino's Cardinals suffered their first loss of the season. Louisville holds wins over UNLV and Butler, and are now 8-1.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Ravern Johnson Pours in 23 to Lift Bulldogs

College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, December 13, 2010

There are a slew of teams trying to stamp their identities on the NCAA map, but maybe none more than the Mississippi State Bulldogs, who were denied an invitation to the NCAA tourney last season, despite a fine, 23-11 record and a one-point loss to Kentucky in the SEC tournament final.

Relegated to the NIT, the Bulldogs defeated Jackson State before falling in the second round to North Carolina. Returning to the team that the NCAA snubbed is Ravern Johnson, a 6'7" senior guard who is a match-up nightmare for most opponents and leads the team in scoring at 23.8 points per game.

Getting through the "easy" part of the schedule in decent fashion, the Bulldogs improved their record to 6-2 with a 67-58 victory over Nichols State, holding their big-time scorer, Anatoly Bose, to 4-for-11 shooting (1-for-8 from three-point range) and a sub-par 17 points.

Johnson led all scorers with 23 points, nearly his average, which is 9th best nationally. Johnson was 4-for-14 overall, including 5 of 9 three-pointers. Johnson and his Bulldogs are flying a bit under the radar right now, even though their two losses were by one and two points. Keep an eye on this SEC West squad which may be making some serious noise come March.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Gary Flowers Leads Southern Miss to 7-1 Record

College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, December 12, 2010

Conference-USA has, for the better part of the last five seasons, been the exclusive stomping grounds of the Memphis Tigers, though that condition has changed dramatically since the departure of head coach John Calipari and the three years of probation leveled against the team in 2009, following the revelation of violations involving superstar Derrick Rose.

So, with the Tigers impaired, a reshuffling of power in the conference has been underway, and one of the teams apparently benefitting is Southern Miss, which improved to 7-1 Sunday, as the Golden Eagles knocked off the Cal Golden Bears, 80-78.

Senior forward Gary Flowers scored the final 12 points of the game for the Golden Eagles, including the winning field goal, a short turnaround jumper with 3 seconds left. Flowers, who has scored in double figures in every game he's played this season, led all scorers with 28 points on 10-of-16 shooting, hitting 2 of 3 from three-point range and all six of his free throw attempts.

While Memphis is still a respectable power in the conference, ranked #13 with a 7-1 record, the teams most likely to challenge them this season, besides the Golden Eagles, are UAB (7-2) and the University of Central Florida (UCF), which has begun the season on an 8-0 tear.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Fredette Scores 33 as Cougars Reach 10-0

College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, December 11, 2010

Jimmer Fredette just kept firing away, hitting 11 of 22 shots for a game-high 33 points, as the #18 BYU Cougars knocked off the Arizona Wildcats, 87-65.

The scoring onslaught was also a season high for Fredette, who has found himself surrounded by a quality supporting cast this season. The Cougars are a perfect 10-0, with wins over South Florida, St. Mary's and Creighton among their early season accomplishments. Fredette was solid in his 31 minutes, adding nine boards and three assists. BYU goes on the road next, to visit an improving UCLA team on December 18.

Fredette moved into 7th place on the all-time BYU scoring list with 1768 points. He is chasing the record 2467 points set by Danny Ainge in 1977-81, prior to the 3-point shot. Ainge set the mark in 118 games, while Fredette has played 112 already.

Notable: There are blowouts and then there's what Syracuse did to Colgate Saturday. The undefeated Orange blew out the Raiders, 100-43, allowing a mere 8 points in the first half - the lowest ever scored in a half against a Jim Boeheim-coached team (35 years). The SU defense clamped down hard on the unfortunate Colgate squad, limiting them to 18% shooting for the game, hitting just 10 of 56 shots and 1 of 13 from 3-point range. The Orange also forced 21 turnovers.

#23 Notre Dame downed Gonzaga, 83-79, sending the Bulldogs to an uncharacteristic 4-5 mark. It was the third straight loss for Gonzaga, having lost at Illinois and Washington State prior to Saturday's defeat. They previously lost to San Diego State and Kansas State.

Scotty Hopson scored 27 points as the #11 Tennessee Volunteers humbled the #3 Pitt Panthers, 83-76. It marked the first loss for the Panthers (10-1), while the Vols upped their record to a perfect 7-0 mark.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Small School, Big Shot: McCollum Tallies 35 for Lehigh

College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, December 10, 2010

With no Top 25 teams in action on Friday, it offers the chance to highlight some of the top players from some of the smaller schools in the college hoops universe.

One such player is Lehigh's CJ McCollum, a 6'3" sophomore guard who averages 22.8 points per game for the Mountain Hawks, reigning champions of the Patriot League.

On Friday, McCollum threw down 35 points in a 91-78 win at Marist, hitting 10-of-20 shots from the field including 6-of-13 three-pointers and 9-of-10 free throws. He added nine rebounds, three assists and six steals as Lehigh evened its non-conference record at 5-5. The 35 wasn't even a season high for McCollum, who had 42 points in a loss to Kent State back in November.

NOTABLE: Not exactly small schools, Iowa State and Michigan may soon be knocking on the Top 25 door. The Cyclones can count on the services of Scott Christopherson, a transfer from Marquette who redshirted the 08-09 season, averaged 7.9 points per game in 09-10 and is up to 16.8 this season. In their 75-72 win over Iowa Friday night, Christopherson scored a career-high 30 points, which included seven three-pointers. The win pushed the Cyclones to an 8-2 mark.

