Robinson Going Pro

According to many sources, Kansas Jayhawks’ forward Thomas Robinson will announce his intent to play in the NBA later today.  This is no surprise to anyone, and he is #4 on the big board for ESPN. Robinson has decided to not return to Kansas for his senior season.  As a Junior, Robinson averaged 17.9 PPG and 11.8 RPG, before losing to Kentucky in the Finals a week ago.  Robinson didn’t even start his Freshman or Sophomore years, averaging at most 14 mins per game.  Last year, however, he averaged over 31.  He is a great defender and a force on the boards.  Good luck Thomas!

 

 

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March Madness Finale

If you look at the box score of last night’s NCAA Championship Game, you may see a kid that shot 1-10 and scored a total of 6 points has won the Most Outstanding Player award.  However, if you watched the game, you would have seen a Bill Russell-like defensive minded player completely changing the pace of the game.  Anthony Davis was not concerned about the offensive side of the game, he even told his teammates that he would just focus on defense and rebounding.  He had 6 blocks and 16 rebounds. Doron Lamb was the games high scorer with 22 points.

The game looked to be over almost right away, until the last 5 minutes when Kansas put together a small come back. However, they could not make up enough ground and they lost 67-59. Thomas Robinson had a great game with 18 points and 16 rebounds. Tyshawn Taylor added 19 points of his own for the Jayhawks.  The best team actually won this year, which you cannot always say at the end of the Madness.

 

Rivers Going Pro

Although it has already been around the rumor mill since last weekend, it has now become official: Austin Rivers is heading to the NBA.  Rivers was a unanimous choice for ACC Rookie of the Year.  Usually, I would disregard anything about Duke, but since it is the son of Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers, it is hard not to say something about.

Most people, including myself, thought that Rivers would last at least a few years at Duke, who are known for graduating most of their players, but not in this case.  He will become the 4th Duke player to leave after only one year. Kyrie Irving did it last year.  I also thought that Doc would push his son in the right direction.  However, he had this to say:

“At the end of the day, all you can do with all of your kids, or any kid in this situation, is give them as much input as you can, then you try to let them make the decision. They have to make it; you can’t make it for them.”

Don’t get your hopes up, though, Celtics fans.  Chances are, he won’t make it till our pick.

All-Americans in the Pros

We all know that there has been a ton of speculation regarding freshman sensation Anthony Davis of Kentucky.  He is an amazing player.  However, there are 4 other players on the All-American team that deserve a closer look too. For example, Thomas Robinson of Kansas was the first unanimous choice since Blake Griffin in 2009.  Davis was not unanimous somehow. Here is a look at the 5 All-Americans:

  1. Anthony Davis   Freshman            Kentucky
    14.3 PPG              10.1 RPG              4.6 BPG
  2. Thomas Robinson            Junior    Kansas
    17.7 PPG              11.8 RPG              .512 FG%
  3. Jared Sullinger   Sophomore        Ohio State
    17.6 PPG              9.1 RBG               .531 FG%
  4. Draymond Green             Senior   Michigan State
    16.2 PPG              10.6 RPG              3.8 APG
  5. Doug McDermott             Sophomore        Creighton
    22.9 PPG              8.2 RPG               .601 FG%

Final 4 is Finally Here!

If you somehow missed any of the games this weekend, you missed quite a bit.  The box scores do not do these games justice.  Especially in the Kentucky game.  Baylor went up 10-5 right out of the gate, but that was short lived as the Wildcats came back and exploded for 16 straight points.  The final score was 82-70, but it was much more lopsided than that.  Kentucky is going to be a tough team to beat.  Anthony Davis is going to be the #1 pick, and for good reason.  He played amazing once again with 18 points, 11 rebounds, and 6 blocks.  He even played when the game was a lock at the game, risking injury.  This team looks amazing day in and day out.  They will take on Louisville who they already beat by 7 points on New Year’s Eve.  I think this should be an easy win for Kentucky but you never know with Rick Patino on the other side of the court, he just needs to come up with a game plan to shut down 4 of the best players in the league.  Easier said than done.

Kansas is tough as well, with most likely a #2 pick Thomas Robinson scoring 18 points and Tyshawn Taylor dropping 22 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and 5 steals.  They were able to take down the Tarheels with a strong finish to the 2nd half.  They will take on Ohio State who is led by Jared Sullinger, coming off a big game against Syracuse.  He has 19 points while grabbing 7 boards.  I picked Ohio State to win last year but I think that Kansas will take this one.

