Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Robinson Leads Panthers Past Orange, 74-66

College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, January 17, 2011

The greatly-anticipated Big East showdown between #3 Syracuse and #5 Pitt turned into a circus when Pitt scored the first 19 points of the game and then Syrcuse returned the favor by scoring 17 straight. When it was all sorted out in the second half, the superior rebounding ability of the Panthers - who outrebounded the Orange 44-30 - and the exceptional interior play of Nasir Robinson, resulted in a 74-66 home victory for the Panthers and the first loss of the season for the Orange.

Robinson scored a season-high 21 points to lead all scorers, hitting on 8-of-12 shots from the field, mostly within three feet of the hoop. He also added 7 rebounds as the Panthers took control of the Big East standings. They now lead the conference at 6-0, while the Orange drop to 5-1. Both teams are 18-1 overall.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Washington Pounds Cal; Rules the PAC-10

College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, January 16, 2011

Isaiah Thomas led all scorers with a season-high 27 points and distributed the ball with 13 assists - a career high - as the Washington Huskies cruised to a 92-71 win at Cal.

The chief beneficiaries of Thomas' largesse were Matthew Bryan-Amaning and Justin Holiday, who scored 22 and 23 points, respectively. The 13-4 Huskies raced out to a 48-33 lead at the half, holding the Golden Bears at bay for the win. In five conference wins, the Huskies have soundly defeated their opponents, with three of the wins coming on the road - at USC, UCLA and Cal - winning by an average margin of 17.4 points. Their lone loss was a 58-56 setback at Stanford last week.

The Huskies lead the PAC-10 race by 1/2 game over Arizona (4-1), whom they face on Thursday, Jan. 20.

NOTABLE: West Virginia continues to prove one of the toughest unranked teams from the Big East. On Sunday, they held sway at home, topping #8 Purdue, 68-64, improving to 12-4, while giving the Boilermakers their 3rd loss against 15 wins.

The Big East was also the stage for the upset du jour, where the upstart St. John's Red storm sent Notre Dame back to Indiana with a 72-54 thumping. St. John's improved to 4-2 in the conference and 11-5 overall.

For the celebration of Martin Luther King Day, ESPN will be airing a quartet of exceptional match-ups. The festivities get underway at 3:30 pm with #7 Villanova at #10 UConn, followed by #21 Kansas State at #15 Missouri at 5:30 pm. At 7:30, the highlight of the day, as the 5th-ranked Pitt Panthers host undefeated #4 Syracuse. The hoops-junkie delight finishes up with #3 Kansas at Baylor at 9:30 pm. All times are Eastern.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Aggies Down Missouri in OT for 13th Straight Win

College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, January 15, 2011

It was #15 at #14 when the Missouri Tigers met the Texas A&M Aggies at College Station on Saturday, and for a while it looked as though the lower-ranked Tigers were going to have their way, but the Aggies surged late to tie the game at 77 and win it, 91-89, in overtime.

Sophomore forward Khris Middleton scored 11 of his team's 14 point in the extra session, finishing with a game-high 28 points for the Aggies' 13th straight win, a 3-0 record in the Big 12 and a share of first place.

Middleton hit 9-of-16 shots, including a pair of threes, plus canned 8-of-10 from the foul line. He also had seven rebounds and four assists. The Aggies haven't lost a game since a 67-65 loss to Boston College on November 25. Middleton has scored in double figures in all but three A&M contests. The Aggies are 16-1

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Gaels' Glover hits for 25 with 17 Boards in OT Win at Rider

College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, January 14, 2011

with the major conferences idle Friday nights, it provides CBD a peek at some of the better teams from small conference, like the Metro Atlantic, the eventual champion of which will receive an automatic NCAA Tournament invitation.

At the top are Fairfield, which suffered its initial loss in the conference on Friday, losing a heartbreaker, 66-65, at Loyola which snapped an 11-game winning streak. The Stags are 5-1 in the conference, 12-4 overall and tied with Iona for the Metro lead.

Iona was pushed to the limit at Rider College, finally escaping with a 100-96 win in overtime. Topping both scoring and rebounding stat columns for the game was Michael Glover, the Gaels' 6'7" forward who dropped in 25 points and ripped down 17 boards in the win.