In Michigan, sophomore point guard Darius Morris continues to provide offense and distribution. The Wolverines improved to 7-2 with a 75-64 win over Utah in which Morris scored 19 points and dished out 10 assists.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Jared Sullinger Puts Up 40 for #2 Buckeyes

College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, December 9, 2010

As usual, there are some good freshman players in college hoops this season, and then there's Jared Sullinger, the 6'9" Ohio State forward that has help the Buckeyes to a 7-0 record and a #2 ranking in the national polls.

Sullinger had the best game of his brief career on Thursday, slamming down 40 points on the pesky Jaguars of IUPUI, as the Buckeyes overcame relentless pressure to secure a 75-64 victory.

Averaging nearly a double-double (18.9, 9.9), Sullinger hit 12-of-17 shots from the field and canned 16-of-23 free throws to set an Ohio State freshman scoring record. He also contributed 13 rebounds, with 7 of them coming on the offensive end.

Whenever teams play IUPUI, comes the obvious question, who? For the record, IUPUI is short for: Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, an urban university boasting over 30000 students in 20 schools. The school offers 200 different degree programs and is ranked the 8th best public university in the Midwest, according to Forbes magazine.

The school definitely is an up-and-coming establishment, playing in the Summit League. They've already played - and lost - to three ranked teams; along with Ohio State, they've met Gonzaga and San Diego State.

Notable: The #2 Buckeyes may get an unexpected boost soon, especially if word coming out of the Duke athletic department is to be believed. Sadly, it involves another freshman sensation, Kyrie Irving, the flashy guard that has helped the Blue Devils forget the loss of Jon Scheyer to graduation. Irving suffered a freak injury late in the second half in Duke's win over Butler last Saturday.

Irving jammed his right big toe making a move, and hasn't seen action since. While the injury is being called "ligament damage," there's possibly more to it. Duke is mulling over options for their young star, including rest and/or surgery. How long Irving will be out is still speculation, though some feel his season may be over.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Terrence Jones Goes for 27 and 17 in Wildcat Win over Notre Dame

College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The oohs and aahs over Kentucky freshman Terrence Jones are not without good reason. A 6'8" forward out of Portland, Oregon, Jones has already impress most of the collected basketball crowd with his immense skills, from deft ball-handling to dazzling dunks and determination on the boards.

Averaging a double-double, with 20 points and 10.5 rebounds per game, speculation is that Jones may not play past this year, or, at most, his sophomore season for the Wildcats.

Following a tough, 75-73 loss Sunday at North Carolina, the Wildcats were looking to rebound back to form at home against Notre Dame and Jones came up huge, with 27 points on 9-for-18 shooting (2-of-5 three pointers), 17 rebounds, 3 assists, a steal and two blocked shots, leading the Wildcats to a dominant, 72-58 win over the Fighting Irish.

Jones matched his career high in rebounds and fell two short of his high point total, though few doubt that 30+ point games are ahead for the budding star. Ranked #17 in the current poll, Kentucky is 6-2.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Scoop Jardine, Rick Jackson Lead Syracuse over Michigan State

College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, December 7, 2010

As the second game of the Jimmy V Classic, the match-up between Syracuse and Michigan State appeared to be a good one, but midway through the first half, the Orange took control and pretty much turned the rest of the night into a real yawner.

Syracuse stormed to a 38-29 lead at the half, and though the Spartans rallied to cut the deficit down to three early in the second half, it was a close as they would get. Any time Michigan State made a run, either Scoop Jardine, who led the scoring with 19 points, or Rick Jackson (8-15, 17 points, 16 rebounds), would make a play to keep the Spartans at bay.

Michigan State had real problems penetrating the Orange's elastic zone defense. Finding good shots was a problem for Michigan State from the opening tip to the final, 72-58, score. A lot of that had to do with Jackson, a bulwark on the baseline who is averaging a double-double (13.6 points, 12.8 rebounds) and is a superb defender in the post.

Syracuse, now 9-0, outrebounded the Spartans, 38-30 and force 16 turnovers. Michigan State dropped its third game of the season, losing previously to Connecticut and Duke.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Marshon Brooks, Vincent Council Ready Providence for Big East

College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, December 6, 2010

There hasn't been much to get excited about in Providence since the Whalers left town, as the Friars have become sort of a whipping boy for the elite teams in the Big East over the years, but they have their moments and a share of some of the top talent in the league.

One such player is Marshon Brooks, who has been honing his skills along with his Providence teammates in anticipation of Big East play by beating up on regional opposition, such as Monday night's 91-64 rout of Brown University.

In that contest, Brooks, a prolific scorer, averaging 21.4 points per game, poured in a career-high 33 points on 14-for-21 shooting, including 4 of 8 three-pointers. Amazingly, he only went to the foul line twice, making one. Brooks snatched 8 rebounds and also made four steals.

Teammate Vincent Council had one of the best games of his college career, scoring 19 points and dishing 16 assists, Council, a sophomore, has scored in double figures in each game this season and is tied with Chris Wright of Georgetown for second in the conference in assists, at 6.8 per game. Syracuse's Scoop Jardine holds a narrow lead at 6.9.

