College Hoops roundup in the DMV

College Hoops roundup in the DMV
November 29, 2011, 8:58 pm
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By Benjamin Standig
CSNwashington.comWelcome to the DMV College Basketball scene, home of the nations second-leading scorer (Americans Charles Hinkle, 24.0 ppg.), second-stingiest defense (Virginia, 45.3 ppg) and the top 3-point shooting team in the land (bet you cant guess which program).This week's edition includes the results of the DMV Elite Eight College Basketball poll, including analysis fromourpanel of local college basketball beat writers, sports media folks and bloggers.For our purposes, we included programs in D.C. and around the Beltway, north to Baltimore, south to Richmond and Norfolk (essentially the Comcast SportsNet region) plus all Division I spots (27 overall) in between.Ranked teams listed below, followed by total points followed by first place votes. For this weeks edition, also included key stats and notes for the DMV's elite plus some bonus 411 on a certain MEAC school making some early season noise. Considering several teams resume action tonight, check back later for updates. Just sayin...1 Georgetown, 167 (16 of 17 1st place votes)Record: (5-1)streak (W3)
Recent: 81-58 over IUPUI ; 2-1 at Maui Classic, including win over then No. 8 Memphis
Upcoming: at Alabama (Dec. 1; Big EastSEC Challenge); NJIT (Dec 3)Stats:Last week we noted 6-10 center Henry Sims wasleading the Hoyas in assists. Lets take the frontcourt dishing up a notch; Sims (4.0 apg) continues to pace the squad, but the next two Hoyas in the assist category Nate Lubick (2.8) and Otto Porter (2.3) - arealso pure frontcourt players. If John Thompson III had not recently referred to 6-8 Hollis Thompson (1.8) as a guard, we would be talking about four non-guards leading the Hoyas in assists. Regardless, this must be a unique situation nationally, right?Stuff: Versatility has been the name of the game on the Hilltop this season, and not just in terms of the varied lineup combinations the Georgetown coach can throw out on the court. There are no one-dimensional players among the Hoyas top-eight players, meaning all can contribute even on nights the shots arent falling. A lot of times so many people define people by baskets, points made, John Thompson III said inMonday's post-game press conference after defeating IUPUI. There are so many other ways, whether its how youre guarding someone, how aggressive you are on defense. Whether youre rebounding, whether youre making the pass, whether youre setting good screens, whether it'syoure communication on defense. There are so many different ways that you can have a positive impact on the game."Thompson was referring to the double-digit rebounding performances turned in by Nate Lubick (career-high 14) and Hollis Thompson (10) against IUPUI, but he easily could have been speaking about the overall play of his stat-stuffing freshman Otto Porter. Rarely the focal point of the offense despite a potent mid-range game, the 6-foot-8 forward still produces numbers across the board. Porter leads the Hoyas in rebounds (6.8) and steals (1.67), is second in blocks and third in assists all while averaging 9.7 points, shooting 52.5 percent from the field and 85.7 from the free throw line. I don't have any defensive numbers handy, but the agile Porter is getting the job done on that end as well.Poll:Nearly a clean sweep of the first place votes among the voters, who apparently were blown away by the Hoyas 27-point rout over Chaminade. Fine, hanging tough with Kansas and knocking off Memphis might have had something to do with the kudos.You know what? The Hoyas might be better than we thought. Picked to finish 10th in the Big East by the media before the season began, Georgetown beat a good Memphis team and hung with an even better Kansas squad at the Maui Invitational. I know the Big East likes to consider itself a very strong, deep conference but that kind of performance doesnt scream bottom half of the conference to me. Of course, its early, and Memphis struggled against everyone it faced in Maui. But I liked what I saw, especially that big 3-pointer from Jason Clark in OT. (Nicole Auerbach, USA Today)Whatever Henry Sims atedrank prior to the Memphis game, Hoya trainers need to bottle it and store it for the Big East season. Sims had 24 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists in what was the most impressive performance of his career (Troy Machir, Ballin Is a Habit)2 Virginia Tech, 110 (1)Record (5-1)streak (W2)
Recent: Victories over Oklahoma State and St. Bonaventure