Averaging a double-double (21.5, 10.5), Glover accomplished the feat for the 11th time this season and equalled his career best in rebounding. While the Gaels improved to 5-1, Rider dropped to 4-2 in the Metro, so there's more drama to come from this mostly Northeast urban conference.

The Gaels play at Fairfield on February 4 and finish their regular season at home with a visit from the Stags on February 27. Those two games are likely to go a long way toward providing a regular season champion unless Rider rises and continues to compete.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Mountaineers Climb Over Providence, 93-63

College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, January 13, 2011

Of the various conferences in the country, the Big East is probably the deepest, and thus, the most difficult for a team to gain recognition. Remember, this is the conference in which undefeated Cincinnati didn't even make the Top 25 rankings this season until they were 15-0.

Coach Bob Huggins probably feels that his West Virginia squad is equally shunned by the polls and pundits. After all, they did reach the Final Four last season, and have a record of 11-4, deserving of some respect, though in the Big East, four losses at this juncture makes you an also-ran.

In Thursday's 93-63 romp over Providence, the Mountaineers served notice to the rest of the conference that they were in it to win it. After opening the Big East schedule with back-to-back losses to St. John's and Marquette, they've won three straight and have the players and system to get them through the remaining games with a solid record. John Flowers, a 6'7" senior forward, dominated the contest with the Friars, scoring a season-high and game-high 24 points on 10-for-12 shooting and added six rebounds, five blocked shots, three steals and five assists. Providence simply had no answer for him or fellow front-man Kevin Jones, who chipped in 19 points and 13 rebounds for his third double-double of the season.

The Mountaineers take a break from the Big East in the coming week, hosting Purdue on Sunday, january 16 and Marshall, Wednesday, January 19.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Seminoles' Kitchen Throws in Sink; Blue Devils Stopped

College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The widely-held belief that Duke could roll through their ACC schedule without a loss evaporated under the bright lights of Tallahassee's Donald L. Tucker Center, where the Florida State Seminoles proved to be more than the Blue Devils could handle, again.

Florida State is not unused to knocking off highly-ranked, unbeaten Duke squads. In fact, they do it with amazing regularity. The Seminoles knocked off top-ranked Duke squads in 2002 and 2006, both times on the Seminoles own hardwood. Wednesday night's 66-61 upset was the charmed third time in a decade.

On a night in which the Blue Devils couldn't score inside, they shot horribly from outside as well, making just 11 of 35 three-point attempts and shooting 31% overall. Florida State nailed 6 of 13 treys and shot 44% from the field, with senior guard Derwin Kitchen providing much of the offense at critical junctures. He led all scorers with 22 points on 9-for-13 shooting which included 3 triples. The 6'4" shooter hauled in 10 rebounds, dished 3 assists and made 3 steals for good measure.

The Seminoles improved to 12-5 after losing three of their last four games. The loss was the first for Duke since March of 2010, when they lost a conference game to Maryland. Their 25-game winning streak was the second longest in school history.

NOTABLE: A number of ranked teams appear to be headed for unranked status as conference play separates the men from the boys. #22 Georgetown was easily handled by visiting Big East rival Pitt (6), 72-57. The 14-5 Hoyas are a pure flash in the pan, having now lost three straight and four of five in Big East play.

Likewise, #18 Louisville looks overmatched in the Big East, the most competitive conference in the country, losing 88-74 at #7 Villanova. Though the Cardinals are 13-3, their losses have come recently and their 2-1 record in Big East play includes wins over confernence doormats, Seton Hall and South Florida.

#21 Kansas State looks to be leaving the Top 25 ranks after a 74-66 home loss to Colorado. Along with them should go #24 Georgia, road losers at Vanderbilt, 73-66. The Wildcats are 0-2 in the Big 12; 13-3 Georgia defeated Kentucky on Saturday, but are now 1-1 in the SEC. Earlier losses to Temple and Notre Dame are telling.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Fredette Goes for 47 as Cougars Rout Utes

College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, January 11, 2011

BYU's Jimmer Fredette had the kind of night most players only dream about, scoring 32 in the first half and 47 overall as the #11 Cougars topped Mountain West opponent Utah, 104-79, improving to 17-1 for the season.

