Northwestern Wins: A College Hoops Blog

An ode to Verne Lundquist’s calls and everything college basketball

Posts Tagged ‘K.C. Rivers’

Weekend Roundup: 12/6 & 12/7

Posted by Tommy on December 8, 2008

Saturday, 12/6: Saturday’s slate was highlighted by a couple Top 10 teams getting toppled by unranked opponents. The first upset came from the Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor, where the Wolverines avenged their loss to Duke in the 2K Sports Classic. Michigan picked up their second win against a Top 5 team behind a career-high 28 points from DeShawn Sims. The Blue Devils shot 7-33 from deep, which wasn’t enough to shoot the Wolverines out of their 1-3-1 zone. Outside of Sims’ 28, Manny Harris provided 17 and Zack Novak had 14 off the bench. For the Dukies, this loss shows that they can’t rely on the three as much as they have been if they want to make it to the Final Four. Singler was 1-9 from deep and Paulus and Elliot Williams were a combined 0-7 from the field.

The second upset came from another Big 10 team. Ohio State’s Evan Turner led the 5-0 Buckeyes in five categories with 28 of OSU’s 67 points, 10 boards, 5 assists, 2 steals and 40 minutes. Despite the return of Harangody’s presence in the paint, Turner drove to the hoop time and time again, testing the big men of Notre Dame and scoring at will. Harangody had a great first game back on the offensive end with 25 points to go along with 16 boards. Kyle McAlarney came back down to earth after going 3-11 from the field and 0-6 from deep. B.J. Mullens cracked the double digit mark with 11 points in 18 minutes of play. Thad Matta had his team playing great defense and shutdown everybody but Harangody and Tory Jackson. The Irish shot 38.1% from the field and 53.8% from the stripe, not encouraging stats for a team that usually doesn’t shoot itself in the foot.

Staying in the midwest, Wisconsin was also looking for a resume quality win against Marquette. The Badgers pulled out to a 6 point halftime lead, but saw it vanish in the last 6 minutes of the game. Jerel McNeal carried the Golden Eagles with 19 of his 26 points in the second half. McNeal was 10-18 from the field and 4-7 from deep, including the go-ahead three with 5:26 to go.  Both teams struggled shooting the ball from deep and from the free throw line. The win over Wisconsin was a huge one for Marquette, who needed a pick up after their loss to Dayton.

Other Notes:

  • Stephen Curry does it again. His 44 points lifted Davidson over NC State.
  • Big East darkhorse Cincinati, led by Mike Williams, picked up a nice win over UAB.
  • Boston College took down UMass despite 35 from Ricky Harris
  • Baylor continues to impress as they took down Washington St despite the difference in style of play.

Top 25 in Action:

  • #3 Pittsburgh’s Sam Young stays hot with his 28 point performance in Pitt’s 80-51 rout of Vermont.
  • #5 Gonzaga took care of Indiana 70-54 in Indianapolis, Heyvelt led the Zags with 17.
  • #10 Purdue forced 35 turnovers in their 90-42 win over winless Arkansas Pine-Bluff.
  • #11 Louisville jumped out to a 50-17 halftime lead in their win over Indiana State.
  • #17 Wake Forest stays undefeated after crushing Buknell 81-52, Teague had 26.
  • #18 Georgetown dismantled American 73-49. Wright led all scorers with 22.
  • #22 Miami withstands a late comeback vs. Kentucky and holds on to win 73-67.
  • #24 Davidson beat NC State 72-67 thanks to Curry’s second 44 point performance of the year.
  • #25 Kansas scored 50 points in the second half of their 86-62 win over Jackson State.

NW Wins Horse Trailer Player of the Day: DeShawn Sims, Michigan

Sunday, 12/7: Sunday had nowhere near the action Saturday provided, but another Top 25 team went down. Florida State took down the #21 Florida Gators at home despite shooting just 31% from the field. The Seminoles’ leading scorer Toney Douglas was limited to just two points and was 1-9 from the field. It’s tough to win games when your leading scorer was completely shut down and your team shoots 31 percent, but Leonard Hamilton had his squad playing great defense. The ‘Noles forced Florida into 16 turnovers. Role players like Ryan Reid, Solomon Alabai and Jordan DeMercy stepped up for FSU in Toney Douglas’ absence from the scoring column. This is a big win for Leonard Hamilton, who’s been on the hot seat for some time now.

