Award Tour: Mason Plumlee Outduels Deshaun Thomas for Top NPOY Spot, COY Top Five Debuts…

Posted by DCassilo on November 30th, 2012

David Cassilo is an RTC columnist who also writes about college basketball for SLAM magazine. You can follow him at @dcassilo.

Up until Wednesday, nobody deserved to be atop the player of the year list. There had been some strong performances by great players, but no one had grabbed the reins of this year’s race. But when Duke and Ohio State took the court on Wednesday, it became obvious that the two best players in the country were on the floor: Deshaun Thomas and Mason Plumlee. A deep three-pointer from Thomas would be followed by a monster dunk from Plumlee. It was fun theater to watch in what might go down as the most memorable non-conference game of the season. In the end, Plumlee took those reins with 21 points and 17 rebounds, while Thomas was limited to 16 points by early foul trouble. And now, we have our front-runner. Even a bad week won’t necessarily knock him off the top spot. Plumlee made his move. It’s time for the rest of the country to respond.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR CANDIDATES

10. Sean Kilpatrick – Cincinnati (Last Week – NR)
2012-13 stats: 21 PPG, 6.7 RPG

Perhaps the nation’s most underrated player on the nation’s most underrated team, Kilpatrick came up big in the rather anonymous Global Sports Classic. Against Iowa State and Oregon, Kilpatrick averaged 24 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. He can beat you in a number of ways, as he has already hit eight three-pointers and 16 free throws in separate games. This week: Dec. 1 vs. Alabama, Dec. 6 vs. Arkansas-Little Rock

9. Le’Bryan Nash – Oklahoma State (Last Week – 10)
2012-13 stats: 19.2 PGG, 6.4 RPG

Nash or Smart? The battle rages for who is the better Cowboy. (AP)

Deciding who is better between Nash and Marcus Smart can be a difficult task, but the sophomore has proven to be a tad more consistent this season. In all five games he’s played, Nash has tallied at least 16 points and five rebounds. This week: Dec. 1 at Virginia Tech, Dec. 5 vs. South Florida

8. Jeff Withey – Kansas (Last Week – NR)
2012-13 stats: 14.2 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 6.2 BPG

Notching a triple-double will surely get our attention at Rush the Court, and that’s exactly what Withey did against San Jose State. The senior had 16 points, 12 rebounds and 12 blocks in the victory. A defensive stalwart, it was the second time this season he had at least 10 blocks in a game. This week: Nov. 30 vs. Oregon State

7. Isaiah Canaan – Murray State (Last Week – 7)
2012-13 stats: 22.5 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 3.5 APG

As noted last week, Canaan was bound to have some monster scoring games once he could get his three-point shot to fall, and that’s what happened this past week. With the help of 55 percent shooting from deep, Canaan scored 30 points against Old Dominion and 32 points against Lipscomb. Expect much more of this to come. This week: Dec. 4 vs. Bethel

6. Doug McDermott – Creighton (Last Week – 8)
2012-13 stats: 21 PPG, 7.3 RPG

McDermott finally got his scoring going with 80 points in his last three games. Still, he needs to shoot more, as he has attempted 11 shots or less in four of seven games despite being Creighton’s only real scoring threat. If he does so, he could really start putting up some big numbers. This week: Dec. 1 vs. Saint Joseph’s, Dec 6 at Nebraska

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BGTD: Early Afternoon Games Analysis

Posted by jstevrtc on February 19th, 2011

BracketBusters will get a whole post to itself a little later, but there’s enough good stuff happening today elsewhere in college basketball to keep us busy. We’ve already had some important results today in terms of bubble-ology (you gotta finish strong, Virginia Tech), and there’s even been a slew of Twitter chatter about who would be the best Commissioner of College Basketball — we prefer “Czar of Hoops” – if such a position existed. Peter Gabriel once said that all art is based on theft, so we took that idea and created a Twitter poll about it, for which we’ll be taking votes up through this evening.