Fredette was hitting from everywhere, even throwing in a 40-foot bomb just before the first half buzzer sounded to give BYU a comfortable 53-42 lead at the break. Fredette finished just two shy of his school record 49 points, set last season. The 47 points was his high for the year, and against Mountain West opponents, he is averaging 36 points in three games, all Cougar wins.

The 6'2" senior from Glens Falls, NY, hit 6-of-9 from three-point range and 16-for-28 overall, adding 9-of-9 from the free throw line. In his 35 minutes on the hardwoods, Fredeete managed to dish out 6 assists and grab four rebounds.

NOTABLE: The Big Ten gets wilder and more wide open every day, with the possible exception of #2 Ohio State. On Tuesday, Michigan State, dropped out of the Top 25 this week due to a 66-62 loss at Penn State, got back on track with a 64-61 overtime win against #20 Wisconsin. The Spartans regained a degree of respectability as the Nittany Lions took down #16 Illinois, 57-55 and #12 Texas - to whom the Spartans lost 67-55 back in December - blasted Texas Tech, 83-52.

In case anyone is worried that the Nittany Lions will upset them next, they play Ohio State on the 15th and Purdue on the 19th.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Maquette Dumps Notre Dame with Barrage of Treys

College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, January 10, 2011

Proving once again that playing in the Big East is not for the faint of heart, the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame entered the Bradley Center in Milwaukee for a regional showdown with the Marquette Golden Eagles.

The Irish were sporting a #9 ranking in the AP poll, released earlier in the day, and a 14-2 record, their only losses at kentucky and Syracuse. By the time the Irish were through, they were 14-3, and wondering how they hit only three of 16 3-point shots while the Eagles were burying 12 of 17 from beyond the arc. The result was a 79-57 rout as a trio of Marquette shooters rained down threes all night long. From three-point range, Darius Johnson-Odom hit 3-of-5, scoring 13 points, Joe Crowder made 4-of-6 and tallied 18, but Dwight Buycks was the most deadly. He nailed 7-of-9 shots from the floor, including all five of his three-point attempts, for a game-high 21 points.

Maquette put the Irish away early in the second half and were never threatened after opening up a double-digit lead. The win was a key one for the Golden Eagles, 12-5, and on the fringe of the Big East conference and probably a bubble team come March.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Villanova Sends Cincinnati to First Loss as Fisher Scores 21

College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, January 9, 2011

The number of undefeated teams shrank by one on Sunday when the Villanova Wildcats popped Cincinnati's balloon with a 72-61 win at the Pavilion.

The game was not in doubt after the Wildcats went on an 18-4 run to take a 39-23 lead into half time. Corey Fisher scored 20 of his game-high 21 points in the first half, helping extend Villanoa's home winning streak to 45 straight, a streak that began in January of 2007.

Fisher hit 3 of 5 three-pointers and was 4-for-8 overall, but nailed 10 of 11 free throws, grabbed five rebounds and dealt four assists. Fisher has scored in double figures in all but three of the #7 Wildcats' games. Villanova is now 14-1 and 3-0 in the Big East, while Cincinnati dropped to 15-1 and 2-1 in the conference.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

8 Top 25 Teams Dropped; #23 Washington Wins 6th Straight

College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, January 8, 2011

No fewer than eight teams ranked in the Top 25 - some close to the top of the list - were defeated on Saturday, making it one of the biggest upset days of the season.

Before venturing into that morass of missed opportunity, a number of ranked teams managed wins, notably in the Big East, where Syracuse, Pitt, Notre Dame and UConn all came away victorious, but the performance of the day was by 6'9" senior forward Matthew Bryan-Amaning, who scored 24 points to go with 15 rebounds for the 12-3 Washington Huskies in their 103-72 win over Oregon State, their sixth straight win and fourth in the PAC-10 without a loss.

Bryan-Amaning hit 11-of-14 shots from the field, mostly in the paint and around the rim, notching his fifth double-double and scoring in double figures for the 12th time this season. In the rebounding department, five of his were on the offensive glass.