In the Big 12/Pac 10 Hardwood Classic, Oregon improved their record to 4-4 with a 75-70 win over Kansas State. Tajuan Porter was locked in, shooting 8-13 from the field and 6-9 from deep. The Ducks, who shot 48% from the field, got nice contributions from guards LeKendric Longmire and Garrett Sim. Kansas State outscored Oregon 39-10 from the bench and out-rebounded the Ducks 34-24 but allowed Oregon to shoot 31 free throws, 22 of which were made.

Liberty gave the Clemson Tigers all they could handle at Littlejohn Coliseum. The Flames, led by Seth Curry’s 24 points, had a 7 point halftime lead on the road but K.C. Rivers proved to be too much for Liberty to handle. Rivers had 32 points, 11 boards and a pair of steals. His nine points in the final 2 and a half minutes put the Tigers over the top after trailing a large portion of the game. Both teams shot right around 50% from the field and were 80% from the line, but Clemson had five more rebounds, eight more assists and 6 less turnovers than the Flames, crucial stats in a close game like this. I know people like to say there isn’t such thing a good loss, but this game shows that Liberty is a contender to win the Big South.

Other Notes:

  • Indiana State picked up their first win against Lamar, who was 6-1 going into the matchup.
  • Virginia Tech overcomes a six point halftime deficit to Navy in their 79-70 win in the BB&T Classic.
  • Maryland’s Landon Milbourne scored a career-high 20 points in the Terps’ 76-53 win over George Washington.

Top 25 in Action:

  • #6 Oklahoma rolls over Tulsa 69-44 thanks to a 43-19 halftime lead.
  • #9 UCLA shot 58% from the field in their 85-67 win of Cal State Northridge.
  • #11 Louisville’s Earl Clark had 17/14/8 in their 91-56 win over Ohio.
  • #12 Michigan State was 9-19 from deep in their 75-59 win against Bradley.
  • #19 Arizona State handled Nebraska 64-44, Harden had 20/9/6.

NW Wins Horse Trailer Player of the Day: K.C. Rivers, Clemson

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Posted in The Day After | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

ACC Preview: #6 Clemson

Posted by Tommy on October 29, 2008

CoachOliver Purnell (5th season)

PG- Demontez Stitt (SO): Stitt experienced his fair share of growing pains during his first year at the point but this kid has a nice upside. He’s a pretty athletic guard and has some nice moves, enabling him to fly right by his defender. In addition, he’s a good defender which really helps Purnell execute his pressure. His 1.09 assist-to-turnover ratio from last season needs to improve and probably will with a full year under his belt. Stitt also needs to improve his 3-point shot after shooting just 27.6% from deep last season. If Stitt solidifies himself as a reliable point guard by making better decisions, it would be a huge addition for Purnell and the Tigers.

SG- K.C. Rivers (SR): Rivers has been the quiet leader for the Tigers for the past couple of seasons. He’s the Tigers’ best player on both the offensive and defensive ends. He can has plenty of size to get to the rim, he has a nice mid-range jumper and he shoots above 40 percent from beyond the arc. I expect him to put up around 15 or 16 PPG and is one of the best rebounders for his size in the country, grabbing 6.3 RPG last season. He also averaged just under 2 steals per game last season and will shut down the opposition’s best backcourt player. Rivers will have to make up for the loss of his long time backcourt-mate Cliff Hammonds and will get plenty of shot opportunities.

SF- David Potter (JR): Although Potter is a junior, he’s not too experienced. I expect Potter to get the starting job at the three instead of putting Oglesby at the two and bumping Rivers down because the combination of Rivers and Potter provides the best defensive lineup possible for Purnell. Potter is a hard-nosed defender and works hard on the boards but will not impress on the offensive end. Clemson has enough weapons in its arsenal to sacrifice the minimal firepower Potter provides to bolster the defense.