Day 1 – Sweet 16 Preview

#4 Wisconsin vs. #1 Syracuse

With the loss of Fab Melo, many people wondered if the Orange would even beat 16 seed UNC Asheville.  The Orange advanced after a tough fought game with the help of some questionable officiating.  In the round of 32, the Wildcats of Kansas State put up a fight against the Orange but the depth of the Orange proved to be too much in the end, as Dion Waiters and James Southerland combined for 33 points off the bench.  Despite these two victories, the Orange are still seen as the most vulnerable of the number one seeds.  Tonight’s matchup against Wisconsin will be a true test for the Orange.  The Badgers come into this game with the 4th ranked defense in the country and on paper, look to be a great matchup for Syracuse.  Wisconsin is very stingy with the basketball, coming into this game averaging the second fewest turnovers per possession in the nation, and this will truly prevent the Orange from capitalizing on turnovers and getting easy buckets off of fast breaks.  Syracuse will most likely have to score in their half-court offense which is not an easy task against the Badgers defense.  Expect this game to be a low scoring game, with Syracuse only scoring 70 points or better 4 times in their last 13 games and the Badgers only giving up and average of 53 points in their first two tournament games.

Keys to Success:

For the Orange, Scoop Jardine and Kris Joseph are the two players that will need to step up if they are going to advance to the elite 8.  Both of these experienced players have played in big games and know what it takes to win in the NCAA tournament.  The Orange will be successful if they can produce good ball and player movement and not settle for jump shots, and their success starts from these two seniors.

For the Badgers, Jordan Taylor will have to have a big game and the defense will need to continue to be strong.  Although Taylor has not been as productive this season as he was in his junior season, with a .402 field goal percentage, .359 three point percentage, and a .785 free-throw percentage, the Badgers are in the same position as they were one year ago, the Sweet Sixteen.  If the Badgers continue to take care of the ball and keep the Orange’s offense in front of them, they will have a good chance of advancing to the Elite 8.

Prediction: Wisconsin

 

#4 Louisville vs. #1 Michigan State

                The Big East Champion Louisville Cardinals will face their biggest test yet as they come up against Michigan State number one seed Michigan State in the Sweet Sixteen.  The Spartans will enter the game minus an important role player in freshman guard Branden Dawson.  Dawson has been huge in piling up hustle points for the Spartans and his loss will provide an advantage for the Cardinals.  The player for the Spartans that has to step up in this game will be Draymond Green.  Green is averaging 20 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 8 assists in the tournament, leading the tournament in scoring.  The Spartans have been a second half team so far in the tournament shooting 64.2 percent in the second half in wins against LIU Brooklyn and Saint Louis, but the Cardinals may jump on the Spartans early if they get off to a slow start.  For Louisville to win this game it is going to have to come from the defensive end.  The Cardinals play as hard on defense as any team in the country with Gogui Deng being a force in the paint and great guard defense led by Peyton Siva.  On the offensive side of the ball, Siva has been averaging 9.2 points per game and 5.5 assists per game.  He will need to continue to get his team involved if the Cardinals are going to pull off the upset.

Prediction: Michigan State

 

#6 Cincinnati vs. #2 Ohio State

The Cincinnati Bearcats are coming off of a huge win over the ACC Tournament champion Florida State Seminoles and will need to continue with this momentum if they are going to upset Ohio State.  With Fab Melo out, The Buckeyes have quickly become the favorite to reach the Final Four from the East Region.  Cincinnati has played well as of late, reaching the finals in the Big East Tournament and defeating Texas and Florida State in the first two rounds of the tournament.  One of the most intriguing matchups in this game is going to be the matchup between Yancy Gates and Jared Sullinger.  Gates and Sullinger are averaging 9.2 and 9.3 rebounds per game respectively, and whoever wins this big man matchup is going to give their team a huge advantage to win the game.  I would give the edge to Sullinger in this battle.  Sullinger possesses a point scoring ability that Gates does not as he is leading his team and averaging 17.6 points per game.  He has flown under the radar for much of this season and is much better than people are currently giving him credit for.  Each of these teams has the chance to bring Ohio its first men’s basketball title since 1962.

Prediction: Ohio State

 

#7 Florida vs. #3 Marquette

In the round of 32, Marquette beat a very good Murray State team who did not get as much credit as they deserved.  Darius Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder is one of the best duos in the country and they have shown this throughout the tournament.  Each of these players were finalists for the Big East player of the year, an award that Crowder won.  A key to the game for the Golden Eagles is not Johnson Odom’s offense, rather his defense.  Florida’s offense is run around ball screens and spacing along the three point line with very minimal post game.  Florida shoots more three point shots than most and for Marquette to slow down their offense Johnson Odom has to come up big defensively.  For Florida the key player is Kenny Boynton.  He is averaging 16.3 points per game and has been Florida’s most consistent player all season.  He will have to have a big offensive night if the Gators are going to beat Marquette.  Florida’s defense will also be a huge factor in determining their success.  The Gators have struggled at time this year when they were shooting poorly from behind the arc because they could not get stops or force turnovers.  However, in their two NCAA tournament wins so far they allowed their opponents to a .71 and .77 points per possession.  The Golden Eagles are very capable of scoring in bunches and the Gators will need to play tenacious defense once again to stay in this game.

Prediction: Marquette

Guest Writer: Matt Frags

Can UConn Strike Twice?