As for the upsets, there were so many it was difficult to keep track. Early in the day, Colorado bumped off #9 Missouri, 89-76, West Virginia hammered #13 Georgetown, 65-59, and Georgia held court at home to down #10 Kentucky, 77-70.

As the afternoon wore on, many fans glued to the NFL playoff games, Houston bumped off #19 UCF, Oklahoma St. dumped #17 Kansas State and Penn State kicked #18 Michigan State.

Two overtime games capped the day's action, as South Carolina outscored #22 Vanderbilt, 11-3 in the extra session for an 83-75 win and #8 UConn survived a trip to the Lone Star State with an 82-81 OT win over the Longhorns.

The day added up to one which should provide significant movement in the rankings due out on Monday, and highlights the intense competitiveness operating in the college hoops sphere. No game is a gimmie now that January has arrived.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Sophomore Andrew Smith Leads Butler Blowout

College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, January 7, 2011

The 2009-10 hoops season was a memorable one for the Butler Bulldogs, reaching the NCAA finals and finishing with a 33-5 record after losing, 61-59, to Duke.

This season has not been nearly as gratifying. The Bulldogs are currently unranked with an 11-5 record, uncharacteristic of the perennial Horizon League champions, though perhaps the schedule was a bit too optimistic.

An early loss at Louisville was amplified after the Bulldogs were beaten on their home court by Evansville, and then suffered back-to-back road losses to Duke and Xavier. That dropped them out of the Top 25, but on February 3rd, they suffered their worst loss of the season, a 76-52 beating dished out by 8-8 Wisconsin-Milwaukee, their first conference loss.

The Bulldogs regained some of their confidence Friday night with a convincing, 79-56, win over Cleveland State, shooting 48% as a team and forcing the Vikings into 18 turnovers. High scoring honors went to sophomore center Andrew Smith, who recorded a career high with 22 points on 7-for-9 shooting and hitting all eight of his free throws.

Smith, a 6'11" native of Indianapolis, also hit the glass with gusto, wiping off five offensive and five defensive rebounds for his first collegiate double-double.

Butler is 11-5 and into the heart of their conference play. A January 16 date at Wright State looms large.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Yancy Gates Has 25 and 14 as Bearcats Claw Xavier

College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, January 6, 2011

The widely-anticipated showdown between crosstown rivals Xavier and Cincinnati quickly became a runaway for one team and a showcase for the enormous talents of enormous Yancy Gates.

After Xavier raced out to a 10-4 lead, Gates led a 22-5 Bearcat run that ended all argument over which was the best team in the Queen City. Gates, a powerfully-built Cincinnati native at 6'9", 260 pounds, led all participants with a game high 22 points and 14 rebounds, both season-high totals for the big man. Cincinnati won in a rout, 66-46, holding Tu Holloway, the Musketeers' leading scorers and one of the top point-producers in the nation, to a season-low five points.

Prior to last week, the Bearcats - despite being undefeated - were unranked in the national polls. Now at 15-0, some pollsters and even casual watchers have raised an eyebrow and given the Bearcats the nod of approval, spotting them at #24 in Monday's poll. Xavier slumped to 8-5.

Notable: #20 Illinois shot 70% from the field and absolutely swamped Northwestern, 88-63 to win their third straight Big Ten win without a loss, improving to 13-3 overall. A litmus test for the Fighting Illini comes in another week when they play at Wisconsin on the 15th of January, then return home to face Michigan State and Ohio State on the 18th and 22nd.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Duke Rolls to 14-0 As Nolan Smith Dazzles with Career High 33 Points

College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The top-ranked and undefeated Duke Blue Devils rolled to their 14th straight win with an 85-64 blowout over UAB.

Leading the Devils and all players in scoring was senior Nolan Smith, who tallied a career-high 33 points, also dishing five assists and bringing down seven rebounds, four on the offensive end.

When Smith wasn't beating multiple defenders to the hoop on slashing drives, he was ringing it up from the outside, hitting 2-of-5 three-pointers while going 11-for-22 from the field. Smith also went 9-for-10 from the foul line and was aided by fellow senior Kyle Singler's 15 points, which pushed his career point total over 2,000, making him the 11th Duke player to achieve that lofty goal. The all-time record for a Duke player is 2,769 points, set by J.J. Redick, who has since moved on to the NBA. Singler is sure to follow in those footsteps.

