By Michael Almonte
As we enter into 2012 for the college basketball season, five spectacular freshmen have stood up and made an intermediate impact on their teams. First up is Duke’s Austin Rivers who has not disappointed the Cameron Crazies with his phenomenal play. Rivers leads the team with 15.6 PPG and ranks second on the team in assists with 2.3 APG. The biggest intangible Rivers has bought to the team is attitude playing with an edge on the court. Rivers has scored double-figures in 10 out of 11 games as the Blue Devils are off to a 10-1 start.
Gonzaga’s Kevin Pangos is creating some serious buzz on the West Coast especially behind the three-point line. Pangos leads the team with 14.5 PPG and made some serious noise in the second game of the year against Washington State as he exploded for 33 points including drilling nine three pointers in the win. Pangos is shooting 40% behind the arc and 84% from the free-throw line. Through 11 games, Pangos has scored in double figures nine times as Gonzaga has started the season at 9-2.
Jared Sullinger Credits Getty
By: Tim Donohoo
Far too often college athletes are congratulated for making the next step to the professional ranks prior to using all of their collegiate eligibility. That is not the case for four talented sophomore forwards who opted to return to their respective campuses in 2011-12.
Jared Sullinger (Ohio State); Harrison Barnes (North Carolina); Terrence Jones (Kentucky) and Perry Jones (Baylor) all decided to forego the professional ranks and return to college this season. One of the top post men in the country, Sullinger had the Buckeyes poised in the top position during last year’s NCAA Tournament before losing to Kentucky in the Sweet 16. He was a definite Top Five pick last summer had he left Columbus. However, he was in no hurry to opt for the NBA. “I am having fun playing college basketball and I do not want basketball to become a job just yet in my life. I still want to be a kid, ” Sullinger said.
By: Julia Speace
In it’s 112th season, the Indiana Hoosiers are set on taking the “who” out of “HOOsiers” permanently. The Hoosiers enter week 8 of the AP Men’s Basketball rankings sitting comfortably at #17, with some arguing that they should be higher. Led by coach Tom Crean, the Hoosiers are displaying remarkable offensive firepower, with a 51.4% shooting average from the field, good for the highest team shooting average out of all Big Ten teams. Even though their preseason has not been overly strenuous, it still was peppered with potential roadblocks. The Hoosiers registered strong-and surprising- wins over #3 Kentucky and the always-competitive Fighting Irish. Additionally, they already have elusive 3 road wins under their belt, trumping Crean’s 3-41 away record he was carrying coming into the 2011/2012 season.
By: Michael Almonte
The off-season in any sport is where players get better and expand their games to become better overall players. Putting in the time requires determination, dedication and diligence in an athlete reaching their full max. A couple of players so far during the young college basketball season have made great sides from the previous season.
Murray State is undefeated in the Top 25. Credits: Murray State University
By: Julia Speace
Crack open those books, kids, because it is that time of year again. That is right- time to dust off your favorite “well-worn” (i.e., tattered) college alumnus tees, and revert back into your old school ways. Now I am not telling you to go out and buy all the beer in the Quik-E-Mart for an old-fashioned kegger. No, I am instead telling you to begin the official New Year’s switch to NCAA Basketball.
College basketball will always be “ruled” by the perennial majors. The Dukes, Ohio States, North Carolinas, and Syracuses of the world have, in the past, dominated the Div-1 rankings, and continue to do so today. Per the release of the December 12th Associated Press’ rankings, the top fives were as follows: Syracuse, Ohio State, Kentucky, Louisville, and North Carolina. The remainder of the poll contains the usual suspects, with top programs such as Duke, Missouri, UConn, Kansas, Pitt, Marquette and Wisconsin peppering the mid to lower vacancies.
However, the rest of the poll is perhaps the most surprising to even the most avid NCAA basketball fans and analysts.