Tag:Jeff Borzello
Posted on: March 9, 2012 2:07 am
Edited on: March 9, 2012 12:46 pm
 

Committee faces hard task with this year's bubble

The NCAA tournament selection committee has a tough task ahead when evaluating this year's bubble teams. (NCAA.com)

By Jeff Borzello

Selection Sunday is always unpredictable, but this year will see even more questionable choices and inconsistency among the selections. This season, though, it might not be the committee’s fault – there’s just no easy way to sort through this season’s bubble teams.

Aside from the fact the majority of them are playing themselves out of the field and have mediocre resumes when compared to past groups, there are so many bubble teams that have nothing in common. There is no singular way to stack up this group of resumes and get a consistent pecking order. Everyone will have a different way to stack up the teams this year, and everyone will focus on a different variable. What makes this season so difficult? Let’s take a look at the biggest issues facing the committee this season.

Middling majors vs. non-BCS champs: This is going to be one that is debated by everyone until the moment the selections are made – and then for the following 24 hours after the show. Championship week turned several of the top mid-major champions into tournament casualties, specifically Oral Roberts, Iona, Drexel and Middle Tennessee. All four have exceptional records and solid overall resumes, but they will all be sweating on Selection Sunday. On the other side, we have a long list of power-conference teams that struggled throughout conference play but picked up a good win here and there. That list includes Miami (Fl.), Northwestern, North Carolina State, Seton Hall, West Virginia, Texas, Mississippi State and others. Which will the committee value more? Consistency throughout the season but no marquee wins? Or a few top-50 victories but inconsistency overall?

Injuries/Missed games: It seems that there are more injuries, suspensions or other special circumstances involving key players on bubble teams that will complicate selection than ever before. Here’s a small sampling:

  • Miami (Fl.): Reggie Johnson, Garrius Adams, DeQuan Jones
  • North Carolina State: C.J. Leslie
  • Xavier: Tu Holloway, Dezmine Wells, Mark Lyons
  • Ole Miss: Murphy Holloway
  • Drexel: Chris Fouch, Derrick Thomas
  • Tennessee: Jarnell Stokes
  • Long Beach State: Larry Anderson
  • Washington: C.J. Wilcox
  • BYU: Matt Carlino, Noah Hartsock, Stephen Rogers
  • Northwestern: Jershon Cobb
  • South Florida: Anthony Collins, Augustus Gilchrist, Jawanza Poland
  • Oregon: Devoe Joseph
  • Arizona: Kevin Parrom
  • Dayton: Josh Benson

Which injuries will the committee weigh more than others? Are big wins when key players were out still viewed the same way? There are plenty of interesting considerations when looking at these injuries.

Pac-12: The Pac-12 has been its own complication this season. It had arguably the worst season any major conference has had in decades, and therefore is going to be difficult for the committee to evaluate. Moreover, for the first time, the Pac-12 had an unbalanced schedule, meaning Washington’s 14-4 record isn’t the same as the 13-5 record with which California or Oregon finished. If the committee views the Pac-12 as the ninth or 10th best conference in the country, a gaudy record won’t matter much. If it views the league as a “big six” conference, a regular-season title would carry plenty of weight. Moreover, would the committee really only give the Pac-12 one bid if California wins the tournament? That’s the way things seem to be headed.

Washington: The Huskies can be grouped with the Pac-12 category, as they will be the main beneficiary of the committee viewing the conference as a “big six” league. Washington has yet to beat an NCAA tournament team, but it won the outright regular-season title at 14-4. Would the selection committee really turn down the winner of a traditional power conference that boasts so much talent?

Tennessee: The Volunteers are going to be an interesting test for the committee, due to the fact they finished with the No. 2 seed in the SEC tournament and have beat some quality teams. Moreover, the availability of Jarnell Stokes will have a major effect on Tennessee’s resume. The Volunteers were 10-5 with him in the lineup, and just 8-8 without him. However, the overall profile still isn’t good and Tennessee’s two wins over Florida came with Stokes playing a combined 11 minutes.

