Monday, December 3, 2007

Real Deal or Fluke?

Note: This column originally appeared on

After a great week of college hoops that was overshadowed by college football all weekend, it was the hardwood that had the best moment on Sunday (although that’s not saying much considering the way the BCS turned out), with Texas’ Damion James dunking home a D.J. Augustin miss to give the Longhorns an outstanding road win at UCLA. It capped a terrific week of basketball which saw plenty of top-notch games and headline match-ups.

With a month finally under our collective belts, trends are beginning to develop for teams and players from coast-to-coast. Which of these trends are going to continue, and which are four-week flukes? Read below.


Ben McCauley, F, North Carolina State Wolfpack: To start things off, we’ll look at one player who has not played anywhere near the level he did last year. McCauley averaged about 14 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists last year, and was a pretty highly-rated player heading into the season. However, with the emergence of freshman J.J. Hickson, McCauley’s production has dropped – to 4.3 points and 3.0 rebounds per game. Unless something happens to Hickson, McCauley will continue to see fewer minutes.

Big East

Chris Howard, G, South Florida Bulls: Just like Solomon Bozeman at the beginning of last season, Howard has been a player to watch on an improved USF team. He is putting up over 11 points and almost 7 assists per game, and is also pitching with almost 5 rebounds a contest. With Kentrell Gransberry down low, Howard is going to get opportunities to get assists and boost his numbers. His scoring numbers, however, are likely to go down as the competition stiffens.

Luke Harangody, F, Notre Dame Fighting Irish: Yes, Harangody was a very solid and extremely efficient player last season, but his numbers this season have been outstanding. He is putting up over 17 points and 8 rebounds per game – and is doing it in less than 26 minutes per game. He was hampered in the preseason by an injury, but it has not affected his play this year so far. As he gets healthier and more comfortable with the injury, his numbers – and minutes – could improve.

Arinze Onuaku, F/C, Syracuse Orange: The Orange lost their entire frontcourt from a year ago, but, along with forwards Donte Greene and Paul Harris, Onuaku has made sure ‘Cuse doesn’t miss a beat. He is averaging almost 14 points and 8 rebounds per game, and has improved those numbers in the past two games, averaging 17 points and 13 rebounds in games against Massachusetts and Tulane. His numbers obviously won’t stay around that the entire season, but he will be a consistent contributor all year.

Big Ten

Justin Johnson, G, Iowa Hawkeyes: For what has been a fairly horrendous season thus far for the Hawkeyes, Johnson has been a bright spot. The 6-6 wing has been Iowa’s go-to-guy all year, averaging about 17 points and 5 rebounds per game. He is shooting only 41% from the field and tends to turn the ball over, but he has been a consistent scorer, putting up 51 points in the past two games against Louisiana-Monroe and Eastern Illinois. Expect him to continue to put up decent numbers.

Big 12

Jacob Pullen, G, Kansas State Wildcats: Although Michael Beasley gets all the attention for KSU, it is point guard play and perimeter shooting that will be the key for the Wildcats. Judging from the seven games so far this season, Pullen can help with both of those categories. He is the second-leading scorer on the team, putting up almost 14 points per game and dishing out almost four assists. However, he is averaging more turnovers than assists and is shooting 32% from behind the arc, a number that has improved to 42% over the past three games. He will likely continue to produce.

Alan Voskuil, G, Texas Tech Red Raiders: Since nearly every star player under Bobby Knight at Texas Tech has been mostly under-the-radar, it is not a surprise that Voskuil has been the second-best player for Tech this year. He is averaging 14.4 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.5 steals per game – and, more impressively, is shooting 60% from the field and 70% from beyond the arc. Yes, you read that right: Voskuil has hit 23-of-33 three-point shots. Those numbers will drop, but he is still the second option for Knight and that means something.


Joevan Catron, F, Oregon Ducks: Heading into the season, Oregon was expected to be carried by its “Big Four” of Tajuan Porter, Bryce Taylor, Malik Hairston and Maarty Leunen. While that has still been the case, the forgotten fifth starter, Catron, has been more than solid. He is putting up 11 points, over 9 rebounds and just under 3 assists per game – numbers that have improved lately. He is going to continue to get opportunities to make plays due to the attention paid to the other four starters.


Marreese Speights, F/C, Florida Gators: Everyone pegged Speights as a break-out player this year, as he had the opportunity to step into a Florida frontcourt decimated by the NBA Draft and become the go-to-guy. They have not been wrong. In just 20 minutes per game, Speights has been dominant, averaging almost 15 points and 8 rebounds per game, and throwing in almost two blocks a contest as well. Project that out to, say, 30 minutes per game, and that is about 22.5 points and 12 rebounds per game. Enough said.

Chris Warren, G, Ole Miss Rebels: In what has been a completely wide-open SEC West so far, the Rebels have surprised everyone, starting 6-0 and looking like a legitimate contender in the division. Warren, a 5-11 freshman point guard, has been one of the main reasons for the great start, averaging 14.8 points and 7.0 assists per game, as well as 1.3 steals a contest. The Rebels are putting up 94.5 points per game, second in the country, and if that continues, Warren’s outstanding numbers will continue.

Jeff Borzello, founder, editor and lone writer of March Madness All Season, also writes a weekly column for Pro Fantasy Sports.


  1. First of all gotta say We love reading ur blog. As true bulls fans, we know that chris howard is the real deal...he spent the last two seasons with injuries and now a healthy Howard is showing!! Go Bulls!!

  2. great post! I already have college basketball odds odds on Miami to win the Championship. GO MIAMI!