  • Hardy Shows Guts, MSG Goes Nuts. Some time around the middle of the second half of what turned out to be a 60-59 St. John’s win over Pittsburgh, thanks to a closing-moments layin by Dwight Hardy, we tweeted out a quick poll to see how many of our faithful followers thought St. John’s would get into the Dance. We figured everyone would vote them in…and that’s exactly what happened after about a hundred votes. NOBODY voted them out, which really didn’t surprise us. Then the game ended, and we canceled the poll. It was all but a foregone conclusion before that game, given their collection of signature wins, but it’s final, now. The only question is what seed they’ll get. With a deep run in the Big East Tournament, could the Johnnies play themselves up to a four seed? A three? What say you, friends?
  • No Higgins Jokes, Please. Another question from that game: Hardy looked like a tightrope walker as he tried to stay in-bounds along the baseline while making his move that led to the game-winning layup. Did he step out? When we rewound the DVR, it looked like his toes stayed in, but his heels were definitely over the line. The way his foot moves, though, it appears that he pivoted on his toes and his heels were hovering above the line (so to speak), but we admit that it’s not the best angle. The referee, you’ll notice, is looking right at Hardy’s feet. Nobody in America had a better view. We’ll go with his (non-)call until we see a better angle. A couple of people mentioned that Hardy hooked his defender to get free for the shot, but you can’t expect to get that call that late and on the road.
  • Get On Your (Combat) Boots. The Big East Tournament is going to be a total war to the point that all we need to make it better is Dale Dye coordinating student section cheers in his dress blues. Or maybe ESPN could have him do the pre-game teasers. We say this because West Virginia got hot in the second half and just cooked likely-two-seed and possible-one-seed Notre Dame, 72-58. It obviously improves WVU’s Tournament resume’, not that there was much doubt about their chances. Truck Bryant and his previously broken fifth metatarsal hit four threes and 10 of his 12 free throws en route to a 24-point day.
  • We Told You So. For anyone complaining that Texas should have been the #1 team in the polls back on Monday, Nebraska says “Hi.” Two of our guys voted for the Longhorns for the RTC Top 25 (which Ohio State sat atop when our mainframe finished tabulating all the data) and there’s no question an excellent case could have been made, but the Huskers took care of that moments ago. Nebraska tried to give it away by missing free throws and fouling three-point shooters — twice — in the last three minutes of the game, losing their double-digit lead over a span of about ninety seconds. But, they held on, 70-67, to deal Texas their first Big 12 loss. So far today, we’ve seen losses by #4 Pitt, #7 Notre Dame, and now #2 Texas. Nobody is safe this year, people. There’s no single team that even approaches what everyone thought of Kansas last year, and we know how it all worked out for them. What a post-season we have in store.
  • We Want To Hear From You. That especially applies today, because we’re not kidding about that Twitter poll. Who would get your vote for the position of Commissioner of College Basketball? Hit us up on Twitter, and let us know. We’ll announce the results later today on the feed. As of right now, your leaders are Jay Bilas, and…Bob Knight.
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ATB: Rhythm Of The Saints And Baseline Complaints

Posted by jstevrtc on February 11th, 2011

The Lede. It was Day Four of Rivalry Week, and though the tag of “rivalry” on some of the games might have been questionable, there was no lack of storylines. Connecticut might have been indoors but still got caught up in one heck of a Storm, and Vanderbilt managed to dodge an entire Tide, though the majority of our friends and Twitter followees feel that the Commodores may have gotten a little help at the end. Oh, and there’s a little WCC team on whom you might want to keep an eye. Let’s jump in…

St. John's Had Walker Frustrated All Night (F. Franklin/AP)

Your Watercooler Moment. There were very few points in this game at which Connecticut appeared to be playing at full speed, and even fewer at which St. John’s appeared to play at anything less. Sure, the Garden may have had a little to do with the Johnnies’ 89-72 win over the Huskies, but the bigger factor was that one team showed up for whole game and the other didn’t. UConn didn’t play its best basketball in the first half but at least seemed interested and stayed close enough to where their talent could have pulled them through in the end. Instead, in the second half, Connecticut didn’t defend in the half-court, didn’t get back in transition defense, didn’t seem at all prepared for St. John’s’ match-up zone, and did nothing to stop SJU’s Dwight Hardy. The St. John’s senior guard dropped 33 on the Huskies and got help with 20 more from D. J. Kennedy, whose 11 boards helped the Red Storm to a 41-31 rebounding edge. UConn got the help it’s been wanting from its non-Kemba corps — Roscoe Smith (16/6), Alex Oriakhi (12/8), Jeremy Lamb (13/5) all played well, though Lamb’s 2-7 from three was a bit of a pinch — it just didn’t defend for most of the game. Nobody expected that from a team who came into MSG ranked in the top ten nationally in FG% defense, especially inside the three-point arc. [Note: For our RTC Live summary and link to the coverage, see below.]

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