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Friday, December 28, 2012

Top 20 Duos In College Basketball

1. Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo - I'd consider both guys within the top 10 of canidates for the Wooden award. When put together, they form the best duo in college basketball. Oladipo has finally gotten his due, but still has avoided talks of National Player of the Year. He is one of the most efficient offensive players in the country, and of course, we all know about his defense. He defines what college basketball is all about and plays for a top 5 team. He is one of the ten best collegiate players in the nation.

2. Phil Pressey and Laurence Bowers - Without Bowers and Pressey, Missouri would be a team without an identity. With them, they are currently the 7th best team in the country. Pressey may have the best understanding of how to run a team in the country. Bowers has shown great improvement from past years and has given the Tigers that post threat they needed last year.

3. Peyton Siva and Russ Smith - Speaking of identity - for a Pitino team, its all about guard play. Smith and Siva are upperclassmen who know what Pitino wants. They have combined to force 5.3 turnovers per game with aggressive defense and are just as aggressive on offense. They are the head to Louisville's top 5 team and its a head that is nearly impossible to throw off their game.

4. Otto Porter and Greg Whittington - Perhaps a little high? Or maybe not. Porter and Whittington turn an otherwise boring Georgetown system team into a team that can be dynamic. They give them looks that no other team in the country can replicate with their length on defense and their creativeness on offense. Any time when you have two 6-8 guys that can play on the wing defensively and are your best creators on offense, you are going to be a big threat moving forward. The duo makes this Georgetown team more dynamic than past teams.

5. Isaiah Canaan and Ed Daniel - I've got to have the Murray State seniors' in the top 5 of this list because they define what this list is all about. Canaan put Murray State on the map last year and now Ed Daniel has stepped up to be a legitimate compliment to him. Canaan handles the scoring and creating, while Daniel does the little things - including setting excellent screens for the star of the team. While Canaan is their offense, Daniel is their anchor and heart on defense.  When watching the Racers, its those two and then "everyone else".

6. Deshaun Thomas and Aaron Craft - Another duo with a offense/defense pairing, this one is unique as it is the guard who provides the defense. Ohio State is deep in talent, but it is only Thomas and Craft who have the experience and clearly defined roles at this point. Craft is the leader and the defender. Thomas makes up for Craft's lack of scoring ability by being one of the most dangerous offensive threats in college basketball. Quite a complimentary pair.

7. Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway - The second best backcourt in the nation according to these rankings, this attack is spearheaded by one of the favorites to win the Wooden Award. While Russ Smith and Siva get it done with aggressive defense and transition offense, this duo is better at scoring in the halfcourt setting. But the thing about them is how well-rounded they are. They can score inside and out, in the halfcourt or transition, and look for their own shot just as much as they can create for others. The true definition of balance.

8. Marcus Smart and LeBryan Nash - We will see if Oklahoma State's thin team can handle their next two games against Gonzaga and Kansas State, but for now, they remain in the top 25. LeBryan Nash changed the direction of the Cowboys future last year by deciding to take his talents to Stillwater. This year, Smart followed suit, but he ended up changing the culture as well. Smart's leadership and playmaking for this team can't be understated. With him running things on the perimeter, Nash has moved his game more inside and accepted his role down low. Together they give OKST an identity on a team infused with role players.

9. Jamaal Franklin and Chase Tapley - We saw just how good San Diego State was this week at the Diamond Head Classic. They play super hard and bigger than their size. That is a direct result of Jamaal Franklin. Chase Tapley also helps out on the boards from the wing, but he provides SDSU with a much more consistent and stable leader to rely upon. Together, their demeanors work well. We saw Franklin struggled offensively this week and Tapley stepped up and showed he is one of the most unheralded players in the nation. His outside shooting is key with Franklin struggling from deep.

10. Nerlens Noel and Archie Goodwin - In terms of potential, this group is obviously number one. And I think they will end up being a better duo than they are ranked when the season is over. But for now, it is tough to put them any higher.

11. Mason Plumlee and Seth Curry - Duke is the number one team in the country and Plumlee is a contender for player of the year heading into ACC play. Plumlee is the standout, but Duke still embodies more of a team philosphy than most, so they finish outside of the top 10 on the list. Any of their 5 starters can step up on any given night, but Plumlee and Curry are the veteran leaders. Plumlee is a big presence inside while Curry is their most dynamic weapon at guard - for now.