South Florida: If the Bulls get into the field, the committee will point to its 12 Big East wins and quarterfinal appearance in the conference tournament. If the Bulls are left out, they can point to the one top-50 win and terrible non-conference season. Either way, the committee is right (and wrong, depending on what you were hoping for). With the Big East having an unbalanced schedule, South Florida didn’t have to go through a murderers’ row to reach 12 wins. With that said, 12 wins in the Big East is still 12 wins in the Big East. Except when it’s not. How will the committee see it?

Xavier: The Musketeers have a decent resume overall, but it’s clear the various suspensions of Tu Holloway, Mark Lyons and Dezmine Wells played a major part in the midseason slump. Xavier was 0-1 without Holloway, 0-2 without Lyons and 1-3 without Wells. Take away that stretch in the Musketeers’ resume, and it’s likely an at-large profile. Will the committee completely remove those few games, though?

Drexel: The Dragons won 19 games in a row, won the CAA regular-season title outright and were playing some of the best basketball in the country late in the season. With that said, they lost to VCU in the CAA title game and don’t have the profile that would historically get an at-large bid. Of course, this season is nothing like past seasons. This profile could go back to the mid-major champs vs. middling majors argument. The Dragons will be a great test case.

Dayton: The Flyers are not getting the same at-large attention as some other teams, but that would change with a quarterfinal win over Xavier on Friday night. The computer profile is terrible, with an RPI in the 70s, and there are four sub-100 losses on the resume. On the plus side, Dayton has wins over Temple, Saint Louis, Alabama, Xavier and Ole Miss. They are 8-7 against the top 100. Then there was the season-ending injury to Josh Benson in late December. Lots of good, lots of bad. Which will the committee weigh more?

Lack of similar resumes: This could be the biggest problem the committee faces this season. There’s simply no way to compare the resumes of say, Iona and Seton Hall. One took advantage of the plethora of top-50 chances and scalped a few key wins, while the other beat nearly everyone in front of them but suffered bad losses in conference play. How can the committee look at Northwestern and its 1-10 top-50 record and say without a doubt that it’s better or worse than Oral Roberts’ 1-2 slate vs. the top 50? There are teams with no bad losses, and teams with four bad losses. There are teams with bad RPIs but good wins, and others with good RPIs but no good wins.

Each committee member will value one or two categories more than the others; collecting so many different opinions with this year’s batch of bubble teams is going to be make it completely unpredictable. 

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 9, 2012 12:57 am
 

ACC quarterfinals preview

The ACC tournament didn’t feature a ton of excitement, but we did see an end to Clemson head coach Brad Brownell’s streak of never losing the first game of a conference tournament. The Tigers were dropped by Virginia Tech, which used a late run to get a win. Maryland cruised by Wake Forest to advance, while bubble teams Miami (Fl.) and North Carolina State both survived and advanced. Friday is the big day for the latter two teams, while Tech and Maryland look to play spoiler.

No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 8 Maryland: In most years, this would be a must-see game between two of the perennial powers in the conference. Not so much this season. With that said, Terrell Stoglin getting a chance to run up and down against one of the nation’s fastest teams is fun to watch. North Carolina swept the two regular-season meetings.

No. 4 Virginia vs. No. 5 North Carolina State: North Carolina State used a late-season surge to play itself back into NCAA contention, while Virginia need a win in the regular-season finale to stay in the field heading into tournament play. The Wolfpack clearly need this one more than the Cavaliers, and a win here could lift NC State into the tournament. UVA won the first meeting by one.

No. 2 Duke vs. No. 10 Virginia Tech: Duke and Virginia Tech have tangled in plenty of memorable games over the years, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see this one come down to the final minutes as well. It took the Blue Devils five extra minutes to beat the Hokies in late February, and Virginia Tech has had plenty of close games this season. How will Duke play without Ryan Kelly?

