- Oral Roberts beats short-handed Xavier
- Missouri Tigers
- Creighton’s Doug McDermott
- Texas/North Carolina Preview
As fall semester comes to a close, this marks the last week of non-conference games for most teams around the country. We have already seen two #1 teams get knocked off this season, a rise of talented freshman and sophomores, and a lot of great games. Let’s recap our most “uneventful” in college basketball and we still had a few shockers.
Week in Review
Oral Roberts defeats short-handed Xavier
The Xavier basketball team is already feeling the repercussions of last Saturday’s brawl with the Cincinnati Bearcats. On Sunday, the 8th-ranked Musketeers took on a solid 7-4 Oral Roberts team at home. The outcome was not what Xavier was hoping for. Xavier was playing without their preseason All-American, Tu Holloway, because of his role in last week’s fight. Their offense was not the same, losing 64-42. Xavier shot 32.7% from the field and 9.1% from the three-point line, and turned the ball over 17 times in Sunday’s lost. Oral Roberts took the lead at the 14:27 mark of the first half on a three-pointer from Dominique Morrison and never looked back, leading 36-19 at halftime. Their lead grew to as much as 30 points in the second half before Xavier ended the game on a 12-4 run. With the loss, Xavier falls to 8-1 and Oral Roberts improves to 8-4.
Team to Lookout For
How good are the Missouri Tigers? They are better than their #8 ranking in the nation. They have been blowing teams out this season, winning game by an average of 27 points a game. Their 87.3 points per game are 2nd in the nation and their 52% from the field is 3rd in the nation. They have four players averaging 11 or more points per game, and one player averaging 21 points per game. Their starting five is one of the best and most efficient in the nation. They have six players that are averaging at least 23 minutes per game. As a team, they are shooting 41% from the three-point line and 77% from the free-throw line. With their win over William & Mary today, Missouri moves to 11-0 on the year. As conference play approaches, their schedule will toughen up. They have beaten notable teams such as Notre Dame, Villanova and California. This week, they play Illinois, with Christmas-break (8 day break) between the Illinois game and their next game (Old Dominion on Dec. 30th). They start conference play on January 3rd, against Oklahoma. We will find out how good Missouri really is when they play at Baylor on January 21st. Missouri and Baylor figure to be the top teams in the Big 12 this season. Watch out for Missouri.
Get to Know Doug McDermott
Creighton is in the Missouri Valley Conference. A conference that doesn’t get the kind of recognition it deserves. Two years ago, Northern Iowa upset Kansas in the NCAA Tournament. Last year, it was Indiana State played Syracuse tough before losing by 17 in the first round of last year’s tournament. This season, both Northern Iowa and Indiana State are good, but there is a new kid on the block. The Creighton Blue Jays are back! A big reason why Creighton has experienced great success early on in the season is due to a sophomore. Doug McDermott is son of head coach Greg McDermott, who just so happens to coach Creighton. Even Doug could not have predicted this type of season. I played AAU basketball with the young McDermott and I realized that he knew the game of basketball well. He didn’t always play the best, but he was consistent. Last season, he played well as a freshman, averaging 15 points a game and 7 rebounds a game. But this season, he has transformed himself into something not even his father could have predicted. He has taken on the role of leader scorer, team player, and team leader. McDermott is averaging 24.1 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. He is shooting an unbelievable 61% from the field, 55% from three, and 83% from the line. He has gone from off the radar to being in the conversation of “Player of the Year”. He is 2nd in the nation in scoring and 11th in three-point percentage. Through nine games, he has four double-doubles (he had ten last season) and playing one-less minute a game this season compared to last. If he keeps up this production, there is no question that he will be MVC Player of the Year, and possibly, National Player of the Year. There is still a lot of season left to play, but McDermott has been extremely impressive thus far.
Texas/North Carolina Preview
The Texas Longhorns will travel to Chapel Hill on Wednesday to take on the highly talented North Carolina Tar Heels. Texas endured two tough losses early in the season to Oregon State and NC State. Since their lost to NC State, the Longhorns have won seven games in a row, including a win at UCLA and at home against Temple. The Longhorns sport a 9-2 record, in a year in which most people think they would be re-building after losing Cory Joseph and Tristan Thompson to the NBA draft. But like all good programs do, Texas re-loaded. J’Covan Brown has emerged as the team’s best offensive scorer, averaging 19 points a game. Freshman point guard Myck Kabongo has been very good, averaging 6 assists per game, but Brown and Kabongo will have to be on their game Wednesday when they enter the Dean Center to take on Harrison Barnes and co. Like Texas, North Carolina has two losses (UNLV and Kentucky), but both UNLV and Kentucky were on hot streaks when North Carolina played them. The Tar Heels are led by Harrison Barnes and John Henson. Barnes leads the team in scoring (16.7 a game) and Henson in rebounding (10.2 a game). Henson also averages 15 ppg, and 3 bpg. UNC also has Tyler Zeller, P.J. Hairston, Reggie Bullock, Dexter Strickland, and Kendall Marshall. They are a deeper team than Texas, they are playing at home, and they seem to have found their swagger again. This is a dangerous game for the Longhorns, and it will be tough to compete with the Heels. I am going to make a safe prediction and take North Carolina in this one.