Upcoming: at Minnesota (Nov. 30), at Kansas State (Dec. 4)Stats: Springy freshman Dorain Finney-Smith leads the ACC in rebounding, yanking down 10.2 boards per game, including 14 in the win over Oklahoma State. Not simply a rebounder, the 6-foot-8 forward leads the Hokies in assists (3.3) and has dished out at least three assists in five of his six games.Stuff: Erick Green's likelybreakout season is headed in the right direction. The speedy and powerful junior guard was was named to the 2011 NIT Season Tip-Off All-Tournament team after scoring14 points in the loss to No. 5 Syracuse and a team-high 18 points against Oklahoma State. Green leads the Hokies in scoring (14.8), steals (1.4) and 3-point shooting, sinking an insane 61.1 percent (11-of-18) of his long-range attempts.Poll: The Hokies received the most second place votes and were one of four teams (Georgetown, Virginia, George Mason) to be named on all the ballots.When Dorian Finney-Smith becomes consistent, the Hokies will be a solid squad in the ACC. In Techs lone loss, Finney-Smith was held to two points and seven rebounds. In the Hokies win over Oklahoma State, the freshman had 10 points and 14 boards. (Tim Murray, ESPN980)C Victor Davila out-scored St. Bonaventure C Andrew Nicholson, 13-9, on Sunday. Nicholson was averaging 19 ppg. (Kevin Dunleavy, Washington Examiner)Jarell Eddie and Dorian Finney-Smith are going to be major studs by the time their collegiate careers are over. The Hokies are much better than people realized. (Machir)3 Virginia, 95 Record (5-1)streak (W3)
Recent: Behind another Mike Scott double-double (15 pts, 10 reb), the Cavs crushed coach Tony Bennetts alma mater Green Bay 68-42.
Upcoming:Michigan (Nov. 29), Longwood (Dec. 3)Stats: Virginia has held each of its first six opponents under 60 points. The Cavaliers have not been that stingy with points since the beginning of the 1948-49 season. Going hand and hand with limiting opposition scoring, forcing missed shots. The Cavaliers are holding opponents to 33.5 percent from the field, tops in the ACC.Stuff: Recycling a note I posted earlier this season (its that good): This marks the firstmatchup against Michigan since the 1989 Southeast Regional final when the Glen Rice-led Wolverines clobbered the Cavaliers 102-65 en route to winning the National Championship. Former NBA star Tim Hardaway played his final collegiate game for UTEP in the same tournament. His son Tim Jr. (17.2 ppg) is the Wolverines leading scorer.The No. 14 Wolverines (5-1) are the highest ranked non-conference opponent to visit Charlottesville in five season. No. 10 Arizona played in the first game at John Paul Jones Arena on Nov. 12, 2006. Cavs have won three in a row and are allowing just 45.3 ppg thisseason (not a whole lot more than their football team gave up Saturday to Virginia Tech). (Mike Ashley, Terrapin Times)Date with Michigan in ACCBig Ten challenge will be a nice test to see if Cavs are for real. (Elliott Smith, CBSSports.com)Aside from an ugly loss to TCU, the Cavaliers are on the right path. They lack depth, but if they can keep Mike Scott productive and healthy, they should be fine. (Machir)4 George Mason, 86Record (4-2); streak (W2)
Recent: Idle since routing Brown and Albany on consecutive nights last week by a combined 46 points
Upcoming: Bucknell (Nov. 30)Stats: He missed last season with a shoulder injury, one game this season with a hand injury, but nothing has prevented Sherrod Wright (11.8 ppg) from making shots. The slashing 6-foot-4 guard is shooting 62.2 from the floor, tops in the CAA. After sitting out the Nov. 19 loss at Florida Atlantic, the Patriots third-leading scorermade 7-of-12 shots in the two home wins last week.Stuff: Ryan Pearsons 21.3 points and 9.0 rebounds per game averages rank third and second in the CAA respectively. The Patriots will need the burly forward at his powerfully efficient best on Wednesday when they host Patriot League favorite Bucknell (5-2), winners of five straight. Mike Muscala, the Bisons 6-11 junior big man and reigning Patriot League Player of the Year, averages 14.0 ppg, 8.4 rpg and 1.9 bpg.This just inRyan Pearson is really good. Through the Patriots first six games, Pearson is Masons leading scorer and rebounder (21.3 ppg, 9.0 rpg). The Mason Nation will travel to Charlottesville on Tuesday, December 6th. Huge matchup in the DMV. (Murray)Against Albany, was very impressed with their size and mobility (Rich Dubroff, CSNbaltimore)5 VCU, 34Record: (3-3); streak (L1)
Recent: In a matchup that pitted Shaka Smart against former VCU coach Anthony Grant, the Rams lost 72-64 at No. 13 Alabama.
