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.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Steven Gray Electric in Gonzaga Win

College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, November 12, 2010

Last season, the Gonzaga Bulldogs accomplished almost everything they set out to do, but almost wasn't good enough, as they lost the WCC tournament title game to up-and-coming St. Mary's and were bounced out of the NCAA tourney in the second round by Syracuse.

Steven Gray was a big part of the 2009-10 team and he's back for his senior year, expecting better from himself and his teammates. The Zags, 27-7 last year, opened this season's campaign by topping the century mark - something they did only once last year - with an impressive 117-72 win over Southern University.

Gray, the only senior on the team, displayed his enormous talents in 28 minutes of play, scoring a game-high 25 points on 8-for-12 shooting, including 5 of 8 three-pointers. The 6'5" guard also grabbed seven rebounds, handed off nine assists and made three steals.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Terrapins Slip Past Charleston, 75-74; Jordan Williams a Brute Force

College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, November 10, 2010

To get their teams in shape and work on various aspects of the game, in the early days of any new college hoops season major conference teams usually play a number of games against lesser foes, teams from smaller conferences who are just supposed to hang in and eventually roll over.

Sometimes, however, like last season when the Syracuse Orange were topped by their smaller cousin, LeMoyne College, just a few miles North of the SU campus, the little guys come with some bite and a fired up attitude. Thus was the case Wednesday night, when the Maryland Terrapins had their hands full with little College of Charleston, a team with enough history that they should never be overlooked.

The Terps and Cougars battled to a 37-all half time tie, but the gritty Cougars would not die and actually led by eight points with under nine minutes to play. Maryland avoided an embarrassing early-season loss when freshman Pe’Shon Howard hit a short jumper with three seconds left to seal the 75-74 win for the Terps.

It was a little too close for comfort, but coach Gary Williams can take heart in the knowledge that his youthful troops are learning how to deal with adversity and win close games, two skills which will no doubt be useful during the heady ACC season.

Another bright spot for Maryland was sophomore Jordan Williams, who connected on 12 of 21 shots for a team-high 26 points (Charleston's Andrew Goudelock led all scorers with 27) and snatched 15 boards to open the season with his second straight double-double.

Williams averaged 9.6 points and 8.6 boards as a freshman, and appears to have improved his game over the off-season, though his foul shooting still remains an area of concern. After nailing 5 of 6 from the line in Monday's win over Seattle, Williams retreated on Wednesday, making only two of eight from the line. Problems at the line - a condition shared by many big men (Williams is 6' 10") - is something that coaches will grudgingly live with as players like Williams are such huge forces in the paint.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Hamilton Hoists Longhorns Over Middies

College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, November 8, 2010

Last season, the Longhorns were ranked for much of the time, though they faded late under the pressure of the Big 12 schedule. During their slow descent, however, freshman Jordan Hamilton emerged asa big time playmaker with dazzling ball skills and the ability to provide instant offense off the bench.

A starter this season, Hamilton got the unranked Longhorns off on the right foot with 26 points and 10 rebounds in a season-opening, 83-52 win over the Navy Midshipmen.

A 6'7" sophomore from Los Angeles, Hamilton creates match-up problems because of his size and speed. He's equally adept at hitting jumpers from any range or going inside with slashing drives to the can. Hamilton was 10-for-17 overall, hitting 3 of 8 three-pointers.

NOTABLE: Pitt's Brad Wanamaker went 7-for-13 for 24 points and dished eight assists as the Panthers downed Rhode Island, 83-75 to open the 2010-11 season. In Maryland's 105-76 season-opening win over Seattle, Jordan Williams scored 17 points and hauled in 15 rebounds.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

NCAA 2010-11 College Hoops Preseason Top 25

Welcome back to College Basketball Daily, where we name the college basketball Players of the Day, every day from the opening tip (tomorrow, Monday, November 8) until the final whistle at the conclusion of the NCAA Tournament in early April.

As usual, we begin with our Preseason Top 25:

1. Duke
2. Pittsburgh
3. Kansas St.
4. Villanova
5. Kentucky
6. Michigan State
7. Syracuse
8. Illinois
9. Butler
10. Kansas
11. Baylor
12. Purdue
13. North Carolina
14. Georgetown
15. Ohio State
16. Tennessee
17. Saint Mary's
18. Xavier
19. Washington
20. Maryland
21. Memphis
22. Missouri
23. Gonzaga
24. Temple
25. Virginia Tech

On Monday, some of the top teams are in action, with Rhode Island prepared for a spanking at Pittsburgh, Illinois playing host to UC Irvine, Seattle at Maryland and Navy at Texas.

With no games Tuesday and Thursday, there are four more on Wednesday, but by Friday there's a full slate of games on tap. National Champion Duke gets its first taste of hardwood on Sunday, when they host Princeton at Cameron Indoor Stadium.