No. 3 Florida State vs. No. 6 Miami (Fl.): One of Miami’s two major scalps on its resume is a win over the Seminoles; the Hurricanes need to do it again in order to get a bid to the NCAA tournament. They stayed alive with a strong second half against Georgia Tech, but Friday is the real test. The battle inside with Reggie Johnson and Kenny Kadji vs. Florida State’s cadre of bigs should be fun.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 8, 2012 10:54 pm
 

Atlantic 10 quarterfinals preview

Things will heat up in Atlantic City on Friday, as the Atlantic 10 quarterfinals get underway – and that’s when it gets fun. There’s two locks for the NCAA tournament, three bubble teams, and three teams looking to ruin all the hopes for everyone. In such a tight conference, everything is wide-open. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few upsets on Thursday.

No. 1 Temple vs. No. 8 Massachusetts: This should be an interesting game, a rematch of Temple’s 90-88 overtime victory over UMass on February 29. The Minutemen were in the mix for a league title until the final couple weeks of the season, and they will try to speed the game up. Temple is looking to solidify a top-four seed in the NCAA tournament.

No. 4 St. Bonaventure vs. No. 5 Saint Joseph’s: A must-win for Saint Joseph’s if it wants to keep its at-large hopes alive. It’s also a rematch of the regular-season finale, which saw the Bonnies come out with a double-overtime victory – a win that severely crippled the Hawks’ resume. It should be an interesting battle down low, as SJU defends two-pointers very well, but Andrew Nicholson is dominant.

No. 2 Saint Louis vs. No. 7 La Salle: Saint Louis likely locked up a bid with its win over Xavier last week, but La Salle is no easy out. The Explorers slumped in February, losing five of six games at one point, but they also have the pieces to win some games. The first time these two teams played, Saint Louis went into Philadelphia and came out with a 59-51 win.

No. 3 Xavier vs. No. 6 Dayton: Easily the game of the night. Neither team really likes each other, and they split the two regular-season meetings, with the latter one going to overtime. Moreover, both teams are on the bubble. Xavier is slightly ahead in the pecking order, but a win here by the Flyers would do wonders for their profile. The PG battle between Tu Holloway and Kevin Dillard will be fun.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 8, 2012 4:41 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2012 4:55 pm
 

Crean on Verdell Jones' injury: 'It's not good'

The extent of Verdell Jones III's knee injury isn't known, but Tom Crean didn't sound optimistic. (US Presswire)

By Jeff Borzello

The final week before Selection Sunday has not been kind to the Big Ten. On Sunday, Michigan State freshman Branden Dawson went down with a torn ACL. There was more bad news on Thursday.

Indiana senior guard Verdell Jones suffered a knee injury in the Hoosiers’ win over Penn State. The extent of the injury is unknown right now, but it didn’t look good. Jones went to jump stop on a fast break, and immediately went down. It didn’t sound good, and he was grimacing in pain.

Shana Daniels, an assistant media relations director at Indiana, tweeted that it was a sprained knee and he would be evaluated further.

In the postgame, head coach Tom Crean didn’t sound nearly as optimistic when discussing the injury on his postgame radio show.

“It’s not good,” he said, nearing tears. “It’s not good. Just got to hope of the best.”

Jones, a 6-foot-5 senior, has played an integral part in Indiana’s revival this season. His scoring numbers are down since earlier in his career, but he’s still distributing fairly well. Moreover, his leadership has been a key with the younger players. Jones averaged 7.8 points and 3.2 assists this season.

We’ll have more on this as more information is released.

Posted on: March 8, 2012 3:53 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2012 1:50 am
 

Poppin' Bubbles: Separation day for bubblers

Texas might have locked up a bid to the NCAA tournament with its quarterfinal win over Iowa State. (US Presswire)

By Jeff Borzello

The Thursday of conference tournament week is always a big day for separation when it comes to bubble teams. Nearly every power-conference bubbler is in action across the country, with most of them facing must-win opportunities or one last chance at a marquee victory. This season is no different, as the docket is filled with teams looking to punch their ticket or simply keep their at-large hopes alive. The bubble picture should look very different tomorrow than it does today.

Note: This page will be updated throughout the day, with bubble discussion and analysis.