The win was the fifth in a row for the Friars, improving to 9-1 on the season. Their only loss was to LaSalle, 84-73.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Michael Glover Gives Gaels Upper Hand

College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, December 5, 2010

After losing their first three games, the Iona Gaels had to be wondering if the whole season was going to be a bust. Playing in the Metro Atlantic Association, the Gaels are normally one of the better clubs, and since two of the three losses were close (one point to Kent State and two points at Bryant), the worries would fade as soon as the Gaels found some help for their leading scorer and rebounder, Michael Glover.

Iona won their first game of the season on November 18, beating Richmond - a very good team - and haven't looked back, their winning streak now at five games, including the last two over conference foes, Canisius and Niagara, whom they absolutely bombed, 82-58, Sunday.

Glover, a Bronx native and JuCo transfer, led in both categories, hanging up 30 points and ripping down 11 boards. It was a solid follow-up to his first conference game in which he scored 39, with 14 rebounds. In the win over Niagara, Glover was on the money, hitting 14 of 17 shots, mostly from within five feet of the bucket. He also leads the Gaels in shooting percentage, at 60.8, which is third best among the top 50 scorers nationally. Glover is tied for 19th in scoring, at 21.6 points per game.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Zeller Delivers for Tar Heels, Sends Kentucky to 2nd Loss

College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, December 4, 2010

With their season on the brink of disaster, the North Carolina Tar Heels knew they'd have to be at their best to avoid a fourth loss on the early season when the Kentucky Wildcats came calling to the Dean Smith Center.

what they found, over 40 minutes of manic, sometimes desperate, play, was a tough-minded big man in Tyler Zeller and the resolve to defeat a committed opponent.

Zeller, who led both teams in scoring and rebounding with 27 points and 11 boards, canned key free throws down the stretch to seal a 75-73 Tar Heel win and keep North Carolina's record respectable, at 5-3.

Zeller, a seven-foot junior who's been injured for parts of each of the past two seasons, put up career highs in both scoring and rebounding and recorded his second double-double of the season. He also nailed 11-of-12 free throws, many of them pressure shots to keep the Tar Heels in front down the stretch.

The #10 Wildcats suffered their second loss of the season (5-2). They fell to Connecticut on November 24, both losses coming away from home.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Kemba Walker Records Triple-Double in 7th UConn Win

College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, December 3, 2010

Connecticut's Kemba Walker continues to amaze and astound the collective basketball community. After seven games - all UConn wins - he continues to lead the nation in scoring, at 29.1 ppg, while others behind him gradually peel away. Besides Anatoly Bose of Nicholls St. (27.4) and Appalachian State's Donald Sims (26.8), the only players from major conferences within shouting distance are Mississippi State's Ravern Johnson (25.4), followed by Xavier's Tu Holloway and Seton Hall's Jeremy Hazell, both at an even 24.0 ppg. Even the reliable Jimmer Fredette of BYU is far back at 23.1.

Now, Walker may be slowing the pace of his scoring down a bit, but in the Huskies' 93-61 romp over UMBC he may have had his best overall game of the season, scoring a mere 24 points on 9-of-13 shooting (2-of-3 3-pointers), though he did haul in 5 offensive rebounds and 8 more on the defensive end for a total of 13, and dished out 10 assists for the rare triple-double, all accomplished in just 30 minutes of floor time. Walker's totals were game highs in each of the three categories. For good measure he also made a steal and blocked a shot. Pretty amazing.

Even though the outlandish totals were accomplished against somewhat of a pushover team - after all, UMBC is the University of Maryland-Baltimore County Retrievers - Walker's been doing it to competitors at all levels. It should be worth watching how he fares once Big East play gets underway, beginning December 27 at Pittsburgh. In the meantime, Walker should be able to pad his stats in three upcoming home games, when the Huskies will host Farleigh Dickenson, Coppin State and Harvard.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Dunn Paces Bears with 24 Points in Pac-10/Big 12 Hardwood Series

College Hoops Player of the Day for DAY, Month, 2010

Ranked #11 in the nation, the Baylor Bears are one of 23 undefeated teams in the college basketball universe. On Thursday, the Bears took on Arizona State as part of the Pac-10/Big 12 Hardwood Series, coming away with a 68-54 home win to go to 6-0 on the year.

Leading all scorers, as he does with regularity, was senior LaceDarius Dunn who only made baskets from beyond the three-point line, totaling 24 points on 6-of-14 shooting. Dunn took just two shots that weren't three-pointers and missed them both, adding 6-of-8 free throws, four rebounds and a pair of assists.

Dunn, who missed Baylor's first three games due to suspension, hasn't taken long to get his stroke back. He's hitting at a 52.5% clip overall and has nailed 16 of 31 treys (51.6%). The two-dozen points scored on Thursday matched his season high.

Baylor has a light schedule through the holidays, but one home game stands out. On December 18, they host Gonzaga, and then open conference play on January 8 at Texas Tech.

Notable: Borrowing a page from the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, the Pac-10/Big 12 Hardwood Series featured some exciting contests on Thursday, with more to come, starting Friday night.

#4 Kansas survived a scare at home from UCLA, with a 77-76 win, the winning margin coming on a Mario Little free-throw with seven-tenths of a second on the clock. Little's make came after he was fouled following Tyler Honeycutt's three-pointer which tied the game with 5 seconds to play. Honeycutt scored 33 points for the 3-3 Bruins. Kansas improved to 7-0, keeping alive their home court winning streak, extending it to 64 straight.

Out in Eugene, the Oregon Beavers were beaten by #9 Missouri, 83-80. The Beavers dropped to 4-3, while the Tigers won their sixth game against just one loss, a 111-102 loss to Georgetown on November 30.