Since UConn has been my favorite team since I can remember, I figured it would be a good idea to write an article since everyone is talking about their back-to-back wins, just as they did last year en route to a national championship.  They ran over Depaul, which they should every day of the week, and then barely snuck by West Virginia yesterday in overtime.  This was due largely in part to Shabazz Napier’s 26 points and Jeremy Lamb’s 22 points.  Luckily for the Huskies, WVU only shot 34.7% from the field.  They did, however, out-rebound UConn 40-24.

Next up is their toughest test.  They will be taking on #1 in the Big East Syracuse. Syracuse has been chosen by many, including me, to win the Final Four.  As much as I do not think UConn can beat the Orange, I will not count them out completely because I began to do that last year and we all know how that turned out. At the beginning of February, UConn got blown out of the water by them 85-67.  However, by the end of the month, they only lost to them 71-69.  I think it is possible for them to stir up an upset but is going to be tough.  I mean this is the same team who has lost against Providence and Rutgers, both awful teams.  Maybe we will be lucky enough to see another 5 overtime game like last season.   Unfortunately, the Huskies are missing one key component from last year’s team—Kemba Walker.

 

Weekend Recap

#6 UNC opened up with a 48-24 halftime lead en route to beating #3 Duke to claim the ACC title on Saturday night. Duke shot an awful 41.3% from the field while UNC shot nearly 55%. All of the Tar Heel’s starters finished with double digits in points.  Tyler Zeller dropped 19 and grabbed 10 boards while John Henson contributed 13 points, 10 rebounds.  Sophomore Kendall Marshall scored a game-high 20 points while adding 10 assists.  The Tar Heels out-rebounded the Blue Devils 42-22.

Other Games
#2 Syracuse 58                  #18 Lousiville 49
#4 Kansas 73                      Texas 63
#7 Marquette 83              #12 Georgetown 69
#10 Baylor 72                     Iowa State 80

#1 Kentucky easily handled #13 Florida to finish 16-0 in the Southeastern Conference.  They finished at 30-1 during the regular season.  Anthony Davis had an incredible night shooting (9-13) for 22 points while grabbing 12 boards and 6 blocks.  Terrence Jones also played well for the Wildcats with 19 points.  Florida shot a perfect 11-11 from the free throw line but only shot 38.2% from the field.

#11 Ohio State handed #5 Michigan State their second loss in the last 5 days with a 72-70 victory. Guard William Buford scored 25 points while Jarrod Sullinger scored 14 points and grabbed 10 boards.  Michigan State star Draymond Green scored 19 points and grabbed 12 boards of his own.

Weekend Preview

In case you didn’t already hear, this weekend is going to be huge for college basketball.  It is coming down to the wire, with only 9 days left until selection Sunday.  Some teams need a nice boost while others look to hold on to their number 1 seeds while playing other ranked teams.

*Click on any blue links below to see a small preview about their team!

**Also vote on our poll for player of the year! It’s neck and neck:  Thomas Robinson vs. Anthony Davis

Saturday

#18 Louisville vs. #2 Syracuse                  Pick: Syracuse
#6 North Carolina
vs. #3 Duke                  Pick: UNC (I hope they both lose)
#12 Georgetown vs. #7 Marquette            Pick: Georgetown
#4 Kansas vs. Texas                                 Pick: Kansas
#10 Baylor vs. Iowa State                        Pick: Baylor (gonna be close)

Sunday

#1 Kentucky vs. #13 Florida                     Pick: Kentucky
#11 Ohio State vs. #5 Michigan State      Pick: Michigan St

Now I usually don’t believe that the number 1 seed is always the best team, but in this case it’s hard to against Kentucky. Especially with the way they went off against Georgia during their senior night on Thursday.  I really feel like they are the toughest team in the league and should run right over Florida.

UNC and Duke is going to be the game of the year.  After their last game, which was like an NBA game, you can expect the very best from both teams.

Player of the Year as Close as It Gets!

Just as I did the past few months, I am going to ask the tough question.  Who should be crowned College Basketball Player of the Year?  A few of the big preseason names have fallen off in the past few months.  Therefore, the race is basically down to two people: Anthony Davis (See team preview here) and Thomas Robinson (See team preview here). Head to head, this pick is going to be a tough one.  In fact, some ballots will be conducted next week on this subject, but we still won’t find out for a while. Here are some stats for ya:

Anthony Davis                  Freshman            Kentucky Wildcats          Team Rank: 1/1
PPG: 14.3                             SPG: 1.5               FG%: .658
APG: 0.9                               BPG: 4.8               FT%: .717
RPG: 9.8                               TPG: 0.9               MPG: 31.4

Thomas Robinson            Junior                   Kansas Jayhawks              Team Rank: 3/4
PPG: 17.8                             SPG: 1.1               FG%: .531
APG: 1.8                               BPG: 1.1               FT%: .695
RPG: 11.8                             TPG: 2.7               MPG: 31.4

They average the same exact minutes per game and their stats are very close.  Even in the ballots conducted every week, they are within 3 points of each other (Davis is ahead).  I feel like Anthony Davis has a better team around him but at the same time, that should make it even tougher to put up numbers like he has since they have more than one or two stars on their team.  What do you guys think?