PF- Trevor Booker (JR): Booker may be listed at 6-7 but plays much bigger than that. He’s a physical presence in the paint and likes to lower his shoulder into defenders to give him room to get off shots and often give his defender a foul. He uses his great combination of strength and athleticism to out-muscle opponents for rebounds and provides a nice shot-blocking presence (1.9 BPG as a sophomore). Now that he’s an upperclassman, he needs to become a consistent force down low. He has the potential to become one of the best big men in the conference.

C- Raymond Sykes (SR): Like Potter, Sykes found himself coming off the bench last season and isn’t as experienced as most starting seniors are. Sykes is the ideal man to replace the lengthy James Mays who harassed the inbounder for Purnell’s press. He’s long and athletic just like Mays and will certainly give inbounders trouble if Purnell institutes his press again this season. Sykes hasn’t shown that he can fill the scoring column very well, but who knows what can happen with increased playing time.

Bench: One of the best features of last year’s squad was the impeccable depth they had. Purnell was able to substitute liberally and give his guys much needed rest after playing full court basketball and saw little to no drop off in his team’s performance. Unfortunately, Purnell isn’t going to have that luxury this season. Sharpshooting sophomore Terrence Oglesby gives the Tigers a possible lineup with more fire power in case they’re down. After that there really isn’t much. Jerai Grant is a sophomore forward that saw 8.3 MPG last season and will have to step in for either Booker or Sykes if they get into foul trouble. Freshman guard Andre Young and 7-2 freshman Catalin Baciu may be the next options for the backcourt and frontcourt, respectively.

Backcourt: B-
Frontcourt: B
Bench: C-
Coaching: A-

Bottom Line: Purnell seemed to pull all the right strings last season with plenty of substitutions and a press that frustrated their opponents. Purnell is going to have a tougher time pressing after every made basket this season because the starters are going to have to play much of the game. Their starting lineup is a very athletic one, but Stitt, Sykes and Potter have to provide more scoring this season. The Tigers are going to use hard-nosed defense to frustrate their opponents and keep the games within reach. I think they still have enough talent to get into the NCAA tournament but will probably ride the bubble for the entire season.

Key Non-Conference Games: 12/2 @ Illinois, 12/30 @ South Carolina, 1/6 vs. Alabama
Key Conference Games: 1/29 @ Virginia Tech, 2/4 vs. Duke, 2/17 vs. Maryland, 2/25 vs Virginia Tech
Most Valuable Player: K.C. Rivers
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA (one and done)

Posted in ACC Report, Conference Previews | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

NCAA Position Rankings: Top 10 SF

Posted by Tommy on July 24, 2008

Small Forwards, also referred to as “wings,” are often the most versatile players on the floor. They possess the perimeter abilities of a guard, but have more size and usually more ability to create offense on their own. Their combination of length and athleticism usually makes them tough defenders as well. So to be a great small forward, you need to be able to do a little bit of everything on the court. Oh, and being an athletic freak might help a little bit too. This year’s class of small forwards was tough to rank, partially because all of these players have different playing styles, but mostly because there isn’t a Michael Beasley or a Kevin Durant to be a clear-cut number one.

1. Robert Vaden: In one of the most stunning single half performances of the year (second only to Tyrese Rice’s 34 point half vs. UNC), Vaden put up 28 points in the second half for the Blazers in their non-conference victory against Kentucky. Vaden took the C-USA by storm last year by increasing his PPG to 21.1, up almost 8 points from his 13.5 PPG the year before. One thing that really stands out about Vaden is that he isn’t afraid to shoot the ball. He had 10 or more field goal attempts in every game he played in except for one last season, in which he shot eight. He shoots 40 percent from beyond the arc, which is good, but what I’d like to see him improve on his his overall field goal percentage. He shot 40.8% from the field last year, meaning he wasn’t much more effective inside the arc than he was from outside. If he improves his slashing ability, he could very likely be C-USA’s leading scorer next season, as well as a nationally known star.

2. Sam Young: Last year, Young took on a much bigger roll for Jamie Dixon and the Panthers and performed very well throughout the season. He won Big East’s Most Improved Player, and returns to lead Pitt in what looks to be a very promising season. Young averaged 18.1 PPG last season, 11 more PPG than the previous season, and his only single digit scoring game came against Georgetown when he scored nine points. Young is a very smart, hard working player that has great fundamentals. Also, he can post up or drive and shoot, making him very tough to guard. Since he doesn’t possess blazing speed, he uses his high basketball IQ, strength, and his plethora of tools to beat his opponents.