The remaining games in the series are (all times Eastern):

Kansas St. Wildcats at Washington St. Cougars, Dec. 3, 11 pm

Dec. 4:
Iowa St. Cyclones at California Golden Bears, 2 pm
Texas Tech Red Raiders at Washington Huskies, 4 pm
Oregon St. Beavers at Colorado Buffaloes, 10 pm

Dec. 5:
Oklahoma Sooners at Arizona Wildcats, 4 pm
Texas Longhorns at USC Trojans, 10:30 pm

Dec. 11:
Washington Huskies at Texas A&M Aggies, 4:30 pm

Dec. 21:
Stanford Cardinal at Oklahoma St. Cowboys, 9 pm

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Irving Leads #1 Blue Devils Past Spartans, 84-79

College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, December 1, 2010

As far as returning national championship teams are concerned, the 2010-11 version of the Duke Blue Devils is looking pretty good. Having graduated Jon Scheyer, the Devils appear to have found an adequate replacement in freshman guard Kyrie Irving, who may not have the shooting range of Scheyer, but has proven to be a better ball-handler and penetrator than his predecessor.

While the Big Ten took its measure of a somewhat-watered-down ACC, winning the challenge, 6 games to 5, Duke did not disappoint, knocking of a very good Michigan State squad by an 84-79 score.

Irving was clearly the catalyst for the Duke victory, leading all scorers with a career-high 31 points, canning 8-of-12 from the field, including 2-of-3 from three-point range and hitting 13 of 16 free throws. In addition, Irving added six rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocked shots.

Improving to 7-0, the Blue Devils handed Michigan State its second loss of the season, extending its ridiculous string of home wins over non-conference opponents to 80.

Other winners on Wednesday in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge included, for the ACC, Boston College and Maryland, while Wisconsin and Purdue added to Big Ten wins from Tuesday by Michigan, Ohio State, Illinois and Northwestern. Wake Forest was the only ACC winner from Tuesday. Virginia dropped #15 Minnesota Monday night, 87-79.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Frosh Terrell Leads Demon Deacons to win over Iowa, 76-73

College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, November 30, 2010

After two days of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, the normally-superior ACC doesn't seem up to the task, with just two wins in the first six games. Five more games are scheduled for Wednesday, and the conference normally perceived as one of the best in the nation has some seriously heavy lifting ahead if they intend to even the score with their Northern rivals.

The highly-anticipated match-up of Michigan State at #1 Duke is preceded by four other cross-conference contests, though only one - Maryland at Penn State - seems to favor the ACC.

In what turned out to be the best and closest game of Tuesday night, Wake Forest outlasted Iowa, 76-73, getting the winning bucket from freshman J.T. Terrell, who drained a long three-pointer from the left wing with 2.7 seconds left to play.

Terrell, a 6'4" guard, led all scorers with a career-high 32 points, on 9-for-16 shooting, which included 7-of-9 from beyond the arc. Terrell also hit 7-of-8 shots from the foul line to help keep the Demon Deacons undefeated at 7-0.

Notable: Elsewhere in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, North Carolina suffered its third loss of the season, handled easily by #20 Illinois, 79-67. Despite the protestations of some "expert" announcers and analysts, the Tar Heels appear to be destined to another NIT-ending season. If North Carolina doesn't make it to the NCAA tournament, it would be the first time under coach Roy Williams, who took over as head coach in 2003, that the team has missed the Big Dance in two consecutive seasons.

#2 Ohio State held Florida State to 32% shooting in a 58-44 win. The Buckeyes are 6-0. Michigan topped Clemson, 69-61, and Northwestern buried Georgia Tech, 91-71.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

VMI Keydets Pour in 151 Points; Minnesota Upset by Virginia

College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, November 29, 2010
A college basketball game consists of two twenty minute halves, or forty minutes, so for one team to score nearly 160 points would necessitate a complete lack of defense and the probability of quite a few turnovers.

VMI poured in a bucketload of points to defeat Central Pennsylvania College Monday night, by the astonishing score of 151-92, dominating in just about every aspect of the game. The Keydets put seven players in double figures, including three with double-doubles, made the most of 22 steals, 36 turnovers, a rebounding advantage of 52-35 and shot 57% from the field, hitting 54 of 94 shots, including an incredible 21 of 48 (44%) from 3-point range.

VMI led by only 66-43 at the break, but threw down an additional 85 points in the second half. Leading the way were Keith Gabriel (27 points), Stan Okoye (26, 10 rebounds), Ron Burks (24, 5-for-9 three-pointers, 6 assists), Rodney Galsgow (16, 11 assists) and Nick Gore (18, 12 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals).

For their relentless pummeling of a defenseless opponent, we salute them all.

Notable: Marshan Brooks helped Providence to a 92-57 win over Central Connecticut State, scoring a season high 26 points.

Jacob Pullen scored 26 points as the #8 Kansas State Wildcats defeated emporia State, 85-61.

#15 Minnesota was upended by Virginia, 87-79. Joe Harris hit for a game-high 24 points, followed closely by Mustapha Farrakhan's 23.

Monday, November 29, 2010

UNLV Takes 76 Classic, Va-Techs' Delaney, Cowboys' Page Star

College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, November 28, 2010

The champions of the 76 Classic is UNLV, now 6-0 after defeating Virginia Tech, 71-59, in the title game, though the star of that game happened to be on the losing side.

