NBE Basketball Report
Raphielle Johnson, Teams

LEFT COAST LAYUPS (11/21/2012): COLORADO, NEW MEXICO SERVE NOTICE WITH BIG WINS

November 21, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

By Raphielle Johnson

 

Before the season began many saw the races in both the Mountain West and the Pac-12 as being two-team affairs thanks in large part to what happened on the recruiting trail. In the Mountain West it was UNLV and San Diego State who received the bulk of the attention, and the same can be said of Arizona and UCLA in the Pac-12. For those who made those assumptions, what happened in Charleston and the US Virgin Islands should be seen as a “wake-up call” of sorts. Both Colorado and New Mexico return home for Thanksgiving with in-season tournament titles in tow, while having the look of teams more than capable of contending for a conference title.

 

Tad Boyle’s Buffaloes are back in the AP poll for the first time since the 1996-97 season as a result of winning the Charleston Classic, where they took care of Dayton, then-No. 16 Baylor and Murray State. Askia Booker was named MVP of the event and Spencer Dinwiddie displayed his ability as a very good defender. It was Dinwiddie who drew the assignments of guarding Dayton’s Kevin Dillard, Baylor’s Pierre Jackson and Murray State’s Isaiah Canaan (21 points, but no three-pointers in the second half), and the 6-6 sophomore more than held his own. Add in solid weekends from Andre Roberson and Josh Scott, in addition to contributions from others such as Sabatino Chen and Xavier Johnson, and the weekend should make fans optimistic in regards to the remainder of the season.

 

As for the Lobos they won all three of their games at the Paradise Jam by seven points or less, with two threes in 12 seconds pushing them past George Mason in the semifinals. Kendall Williams earned MVP honors following New Mexico’s 66-60 win over No. 23 Connecticut in the title game, and Hugh Greenwood made some big plays following an 11-0 UConn run to give the Huskies a 55-53 lead. Combine the run through the Paradise Jam with their season-opening win over Davidson and Steve Alford’s group has a 4-0 mark with a few wins that will serve them well in regards to an NCAA tournament resume. They’ll need more consistent play from the front court (Alex Kirk and Cameron Bairstow being the main pieces), and if that happens New Mexico will once again factor into the Mountain West race.

 

Nothing wrong with making two teams the favorites to win a conference, but the manner in which some rushed to make it as if those were the only teams capable of winning was hasty. And after last week it’s quite apparent that neither Colorado nor New Mexico has any intentions of conceding anything in their respective leagues.

 

Big Sky

Players of the Week: Sacramento State guard Dylan Garrity and Northern Arizona guard DeWayne Russell

Underclassmen took the honors in the Big Sky this week, as the sophomore Garrity averaged 20.0 points and 6.0 assists per game in wins over Cal State Bakersfield and Utah. The win over Utah moved the Hornets to 3-0 on the season, which is already an improvement on last season’s win total (two). Russell became the first freshman to win Player of the Week honors as led the Lumberjacks to their first win of the season (85-82 at UC Davis) with a career-high 25 points. The win also snapped an 18-game road losing streak for NAU.

 

Hornets off to surprising 3-1 start: Sacramento State took some serious beatings last season on the way to a two-win campaign, but the Hornets have looked much improved to start 2012-13. While there’s the aforementioned Dylan Garrity he’s not the only one who has been productive for Brian Katz’s club, as John Dickson and Mikh McKinney are both averaging 16.3 points per contest. Dickson is also tied for fourth in the Big Sky in rebounding as he’s pulling down an average of 7.0 caroms per game. Even with the loss to UC Davis last night the Hornets have games against Central Arkansas and Dominican, so don’t be surprised if the Hornets are 5-1 when they visit Arizona State on December 1. We’ll find out then just how much of a factor Sacramento State can be in the Big Sky race.

 

Schedule (Wednesday – Sunday)

Wednesday, November 21

9:05 PM Eastern Washington vs. USC Upstate

9:05 PM Carroll College at Southern Utah (Big Sky TV)

9:05 PM Montana State at Air Force

9:05 PM Wyoming at Northern Colorado (Big Sky TV)

10 PM Portland State at Portland

10 PM Idaho State at Utah (Pac-12 Networks)

 

Friday, November 23

2:05 PM Northern Arizona vs. Jacksonville State

7:15 PM Eastern Washington at Santa Clara

10:35 PM Idaho State vs. Wright State

 

Saturday, November 24

TBD Northern Arizona vs. Campbell/North Carolina A&T

6:35 PM Idaho State vs. Central Michigan

8:05 PM San Diego at Montana (Big Sky TV)

8:05 PM Sacramento State at Central Arkansas

9:05 PM Weber State at Utah State (KMYU)

 

Sunday, November 25

2:05 PM Portland State at Oklahoma State

6:05 PM Montana State at Oregon State (Pac-12 Networks)

 

Big West

Player of the Week: Cal State Northridge guard/forward Stephan Hicks

Hicks was one of the catalysts for the Matadors on their 4-0 run through the NUCDF Basketball Challenge, averaging 18.8 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. Hicks, who was Big West Freshman of the Year last season, ranks fifth in the conference in scoring and is shooting 55.6% from the field.