3. Chase Budinger: Budinger has tested the NBA waters after each season of his college basketball career, but has decided to come back to Arizona each time. To me, this is the right decision because Budinger has some things to work on in his offensive game. His combination of height and athleticism makes him a dangerous wing player, but he’s a streaky shooter and needs to work on his dribble penetration ability. He’ll get plenty of chances to showcase his ability next season as the Wildcats’ main offensive threat. If he becomes a more consistent shooter and a better penetrator, Budinger can be a late lottery to early second round pick next year.

4. Tyler Smith: After garnering First Team All-SEC and Honorable Mention All American, Smith returns to the Vols as a leader for the 08-09 season. Last season, Smith led the Vols in rebounding (6.7 RPG), assists (3.4 APG) and in field goal percentage (53.6% from the field) and was third on the team in scoring with 13.6 ppg. He will see a much bigger offensive role for Bruce Pearl with the departure of leading scorer Chris Lofton. Look for Smith to continue filling up the stat sheet, to keep his high field goal percentage and to keep up his great defense next season.

5. Al-Farouq Aminu: Dino Gaudio landed one of the most versatile freshman of the 2008 class in Aminu. At 6’8″, he has great size for a small forward and he possesses the ability to effectively face up on the perimeter. He has a good shot, can penetrate pretty well, and could potentially post up his smaller opposition at the small forward. If he develops his inside and mid-range games, he will be able to score in a number of ways for the Demon Deacons.

6. Nick Calathes: Calathes was forced into a leadership role for Billy Donovan’s baby Gators last season because there was next to no experience around him. He can do everything on the floor: he averaged 15.3 ppg, 6.1 assists/game and 5.2 rebounds/game last year as a freshman but he’s a bit inconsistent. He’ll have to improve on his scoring ability as well as his consistency if he and the Gators are to be successful. I think Calathes will step up to the challenge as the leader of the Gators.

7. Devin Ebanks: Ebanks joins a free-flowing Mountaineer offense in which he should flourish. He has a great ability to create offense on his own, meaning he has a pretty good perimeter shot, has good penetration skills and can score around the rim. His size at 6’8″ will help see the rim over his opponents and his length makes him deceptive when he drives the basketball. Huggins brought in a freshman with plenty of raw talent and scoring ability, and I think Ebanks will turn into a great scorer in the Big East.

8. K.C. Rivers: Rivers does a lot of different things for Oliver Purnell. He plays the wing, as well as some guard, and can score, rebound and is one of the best defenders in the ACC. He averaged 14.7 ppg last year, 6.8 rebounds/game, which is very impressive for a 6’6″ wing, and 1.9 steals/game. Rivers is a good 3-point shooter at 40.2% from the beyond the arc, and plays bigger than his size might indicate. Rivers will be the leader for the Tigers next season and will be the source of a lot of their offense, whether it be from beyond the arc or in the paint.

9. Austin Daye: As a huge recruit, everybody expected Daye to come into Spokane and perform right away for the Zags. The 6’10” freshman only averaged 18.5 minutes/game last year, in which he scored 10.5 PPG and grabbed 4.7 rebounds/game. This year, Daye may see almost double the minutes he did last season, meaning theoretically, he should double his statistics. He was a raw talent as a freshman, but after an off-season with Mark Few and company, I think Daye will vastly improve his game and see more time on the court during the season.

10. Earl Clark: Clark is a very athletic forward for Rick Pitino and has a very strong game in the paint. He averaged 11.1 PPG and 8.1 rebounds/game in 28.5 minutes/game. He is a great player off the dribble and uses his strength to finish round the rim. If Clark can add a mid-range and perimeter game, he is a lock for an NBA lottery pick because of his athleticism. He can defend well and can block shots (1.7 blk/game), but turns the ball over too much. Clark will see more time next season as an upperclassman and I think will attract a lot of NBA scouts with his scoring ability.

Also Considered: Wes Matthews, Josh Shipp, Terrence Williams, Danny Green, Delvon Roe, Robbie Hummel.

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