Senior guard Malcolm Dalaney scored more than half of his team's total with 30 points on deadly outside shooting. Delaney played all 40 minutes, hitting 9-of-14 from the field, including 7-of-9 from 3-point range. He also pulled down 4 rebounds and dished 4 assists, but his effort was not enough to overcome the overall solid play of the Runnin' Rebels, who forced 18 turnovers by the Hokies and distributed the ball well enough for 19 assists.

In the consolation game, Oklahoma State defeated Murray State, 66-49, as Keiton Page lit up the scoreboard with 29 points, hitting 4-of-5 3-pointers and shot 10-of-13 overall. The Cowboys, losers to Virginia Tech in the semi-finals, improved to 5-1 on the season.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Richmond Pounds Purdue as Anderson Scores 28

College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, November 27, 2010

Early-season holiday tournaments have been brutal to highly ranked teams this season as Purdue became the latest Top 10 team to taste defeat.

The Boilermakers were swarmed and held to 30% shooting by an aggressive horde of Richmond Spiders, falling in the final of the Chicago Invitational Challenge, 65-54.

Richmond pressed, trapped and harassed Purdue stars JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore into a combined shooting night of 8-for-28, while the Spiders' Kevin Anderson netted a season-high 28 points to lead all scorers. Anderson wasn't all that accurate, though he was persistent, nailing 9-of-20 from the field and 8-of-11 from the charity stripe.

The Purdue defeat was the 4th of the week for teams ranked in the top 10. Michigan State, Villanova and Kentucky had already felt the sting of defeat at the hands of unranked opponents. Adding to the carnage atop the rankings, #1 Duke hammered #4 Kansas State, 82-64 on Tuesday.

Notable: Kyle Singler threw down 30 points as $1 Duke dealt Oregon a 98-71 defeat and #9 Syracuse improved to 6-0, downing Georgia Tech, 80-76.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

E'Twaun Moore Drains 31 as Boilermakers Triumph

College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, November 26, 2010

sticking out like the proverbial sore thumb at the Chicago Invitational Challenge tournament, the Purdue Boilermakers smothered their undersized opponent, Southern Illinois, 79-60, advancing to the final of the tourney against Richmond on Saturday. The Spiders topped Wright State, 71-61, in their semi-final match.

The only ranked team invited, the Boilermakers are expected to win it all. They had little trouble knocking off Oakland and Austin Peay in the first two rounds, but got off to a slow, 1-for-13 start against the Salukis, but after trailing 13-7, outscored them, 72-48, for the win.

Senior guard E'Twaun Moore was outstanding, hitting 10 of 18 shots from the field, including 3 of 5 treys for a season-high 31 points. Moore also ripped down nine rebounds.

Though the games have been easy thus far, Purdue will be tested by Richmond, a solid team out of the Atlantic-10. The Spiders are 5-1. The Boilermakers will have to guard against early-season overconfidence. Already this week, #2 Michigan State, #7 Villanova and #8 Kentucky have suffered losses. The latest, Villanova, fell to Tennessee, 78-68, in the preseason NIT at Madison Square Garden.

Notable: Marcus Morris of Kansas scored 26 points, to go with 8 boards as the Jayhawks dominated the Ohio Bobcats, 98-41, improving to 5-0.

Maryland's Jordan Williams continues to impress as one of the best young big men in the country. The Terrapin center knocked down 26 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in a 76-57 win over Elon College. It was Williams' 5th double-double for the 5-2 Terps.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Abromaitis Knocks Down 25 as Irish Dump Georgia, 89-83

College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, November 25, 2010

Notre Dame's Fighting Irish may not be a Big East powerhouse, but for now they're 5-0 and one of the flashiest teams in the nation, scoring an average of 91.6 points per outing after beating a much-improved Georgia team in double overtime, 89-83, Thursday afternoon.

Forward Tim Abromaitis played almost the entire game, logging 46 minutes and leading all scorers with 25 points. The 6'8" senior hit 6 of 11 shots from the field, including 4-of-5 3-pointers and 9-of-12 from the line.

By winning their opening round game in the Old Spice Classic (Kissimmee, FL), the Irish earning the right to play Cal in the next round, on Friday. The Golden Bears knocked off #21 Temple, 57-50.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

MUSH! Kemba Walker Leads Huskies Past Wildcats

College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, November 24, 2010

After bouncing #2 Michigan State out of the Maui Invitational on Tuesday night, Kemba Walker delivered a suitably virtuoso encore in the tourney final, leading the UConn Huskies to an 84-67 win over the #8 Kentucky Wildcats, putting the Huskies back on the top-ranked map.

For the Wildcats and head coach, John Calipari, it's back to practice and the drawing board. Kentuky certainly has more than their share of fine, young talent, but they were no match for the determined Huskies and Walker, who led all scorers again with 29 points and was named tourney MVP.

Walker was 12-0f-16 from the field, including 3-of-4 from beyond the arc. He was a perfect 6-for-6 from the foul line, adding six assists and a pair of steals.

The Huskies, who exit the tournament with some hardware and a 5-0 record, were not ranked going into the tourney, but almost surely will be in the top 15 next week. A very youthful Kentucky team will have to develop over the course of the season if they plan to make any noise in the NCAA tournament come March.

Michigan state bounced back from their semi-final loss to upend #14 Washington, 76-71 in the consolation match.