Upcoming: South Florida (Nov. 30), George Washington (Dec. 4, BB&T Classic at Verizon Center)Stats: The Rams enter the week averaging 63 points per game, which ranks 274th nationally. Its tough to score when your top point producers cannot make baskets. Crazy, I know. Bradford Burgess - the only Ram averaging in double figures (12.3) - Rob Brandenburg and Troy Daniels are all shooting less than 32 percent from the field. Collectively the Rams are shooting 37.3, last in the CAA.Stuff:Burgess has made 116 consecutive starts, the longest active streak in Division I basketball. The 6-foot-6 forward dropped 18 points against Alabama and 16 points in the second win this season over Western Kentucky.Quality loss Sunday night at Alabama. But CAA is not distinguishing itself early. (Dunleavy)Beat Western Kentucky twice in four days to take hypothetical lead inSun Belt Conference. (Ashley)6 - Maryland, 32Record: (3-2); streak (W1)
Recent: defeated Florida-Gulf Coast 73-67
Upcoming: Illinois (Nov. 29; ACC-Big Ten Challenge); Notre Dame (Dec. 4; BB&T Classic @Verizon Center)Stats:Stocked with a deep backcourtlast season, the Terps averaged 16.9 assists, ninth in the country. Through five games this season and all without anything resembling a point guard, the Terps are only dishing out 9.4 assists per game, ranking 313 out of 338 Division Iprograms. Despite averaging 34 minutes, Terrell Stoglin tallied only one assist combined during the Terps last two games and is averaging 1.6 assists on the season. Last season as a freshman, Stoglin averaged 3.3 assists, 4.7 over the final 10 games. As his patience for running the offense goes, so go the Terps.Stuff: Alex Lens projected debut Dec. 28 against Albany is now less than a month away. The Terps sure could some of that 7-foot-1 size against Illinois (6-0) Tuesday night. The Illini sport their own 7-1 center in sophomore Meyers Leonard, who averages 12.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and a Big Ten leading 3.2 blocks per game. Leonard has 21 blocks on the season; the Terps have 19 as a team. On the other side, Leonard and 6-foot-8 starting forward Tyler Griffey have a combined 23 offensive rebounds, just two more than Marylands James Padgett, who leads the ACC.Cupboard wasnt exactly bare for new coach Mark Turgeon but there sure werent many big cans on the shelf either. Terps outrebounded byFlorida Gulf Coast Friday, now ready for Illinois and Notre Dame thisweek. (Ashley)A bit surprised the Terps were able to win a game in Puerto Rico. Coach Turgeons lone weapon this year is Terrell Stoglin. Sean Mosley needs to step up if Maryland wants to stay out of the cellar in the ACC. (Murray)7- George Washington, 31Record: (4-1); streak (W3)
Recent: Routed Bowling Green 77-56 for third win in three days at xxx
Upcoming: at Kansas State (Dec. 1); VCU (Dec. 4, BB&T Classic at Verizon Center)Stats: Don't be embarrassed if you had not yet guessed the Colonials are currently the top 3-point shooting team around, draining 48.6 percent of their attempts from beyond the arc. It likely comes asa shock to anyone that watched this team misfire from all angleslast season.New coach Mike Lonergan's emphasis on shot selectionstands as a major reason for the hot startfrom deep.FourColonials - Tony Taylor (63.2 percent on 19 attempts), Nemanja Mikic, Lasan Kromah and Bryan Bynes - have taken all but one of team's 72 3-point shots.Stuff: Often victimized