BCS National Title Game '11

BCS National Title Game '11
BCS National Championship 1/10/11 Oregon vs Auburn

Friday, November 30, 2012

NCAA College Basketball Recap #1

College Basketball has begun and we are already seeing some great basketball. The Maui Invitation, Battle 4 Atlantis, and other Thanksgiving tournaments are over. We now are currently into the conference challenges as the ACC played against the Big Ten and the SEC is now battling it out with the Big East. There has been impressive play by teams such as Indiana, Duke, Florida, Michigan, and Gonzaga. Other teams are starting off a little slower than expected, such as NC State, North Carolina, and UCLA. Here are my current rankings and analysis of what I have seen so far this season.

1. Indiana   7-0 

- The Indiana Hoosiers appeared to be struggling two weeks ago when they played Georgia and against Georgetown. The Hoosiers struggled against Georgia well into the fourth quarter until they pulled away and won 66-53. The Georgetown game really tested the Hoosiers as they needed overtime to pull off the 82-72 win. Since that game though, Indiana has looked solid. The blowout win over #14 North Carolina on Tuesday said a lot about this team. The Tar Heels are not the same team from last season, but the play from star sophomore Cody Zeller, junior Will Sheehey, and Victor Oladipo could not have been much better. Talk about shooting lights out. The lights literally went out in Assembly Hall for a brief moment. This game showcased how talented this team could be this season and Christian Watford only had two points on the night.

  2. Duke      7-0

- Out of any team in the country, the Duke Blue Devils have best resumé of wins right now. The Blue Devils defeated #3 Kentucky in Atlanta 75-68, #2 Louisville 76-71 in the Battle 4 Atlantis Championship, and #4 Ohio State 73-68 at home. The Blue Devils also had difficult games in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament against Minnesota and VCU. This Blue Devil team looked tired early against Ohio State and could only make shots from the line in the first half. In the second half though, the Blue Devils battled back and played great basketball against a tough Buckeye squad. Mason Plumlee's inside game and rebounding has been key to the success the Blue Devils have had. The Blue Devils have also seen the rise of freshman guard Rasheed Sulaimon, who is averaging 12.7 points per game. Look for Sulaimon to continue to be a huge part of the Duke offense along with senior guard Seth Curry, senior forward Ryan Kelly, and sophomore Quinn Cook. This team already looks better than they did last season. 

3. Michigan   6-0

- This may possibly be the best Michigan team we have seen in years. The Wolverines have defeated Pittsburgh, Kansas State, and NC State so far this season. The Wolverines, led by junior guard Tim Hardaway Jr. and sophomore guard Trey Burke, are currently scoring 80.8 points per game and are fifth in the nation with a field goal percentage of .529. I am impressed with the defensive of play from these Wolverines. Freshman forward Glenn Robinson III has had 19 rebounds in his last two games and has been a playmaker on offense averaging 12.2 points per game. Watch out for the Wolverines as the season continues, they are a lot stronger than last year's team that was upset in the second round of the NCAA Tournament by Ohio. 

 4. Florida       6-0

- After a blowout 82-49 victory over Marquette last night, I am ready to put the Gators in the number four spot. Florida did have to cancel its first game of the season against Georgetown on the USS Bataan due to moisture on the court, but the Gators were able to blow out #22 Wisconsin 74-56 just days after the cancellation. The Gators are led by senior guard Kenny Boynton, who is currently averaging 14.5 points per game and has been almost solid from the free throw line going 22 for 25. The Gators also consist of senior forward/center Erik Murphy, who is averaging 4.2 rebounds per game and senior guard Mike Rosario, who has averaged 11.0 points per game. Freshman guard Michael Frazier III will also be a valuable asset to this team as he dropped 17 points on Marquette last night. Lastly, the Gators will play tough opponents in their next three of four games. The Gators must travel to in-state rival Florida State, #9 Arizona, and Kansas State in Kansas City. If the Gators get through these three games look for them to be undefeated until at least late January. 

5. Ohio State    4-1

- The Buckeyes lost in a close one at Duke on Wednesday 73-68, but these Buckeyes are a very talented bunch. The inside game is strong and the Buckeyes defensively shutdown Duke the entire first half. The Buckeyes are led by junior forward Deshaun Thomas who has been impressive this season by averaging 22.4 points per game and 6.2 rebounds per game. Junior guard Aaron Craft continues to be the key roll player in the Buckeye offense and junior guard Lenzelle Smith, Jr. currently has a three-point field goal percentage of .474. The Buckeyes will breeze through their non-conference schedule until December 22nd when they host Kansas.

6. Syracuse   4-0

7. Louisville  5-1

8. Gonzaga   7-0

9. Arizona    4-0

10. Kansas    5-1

Teams to watch: 

1. Oklahoma State (5-0)
- The Cowboys had a blowout win over #6 NC State 76-56 and have a tough guard game consisting of true freshman Marcus Smart.

2. Illinois (8-0)
- John Groce's squad has looked unstoppable so far this season. They won the Maui Invitation by defeating Butler 78-61. The play from senior guard Brandon Paul has been crucial as he has averaged 18.3 points per game.

3. Oregon (6-1)
- The Pac-12 is going to be up for grabs and the Ducks could be in the mix again. The Ducks knocked off #18 UNLV in the semifinals of the Global Sports Classic in Las Vegas. The Ducks then almost upset #22 Cincinnati in the Finals. The play from the Duck's freshman and Rice transfer Arsalan Kazemi has been a large part of why this team has been successful.

4. Georgetown (4-1)
- The Hoyas defeated #11 UCLA, then gave #1 Indiana all they could handle in overtime and almost pulled off the upset. Pay attention to the play of junior guard Markel Starks. This kid has looked solid so far this season.

Potential Pretenders:

1. NC State (4-2)
- A lot of talent on this Wolf Pack squad that was ranked number six in the preseason ranking. Unfortunately, they were blown out by an unranked Oklahoma State team 76-56 and also lost at #3 Michigan 79-72. The play from freshman T.J. Warren and junior C.J. Leslie will hopefully get this Wolf Pack team back on track and in a position to compete for the ACC title.

2. UCLA (5-2)
- Here we go again with the drama surrounding the UCLA program. UCLA had to defeat UC-Irvine in overtime, lost to Georgetown, and then was upset by Cal Poly at home. Junior center Joshua Smith and junior guard Tyler Lamb have already left the program. It will be up to freshman Shabazz Muhammad to lead this Bruin squad the rest of the season.

3. North Carolina 
- The Tar Heels are obviously not as strong this season with the loss of their four star players from last season, but it doesn't mean they are a bad team. The Tar Heels look all out of sorts this season. The Tar Heels were almost blown out in Maui by Butler, then were manhandled at #1 Indiana 83-59.

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