Smith has been on a tear for the Blue Devils of late, scoring at least 22 points in each of Duke's last five games. He leads the team in scoring and assists, at 19.6 points and 5.6 assists per game, respectively.

Notable: Jimmer Fredette lit up the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas as the #15 BYU Cougars went on the road to knock off #25 UNLV, 89-77. A season high for Fredette in scoring, he tickled the twine on 12-for-25 shooting from the field, including 7-for-13 on three-pointers and added 8 of ten free throws.

Other Top 25 winners included #3 Kansas, #6 San Diego State, #9 Missouri, #11 Purdue and #19 UCF. Memphis, ranked #21, fell to unranked Tennessee, 104-84.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Baylor Cruises as Dunn Hangs 43 on Morgan State

College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Last season, the Baylor Bears compiled an impressive 28-8 record, making its way to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tourney, where they were knocked off by eventual nation champion, Duke, in the third round, 76-71.

After that kind of performance, much was expected of the Bears this season, led by shooting star LaceDarius Dunn. The Baylor bandwagon was derailed in December with three losses in a four-game stretch after a 7-0 start.

Beaten by Gonzaga, Washington State and Florida State, the Bears were looking more like bubble babies than bracket busters, but since rebounded with wins over Texas Southern and, on Tuesday, Morgan State, topping the Golden Bears, 89-72.

The game was an eyeful for all manner of Bears, golden or otherwise, as Dunn erupted for career-highs in scoring, with 43 points, and three-pointers, canning 10 of 18. Baylor took a 42-40 lead into the half, but blew out their opponents, outscoring them 47-32 in the second half, fueled by Dunn's hot hand. He finished with a stat line which included 13-of-22 from the field, 7-for-7 from the foul line, six rebounds, three assists and two steals in 37 minutes.

While Dun is among the nation's leading scorers at 23.4 points per game, the jury is still out on Baylor as the team heads into conference play January 8 at Texas Tech. The Bears may remain a mystery until later in the month, when they face Kansas at home on the 17th and travel to Kansas State on the 24th.

NOTABLE: It was a rough night for the Razorbacks. Not only did their football team fall to Ohio State, 31-26, in the Sugar Bowl, but 12th-ranked Texas Longhorns blitzed them on the hardwoods, 79-46.

#2 Ohio State battled to a 73-68 win at Iowa, getting 24 points from freshman Jared Sullinger.

In the Big East, #5 Pitt toughed out an 83-79 win at Providence, while Notre Dame kicked Georgetown, 73-70, handing the Hoyas their second loss in three Big East Games. Pitt beat them in their conference opener on Dec. 27, 78-63.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Pullen Returns, Scores 24 in K-State Victory

College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, January 3, 2011

Jacob Pullen returned to the Kansas State lineup after a three-game suspension and lit up little Savannah State for 24 points on Monday night, leading the Wildcats to a 92-61 rout and their 12th victory against three losses.

The 17th-ranked Wildcats felt Pullen's absence in the first game he missed, a 63-59 loss to UNLV, but rebounded with easy wins over the University of Missouri Kansas City Kangaroos and North Florida.

Pullen, seemingly no worse off for the time he missed, nailed 9-of-11 shots, including 4-of-6 three-pointers, grabbed 3 rebounds and handed off 5 assists.

Pullen and teammate Curtis Kelly were suspended for recieving free clothing from a local store. Kelly is still suspended and not eligible to return until January 15.

A 6'8" senior, Kelly was averaging 10.3 points and 4 rebounds per contest, numbers that the Wildcats hope to replace with other players, but they were happy to have Pullen, their leading scorer, back in time for the start of Big 12 play, which begins - for the Wildcats - on January 8 at Oklahoma State. Kansas State hosts Colorado on the 12th and Texas Tech on the 15th, when Kelly is expected to return.

NOTABLE: Dick Vitale has been a vocal supporter of "the Johnnies," St. John's Red Storm, and that faith was validated with a 61-58 victory over #13 Georgetown Monday night. The Red Storm's Dwight Hardy led the way with 20 points. St. John's is 3-0 against Big East foes and 10-3 overall.