Walker started the season with 18 points in the Huskies' win over Stoney Brook, but has been a terror to opposing defenses ever since, scoring 42, 31, 30 and 29 in his next four games. He leads the nation in scoring with a 30.0 average, but is followed closely by Nicholls State's Anatoly Bose, at 29.0 and Xavier Silas of Northern Illinois, with 28.8.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Kemba Walker Goes for 30 as Huskies Drop #2 Michigan State

College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Junior guard Kemba Walker is having a nice time in Hawaii, enjoying the close quarters at the Maui Invitational to lead his Connecticut Huskies to the tournament championship Tuesday night with a hard-earned 70-67 win over #2 Michigan State.

Walker tuned up for the trip by ripping 42 points against Vermont last Wednesday, then proceeded to tear up Wichita State with 31 points on Monday before hanging 30 on the Spartans.

Hitting 10 of 19 shots overall, Walker nailed down 4 of 11 three-pointers and was 6-for-7 at the line. He added four assists and three steals in his 38 minutes on the floor, there nearly every step of the way helping his team prevail in a hotly-contested tourney semi-final which witnessed multiple ties and lead changes.

The 6'1" native of the Bronx has been the Huskies' primary distributor over the past two seasons, but has always had a knack for scoring, averaging 8.9 points per game in 2008-09 and 14.6 in 2009-10. This year the scoring average is at an elevated 30.3 and the Huskies, who missed the NCAA tournament last season, are back on the championship map.

#8 Kentucky prevailed over #13 Washington, 74-67, in the other semi-final. The Wildcats and Huskies meet in the tournament final at 10:00 pm ET. The game will be broadcast internationally by ESPN.

Notable: #1 Duke proved why they deserve their top ranking with an 82-68 win over #4 Kansas State in the championship game of the CBE Classic. The Blue Devils were never challenged, racing to an 8-point half time lead and keeping the Wildcats at bay the rest of the way. Freshman Kyrie Irving and senior Nolan Smith led the Devils in scoring with 17 points apiece, but it was Duke's perimeter defense which carried the day, limiting K-State star, Jacob Pullen, to 4 points on 1-for-12 shooting and stopped the Wildcats at the three-point line, where they were a horrid 3-for-17.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Freshman Jones Scores 29 for Wildcats; Dunn Back for Baylor; Duke-K-State Tuesday

College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, November 22, 2010

Teams may find scoring in the lane to be somewhat more difficult against the Kentucky Wildcats if freshman Terrence Jones is prowling the lane this season. A 6'9", 230-pound shot-blocking and rebounding machine, Jones is likely to be high on the list of Dick Vitale's "Diaper Dandies" as the season progresses.

In Kentucky's 76-64 victory over Oklahoma Monday, Jones not only clogged the middle and hauled in 13 rebounds, Oklahoma defenders were also mostly powerless to slow him down on the offensive end, as Jones tallied a career-high 29 points on 12-of-17 shooting. He also blocked four shots.

The Wildcats blazed their way to a 42-28 half time lead and coasted to their third win of the season without a loss.

Notable: Following a three-game suspension to begin the season, Baylor's Lacedarius Dunn laced up his shoes and began firing away, mostly from beyond the arc. By the time he was finished, Baylor topped Lipscom, 72-60, and Dunn had 24 points on 8-13 shooting, including 7 of 11 three-pointers.

Mason Plumlee scored a career-high 25 points and grabbed 12 rebounds as Duke dropped Marquette, 82-77, in a semi-final game of the CBE Classic in Kansas City. Plumlee, a 6'10" sophomore, hit 12-of-16 shots and blocked five shots.

Duke will play Kansas State, 81-64 winners over Gonzaga in the other semi-final, Tuesday night for the tourney championship. It was the second straight loss for the Bulldogs. Kansas State and Duke are both 4-0.

UConn's Kemba Walker is being called upon to score more points, and the junior guard has responded in a big way, scoring 42 points last week in Connecticut's win over Vermont and following up that effort with 31 points in the Huskies' 83-79 win over Wichita State. Walker hit only 8-of-16 from the field, but canned 14 of 15 free throws.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Johnson's 25 and 11 Lead Purdue to 3-0 Record; Heels Drop Second Straight

College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, November 21, 2010

It would be a mistake to ignore the Purdue Boilermakers, even though they've lost their star forward, Robbie Hummel for the season. Hummel tore his right ACL back in October and is done for the season. It was the second time in eight months that Hummel's suffered the same injury, but the Boilermakers are committed to moving on without him.

Picking up much of the slack is JaJuan Johnson, a big-time player in his own right. Johnson, a 6'10" senior who is likely to be a first round pick in next year's NBA draft, is a force in the pivot. In Sunday's 82-67 Boilermaker win over Oakland, Johnson scored 25 points to go with 11 boards, 5 assists, 4 steals and 2 blocks.

E'Twaun Moore led all scorers with 26 points, as Purdue improved to 3-0. Purdue is currently ranked in the Top 15 in all polls.

Notable: Those who thought the North Carolina would be back in their usual Top 10 form this season might want to rethink that notion after the Tar Heels suffered their second straight loss, as Vanderbilt dumped them, 72-65, in one of the consolation games at the Puerto Rico Tip Off Sunday. Minnesota, who won the tourney with a 74-70 win over West Virginia, bested Carolina on Friday, 72-67.

The problems for the Tar Heels are very much the same as last season's, in the back court. There's plenty of talent, but nobody seems to be able to handle or distribute the rock. In the loss to Vanderbilt, they only had eight assists, while committing 22 turnovers.