Southern Miss avoided a bad loss to East Carolina and locked up a bid. (US Presswire)

Locking things up:

Southern Miss: Had the Golden Eagles lost their opener in the Conference-USA tournament, things might have been a little troublesome on Selection Sunday. While it took an extra five minutes, Southern Miss got it done – and now should be fine for the NCAA tournament. They finished second in the league and have a top-20 RPI, along with wins over Memphis, Colorado State and South Florida. 9-4 against the top 100 is great compared to some of the other bubble teams.

Cincinnati: 
If there were any questions about the Bearcats' at-large status, they were answered on Thursday afternoon. Cincinnati faced Georgetown in a tournament quarterfinal, and made plays down the stretch en route to a double-overtime win. The absolutely awful non-conference schedule and mediocre overall computer profile could potentially only affect seeding at this point; the Bearcats are in. They are now 6-3 against the top-50 and are 9-5 away from home. They could wear home jerseys in the round of 64. 

Alabama: The Crimson Tide were in good shape heading into the SEC tournament, but a loss in the first round would have made it a long couple of days for them. However, that won't be a problem, as Alabama pulled out a win against South Carolina. The Crimson Tide were around a No. 9 seed earlier in the week, so they seem pretty safe there. They are 3-5 against the top 50, and 9-9 against the top 100, but they also bounced back nicely from the personnel situation they had in February. 'Bama could jump to a No. 8 with another win. 

Purdue: The Boilermakers were in the field of 68 no matter what happened in the Big Ten conference tournament, but it's nice to avoid a bad loss and stay in good position for a solid seed. Heading into the week, Purdue was arguably the last No. 8 seed in the S-Curve, and beating Nebraska keeps them on track to wear a home jersey in the round of 64. The Boilermakers are 5-8 against the top 50, although they only beat two definite NCAA tournament teams in Michigan and Temple. Ohio State is next.

Still safe:

Connecticut: The Huskies are fine despite their late loss to Syracuse in the Big East quarterfinals. A win over the Orange would have skyrocketed Connecticut up in terms of seeding, but the Huskies are still in the mix for an 8-9 game in the NCAA tournament. The No. 3 strength of schedule and 10 top-100 wins make them a lock to hear their name called in three days. 

Kansas State: The Wildcats are still very comfortable heading into the weekend. A win over Baylor would have really solidified their resume, but the Wildcats already have victories over Missouri – twice – Baylor, Alabama and Long Beach State. The sweep at the hands of Oklahoma and a 6-8 top-100 record could bring down their seeding somewhat, but a No. 8 or No. 9 seed seems very likely.

It's tough to imagine Colorado State missing the NCAA tournament at this point. (US Presswire)

Winners:

Colorado State:
I really don't see how Colorado State can miss out on an at-large berth this season, after thoroughly handling TCU in the quarterfinals of the Mountain West. The Rams have a terrific computer profile, with a top-25 RPI and top-10 SOS. They have three wins over top-50 teams in UNLV, San Diego State and New Mexico, and they are now 3-0 on neutral courts. The two sub-100 losses and 3-9 record on the road gives cause for a closer look, but compared to other bubble teams, Colorado State should be safe. A loss to San Diego State in the semifinals likely wouldn't drop them several spots. 

California: It wasn't clear if the Golden Bears could survive a quarterfinals loss to Stanford, but we don't need to worry about that just yet. They move on to face the winner of Oregon/Colorado, in a game that could clinch California's bid if it gets to the title game. The at-large resume isn't all that impressive, with the best non-conference win coming against Weber State. The Golden Bears did sweep Oregon, but those are the best victories on the resume, along with Washington. Cal could really cement things with at least one more win.

Texas: The Longhorns took advantage of their chance at a big win on Thursday, coming back in the second half to beat Iowa State in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 tournament. Given Texas' resume and the way things are shaking out across the bubble landscape, that might have been a win-and-in situation for the Longhorns. They improve to 4-9 against the top 50, although it's only 5-10 against the top 100. They have wins over Temple, Kansas State and two over Iowa State. They face Missouri in the Big 12 semis; a win there would lock things up completely. They might be able to survive a loss, though.