The Big East has seven teams in the most recent AP poll, as unbeaten Cincinnati replaced Louisville near the bottom of the Top 25, at #22. The Cardinals fell out after dropping a 78-63 decision to Kentucky on New Year's Eve.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Freshman Barton Pours in 24 for 11-2 Memphis

College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, January 2, 2011

With December losses to Kansas and Georgetown, the Memphis Tigers may not be as good a team as some which have come before, but at 11-2, they are getting the notice of the pollsters at least, who have installed them at #21 in the national rankings.

The Tigers have some good, young talent, including freshman guard Antonio Barton, who pumped in a career-high 24 points as the Tigers outshot Tennessee State Sunday, by a 91-86 score.

Barton, a 6'2" recruit out of Notre Dame Prep in Baltimore, was money from everywhere on the court, hitting 6-of-8 from the field, including 5-of-6 three-pointers. He also made 7-of-9 free throws. Barton has scored in double figures in only five of Memphis' 13 games this season, but if the Tigers' offense can get him open looks, he may emerge as a deadly shooter as teams solidify their lineups heading for the NCAA tournament. He's hitting 53% from the field and 57% from beyond the arc.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Crowder's 29 Lifts Golden Eagles over West Virginia

College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, January 1, 2011

Kicking into the new year, most of the important action was within the Big East, where #5 Syracuse improved to 15-0 on the strength of a 70-58 home win over #15 Notre Dame and #9 Georgetown cemented their #9 ranking with an 86-75 throttling of DePaul. The Hoyas are 12-2.

The best performance of the night came out of a game between two overlooked teams that will likely vie for the 8th or 9th Big East spot in the NCAA tournament come March. Marquette held serve at home with a 79-74 win over pesky West Virginia, getting a game-high 29 points from junior forward Jae Crowder.

Crowder put on quite the shooting clinic, hitting 12 of 14 shots from the field, including 2-of-4 on three-pointers, helping the Golden Eagles improve to a respectable 10-4. He also hit the boards hard for 8 rebounds, handed out 5 assists and made 4 steals in 39 minutes, the most he's played all season. His 29 points was a career high for the 6'6" native of Georgia.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Knight, Harrellson Provide Spark for Wildcats in Win over Louisville

College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, December 31, 2010

Getting together for their annual contest to determine bragging rights for the state of Kentucky, Louisville coach Rick Pitino and his troops welcomed John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats into KFC Yum! Arena (sorry, that's what they're calling it these days) for a New Year's Eve celebration between the 11th (Kentucky) and 22nd-ranked teams in the nation.

It didn't take long for the Wildcats to feel perfectly at home in Louisville's venue, however, as the Wildcats raced to a 35-24 lead at the half and rode easy layups by Josh Harrellson and expert shooting by Brandon Knight to a 78-63 triumph.

Harrellson, conveniently left open near the basket on far too many occasions, dipped in 23 points on 10-of-12 shooting and snagged 14 rebounds as the Wildcats used their superior size and passing skills to dominate in the paint. The Wildcats outrebounded the Cardinals 36-24, and when Harrellson wasn't collecting easy entry passes, freshman Brandon Knight was making hay from the perimeter. Knight nailed 4-of-6 three-pointers en route to a game-high 25 points. Both Knight and Harrellson recorded career highs in scoring for the 'Cats.

Both Louisville and Kentucky have compiled 11-2 records thus far in the season.

Notable: There's still no love from the pollsters for the Cincinnati Bearcats, who went to 14-0 with a blowout, 70-53, win over Seton Hall. The Bearcats are also 2-0 in the Big East, and while they've beaten only DePaul and Seton Hall, they've been by huge margins. Come on, Man! 14-0 has to count for something.

An unbeaten team that hasn't escaped the purview of the polls is #7 San Diego State, now 15-0 thanks to a 93-50 bombing of Occidental. The Aztecs have never been ranked so high.

After losing their Big East opener to Pitt earlier in the week, #4 Connecticut had to go into overtime to down the upstart Bulls from South Florida, 68-61. Kemba Walker, still leading the nation in scoring at 26.7 points per game, had 24 for the Huskies, now 11-1.

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.