Xavier's Tu Holloway scored a career-high 31 points, leading the Musketeers to a 57-52 victory over Seton Hall in the Paradise Jam tournament Sunday. Xavier will face Old Dominion, 61-60 winners over Clemson, in the tournament championship Monday night.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Flyers' Johnson Scores 20 as Dayton Topples Mississippi

College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, November 20, 2010

Denied an invitation to the NCAA tournament last season, the Dayton Flyers did the next best thing by winning the NIT tournament, winning five straight games over Illinois State, Cincinnati, Illinois, Mississippi and finally, North Carolina, 79-68, in the final.

While the list is fairly impressive, Dayton still seeks respect, playing in the Atlantic-10, and got a share of it Saturday, winning at Mississippi, 78-71, in overtime.

Led by Chris Johnson's 20 points and 12 rebounds, the Flyers rallied from a 46-33 deficit at the half to tie the game at 65 and eventually win it in the extra five minute period.

A 6'6" junior, Johnson's 20 points were a season high, and the win improved Dayton to 3-0 on the year. The Flyers used a combination of pressure and solid defense to hold the Rebels tojust 19 second half points and six in overtime.

Notable: BYU improved to 3-0 with a 109-60 win over Chicago State, led by, who else? Jimmer Fredette, who's lighting it up to the tune of 25.7 points per game thus far. Fredette hit 9-of-12 from the field, including 5-of-6 three-pointers for his game high 27 points. Amazingly, he did it all in just 21 minutes of court time.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Mitchell's 31 Sends Mountaineers to Puerto Rico Tip-Off Final

College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, November 19, 2010

Coach Bob Huggins is right where he wants to be: at the school for which he played in younger days, now coaching what appears to be another Top 15 team at West Virginia.

After reaching the Final Four in last year's NCAA tourney (ousted by Duke in a semifinal game, 78-57), the Mountaineers have the nucleus of a strong contender in the Big East and beyond. Departed from last year's squad is Da'Senn Butler, who was a high-profile scored and team leader. Butler, injured during the NCAA tournament, was drafted by the Miami Heat and subsequently waived, still rehabbing from a serious knee injury.

On the brighter side, senior Casey Mitchell has been elevated from bench-warmer to starter. Last season, Mitchell, a 6'4" guard out of Savannah, Georgia, averaged only eight minutes per game, but on Friday played 34 impressive minutes as the Mountaineers outlasted Vanderbilt, 74-71, thanks, in large part, to Mitchell's 31 points and his key three-pointer with 3.8 seconds left to play.

Mitchell was 9-for-15 from the field, including 6 of 12 three-pointers and 7-of-8 from the foul line. An exceptional foul shooter, Mitchell's lone miss was his first of the season, in 16 trips to the line.

West Virginia is off to a 3-0 start, but they face a stiff test when they play Minnesota on Sunday night. The Golden Gophers knocked off North Carolina in their semi-final round game of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, 72-67.

The final will be televised live on ESPN2 at 7:30 pm ET.

Notable: Xavier looks like a Top 25 team for sure, as long as Tu Holloway keeps up his torrid scoring pace. Holloway poured in a career-high 28 points in the Musketeers 86-73 win over Iowa. In his previous two games this season - each Xavier wins - he tallied 25 and 24 points.

Jeremy Hazell is back for his senior year at Seton Hall, and he's heating up from beyond the arc. Hazell hit 5-of-6 treys en route to 27 points and an 83-78 win over Alabama. In three games this season, Hazell is nailing three-pointers at a rate of 64.7%.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Tim Williams a Center of Attention for St. Mary's; Double Figure Math

College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, November 18, 2010

Last year, St. Mary's turned the tables on Gonzaga in the West Coast conference. The Bulldogs had won the conference title for so many years that it had become almost a foregone conclusion. They did win the regular season title for the 10th straight year, but St. Mary's - who had lost to them twice during the regular season, came back with a vengeance to win the tournament championship with an 81-62 win and an automatic berth in the NCAA tourney.

The Gaels made the most of March Madness, winning two games before falling to Baylor in the Sweet Sixteen round. This season, without star center Omar Samhan, who graduated and is now playing in Europe, the Gaels seek their second straight WCC tournament championship and have their eyes set toward Gonzaga again, their main challengers in the regular season.

Samhan won't be missed too badly if redshirt sophomore Tim Williams continues to show the kind of game he produced in St. Mary's 101-69 win over Point Loma Nazarene on Thursday. Williams scored the nets for a game-high 23 points and clogged the middle, pulling down 14 rebounds in the process.

Played sparingly last season, Williams is being looked upon as a viable replacement for Samhan, who earned a 2010 All American honorable mention. After the big effort against little Point Loma, Williams bears watching against better teams as the season progresses.

Notable: Getting four or five players into double figures is normally a good sing of team balance and usually produces an abundance of wins. On Thursday, a couple of wins were produced with more than the normal numbers and another with none. The Florida Gators had 8 players in double figures in the 105-55 win over NC A&T, outdoing Valparaiso, which had seven players score in double digits as they topped Purdue North Central, 98-44.

The strangest stat sheet of the night, however, belonged to to Missouri. They slipped past Western Illinois, 66-61, with no players in double figures. Four different Tigers tallied 9 points, and nine players scored in all, ranging between 4 and 9 points.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Notre Dame Seniors Double-Double the Fun in 102-62 Win

College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Here's something you don't often see: three double-doubles by one team in the same game.

