Tag Archives: Brandon Paul

The first college basketball stock report of 2013

Conference play is officially underway in most conferences, which means that it’s time to evaluate whether it’s time to buy, sell or hold stock in some of the country’s top college basketball teams.

BUY

Butler

Brad Stevens has the Butler Bulldogs looking up as they head into A-10 play. (Image courtesy of http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1446736-butlers-brad-stevens-the-most-job-secure-coach-in-college-basketball)
Brad Stevens has the Butler Bulldogs looking up as they head into A-10 play. (Image courtesy of http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1446736-butlers-brad-stevens-the-most-job-secure-coach-in-college-basketball)

The Bulldogs’ two losses came in the team’s first five games and since their loss to Illinois, who is currently ranked eleventh, Brad Stevens’ squad has rattled off nine straight victories, including a win over No. 1 Indiana. Butler is playing their trademark tough defense and the Bulldogs have wins over Marquette, North Carolina and Northwestern in addition to knocking off the Hoosiers. Butler is the favorite to win the A-10 and its stock can continue to rise with a good conference record.

VCU

The Rams suffered three early losses to Wichita State, who is likely the second best team in the Missouri Valley, Duke and Missouri. However, VCU rebounded and is 12-3 with favorable chances to win a wide open Atlantic 10.

Minnesota

The Golden Gophers started the season unranked but have won their way to the ninth spot in the rankings. Their lone loss was to Duke, which is certainly nothing to be ashamed of considering the Blue Devils’ success this season. Minnesota is on a nine game win streak and has won six consecutive games by double digits, with the latest being a 76-63 home win against No. 18 Michigan State.

Kansas State

In Bruce Weber’s first year as head coach of the Wildcats, Kansas State is off to an impressive 12-2 record. K-State lost to Michigan and Gonzaga early in the season but have put those behind them with wins over Florida and Oklahoma State. The Wildcats will be in the mix of teams competing for second place in the Big 12 behind Kansas.

Kentucky

UK was way overrated at No. 3 in the preseason but the Wildcats have had time to work out some of their kinks in their non-conference schedule. Ryan Harrow gives them a good option at point guard that they were missing early in the season. They lost to Duke and Louisville, two of the top four teams in the country, and Notre Dame in their first true road test. Many of the growing pains are out of the way and a top three finish in the SEC isn’t out of the question as the will compete with Florida and Missouri for the conference title.

SELL

Ohio State

Brandon Paul and the Fighting Illini handled their business against Ohio State and make basketball fans wonder how good the Buckeyes really are. (Image courtesy of http://www.toledoblade.com/Ohio-State/2013/01/05/No-11-Illinois-rebounds-with-home-win-over-No-8-Buckeyes-74-55.html)
Brandon Paul and the Fighting Illini handled their business against Ohio State and make basketball fans wonder how good the Buckeyes really are. (Image courtesy of http://www.toledoblade.com/Ohio-State/2013/01/05/No-11-Illinois-rebounds-with-home-win-over-No-8-Buckeyes-74-55.html)

The Buckeyes have faced three ranked teams-Duke, Kansas and Illinois-and lost all three games. With six ranked teams in the Big Ten, the Buckeyes will have to win big games, especially on the road, and they haven’t proven that they’re up to the challenge just yet.

Pittsburgh

The Panthers cracked the AP Top 25 with an appearance at No. 24 but it will be short-lived after losing to Cincinnati and Rutgers in their first two Big East games, which makes then tied for last place in the conference. Pittsburgh had two freshmen in the starting lineup, which could make for a slow start to conference play.

Cincinnati

Mick Cronin’s Bearcats reached as high as eighth in the rankings but Cincinnati lost to New Mexico and St. John’s in the team’s last three games. UC has a challenging next matchup when it hosts No. 21 Notre Dame on Monday.

Wisconsin

The Badgers entered the season in the AP Top 25 but fell quickly out of the polls after losses to Florida, Creighton, Virginia and Marquette. Wisconsin plays Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan State, Minnesota and Ohio State in consecutive games in January, which bodes for a difficult month and a bad start to Big Ten play.

HOLD

Duke

The Blue Devils have passed every test that has been thrown at them this season but they can only move down in the rankings from the No. 1 spot. Duke will be expected to win the ACC but North Carolina State, North Carolina or Maryland all have the talent to upset the Blue Devils in conference play.

Arizona

Sean Miller’s Wildcats are the best team out West but San Diego State, Colorado and Utah’s close losses have shown that Arizona is vulnerable and it could suffer its first loss to a PAC-12 opponent this month.

Illinois

The Fighting Illini are a very difficult team to examine. They won by double digits against Butler and on the road against Gonzaga. Then Illinois lost to Missouri and Purdue in a three-game stretch, followed by a dominating win over Ohio State. Illinois is certainly a force to be reckoned with in the Big Ten but their up and down play gives the impression that they will have their share of impressive wins and tough losses this season.