 

Matadors 6-0 for first time since 1981-82 season: There was thought in some circles that Bobby Braswell’s team would be improved despite being picked to finish eight in the preseason by the Big West media. But it’s difficult to think that anyone outside of the Northridge program thought that a 6-0 start would be possible. One reason for the hot start: turnover margin. The Matadors are forcing nearly 19 turnovers per game, and their turnover margin of plus-4.17 ranks second in the Big West. Offensively three Matadors are averaging double figures, led by Big West Player of the Week Stephan Hicks (17.3 ppg). With Hicks, Josh Greene and Stephen Maxwell, Northridge has a solid nucleus to rely on. Will this start, their best as a Division I member, carry over into Big West play? We’ll start to find out in January.

 

Schedule (Wednesday – Sunday)

Wednesday, November 21

8 PM UC Irvine at Sam Houston State

10 PM San Diego at UCSB

11:30 PM UC Riverside vs. Northeastern

 

Thursday, November 22

2 PM Pacific vs. Xavier (ESPNU)

 

Friday, November 23

TBD Pacific at DirecTV Classic (ESPN2/U)

TBD UC Riverside at Great Alaska Shootout

10 PM San Diego Christian at Cal State Fullerton

 

Saturday, November 24

TBD UC Riverside at Great Alaska Shootout

4 PM UCSB at Boise State

9 PM Cal State Northridge at BYU (BYUtv)

10 PM UC Irvine at Pepperdine

 

Sunday, November 25

TBD Pacific at DirecTV Classic (ESPN2/3/U)

4 PM Long Beach State at Fresno State

10 PM Cal Poly at UCLA (Pac-12 Networks)

 

Mountain West

Players of the Week: Nevada guard Deonte Burton and New Mexico guard Tony Snell

Both Burton and Snell had game-winners to their credit last week, with Burton draining a three against Green Bay in Nevada’s own in-season tournament while Snell beat George Mason in the semifinals of the Paradise Jam. In three games Burton averaged 17.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.5 steals, 3.0 assists and 2.0 blocks per game. Snell’s averages were 19.7 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.5 steals, and 1.5 blocks per contest.

 

UNLV to be tested this week: After comfortable wins over Northern Arizona and Jacksonville State the Rebels will encounter far more resistance this weekend, as they take on Oregon and then either Cincinnati or Iowa State in the Global Sports Classic in Las Vegas. Freshman Anthony Bennett has hit the ground running, averaging 17.0 points and 8.0 rebounds per game, but he and the rest of his teammates inside really haven’t been challenged. That changes on Friday when UNLV takes on an Oregon squad that has added Rice transfer Arsalan Kazemi to the fold. We’ll get our first piece of evidence as to whether or not UNLV has the muscle needed inside to make a run deep into March in these two games. 

 

Schedule (Wednesday – Sunday)

Wednesday, November 21

9 PM Montana State at Air Force

9 PM Colorado State at Denver (ROOT)

9 PM Wyoming at Northern Colorado (Big Sky TV)

10:30 PM UAPB at No. 25 San Diego State (FS San Diego)

 

Friday, November 23

9 PM Oregon at No. 18 UNLV (CBS SN)

10:30 PM Idaho at New Mexico

 

Saturday, November 24

TBD TBD vs. No. 18 UNLV (CBS SN)

4 PM UCSB at Boise State

7 PM Nevada at Marshall

7:30 PM Colorado State at Washington (Pac-12 Networks)

9 PM Cal State Bakersfield at Wyoming

 

Sunday, November 25

4 PM Long Beach State at Fresno State

8 PM Air Force at No. 23 Colorado (Pac-12 Networks)

8 PM Portland at New Mexico (ROOT)

10 PM No. 25 San Diego State at USC (FSN)

 

Pac-12

Player of the Week: Colorado guard Askia Booker

Booker was also MVP of the Charleston Classic as he led the Buffaloes to three wins in four days to take the title. The sophomore from Los Angeles averaged 19.3 points per contest and shot 51.1% from the field.

 

The kid was alright in his first start: Brandon Ashley replacing fellow freshman Grant Jerrett in the starting lineup on Monday night was a bit of a surprise for Arizona, but Ashley came through with his first career double-double (20 points, ten rebounds) in the Wildcats’ 94-72 win over Long Beach State. “We started him tonight not because of anything Grant did, because he’s rock solid, but as a reward to Brandon,” said head coach Sean Miller after the game. “How you practice is how you play, and how he played was very similar to how he practiced the other night.” Arizona can go ten deep without much of a drop off at this point in the season, and if they’re able to continue doing this the Wildcats will be tough to beat. 

