Who Won The Week? Shabazz Napier, Memphis and Villanova…

Posted by Kenny Ocker on December 6th, 2013

Who Won the Week? is a regular column that will outline and discuss three winners and losers from the previous week. The author of this column is Kenny Ocker (@KennyOcker), a Spokane-based sportswriter best known for his willingness to drive (or bike!) anywhere to watch a basketball game. But he’s not biking anywhere with a sub-zero wind chill. 

WINNER: Shabazz Napier

UConn guard Shabazz Napier can claim two things after a buzzer-beating winning shot against Florida: Being America's top player, and being Who Won The Week's top winner.

UConn guard Shabazz Napier can claim two things after a buzzer-beating winning shot against Florida: Being America’s top player, and being Who Won The Week’s top winner.

The stellar UConn guard and his team only played one game last week, matching up against a ranked Florida squad. And Napier stole the show. Including the buzzer-beating free-throw-line fadeaway for the 65-64 win, the junior guard finished Monday night’s game in Storrs with 26 points on 9-of-15 shooting and a game-high three steals. It’s impressive to think that Kemba Walker’s backup backcourt mate during the Huskies’ 2011 title run has a solid case in being judged the best player in college basketball this season. If he keeps playing at his current level – the senior guard averages 16.4 points, 7.3 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 1.9 steals per game – he could solidify that claim by the end of the year. Of course, some more luck coming his team’s way couldn’t hurt; including Monday’s game, three of the Huskies’ eight wins have come by a single point.

LOSER: Florida

Already down the services of Eli Carter for the year and freshman five-star recruit Kasey Hill for a couple more weeks due to injuries, Billy Donovan’s Gators could ill afford to lose another point guard. Bad news in Gainesville: Starting point guard Scottie Wilbekin is expected to be out indefinitely after sustaining a similar injury with three minutes left in Florida’s aforementioned loss to UConn. Wilbekin, who already missed five regular-season games due to an offseason suspension, was tough enough to replace as the starting point guard when Florida’s second and third options at the position were healthy. Instead, the Gators face an onslaught of Kansas and Memphis back-to-back on the next two Tuesdays.

To give credit where it’s due, the 67-66 home win over rival Florida State last week is nothing to sneeze at, though Wilbekin did have seven points, eight assists and five steals in that match-up.

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Morning Five: 12.06.13 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on December 6th, 2013


  1. We have not heard of many players deciding to transfer so far this season, but it is getting to the point in the season/academic year where we would expect to start hearing a lot more about that. Alex Murphy is the first player from a major program this season to announce his intention to transfer as he plans to leave Duke at the end of the semester. Murphy, a redshirt sophomore, reclassified from the class of 2012 in his final year of high school and entered college in the class of 2011 so even though he is a redshirt sophomore he is only 20 years old. We would expect that Murphy, who averaged just 2.1 points in 6.3 minutes per game as a freshman, will have plenty of suitors although Florida (where his brother Erik played) or Providence/Rhode Island (his home state) would be the favorites.
  2. It seems like this ridiculous conference realignment period will never end. After seeing what seems like nearly every school change conferences we are starting to see some schools go back to their former conference. Yesterday, Oral Roberts that it will be rejoining the Summit League after leaving it for the Southland Conference in 2012. The Oral Roberts administration cited the Southland’s more recent expansion as being opposed to the school’s goals of reducing travel costs and strengthening rivalries. Although we hesitate to praise anybody for changing conferences (admitting that we understand the economic realities of college sports) it is nice to see Oral Roberts do this if their stated reasons were the actual reasons for their move.
  3. Apparently George Mason officials take a different view of stepping on an opposing player’s chest than college basketball historians. Yesterday, the school suspended forward Anali Okoloji indefinitely after he was called for stepping on South Florida’s Anthony Collins during their game on Wednesday night. The move should not effect the team too much as he was only averaging 2.4 points and 1.6 rebounds per game this season although their next two games are against Oklahoma and Iowa State so they could probably use all the help that they can get. For his part, it appears that Okoloji is taking the right approach publicly by agreeing with Paul Hewitt’s decision.
  4. With all of the focus on Duke’s current freshman star Jabari Parker, many media members have been comparing him to former Duke star Grant Hill. While Hill’s NBA career was derailed by a series of unfortunate injuries it appears that he is doing well based on his interview with Ryan Fagan that touches on a variety of things including his thoughts on his alma mater, some of the current stars, and his philanthropic work. It also appears that Hill has been active working on a financial career as he has an interesting post-basketball career path in front of him.
  5. Finally, it is hard to believe that Dick Vitale has been working at ESPN for 34 years as a college basketball analyst. Yesterday was the 34th anniversary of his first ESPN telecast and the people at ESPN dug into their vault to pull out his first telecast. While we understand that he has become a polarizing figure to some because of his loud personality and his perceived favoritism of some teams it is hard to argue with his impact on the game and how he has helped popularize it with a national audience. For those of you who may not be familiar with his older work the video shows a little bit about how he has changed (hair isn’t that different though) although we did find Joe Boyle’s facial expressions when Vitale started to talk amusing.
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2012-13 RTC Conference Primers: Colonial Athletic Association

Posted by Brian Goodman on November 2nd, 2012

Mark Selig of the Daily News-Record and http://jamesmadison.rivals.com is the RTC correspondent for the CAA. You can follow him on Twitter at @markrselig.

Top Storylines

  • Strange League Makeup: Perennial contender VCU left for the Atlantic 10, leaving 11 teams in the CAA, but only seven of those squads will participate in this year’s league tournament held in Richmond. Outgoing Old Dominion and Georgia State are ineligible under CAA bylaws, while UNC-Wilmington and Towson are ineligible for any postseason play because of low APR scores. College of Charleston recently approved a move from the Southern Conference and will likely join next season.
  • Can Bruiser Take The Dragons Dancing? Drexel’s 12th-year coach has won 199 games with the Dragons, but Bruiser Flint has never brought the team to the NCAA Tournament (his last Tourney appearance was in 1998 with UMass). The Dragons, champions of the regular season last year, are the favorites to repeat and this time also win the conference tourney now that VCU isn’t around to boast what was essentially home-court advantage at the Richmond Coliseum. Flint has had his share of headaches in the Virginia state capital, but a lot of them would go away if he could just snip that Coliseum net.

Frantz Massenat Leads The Dragons As Preseason Favorites. (AP)

  • Multiple Bids? That seems to be the question every year in the CAA, a conference that sent multiple teams to the tournament in 2011, 2007 and 2006. Without VCU – a fringe Top 25 team – that appears unlikely. But a team like Drexel could theoretically build itself a strong enough at-large résumé and then get upset in the CAA Tournament. It would take a big season from a George Mason or Delaware to have the Colonial flag waved at multiple NCAA sites, though. Old Dominion, ineligible for the league title, created a rugged enough non-conference schedule for itself to be an at-large consideration, but the Monarchs probably aren’t talented enough this year to breeze through that slate.

Reader’s Take I

Predicted Order of Finish

  1. Drexel (15-3)
  2. Delaware (13-5)
  3. George Mason (13-5)
  4. Northeastern (10-8)
  5. Old Dominion (9-9)
  6. James Madison (9-9)
  7. Georgia State (7-11)
  8. Hofstra (7-11)
  9. William & Mary (6-12)
  10. Towson (6-12)
  11. UNC-Wilmington (4-14)

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