by his inability to distinguish a good shot from a bad one, Aaron Ware entered his senior seasonas acareer 41 percent shooter, Through five games, the swingmanhas displayed a discerning eye while attacking the basket and the Colonials sixth man has the production to show for it. Ware is hitting a steady 50 percent of his shotswhile averaging 11.0 points, second on the team and more than double his 5.4 points per game last season."Aaron is doing a great job for us," Lonergan said. "He is taking the ball to the basket and not settling for jump shots. He has given us great energy off the bench."8 Old Dominion, 22Record (3-3); streak (L2)
Recent: No shame in losing 62-52 to then No. 2 and now top-ranked Kentucky, the Monarchs also lost 65-63 in overtime to Vermont
Upcoming: East Carolina (Nov. 29), @Northeastern (Dec. 3, CAA opener)Stats: Kent Bazemores usually reliable shooting stroke 48 percent from the field in each of the last two seasons is in need of a tune up. Working his way back from off-season foot surgery, the senior swingman is knocking down only 30.4 percent (17-of-56) of his attempts. Against Vermont, Bazemore (12.0 ppg) was a dismal 4-of-18 from the field and he has made over half his shots in any game this season. Despite his shooting woes, Bazemore continues to be at his thieving best, averaging 3.2 steals per game.Stuff: Forward Nick Wright scored a total of 48 points last season for the Monarchs. The 6-foot-8 junior notched 24 alone in the loss to Vermont, sinking 9-of-11 shots while grabbing 10 rebounds. Wright leads ODU points (12.7), field goal percentage (57.7) and is tied for first in blocks (1.3)Blaine Taylor better start growing the stache back (Scott Jackson, Yahoo Sports Radio)Others receiving votes: Norfolk State (18), American (13), Loyola (9), James Madison (3), VMI (2), Towson (1)Give it up to the Spartans, owners of wins over TCU and CAA-preseason favorite Drexel and. Norfolk State senior Kyle O'Quinn's five double-doubles on the season ranks second nationally and the 6-10 center averages 12.8 points and 10.7 rebounds.Go ahead and laugh. But the Norfolk State beat TCU and Drexel, which means the Spartans have to be ranked above Virginia, which lost to TCU in the same tournament. Drexel was the preseason favorite in the CAA. Norfolk States only losses are both to ranked Marquette. (Dunleavy)For winless Towson to receive a vote, you might think something akin to a Presidential proclamation would be needed. Well, close enough...Yeah, I know theyre 0-5 but having President at one of your homegames has to be worth something. Obama in town for Oregon State gameto see brother-in-law and Beavers coach Craig Robinson. (Ashley)Programming note - You can check out Hinkle and Americanon Tuesday night as the Eagles host Howard on Comcast SportsNet.Voters: Mike Ashley (Athlon, Terrapin Times), Nicole Auerbach (USA Today), Ivan Carter (Comcast SportsNet, Washington Post Live), Pam Chvotkin (District Sports Page), Avi Creditor (Washington Post Express), Rich Dubroff (CSNbaltimore), Kevin Dunleavy (Washington Examiner), Andrew Geiger (CasualHoya.com), Michele Gordon (Comcast SportsNet), Brian Jackson (CSNwashington), Scott Jackson (Yahoo Sports Radio, 106.7 The Fan), Jack Kogod (Washingtonian), Troy Machir (BallinIsAHabit.com),Tim Murray (ESPN 980), Elliott Smith (Washington Post Express, CBSSports.com), Ben Standig (CSNwashington), Craig Stouffer (Washington Examiner)