Eye Test All Star Team

After the midseason top 25 Wooden Award watch list was announced, some were surprised with the result.  Among them was the omission of Marcus Paige.  The North Carolina guard was listed in the preseason top 5, although at that point I wrote how he did not belong.

(Click here to read my November 8th article.  Not only did I write Paige did not belong, but I nominated Yogi Ferrell instead.  Today Ferrell is listed on the Wooden watch).

Another surprise on the current list is the snubs from among some teams in the AP top 25.  Despite consistently being ranked there, the Wooden Award list doesn’t include a Villanova Wildcat, Texas Longhorn or Northern Iowa Panther.

Well, Matty D’s Eye Test is on the case.  Let me break down a full roster of eye test all stars…

PG. Montae Morris – Iowa State
Morris is head-and-shoulders above any other point guard in the nation with a 5.52 assist-to-turnover ratio.  That means he has 94 assists on the year with only 17 turnovers.

SG.  Michael Qualls – Arkansas
Arkansas’ identity leans on full court pressure and transition offense.  The eye test tells you that Qualls can hypnotize a neutral crowd with his outstanding athleticism.  YouTube some of his dunk highlights when you have an hour-long lunch break.  Or see one below.

SF. Troy Williams  – Indiana
Yes, Yogi Ferrell deserves to be in the top 25 for the Wooden Watch.  However, Troy Williams has been ever more clutch for this Hoosiers team.  In a recent win at Illinois, Williams sealed the deal with six points and 3 rebounds in the final 1:45.  Similarly, he scored 15 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in a win against 22nd ranked Ohio State.  Williams literally did everything in a near overtime loss against Georgetown, scoring 23 points, grabbing 8 rebounds and dropping 4 assists as he played point guard at times.

PF.  Larry Nance Jr. – Wyoming
Nance Jr. has surged back after a torn ACL 10 months ago.  I wish I had counted how many dunks he has on the season.  This guy is the anchor of a very athletic Wyoming bunch that will surprise in March.  He plays great help defense as well.  The Cowboys were ranked 25th in the country just days ago before a skilled San Diego State team knocked them off the block.

C.  Seth Tuttle – Northern Iowa
He was appropriately nicknamed the “Ninja Tuttle 5 man” by broadcaster Mark Adams during the Panthers game on ESPNU recently.  Tuttle is a trusted big man who a team can work the offense through.  Tuttle averages 15 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists.  If college basketball counted hockey assists, perhaps he’d get the Wooden Watch recognition he deserves.  He has post moves but can also hit a three pointer.  He’s been compared to Doug McDermott, but he can actually hold his own down low defensively (and offensively) much better than McDermott.  (He is not as great a shooter as Dougy McBuckets, but how many people are?)

Ryan Arcidiacono – Villanova – Guard
Jonathan Holmes – Texas – Forward
Isaac Haas – Purdue – Center
Kenneth Smith – Louisiana Tech – Guard
Frank Mason Jr. – Kansas – Guard
J.D. Weatherspoon – Toldeo – Forward
Keifer Sykes – Green Bay – Guard

19 NCAA players with NBA dads – sons of former NBA stars in college basketball 2015

Son Team Father NBA Team of note
Shawn Kemp Jr. Washington Shawn Kemp Seattle Supersonics
Antoine Mason Auburn Anthony Mason New York Knicks
Aubrey Dawkins Michigan Johnny Dawkins Philadelphia 76ers
Juwan Howard Jr. Detroit Juwan Howard Washington Bullets
Sam Cassell Jr. UConn Sam Cassell Houston Rockets
Larry Nance Jr. Wyoming Larry Nance Cleveland Cavaliers
Isaiah Wilkins Virginia Dominique Wilkins Atlanta Hawks
Jerian Grant Notre Dame Harvey Grant Washington Bullets
Gary Payton Jr. Oregon St. Gary Payton Seattle Supersonics
Traevon Jackson Wisconsin Jimmy Jackson Dallas Mavericks
Domantas Sabonis Gonzaga Arvydas Sabonis Portland Trailblazers
Corey Hawkins UC Davis Hersey Hawkins Charlotte Hornets
A.J. English III Iona A.J. English II Denver Nuggets
Wyatt Lohaus Northern Iowa Brad Lohaus Milwaukee Bucks
Larry Johnson Jr. Youngstown St. Larry Johnson Charlotte Hornets
Brandan Stith Old Dominion Bryant Stith Denver Nuggets
Robert Sampson Georgia Tech Ralph Sampson Houston Rockets
Bryce Alford UCLA Steve Alford Dallas Mavericks
Elgin Cook Oregon Alvin Robertson San Antonio Spurs

College Basketball Predictions: UCONN vs. Stanford and more

Search on Twitter with the hashtag #SuspectSpreadsSaturday to see five picks per week and a time-stamp of past performance.  Click here to follow Matty D’s College Basketball Eye Test on Twitter.

