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Early impressions (Mid Season review added)


JwgreDeux
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So I won’t be able to do the volume of analysis I’ve done in the past due to life commitments, but I’ll still be watching the games. 
 

So far through two games I like most of what we have seen. The talent and depth are obvious. The scoring has been good and defense has shown some great flashes. I think this group can challenge for the SEC snd get a good seed in the big dance IF coach Pearl can figure a few things out. 
 

1. Guard play or maybe a better way to say it is defining the roles of our guards. This group has some nice talent, but they are not as talented as Harper, Brown, or Cooper. As competition gets stiffer KD will not be effective driving to the rim and Green will have a harder time penetrating. The good news there is they don’t need to carry the load our previous backcourts did. KD can shoot and Jasper and Green need to focus on situational scoring and more facilitating. I think this will happen over time. 
 

2. More touches for Smith and Kessler. We saw Smith get more aggressive in game two and I expect that to continue. He needs to touch the ball, a lot. Kessler also needs more touches. I’m our second game 3 or 4 Gus off the bench took more shots than he did. He needs to be more demanding of the ball, but Green needs to sacrifice some to spread the ball. I also think this will improve, probably pretty quickly. 
 

3. Soooooo many rotations. CBP is subbing guys left and right trying to see what he likes and what works. I think he is doing this before the Bahamas tourney so we can try to compete there. I personally like to see Smith and Williams together with Smith at the three. Will be interesting to see how this evolves in the short term and what happens when Flanagan comes back. 
 

4. Defense is inconsistent. That isn’t surprising either given the number of new faces. First half of first game was amazing, second half of second game was also really good. Guards have had some trouble staying in front of their man and is concerning going forward. Will be watching that closely to see if it improves or if we have to make adjustments strategically. 
 

5. Rebounding has to be better. This has to get better. With our size and athleticism we should have the ability to improve. We have lost the offensive rebounding battle, and the defensive rebounding has been mediocre. 
 

Really excited about this group. Think the ceiling is high but success far from a given. 

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I’m too lazy to provide a nuanced response currently, but I’ll just try to read through and see how each point makes me feel

1. Agree, and they were all guys that we got after missing more talented guys we wanted (except KD). So that’s fair. 
2. I think they need to find situations to optimize Kessler more than just give him touches. They give him touches in the same few spots and ways where neither him or the offense look really able to make something happen. But I get why he keeps getting top of the key touches…just need way more than that

3. Agree, but I also think this is bc Bruce himself wants to see what direction he’ll have to go as a coach. Most of the talent is in the front court, yet the vast majority of the touches are from the guards. I imagine he wants that to change, but he might have to throw some things against the wall (post ups vs PnRs vs..) to get that to happen. The lack of real PG vision is definitely hurting that pursuit. Not even on a Coop level, but even Harper was really solid at placing the ball when passing to bigs in transition, and these guys haven’t been willing to pull that trigger yet. In trying to avoid those post passes, I feel like it’s hurting ball movement even more than a possible turnover would 

4. also think the guards’s trouble come from a strategic thing, rather than ability. They just reach and press (not in that order) for most of the game. It looks like a system thing to me. They seem fine when just playing straight up D, although the KD and Zep fine is a lot different than Wendell’s

5. Yep

Fantastic takeaways, didn’t disagree with anything on the most core level. Thanks for the write up 

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I have to do a better job of collecting my thoughts when watching defense, but our switching could use a good bit of work. Jabari isn't the only one who's had problems with switch IQ I'm sure, but this highlight reel just helped jog my memory on where some things went wrong last game 

 

Separate issue, but kinda the same vein as what I was mentioning with our defenders having to account for ball handlers when they get past our guys after they reach in for the steal. Many times, the wing'll step up to prevent an easy lane, and the guard is seemingly on a frantic search for the wing's assignment. A thing I'd feel like film can help with

 

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I'm still forming my opinion of course since we are only 2 games in. But so far i'm encouraged by what i have seen. The guys are playing really hard and that is the first thing that stands out. They want to be good and they want to win. This is definitely the deepest, biggest, and most athletic team i have ever seen at AU. When Flanigan gets back we can play him at the 2 some thats only going to help us on both sides of the ball. I really hope he is able to come back full speed. But the whole team is getting after it defensively. Love seeing the effort on that side of the ball. I do think we'll need to back off that a bit. One reason is fouls and the other is that i think we can play better defense if we back off just a little bit. You can tell KD and Zep both love getting in guys faces so may be hard to reel them back in lol. 

I'm loving the 1-2 punch of Kessler and Cardwell at center. Kessler is unreal at shot blocking at Cardwell is just a ball of energy at all times. Big body with active hands and full effort all the time. These 2 guys can do some many different things they are going to be a matchup nightmare for opposing teams. I hope they don't get too carried away with trying to block everything. They have gotten a little greedy with that and it has led to some of the rebounding problems. 