12. Jackie Carmichael and Tyler Brown - This duo has been flying under the radar, just missing getting the big win against Louisville to put them on the map. They have plenty of chances coming up in the Missouri Valley Conference, including a game on January 2nd pitting McDermott vs Carmichael. You can't get a much better post matchup than that. Brown is no slouch either - he plays under control and is a great shooter who is always ready to pull the trigger. This duo may be the best inside-out threat in America.

13. Michael Carter-Williams and James Southerland - Syracuse has a lot of good players but I think MCW and Southerland give them a chance to be "really good" as a team. Carter-Williams is great at breaking down defense and Southerland is always around the perimeter to captilize on open looks. Without James, they lack a pure shooter to take advantage of MCW's abilities. And without MCW, Syracuse lacks much of all in the halfcourt offense.

14. Jeff Withey and Travis Releford - I know, Ben McLemore deserves Releford's spot. And its true. Really this Kansas doesn't belong on this list at all because they are a TEAM. But their identity as a team is tough defense and experience and this tandem defines that the most. McLemore is their most talented player and their key to advancing far in the tournament, but these vets embody Jayhawk hoops. If this was a list of trios, they would be top 3.

15. Alex Len and Dez Wells - Maryland is a team just waiting to crack the top 25 after reeling off 10 straight wins following the opening night loss to Kentucky. But they have yet to be tested since and will have to wait until ACC play to do so. Turgeon set up a weak OOC schedule not knowing that Dez Wells has been eligible and he has proven to be the missing piece. Len's improvement combined with the addition of Wells has been the equivalent of adding to big name FAs in the NBA.

16. CJ McCollum and Gabe Knutson - At 24.9 ppg and 17.4 ppg respectively, this duo is the highest scoring duo in college basketball. They probably should be ranked higher, but lack any notable wins this year. But we saw what they can do last year against Duke. McCollum gets all the credit, yet Knutson is a huge part of their success with his saavy post game and good touch from inside of 15 feet.

17. Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright - UConn may not be very relevent this year, but they still possess one of the most offensively potent backcourts in the nation. Both are creative, aggressive combo guards who play off the hot hand. When Napier is on, he can take over. Same for Boatright. Together, they are capable of knocking off quite a few top 25 teams.

18. Shabazz Muhammad and Jordan Adams - This is the highest scoring tandem among the BCS conferences and they both happen to be freshmen. Shabazz missed the first few games because of injury and the NCAA, and came back slowly. People questioned how the two high scoring freshman would fit together and it seems they actually mesh ok. Adams has been able to take pressure of Shabazz and allowed him to focus on scoring off offensive rebounds and hustle plays. Shabazz doesn't need to dominant the ball to score so having Adams works well. Now they just need to find a way to bring it on defense - both have looked slow and out of shape so far, but Shabazz is turning it around.

19. Allen Crabbe and Justin Cobbs - The second highest scoring duo in BCS leagues also hails from California and feautures two veteran guards. Crabbe gets the attention as a possible NBA player and does a great job of moving around off the ball. Cobbs is more of a dominator of the ball, running the pick and roll well and scoring well inside for a sub 6 footer. He lacks the potential Crabbe has, but is one of the best guards nobody talks about.

20. Sean Kilpatrick and Cashmere Wright - These two have been working on establishing themselves in the Big East for years and now are one of the better teams in the conference. They play with a lot of confidence and swagger and get after it on defense. They bring energy and toughness from the guard positions and both are more than capable of scoring as well.

Other Notable Duos from Mid/Low-Major Schools:

Tyler Haws/Brandon Davies
Nate Wolters/Jordan Dykstra
De'Mon Brooks/Jake Cohen
Devon Saddler/Jamelle Hagins
Ray McCallum/Nick Minnerath
Frantz Massenat/Damien Lee
Tyreek Duren/Roman Galloway
Khalif Wyatt/Scootie Randall

1 comment:

  1. Devon Saddler and Jamelle Hagins would be two STEALS in the Draft