Saturday, December 22, 2012

Saturday's Big Games and a Recap of Last Night 12/22/12

South Florida played a thrilling triple overtime game against Bowling Green, allowing for an extensive look at sophomore guard Anthony Collins. Victor Rudd also had a huge game for the Bulls, coming up clutch in multiple occasions.

There is no way Anthony Collins is 6 feet and he doesn't have great length. What he does have is a great understanding of how to use his size. He gets really low when dribbling the ball, shrinking to about 4 feet. Last night, he was able to get inside of the zone and keep defenders behind him using his body. He doesnt look to get all the way to the hoop, just enough to create a good look for a teammate or for his own teardrop. Collins' preference is to find a teammate though, as he's a classic pass first point guard who knows how to lead a team and defend. He looks to push the ball when the opportunity is there but knows when to slow down and set the offense. He's a small point guard coaches love and trust, one of those scrappy southern point guards in the mold of Squeaky Johnson and Walker Russell Jr. Both players have been able to get some run in the NBA even though they aren't necessarily NBA quality because coaches trust them and enjoy having them during practices.

Jarnell Stokes had an average game against Western Carolina, scoring 12 points. He was out-muscled in the paint by Tawaski King, but eventually got him in foul trouble. Tennessee's offense has been terrible and Stokes hasn't been able to be much of an inside-out threat. He's had 1 multiple assist game in his last 9 contests.

Alex Len did what he was supposed to do against an undersized Stony Brook team. Maryland was able to dump in into the post to him, and without a double team, he went to work. They made it a point to feature him at the beginning of both halves although they got away from him in the final ten minutes of the game. Dez Wells was impressive yet again. He's a big talent.

Baylor vs BYU

- Brandon Davies was tough inside, but struggled getting his shot off against an NBA sized frontcourt. Too often he tried to fadeaway from them instead of going into their body. Davies has a solid post game with counter moves, and shows good patience in using them.

- Isaiah Austin got called for the biggest phantom call of the year, costing him his 6th block in the game. I think there is a misconception that Austin is soft - he doesn't shy away from contact, he just can't withstand it. He is willing to mix it up on the glass and on defense. The problem is that his shoulders don't appear to welcome much weight in the future.

- I really like Cory Jefferson's motor. I was surprised he wasn't asked to cover Davies the majority of the game. Jefferson is a beast on the boards and moves really well. Not only is he capable of moving well - he does. He runs full speed from point A to point B at all times. Whether it is to set a screen, grab a rebound, rotation on defense - Jefferson is always in a hurry to get there.

- Tyler Haws is very fun to watch. He has a great BBIQ and does a great job of getting open. He reminds me of a wing version of Matt Bouldin, but is certainly a one of a kind player.

Temple vs Syracuse 12pm ESPN2

Syracuse has been playing nothing but cupcakes this month so this Temple team could provide a test. They have some big guards - their smallest rotational guard is 6'2'' - that can actually have a somewhat fair shot against Michael Carter-Williams. MCW has been playing against teams where he is longer than the oppositions center so that is refreshing. Along with Alex Len, Carter-Williams has the most to prove when conference play starts. Everyone has already jumped on his and Len's bandwagon already, but both have played only 1 or 2 legitimate games. If they sustain their level of performance through conference play, I may be ready to give them more credit.

Murray State at Dayton 12pm CBSSN

This is a big game for Dayton as they are coming off of a heartbreaking loss against Illinois State. It should be a good one against Isaiah Canaan and company. Canaan has been very good again this season and Im still very much intrigued by how his scoring will translate in the NBA. I don't expect him to ever start at point guard, but he could have a nice career scoring as a poor man's Jason Terry. As for Ed Daniel, he is the closest thing you will get to Kenneth Faried in this draft. He impressed in the summer playing with big time college players and has parlayed that into a excellent senior season so far.

American at Georgetown 12pm ESPN3

McNeese State at North Carolina 12pm ESPNU

USC at Georgia 1:30pm

Interesting to note: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has tallied at least 9 rebounds in each of his last 3 games. Its good to see him playing hard through this nightmare of a season. I've never doubted Caldwell-Pope's energy. but the old adage "work smart, not hard" could apply to the sophomore shooting guard. He makes a lot of freshman mistakes. Another note - their second leading scorer averages 7.2 point per game. Ew. USC isn't much better and is led by Eric Wise's 10.6 ppg. Dewayne Dedmon is the Trojan to watch though. USC does a terrible job getting him touches on offense, but his defense and rebounding has been solid. He's 7 feet tall so he's in the running to get drafted in the second round this year.

Texas at Michigan State 2pm ESPN2

Texas beat up on North Carolina inside this week, now they are back to trying not to get beaten up themselves. Michigan State is far from UNC inside with Nix, Payne, and Dawson controlling the glass. Keith Appling needs to get back on track in this game. He has failed to score in double digits his last 3 games vs Division 1 opponents.

LSU at Marquette 2pm ESPNU

Florida State vs Charlotte 2pm CBSSN

Arizona State at Texas Tech 2pm

South Dakota State at New Mexico 2:30pm

Nate Wolters was hurt the last time they played a ranked team and this his last chance to pull off a big upset in his regular season career. The Jackrabbits start conference play after this one. Wolters has still been nursing his injury, but has gotten plenty of rest on SDSU's bus trip across the country to Albuquerque. Kendall Williams is a good point guard in his own right so this should be a good matchup.

Austin Peay at Illinois State 3pm

St. Mary's at Northern Iowa 3pm

St. Bonaventure at North Carolina St 3pm ESPN3

Wright State at Cincinnati 4pm

Kansas at Ohio State 4pm CBS

The biggest game of the day surprisingly has Ohio State favored by 5.5 points in Vegas. The Buckeyes have homecourt, but Kansas is the better team. Kevin Young and Travis Releford both are smart defenders who are up for the task of slowing down Deshaun Thomas. Nobody will stop Thomas, but they can make him have to hit tough shots. The key matchup in this one is at point guard play. Elijah Johnson has been getting by strictly as a guy bringing the ball up the court - not someone creating offense. Kansas is going to need him to be more of a point guard today and facing Aaron Craft, it won't be easy. If Ohio State manages to win this game - it will be because Craft got the better of Johnson.

Marshall at Kentucky 4pm

Missouri vs Illinois 6pm ESPN2

If Missouri wins this game, their advantage inside will be the reason. Laurence Bowers has been great this season, showing a much more mature offensive game then in previous seasons. He has worked his way into the draft conversation as a second round pick. Oriakhi, Pressey, and Paul are others to watch.

San Diego State vs San Francisco 6pm ESPNU

Bucknell at Princeton 7pm

Davidson at Drexel 8pm

Florida vs Kansas State 8pm ESPN2

Western Kentucky vs Louisville 8:30pm ESPNU

Canisius at UNLV 10pm

Arizona vs East Tennessee State 10:30pm ESPNU

Fresno State at UCLA 11pm Pac-12N

Miami (FL) at Hawaii 12:30am ESPNU

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