That's what happened when Big East powerhouse took on Chicago State, with the Fighting Irish coming away with another easy win - their third of the season, without a loss - topping the Cougars, 102-62.

While Ben Hansbrough led all scorers with 22 points, he did not have a double-double, though he did pull down 5 rebounds and hand out 6 assists.

Tim Abromaitis was next with 21 points. He had 10 rebounds and 7 assists, bordering on a triple-double along with fellow senior Tyler Nash, who had 10 points, 11 boards and 7 assists. Another senior, Carleton Scott, pumped in 17 points and snatched 11 rebounds with 3 assists, a steal and 3 blocked shots, all in just 23 minutes of floor time.

Notable: The Memphis Tigers are sure to make some noise this season in search of their fifth straight Conference-USA championship. They geared up Wednesday night with their third win of the young season, downing Northwestern State, 94-79, with Wesley Witherspoon leading the way hitting 5 of 7 shots from the field, 13 of 14 from the foul line for a game-high 24 points, to go with 12 rebounds.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

White, Leonard Lead Aztecs Past Gonzaga, 79-76

College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Nobody likes to take a loss this early in the season, but good teams will interpret tham as learning experiences and hope to build off the mistakes.

For Gonzaga, Steven Gray's 35 points were offset by a lack of intensity on the boards, as the Bulldogs were out-rebounded 39-29 and defeated by San Diego State, 79-76.

What the Bulldogs will clearly see is that not only were they seriously deficient in the rebounding department, but that nearly half of the Aztecs' boards were of the offensive variety, many resulting in put-backs and extra possessions, as 6 of Kawhi Leonard's 12 boards were on the offensive end and senior forward Billy White dumped in 30 points on 14-for-18 shooting, also hauling down 9 rebounds, 7 offensive.

White had his share of easy buckets as he crashed the offensive boards with gusto, but he also made both of his 3-point attempts. Leonard, a 6'7" sophomore, had his second double-double of the season with 18 points.

Gonzaga dropped to 2-1 and has a date at powerful Kansas State on the 22nd. Putting the loss in perspective, it wasn't an enormous upset as the Aztecs are already ranked #25 in the most recent AP poll and are one of the favorites to win the Mountain West conference.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Freshman Jones, Junior Vucevic Lead USC Past Santa Clara

College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, November 15, 2010

Last season was a seriously down year for the PAC-10, usually one of the stronger conferences in the national basketball elite, as they sent only two teams - Cal and Washington - to the NCAA tournament.

As a whole, the conference seeks to turn things around in 2010-11, with freshmen adding some spark to otherwise mundane lineups. Down the coast at USC, the Trojans may have found themselves a little magic - and we do mean little - in 5'7" freshman guard, Maurice Jones who lit up Santa Clara for 29 points as the Trojans rolled to their second win of the season, 86-73.

Jones hit 10 of 20 shots from the floor, including 2 of 3 three-point attempts, was 7-for-10 from the charity stripe and dealt four assists. The little man was aided in his offense by USC's big man, 6'10" Nikola Vucevic, who recorded his second double-double with 22 points and 11 boards.

With the nice blend of size and inside-outside play, the Trojans, who were just 16-14 last season, seek a return to top form and a trip to the Big Dance in March. While most of their PAC-10 counterparts are also trying to put together cohesive squads, the Trojans seem to have found a combination that works, thus far.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Singleton's Triple Double Lifts Florida State

College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, November 14, 2010

For Florida State, playing basketball in the ACC is a mixed blessing. Sure, they get some big crowds when North Carolina or Duke head down for a visit, but the results are generally not great. The Seminoles generally get lost in the shuffle of the top teams from Tobacco Road.

Still, things are looking up for Florida State. After going 25-10 in 2008-09, they went 22-10 in 2009-10, though both years they lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Duke continues to beat up on them, but the 'Noles have taken two of the last three from the Tar Heels.

This season shapes up as more of the same, maybe even better, especially if junior forward Chris Singleton continues his progression. He's been logging more minutes, scoring more points and getting busier on the boards as he matures. On Sunday, in Florida State's easy 97-73 victory at North Carolina Greensboro, Singleton produced a rare triple double, scoring 22 points to go with 11 boards and 10 steals. He also blocked four shots and distributed the ball for six assists.

The Seminoles were never really challenged, outscoring the Spartans 46-29 in the first half and throwing down 51 in the second stanza on 51.5% shooting from the floor. Improving to 2-0, Florida State has a few more "easy" ones before things get serious when Florida and Ohio State visit on November 28 and 30. Those two games should provide a better indication of what lies ahead.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Moore on Game as Pitt Smothers North Florida, 85-49

College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, November 13, 2010

Improving to 3-0, with a 95-49 rout of North Florida, the Pitt Panthers may prove to be the "Beast of the East" once conference play starts in late December.

Not only does Pitt have some of the best shooters in the country in Ashton Gibbs and Brad Wannameker, they might have a real diamond in the rough in 6'6" freshman swingman, J.J. Moore, who tallied 19 points on 8-for-12 shooting in 19 minutes of play Saturday.

Moore, who comes to Pitt via South Kent Prep in Brentwood, NY, also grabbed seven rebounds and handed out three assists.

Now having clobbered three creampuffs, Pitt will get a real test when the maryland Terrapins visit this coming Thursday, November 19.