Category: Weekly Posts

Maye Day

 

Luke maye
(Gerry Broome – Associated Press)

The defending national champions are looking good enough to make a deep run in the NCAA tournament after their 78-73 road win over Tennessee on Sunday.  Much of that is due to the emergence of Luke Maye. The junior forward is averaging 19.5 points and 10.3 rebounds per game this season and has filled in aptly for the departed Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks.

 

Maye burst on the scene during last year’s NCAA tournament when he hit the game-winning jumper to send the Tar Heels to the Final Four over Kentucky. He has been even better than anyone outside of the North Carolina locker room could expect this season.

Inside that locker room, they say they’re not surprised because they saw Maye put in the work.

“Let’s be honest, too, it’s not coaching,” North Carolina head coach Roy Williams said earlier this month according Raleigh News & Observer. “It’s sweat because Luke Maye has been willing to put in the sweat at an amount and level that very few players have done.”

Add him with proven winner Joel Berry at point guard and the Tar Heels have enough veteran talent to sustain success throughout this season.

National Player of the Week: Tyus Battle, Syracuse. Battle wasn’t the most efficient, but he hit big shots when his team needed in a rivalry game on the road. His 29 points helped propel the Orange to the win over Georgetown on Saturday.

Stock Up: Oklahoma. Buoyed by high-octane freshman Trae Young, Oklahoma went on the road (basically) and beat a good Wichita St team. The Sooners are now 8-1 and are putting together a solid NCAA resume.

Stock Down: Andy Kennedy’s job security. Ole Miss has now lost home games to Illinois St and South Dakota St this season while getting blown out on the road by Middle Tennessee. This was a critical year for him and he’s not off to a great start.

Stock Up: Clemson. The Tigers went on the road (basically) and beat Florida for their second win over a marquee opponent this season after winning at Ohio St last month. Brad Brownell was on thin ice going into this season, but he’s having the kind of start he needed.

Stock Down: UCLA. The Bruins are almost out of chances to get a good non-conference win before league play starts. UCLA lost back-to-back games to Michigan and Cincinnati and only have Kentucky left on the 23rd. If the Bruins lose that one, they’ll have a lot of work to do in a down Pac-12.

This Week’s Top 25:

1.       Villanova

2.       Michigan St

3.       Arizona St

4.       Duke

5.       Miami

6.       Kentucky

7.       Texas A&M

8.       Xavier

9.       North Carolina

10.   TCU

11.   Gonzaga

12.   West Virginia

13.   Wichita St

14.   Kansas

15.   Virginia

16.   Purdue

17.   Seton Hall

18.   Texas Tech

19.   Oklahoma

20.   Florida St

21.   Baylor

22.   Tennessee

23.   Arizona

24.   Cincinnati

25.   Notre Dame

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We Need to Duplicate Xavier/Cincinnati

 

Cincinnati v Xavier
(Michael Hickey -GETTY IMAGES)

 

We don’t have many rivalries in any sport these days with the kind of unfiltered hate that we saw on Saturday when Xavier beat Cincinnati. I’m not talking about from fan bases. Of course Duke fans hate North Carolina fans and vice versa. Same thing with Louisville/Kentucky and Purdue/Indiana.

However it was clear that the teams and coaches hate each other when Cincinnati head coach Mick Cronin went after Xavier guard J.P. Macura in the post-game hand shake line.

The post-game press conferences were even better whe Cronin claimed that Macura told him to “F-off” three times and Xavier head coach Chris Mack claimed that former Bearcat Lance Stephenson called him the “N-word” three times, but he still shook his hand.

Nothing got too serious between the two teams and the altercation paled in comparison to the brawl from 2017. However, it was a not-so-friendly reminder that this type of game can exist in 2017.

Zip’em Up!