North Carolina State
: The Wolfpack needed to beat Boston College in order to get a chance at Virginia in the quarterfinals. That one is the must-win for NC State. As it stands, the Wolfpack still don't have a top-50 win on their resume, going 0-8 against teams in that category. They do have two wins over Miami (Fl.) and one over Texas, which could help in bubble comparisons. They are also now 8-5 away from home, but the lack of good wins and two sub-100 losses complicate things.

Miami (Fl.): The first half wasn't pretty whatsoever for the Hurricanes, but they actually scored some points in the second stanza and also locked down on the defensive end, cruising to an easy win over Georgia Tech. They're still just 3-10 against the top 100, but two of the wins did come over Duke and Florida State. Miami will need to do more damage in the ACC tournament, starting with Florida State on Friday. A win there, and the Hurricanes could be in OK shape. A loss, and they will be sweating it out.

Arizona: I don't see how the Wildcats will get a bid, but the door is now open for the Wildcats to at least get to the Pac-12 title game after they beat UCLA in the quarterfinals and No. 1 seed Washington was upset by Oregon State. The computer profile is still terrible, and they have only defeated one NCAA tournament team (California). A win over Oregon State won't put them in the Dance, and it's unlikely a close loss in the championship game would do it either. Because of the Arizona State loss to end the season, I think Arizona needs to win the tournament.

Ole Miss: The Rebels still likely have to get to the SEC title game to have a chance at an at-large bid due to their 1-6 top-50 record, but beating Auburn easily was a good start. They have one good win over Alabama, but they also beat a couple of bubble teams in Miami (Fl.) and Mississippi State. Ole Miss only has one sub-100 loss, and the Rebels did play 17 games against teams in the top 100; they only went 6-11 in those games, though. If they beat fellow bubbler Tennessee in the quarterfinals, a semifinal contest against Vanderbilt could be a huge chance.

Nevada: The Wolf Pack have a mediocre at-large profile, but they will have a shot if they can get to the WAC title game. After a lackluster first half against San Jose State, they rolled to a double-digit win. The strength of schedule is terrible, and they don't have a single top-50 win, but they did lose just one game in conference play and are above .500 against the top 100.

Long Beach State: With the way things are going, the 49ers could certainly get an at-large bid if they lose in the Big West tournament. However, they need to get to at least the title game in order to have hopes. They didn't waste any time dispatching of UC-Davis in the quarterfinals, winning by 34. Moreover, No. 2 seed Cal State Fullerton was knocked out, which means an easier path for LBSU to the automatic bid. We'll take a closer look at their resume should they lose.

Washington will have a long three days to wait until Selection Sunday. (US Presswire)

Losers:

Washington: Wow, what a weird game for the Huskies. In the first half, the Huskies looked like they were headed to the NIT, going into halftime with a 13-point deficit against Oregon State. However, they came back to take the lead -- before Tony Wroten missed four free throws and the Beavers came out with a win. Will Washington's regular-season title be enough for an at-large bid? That's doubtful. The Huskies simply have a very mediocre at-large profile. They beat zero NCAA tournament teams and were just 1-7 against the top-50, 4-8 against the top 100. They also now have two sub-100 losses. Washington's only potential saving grace will be its regular-season title and the eye test. There's nothing else to like in their resume.

South Florida: The Bulls were so close to locking up a bid to the NCAA tournament, but Notre Dame pulled out an overtime win in the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament. That leaves South Florida in precarious position. It is just 1-9 against the top 50, although it does have a 5-1 record against teams in the 50-100 range. They have one really good win, over Louisville, but they also have victories over Seton Hall and Cincinnati. One thing that could be tough to pass up is the 12 Big East wins that Stan Heath's club came away with in conference play; that trumps many of the middling league records that some of the power-conference bubblers have. South Florida also has three sub-100 losses. It will be close, but the Bulls are probably in for now. 

