Friday night was the official start of the college basketball season and the NBA scouts are licking their chops at some of the best players in the game. My sole purpose for this article is to keep true basketball fans up-to-date on these players and their draft status (if any). I hope you enjoy and if you have any comments please let me know what’s on your mind. Also, I will go in order of the rank of schools and their scores.
Michigan State beat Eastern Michigan by 30 in a 96-66 drubbing. Kalin Lucas, Durrell Summers, and Draymond Green combined for 47 points and Adreian Payne scored 10 off the bench. Michigan State has one of the best backcourts in the nation with Lucas and Summers, both considered second round picks. Green is a guy you can put anywhere on the court and he will produce. Payne is considered one of the best post players Tom Izzo done had in a while and he is only a freshman. This a Final Four team as long as Lucas stays healthy.
Jacob Pullen scored 20 points with 5 dimes as Kansas State beat James Madison 75-61. Pullen is a one man show for the Wildcats as he ranks as one of the best guards in the nation. He is a second round pick as of now due to the fact he is a undersized two guard. Also look for forward Wally Judge to become a star on this team, while Jamar Samuels provide a blue-collar work ethic to this team. Right now, K-State looks like the Big 12 champs and a possible Final Four team. Let’s wait and see.
Ohio State blew out North Carolina A&T 102-61 behind big performances from Jared Sullinger, William Buford, David Lighty, and Jon Diebler. Sullinger is the beast many expected as he scored 19 points with 14 boards. Look for him to go in the first 10 picks of next year’s draft as he is a one-and done player. He might just win Big Ten player of the year before he leaves. He shares the spotlight in a talented frontcourt with David Lighty, a guy who can defend 3 positons. Diebler is a three-point specialist who is second round material. William Buford is a first round pick, thanks in part to his overall game at the 2. Look for them to fight for the Big Ten title and a possible Elite Eight berth.
Villanova beat Bucknell 68-52 behind 24 points from Corey Fisher. Corey Stokes added 11 points and 5 rebounds while Antonio Pena added 4 points and 8 boards. Fisher is part of a great backcourt, playing more of a combo guard than pure point while future first rounder Maalik Wayns grows into a playmaker. Wayns might declare for the draft this year instead of next year. Look for Fisher to be a second round pick. Stokes is primed to have a big senior season while Pena provides veteran leadership. This a Sweet Sixteen team at best.
Marcus Morris scored 18 points as Kansas blew out Longwood 113-75. Morris is full of potential, the question is does he have first round or second round talent? Look for Kansas to lose in the first or second round of the tourny.
North Carolina beat Lipscomb 80-66 behind Harrison Barnes’s 14 points. John Henson added 10 points, 17 boards, and 7 blocks while Tyler Zeller chipped in with 15 points and 7 rebounds. The Tar Heels have the best frountcourt in the nation because of these three. Barnes is the consensus number one pick in the upcoming draft because of his IQ and athletic prowess. He can also switch between the small forward and shooting guard spots. Look for Henson to be a dominant force while Zeller could become the best big man in the country if he stays healthy. Look for the Heels to be in the Elite Eight.
Kentucky won by 23 over ETSU 88-65. Brandon Knight had 17 points and 5 assists while Terrence Jones put up 25 points and 12 rebounds. Both of these guys are projected lottery picks on one of the best teams in the nation. But with all the talent on this team, they are no more than a Sweet Sixteen team.
Florida beat UNC-Wilmington 77-60 behind 16 points and 5 boards from Chandler Parsons. Alex Tyus added 13 points and 7 boards while Vernon Macklin chipped in with 9 points. If North Carolina has the best frontcourt in the nation, then Florida is a close second. Parsons is the scorer for the Gators and a second rounder. Tyus is a monster and secound round pick Macklin got a new lease on basketball life since being with the Gators. Sweet Sixteen.
Gonzaga blew out Southern by the score of 117-72. Steven Gray led the way with 25 points, 9 dimes, and 7 boards. Expect his game to grow as the season goes on. Elias Harris, who scored 12 points, is a first rounder in a very good frountcourt. He just might be the conference’s player of the year. Robert Sacre put in 11 points and 7 rebounds. This is a guy who will show up for the big games. This a Sweet Sixteen team.
Syracuse beat Nothern Iowa by a score of 68-46 behind 14 points and 5 rebounds from future lottery pick Kris Joseph. Fab Melo added 4 points while Scoop Jardine dished out 4 dimes. Scoop is on the verge of becoming a star for this team. Joseph is not what Wesley Johnson was for Syracuse, but he is still a good player. Melo will give the Orange a big body that can score in many different ways. Look for them to go no futher than the second round of the tournament.
Baylor beat Grambling State 87-52. Perry Jones had 11 points and 8 boards. Most draft boards have him as the second pick of the draft. If he becomes an aggressive forward in Baylor, he will live up to his hype. With the return of Dunn, this is a Sweet Sixteen team.
Memphis beat Centenary by a score of 104-40. Joe Jackson had 7 points and Wesley Witherspoon added 13 points and 9 rebounds off the bench. Jackson is one of the fastest players in the nation, if not the fastest. Witherspoon is the guy that is going to keep the Tigers together through the season. Memphis will return to the tourney this season, but the stay might not last past the second round.
Tennessee beat Chattanoga 82-62. Scotty Hopson scored 13 points while Tobias Harris put in 18 points 5 rebounds. People are still waiting for Hopson to live up to the hype surrouding him. Harris might be the best recruit Bruce Pearl has ever had. Tennessee looks like a Sweet Sixteen team.
Georgetown won a squaker by beating Old Dominion 62-59. Chris Wright, a second rounder, and Austin Freeman combined for 36 of the Hoyas points. Wright will have a biggeer role in the offense while Freeman might lead the Big East in scoring. The Hoyas might not make it pass the second round of the tournament.
In what might be the game with the most all-stars, Temple beat Seton Hall 62-56. Juan Fernandez scored 12 points and 7 rebounds,while second rounder Lavoy Allen had 9 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 blocks. Fernandez is a three-point shooter. Allen is a big time rebounder. Temple might when the A10 title, but they might not get pass the second round. As far as Seton Hall, Jeremy Hazell scored 17 points while Herb Pope put in 5 points and 8 rebounds. Hazell is an efficent scorer, espicially in big games. If Pope stays healthy, he will have a good season.
In the last top 25 game of the night, Virginia Tech beat Campbell 70-60. Malcolm Delany scored 20 points while Jeff Allen put in 11 points, 14 rebounds, and 5 assists. Delany will be one of the reasons the Hokies go to the NCAA tournament. Allen is a bully in the paint. The Hokies might not get past the second round of the tourney.