National Player of the Week: Trae Young, Oklahoma. Oklahoma seems to get one of these guys every few years. Young isn’t long for college basketball, but he sure is making the most of it. He’s averaging 28.7 points and 8.7 assists per game and he may single-handedly earn the Sooners an NCAA tournament berth.

Stock Up: Arizona St. It appears that Bobby Hurley finally has it rolling in Tempe. The Sun Devils are currently undefeated and have already beaten San Diego St, Kansas St and Xavier this season. The lowest point total for the Sun Devils so far has been 75 as they’ve scored at least 90 in every other game. If they can get through their next three games against St. John’s, Kansas and Vanderbilt with at least a 2-1 record then they’ll be well on their way to an at-large berth.

Stock Down: Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech lost to Grambling. GRAMBLING. At home. This season has gotten off to a pretty crappy start for the Yellow Jackets. From having to suspend players for NCAA violations to this. There’s enough talent here to make the NCAA tournament once they get the full roster together, but Grambling.

Stock Up: Virginia. I don’t know how head coach Tony Bennett is doing it. The Cavaliers are undefeated again and look to be contenders in the ACC. They’re in the reload and not rebuild phase of the program and if Bennett starts landing recruits that may be a notch above what they’re getting now, watch out.

Stock Down: Oregon. The Ducks are not in the reload phase of their program it appears. Oregon lost its 46-game home winning streak when Boise St beat them with a halfcourt buzzer-beater. That lost in-and-of itself would be ok if it weren’t for Oregon looking subpar in the PK80. I thought this team was a bubble team before the season started now Oregon is running out of opportunities to store resume-building wins.

This Week’s Top 25:

1.       Duke

2.       Kansas

3.       Michigan St

 

4.       Villanova

5.       Miami

6.       Texas A&M

7.       Virginia

8.       Gonzaga

9.       Wichita St

10.   Notre Dame

11.   Florida

12.   Minnesota

13.   Kentucky

14.   Xavier

15.   North Carolina

16.   Seton Hall

17.   West Virginia

18.   Arizona St

19.   TCU

20.   Cincinnati

21.   Nevada

22.   Rhode Island

23.   Purdue

24.   Florida St

25.   USC

Devils Love the Fire

 

Bagley Florida
(Jaime Valdez – USA TODAY Sports)

 

This weekend, the Duke Blue Devils won the Motion bracket of the PK80 invitational. What’s interesting is how they won.

Duke was down by at least seven in each of the wins, including being down 17 with 10 minutes remaining in their 87-84 championship win over Florida. It was an impressive show of resilience from a pretty young team.

That young team (more on that below) may now firmly be the favorites for the national title after beating Florida and Michigan St in the first month of the season.

National Player of the Week: Marvin Bagley, III, Duke.

Bagley was dominant in Portland last week as he averaged 27.3 points and 15 rebounds per game to spur Duke to the title. He has shown early on that the hype around him is legit and that he is a legitimate National Player of the Year Candidate.

Stock Up: Washington St. How about the Cougars? Washington State won the Wooden Legacy tournament in Southern California – beating 3 teams that many believe are bubble teams at the very least. This is a huge development for the Pac-12 and that program that hasn’t been the same since Tony Bennett left for Virginia.

Stock Down: Arizona. Wow. If there was any team that the FBI investigation appears its taken its toll on its the Arizona Wildcats. They lost all three game in the Battle of Atlantis and weren’t competitive in the their 89-64 lost to Purdue. It’s an embarrassing performance for a program under the microscope.

Stock Up: Division I basketball in the state of Nevada. Both Nevada and UNLV are undefeated and have looked impressive doing so. The UNLV Runnin’ Rebels  destroyed Utah by 25 on Thanksgiving in a clear sign that head coach Marvin Menzies has it turned it around. Meanwhile Nevada has already beaten Rhode Island and Davidson. It looks like those two could be making the Mountain West at least a two-bid league.