Northwestern: Another year, another disappointment for Northwestern. The Wildcats came into the Big Ten tournament needing at least one -- more likely two -- win in order to keep their at-large hopes alive. Unfortunately, Minnesota came back in the final minutes to snatch away a victory in overtime. This is a devastating loss for Northwestern, which now has an excruciatingly long three days until Selection Sunday. Right now, I highly doubt they will hear their name called. The Wildcats are just 1-10 against the top 50, and 5-13 against the top 100. They have no bad losses, but that won't save them this season with an 8-11 overall Big Ten record. Although the door hasn't completely shut yet, it's going to be tough for Northwestern to get an at-large bid.

Mississippi State: The Bulldogs will have one of the worst finishes to the season in terms of bubble teams, going just 2-6 in their final eight games. The latest defeat was at the hands of Georgia in the first round of the SEC tournament, their second loss to the Bulldogs in the last month. A loss to Auburn was also included in that recent stretch. Mississippi State is now in serious trouble. It has a bad computer profile, with an RPI that will likely drop to the 70s after tonight. There are three sub-100 losses. On the plus side, they are 8-8 against the top 100, with wins over bubblers West Virginia, Tennessee, Mississippi and Arizona, as well as top-35 wins against Vanderbilt and Alabama. A 3-6 road record isn't doing them any favors, though. The talent is there, but the resume might not be. It will be a long few days for Rick Stansbury.

Oregon: It's looking more and more like the Pac-12 could be a one-bid league if California wins the regular-season title. The Ducks saw a door open when Washington went down in the quarterfinals -- two wins might have done it for the Ducks. Instead, they couldn't make plays in the final minute and lost to No. 6-seed Colorado. Oregon's at-large hopes are basically done at this point. They have 0 top-50 wins and the best non-conference victories are over UTEP and Nebraska. The computer profile looked OK heading into the week, but now the RPI and SOS will drop. Assuming the committee doesn't value sub-100 record over everything else, I'm not sure Oregon can get a bid.

Posted on: March 8, 2012 3:07 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2012 3:16 pm
 

Report: Auburn G investigated for point-shaving

By Jeff Borzello

Auburn guard Varez Ward is being investigated by federal authorities for alleged point-shaving incidents, according to a report by Yahoo! Sports.

Charles Robinson reported on Thursday afternoon that Ward and teammate Chris Denson were suspended in late February and questioned as part of the investigation. Denson was cleared and returned to the team after sitting out one game. Ward has not returned since being suspended on February 25.

The two games in question were Feb. 7 against Alabama and Jan. 25 against Arkansas. Some of the questionable moments during the games:

  • Feb. 7 vs. Alabama: Ward had six turnovers, two assists and shot 1-of-5 from the field. Two of his shots were blocked, one was an air ball and he also missed a free throw. Alabama was favored by five and won by 18.
  • Jan. 25 vs. Arkansas: Ward turned the ball over 19 seconds into his first possession and left the game with an apparent quadriceps injury. He didn’t return to the game. Arkansas was favored by 9.5, but won by only three.

Ward is a former Texas transfer who left the Longhorns in the summer of 2010. He started 17 games this season for Auburn, averaging 8.9 points, 3.8 assists and 2.7 turnovers.

Posted on: March 8, 2012 1:29 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2012 1:37 pm
 

ACC refs wear "KH" tape to honor Karl Hess

By Jeff Borzello

We’ve seen players write initials on their shoes all the time, whether it’s for a family member they’re praying for, for a fallen soldier, for a whole host of things.

Well, now we have a new reason to add to that list: for a referee who is not officiating the ACC tournament.

The referees for the Wake Forest vs. Maryland first-round ACC tournament game came out wearing white tape with the letters “KH” attached to their sneakers. Those initials are for fellow referee Karl Hess, who “declined to participate” in the conference tournament.

If you remember, Hess is the same referee who ejected Tom Gugliotta and Chris Corchiani from the stands during North Carolina State’s game against Florida State on February 18.

To be honest, this is completely ridiculous. Initials are usually reserved for someone who needs remembrance or something along those lines. In this case, it’s for a referee who is not officiating a conference tournament. That’s it. There’s nothing wrong with Hess; he’s just sitting out four days of ACC basketball. Fans already think that refs make the game too much about them -- this probably won't dissaude those people.