Oklahoma State

The Cowboys blew out North Carolina State early in the season but have lost consecutive games to No. 10 Gonzaga and No. 25 Kansas State, which means that Oklahoma State still has room for improvement in the remainder of the season.

Michigan

The country’s No. 2 team is off to a 15-0 start but it is only a matter of time until the Wolverines lose their first game. The Big Ten schedule for every team is a mine field–one bad step or slip up and Michigan can receive the first blemish on its 2012-13 campaign. However, the Wolverines are one of the best teams in the country and will give Indiana a run for its money to win the Big Ten.

Stay tuned for the next edition of Sports.Eat.Sleep.Repeat.!

The Seven Toughest Matchups for Indiana

The Big Ten is loaded with top college basketball teams and players this year, which means that the Indiana Hoosiers will have their hands full this season. IU has nine conference games against opponents who are currently ranked. Butler, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Northwestern are not currently in the top 25 but will challenge the Hoosiers in an attempt to knock off the current number one team in the country. Here are the seven toughest matchups remaining on Indiana’s schedule:

7. Rotnei Clarke-Butler-Guard-Senior

Rotnei Clarke is hoping to lead Butler back into the national spotlight in March. Courtesy of http://www.butlersports.com/sports/m-baskbl/2012-13/releases/20121126a9la56.

On December 15, Indiana faces Butler in the Boston Scientific Close the Gap Crossroads Classic at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind. Rotnei Clarke is in his first season at Butler after transferring from Arkansas after three years as a Razorback. The senior is Butler’s leading scorer with 18.5 points per game. He is lights out shooter, connecting on 45 percent of his shot attempts and is just as good from behind the arc. Clarke has the clutch gene too. He hit a game-winning three pointer against Marquette in the Maui Invitational, which allowed the Bulldogs to upset North Carolina in the next round of the tournament.

6. Aaron Craft-Ohio State-Guard-Junior

Craft is one of the toughest defenders in the country and has developed an offensive game to make him a tough matchup on both ends of the court. He has improved his three-point shooting percentage by six percent from last season. The Ohio State point guard can do a little bit of everything. He averages 13.6 points, 4.4 assists, 2.8 rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game. The Findlay, Ohio native takes excellent care of the basketball and has an assist to turnover ratio of nearly 4:1.

5. Keith Appling-Michigan State-Guard-Junior

Even though Michigan State has lost two games already this season, they remain a dangerous team in large part because of Appling’s offensive ability. The junior is shooting 47 percent from the field, 42 percent from behind the three-point line, and is an 85 percent free throw shooter through seven games this season. He was a major reason why the Spartans knocked off then-No. 7 Kansas in the first week of the college basketball season. Appling scored 19 points on only nine shots and made all of his three-point and free throw attempts.

4. Brandon Paul-Illinois-Guard-Senior

Brandon Paul has lead Illinois to an 8-0 start in 2012. Courtesy of http://www.illinoisloyalty.com/Forums/showthread.php?t=10645.

Brandon Paul has proven time and time again that he is an incredibly dangerous scorer if he gets in a groove. He dropped 43 points on Ohio State last season on 8-10 shooting from behind the arc. The senior’s 18.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 4.1 assists lead the Fighting Illini in those categories. He is shooting 48 percent this season and has been a big time contributor for an 8-0 Illinois squad.

3. Trey Burke-Michigan-Guard-Sophomore

Burke was named a preseason All-American by the Associated Press and has lived up to the hype thus far. He is a leader on a Michigan team that has the fourth best shooting percentage in the nation. The Wolverine guard is averaging 16.7 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 7.5 assists per game and has Michigan ranked third in the country.

2. Tim Hardaway Jr.-Michigan-Guard-Junior

The 6′ 6″ junior has been lights out shooting the ball for Michigan this season. He has connected on nearly 57 percent of his shot attempts. Tim Hardaway Jr. is the leading scorer, at 17.8 points per game, and second leading rebounder for the Wolverines. He has scored in double figures in all six of Michigan’s games and has scored at least 23 points twice this season.

1. Deshaun Thomas-Ohio State-Forward-Junior

Deshaun Thomas was named a preseason All-American by the Associated Press. Courtesy of http://www.cleveland.com/ohio-sports-blog/index.ssf/2012/03/ohio_state_buckeyes_pm_links_34.html.

Deshaun Thomas, an Associated Press preseason All-American, is an electrifying scorer. He is averaging 22.4 points per game, which is the eleventh highest average in Division I college basketball. The forward is making 52 percent of his shot attempts this season and nearly half of his three-pointers. He is automatic from the free throw line and is the leading rebounder for the Buckeyes.