Stock Down: Trying to win a game with three players. It’s almost impossible, but Alabama came close. After a scuffle when it’s reserves left the bench, a foul out and an injury, the Crimson Tide was forced to finish its game against Minnesota with just three players. The crazy thing is that after all that happened, Alabama actually cut into the lead. Still not recommended.

This Week’s Top 25:

1.       Duke

2.       Kansas

3.       Michigan St

4.       Villanova

5.       Miami

6.       Texas A&M

7.       Florida

8.       Minnesota

9.       Notre Dame

10.   Virginia

11.   Wichita St

12.   USC

13.   Gonzaga

14.   Kentucky

15.   Cincinnati

16.   North Carolina

17.   Rhode Island

18.   Seton Hall

19.   Xavier

20.   West Virginia

21.   Louisville

22.   Alabama

23.   Baylor

24.   TCU

25.   Arizona St

 

One-hit Wonders?

 

Chris Collins
(Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports )

It’s possible that no team in America had a worse week than the Northwestern Wildcats. The Wildcats went 1-2 on the week, but it’s the losses that should be concerning.

 

Northwestern lost at home to Creighton-giving up 92 points to a team many expected to be the fourth or fifth best team in the Big East. Then came the 36-point loss to Texas Tech on a neutral court.

Questions now abound about whether or not the Wildcats first trip to the NCAA tournament last season was a fluke. Those questions are probably premature though as this all happened in the first month of the season.

There is still plenty of time for Northwestern to recover and with road games at Georgia Tech, Purdue, DePaul and Oklahoma before January – time to stock up quality wins. However, if they don’t, this week will be the one the nation points to as the first signs of chinks in the purple armor.

National Player of the Week: Jordan Murphy, Minnesota.

Murphy is averaging 24.8 points and 12.8 rebounds per game this season. In a huge road win at Providence, he scored 23 and ripped down 14 boards as the Gophers won going away. If he continues to put up these kinds of numbers then Minnesota could be a threat to Michigan St in the Big Ten this season.

 

This Week’s Top 25:

1.       Duke

2.       Arizona

3.       Kansas

4.       Michigan St

5.       Miami

6.       Wichita St

7.       Seton Hall

8.       USC

9.       Florida

10.   Villanova

11.   Minnesota

12.   Texas A&M

13.   Purdue

14.   Xavier

15.   Notre Dame

16.   Kentucky

17.   Cincinnati

18.   West Virginia

19.   Louisville

20.   Saint Mary’s

21.   Rhode Island

22.   UCLA

23.   North Carolina

24.   Alabama

25. Creighton

 

Aggies Take Europe

wv-tamu

On the opening weekend of the season, there was no team more impressive than Texas A&M. After a slow start, Texas A&M walked West Virginia down and won going away 88-65 over a team expected to challenge Kansas for the Big XII crown.

Making the victory more impressive is the fact that the Aggies played without sophomore forward Robert Williams and redshirt freshman J.J. Caldwell. It showed the depth that they have and that they may be a real threat to win the SEC this season.

However before they get there, Texas A&M has road games at USC and Arizona and play in the Legends Classic in Brooklyn against Oklahoma St and either Pitt/Penn St. We’re definitely going to find out a lot about the Aggies in November and December.

National Player of the Week: Allonzo Trier, Arizona.

Trier was dominant in two games this weekend averaging 31 points in blowout wins over UMBC and Utah Valley. The first-team All-America candidate is living up to the hype so far.

This Week’s Top 25:

1.       Arizona

2.       Michigan St

3.       Duke

4.       Kansas

5.       Miami

6.       Wichita St

7.       Seton Hall

8.       USC

9.       Florida

10.   Villanova

11.   Minnesota

12.   Texas A&M

13.   Purdue

14.   Kentucky

15.   Xavier

16.   Notre Dame

17.   Cincinnati

18.   West Virginia

19.   Louisville

20.   Saint Mary’s

21.   Rhode Island

22.   UCLA

23.   North Carolina

24.   Northwestern

25. Alabama