It will be interesting to see what effect this has on the North Carolina State quarterfinal game; it seems the referees are in a pro-Karl Hess solidarity mood today.

Below is a good picture of the sneakers and tape, from Stephen Schramm of The Fayetteville Observer. Here's a closer look from Andrew Carter from The News & Observer (N.C.).



 

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 8, 2012 12:18 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2012 12:22 pm
 

Freshman of the Year: Anthony Davis is No. 1

Unlike the close Player of the Year race, Kentucky's Anthony Davis is clearly the best freshman in the country. (US Presswire)

By Jeff Borzello

This will be the last Freshman of the Year rankings of the season, as we don’t plan on releasing one on the first Thursday of the NCAA tournament and there’s not much left to be decided. Unlike the Player of the Year race, which is still neck-and-neck heading into the conference tournaments, Anthony Davis has had this thing wrapped up since January. There was only one week where he didn’t hold the top spot, and that was after teammate Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had a monster game in early December. Davis was simply dominant throughout the season, especially on the defensive end, and he got better and better on offense as the campaign progressed. In closing, congrats to Davis.

1. Anthony Davis, Kentucky (Last Week: 1): 14.4 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 4.7 bpg, 66.3 FG%
His offensive improvement down the stretch of the season has been extremely impressive. Davis is efficient inside and is now becoming a matchup problem with his face-up game. 

2. Cody Zeller, Indiana (Last Week: 2): 15.4 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 63.5 FG%
Despite getting plenty of defensive attention throughout the season, Zeller rebounded from a pseudo-slump during the middle of the season to be a huge factor in a recent four-game winning streak. 

3. Trey Burke, Michigan (Last Week: 3): 14.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 4.6 apg
Burke played extremely well late in the year, cutting down on turnovers and becoming more efficient from the floor. Has been extremely valuable all season for the Wolverines.

4. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky (Last Week: 4): 11.9 ppg, 7.8 rpg
Kidd-Gilchrist has struggled offensively in the last month, but he’s still the freshman leader for the Wildcats. His activity on the defensive end and his transition game are eye opening. 

5. Moe Harkless, St. John’s (Last Week: 5): 15.3 ppg, 8.6 rpg
Although the question of whether he will enter the NBA draft has dominated his headlines recently, he finished with a typically dominant game: 25 points, nine rebounds in a loss. 

6. Austin Rivers, Duke (Last Week: 7): 15.3 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 38.3 3PT%
Rivers really woke up in the final two months of the season, after not starting one game early in conference play. His game – and game-winner – against North Carolina was a defining moment. 

7. Brad Beal, Florida (Last Week: 6): 14.4 ppg, 6.5 rpg
Beal didn’t finish with a bang, going 1-of-10 in a 15-point loss to Kentucky. However, he stepped up his aggressiveness in the final six weeks, and started becoming a go-to-guy for the Gators.

8. Tony Mitchell, North Texas (Last Week: 8): 14.7 ppg, 10.3 rpg, 3.0 bpg, 56.7 FG%
Mitchell and North Texas fell just short of the NCAA tournament, but he was clearly the best non-BCS frosh this season. Only newcomer in the country to average a double-double, and he blocked shots too.

9. Tony Wroten, Washington (Last Week: 9): 16.3 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 3.7 apg
Wroten is one of the most productive all-around freshmen in the country, and he’s tremendously fun to watch. However, he needs to be more efficient and not force as many shots. 

10. B.J. Young, Arkansas (Last Week: NR): 15.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 50.6 FG%, 42.0 3PT%
It took him until the final week, but Young is back in the rankings despite his team having a rough final stretch. Young is ultra-efficient and can score in multiple ways. Going to be a star.

Notes:

  • The one player to fall out of the rankings in the final week was St. John’s guard D’Angelo Harrison. He had a tremendous season and was in the rankings for most of the final two months. Leading freshman scorer in BCS-affiliated leagues.
  • Freshman leaders – Points: Kyle Vinales, Central Connecticut State (17.9); Rebounds: Tony Mitchell, North Texas (10.3); Assists: Dylan Garrity, Sacramento State (6.9)
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com