 

Schedule (Wednesday – Sunday)

Wednesday, November 21

TBD USC at Maui Invitational (ESPNU)

9 PM Idaho State at Utah (Pac-12 Networks)

 

Thursday, November 22

1 PM Stanford vs. No. 13 Missouri (NBC SN)

11:30 PM California vs. Drake (ESPN2)

 

Friday, November 23

TBD California vs. Rice/Georgia Tech (ESPN2/U)

TBD Stanford vs. No. 2 Louisville/Northern Iowa (NBC SN)

7 PM Arizona State vs. Arkansas (ESPN3)

7 PM Central Michigan at Utah (Pac-12 Networks)

9 PM Oregon at No. 18 UNLV (CBS SN)

 

Saturday, November 24

TBD UAPB at Washington State (Pac-12 Networks)

TBD Wright State at Utah (Pac-12 Networks)

TBD Arizona State vs. Wisconsin/No. 14 Creighton

TBD Oregon vs. No.22 Cincinnati/Iowa State

TBD Stanford at Battle 4 Atlantis (NBC SN)

7:30 PM Colorado State at Washington (Pac-12 Networks)

 

Sunday, November 25

TBD California at DirecTV Classic (ESPN2/3/U)

6 PM Montana State at Oregon State (Pac-12 Networks)

8 PM Air Force at No. 23 Colorado (Pac-12 Networks)

10 PM Cal Poly at No. 11 UCLA (Pac-12 Networks)

10 PM No. 25 San Diego State at USC (FSN)

 

WCC

Player of the Week: San Diego guard Johnny Dee

Dee was named to the All-Tournament team at the NUCDF Basketball Challenge, which was hosted by the Toreros. In four games the sophomore averaged 18.5 points per game, shooting 51.1% from the field and 57.9% from three. Dee shared Player of the Week honors last week with Santa Clara’s Kevin Foster.

 

Foster brilliant in Bronco romp: Given the strength at the top of the WCC it will be tough for Santa Clara to reach the NCAA tournament. But they put on a show for those who were unsure of what Kerry Keating’s club is capable of last Wednesday as they won at Saint Louis 74-62. Senior guard Kevin Foster was a big reason why, as he dropped 30 points on the Billikens and also became the program’s all-time leading scorer. The return of Foster and forward Marc Trasolini (11.0 ppg, 9.5 rpg) is just one reason why many expect the Broncos to make a major jump in the standings after going 0-16 in WCC play last year.

 

Schedule (Wednesday – Sunday)

Wednesday, November 21

9 PM UTSA at BYU (BYUtv)

10 PM Portland State at Portland

10 PM San Diego at UCSB

11 PM Utah Valley at Santa Clara

 

Thursday, November 22

4:30 PM Saint Mary’s at Drexel (ESPN2)

9 PM No. 16/17 Gonzaga vs. Clemson (ESPN2)

9 PM Loyola Marymount vs. Oral Roberts (CBS SN)

 

Friday, November 23

TBD No. 16/17 Gonzaga at Old Spice Classic (ESPN2)

TBD Saint Mary’s at DirecTV Classic (ESPN2/U)

TBD Loyola Marymount at Great Alaska Shootout

7 PM Eastern Washington at Santa Clara

 

Saturday, November 24

TBD Loyola Marymount at Great Alaska Shootout

9 PM Cal State Northridge at BYU (BYUtv)

9 PM San Diego at Montana

10 PM Columbia at San Francisco

10 PM UC Irvine at Pepperdine

 

Sunday, November 25

TBD No. 16/17 Gonzaga at Old Spice Classic (ESPN2)

TBD Saint Mary’s at DirecTV Classic (ESPN2/U)

8 PM Portland at New Mexico (ROOT)

 

WAC

Player of the Week: Louisiana Tech guard Kenneth Smith

Smith didn’t do much scoring for the Bulldogs but he made sure to do everything else as they went 2-0 on the week. In a 70-52 win over UALR the sophomore accounted for seven points, seven rebounds six steals and five assists, and he followed that up with seven assists and seven boards in a 70-46 win over Troy. We may have found the early favorite for WAC Defensive Player of the Year.

 

Utah State sees a golden opportunity slip away: Should the Aggies need an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament and not get it, their 67-58 home loss to Saint Mary’s will likely be a result that stands out. The Aggies were cold from the field, and with a schedule with just three more shots at solid non-conference wins (Weber State, at Santa Clara and at BYU), Utah State really could have used a win over the Gaels for their resume. Whether or not Preston Medlin and company need help from the selection committee to get into the field remains to be seen, but they could have done themselves a big favor last Thursday and were unable to get the job done.

 

Schedule (Wednesday – Saturday)

Wednesday, November 21

9 PM Northern New Mexico at New Mexico State

9 PM Colorado State at Denver (ROOT)

9 PM UTSA at BYU (BYUtv)

10 PM Pacific Lutheran at Seattle

 

Thursday, November 22

12 AM Texas State vs. Charlotte (CBS SN)

 

Friday, November 23

TBA Texas State at Great Alaska Shootout

9:30 PM Louisiana-Lafayette at New Mexico State

9:30 PM Idaho at New Mexico

 

Saturday, November 24

TBA Texas State at Great Alaska Shootout

8 PM ULM at Louisiana Tech

8 PM UT Arlington at Samford

9:05 PM Weber State at Utah State

 

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