Annual NBA to NCAA Player Comparison

Each year I welcome football-first fans back to the wonderful world of college basketball once their season is over.  If you qualify, I joke that you haven’t watched college basketball since the 1990s.  Last year, I compared NCAA players to the 1992 NBA Roster.  This year I see similarities between the 2002 NBA Finals and some current NCAA players.  See below and enjoy!
Nets Spurs

2002 NBA Finals 2015 NCAA Comparison School
NETS Richard Jefferson Rondae Hollis-Jefferson Arizona
Reason A Wilcat, part-Jefferson, extremely athletic and developing a jump shot
Keith Van Horn Sam Dekker Wisconsin
Oversized small forward, scorer, perhaps less aggressive than coach would like
Kerry Kittles Rayvonte Rice Illinois
Thrives in transition scoring, mostly below-the-rim, great shooter
Jason Kidd Fred VanVleet Wichita State
Smooth distributor, deceptive scorer, clutch
Kenyon Martin Montrezl Harrell Louisville
Strong, plays angry, rebounds, defends
Brandon Armstrong Chasson Randle Stanford
Pass first point guard who can drop 20 points if you need
Brian Scalabrine Jake “The Snake” Kurtz Florida
Hard-woker, forward who can stretch the floor yet do the dirty work
LAKERS Rick Fox J.J. O’Brien San Diego State
Quintessential “glue guy,” fills up a stat sheet, rebounding small forward
Derek Fisher Will Cummings Temple University
Experienced, heady point guard who can score as shot clock winds down
Shaquille O’Neal Isaac Haas Purdue
Huge, sometimes a double-team just won’t get it done
Kobe Bryant Michael Qualls Arkansas
The best athlete on the floor at shooting guard, above the rim, scorer
Robert Horry Justin Anderson Virginia
A defense-first power forward who can hit the 3 pointer
Mitch Richmond Caris LeVert Michigan
A shooting guard who gets his shot off best off-the-ball, but can break down defender
Mark Madson Adam Woodbury Iowa
Not a scoring option at center, but a strong guy who can get you rebounds and assists


71% Against the Spread so far this season

Matty D’s, aka my, record against the spread so far this year is 17-7-1.  That one tie was Texas Tech recently losing to Texas by nine points to mimic the odds.  As a self-proclaimed master of the “eye test,” I like to test myself with an actual opponent.  What better measuring stick than the all-knowing Las Vegas sports books?

I use the website Vegas Insider as my source for the current odds.

I also tweet my predictions hours before the first Saturday morning tip, using the hashtag #SuspectSpreadsSaturday.  It means that I am exposing the odds that I think are “suspect” or questionable.

Tweeting my picks each week also allows me to time stamp proof that I’ve made the predictions before the games.

For the week of Saturday, January 10, I suggest taking the following teams:
Louisville +5 @ North Carolina
Purdue +5 vs. Maryland
Iowa St. +5 @ West Virginia
Butler – 3.5 vs. Xavier
LSU -3 vs. Georgia

*Please note that I am dipping my feet in the water with five different major conferences:  ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Big East and SEC.

Here is a history of my selections so far this season:
(Starting with the most recent)

Eye Test Tuesday: Stanford vs. Washington debrief

Allow me to give some love to the West Coast for a moment.  I’m from New York, grew up a Big East fan, live in Lawrence now as a KU season ticket holder, but constantly keep my East Coast bias in check.

I am focusing on what appears to be a first weekend matchup.  The Eye Test tells me that Stanford and Washington could very well be 3 and 6 seed showdown in the NCAA Tournament.  They played Sunday night.  (You were likely reacting to the NFL’s Elite 8).  Other West Coast teams like UCLA, UNLV and San Diego State are struggling.  I have already profiled how legit Gonzaga and Utah are.

Stanford is a very aggressive bunch.   They forced nineteen turnovers against Washington, including 11 steals.  The high IQ level of Standford need not be explained.  The result could be another upstart run in the NCAA tournament.  Chasson Randle just became The Cardinals all-time leader in three-pointers made.  I think he is an underrated point guard in the national scene.  Stanford turned the ball only nine times as they defeated Washington in an overtime game.  Shooting guard Anthony Brown has arrived in his senior season.  He is completing that one-two punch in the scoring column.  (Brown’s offensive production was also vital in its win against Texas).  I also love Stefan Nastic, a center who takes a lot of pride on the defensive end.  Nastic was instrumental when Stanford beat Andrew Wiggins and the Kansas Jaywaks in last year’s first weekend.  The guy reminds me of a college basketball version of Marcin Gortat of the NBA.  He will never wow you with his post-move arsenal or above-the-rim athleticism.  Nastic will battle with your big man and do the cliche “little things” it takes to win.

Washington, meanwhile, also has a lot of players peculating at the right time.  Robert Upshaw is the nation’s best shot-blocker.  Shawn Kemp Jr. has a role as a second, third, or fourth scorer that he seems comfortable with (he led the Huskies in scoring this game–an anomaly when considering the season trend).  Andrew Andrews and Nigel Williams-Goss are a great backcourt because they can clearly create their own shots when its necessary.  Coach Lorenzo Romar always has his teams well-prepared if and when they make the big dance.  Washington had this game won against Stanford before letting Chasson Randle get to the rim for a layup on the final possession.  The Huskies won 68-60 in overtime.