Jabari Smith is such a talented FRESHMAN (capitalized for emphasis 😉) the first half of the ULM game he looked lost. Could not dribble without losing the ball and just seemed un-productive on the court. Then in the second half he goes off for a double double. That behind the back dribble while taking the ball down the court....my god. Sit back and enjoy the show folks. He may struggle at times cause he is still so young but he'll find his way most nights. 

Been really pleased with how Jaylin and Cambridge have played so far. They are getting better and working their tails off out there. Kudos to them for keeping at it even if they are getting over shadowed by the new guys. I was really worried about starting Cambridge but i think he has played really well. Making much better decisions with the ball this season. 

Green definitely has that swagger about him and has handled the starting PG duties well. I'll keep an eye on how he does as the competition gets tougher. He won't back down or shy away from it but can he be the dynamic ball distributer that this team needs?? Remains to be seen. He definitely has shades of both Coop and Harper in him. Not as good as either yet but he has elements of both of their games in his. 

Zep is a bulldog on D.....has some work to do on the offensive end. 

KD also a bulldog on D...i don't know how he doesn't get punched in the face atleast once a game. Just glad he is on our side now lol. And if he can keep his deep shot going then watch out. We really need some shooters and he is the best we have so far. 

Going forward my concern with this team is how they will do when other teams can kind of match on size and athleticism. I could see this team struggling on the offensive side against a really good defensive team. Ball movement is not great and we take some bad shots. I hope that is something that gets better as they play together more and Pearl tightens up his rotations. Right now we have guys coming in and out every 3 mins so that has to make it hard for guys to get in a flow. I bet that changes a bit as we get into the season and Pearl starts to figure out the groupings he likes together. 

Going to be another fun bball season on the plains. We have a full team this year. Last season was frustrating to watch cause we just did not have guy who could lead the team with Coop out. I don't think that will be an issue this season. I think Green, Zep, and KD can all handle the ball if needed and then you still have Flan in a pinch. 

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I'm not going to pretend to know more than the average fan about basketball, but...

Green has been exactly what I expected so far in that he's a great distributor with a good shot who is lagging behind on defense.

Zep has been all he was touted to be defensively.

KD has impressed me with his build (I don't really remember him from last year) and mentality, and he has a sweet stroke from outside.

Cambridge has definitely improved from last year, but Chris Moore has looked like a different player to me. Both of these guys are worth watching.

And then we get to the front court, which is looking like the best I've ever seen at Auburn (I wasn't around for Barkley and that group, but I sure remember Mamadou N'Diaye and Chris Porter and the Cliff Dwellers). Jabari Smith has STUD written all over him, and Walker Kessler isn't too far behind him in star power. Dylan Cardwell is the ultimate glue guy, bringing the team's energy level up with his very presence, and he definitely appears to have been working to get better during the offseason. 

And then how is it possible that Jaylin Williams gets so overshadowed? He's been plenty solid when he's been in, but the rest of the big men shine so much that it's easy to leave him out.

This team, as it is, is a scary matchup for anyone we play. Provided that Flanigan recovers fully, then once he gets reestablished in the lineup, the potential goes through the roof. Given the recent direction of the football season, it's exciting to have this kind of promise to look forward to with the basketball team!

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2 hours ago, Rednilla said:

I'm not going to pretend to know more than the average fan about basketball, but...

Green has been exactly what I expected so far in that he's a great distributor with a good shot who is lagging behind on defense.

Zep has been all he was touted to be defensively.

KD has impressed me with his build (I don't really remember him from last year) and mentality, and he has a sweet stroke from outside.

Cambridge has definitely improved from last year, but Chris Moore has looked like a different player to me. Both of these guys are worth watching.

And then we get to the front court, which is looking like the best I've ever seen at Auburn (I wasn't around for Barkley and that group, but I sure remember Mamadou N'Diaye and Chris Porter and the Cliff Dwellers). Jabari Smith has STUD written all over him, and Walker Kessler isn't too far behind him in star power. Dylan Cardwell is the ultimate glue guy, bringing the team's energy level up with his very presence, and he definitely appears to have been working to get better during the offseason. 

And then how is it possible that Jaylin Williams gets so overshadowed? He's been plenty solid when he's been in, but the rest of the big men shine so much that it's easy to leave him out.

This team, as it is, is a scary matchup for anyone we play. Provided that Flanigan recovers fully, then once he gets reestablished in the lineup, the potential goes through the roof. Given the recent direction of the football season, it's exciting to have this kind of promise to look forward to with the basketball team!

At 3 assists per game (its very early so I don't like using averages from two games, and he did average 5 per at Eastern) I wouldn't call him a great distributor just yet. I've seen glimpses, but am reserving judgment until we see more. Again it's just two games, but he seems to get locked in on what he is looking for (expecting to happen) rather than absorbing what is happening and open in the moment. Court vision/awareness is one of those unique things the elite PGs have. 

I'd like to see more aggression from Cambridge. He has a big upside and I keep waiting for him to just turn it loose. Here's hoping that it happens soon. I like Chris Moore as a role player. I'm going to enjoy him getting his moments now, because he may be the odd man out once Flan returns. 

Maybe the front court is the most talented, but they haven't earned "best ever" praise just yet. Chris Porter was a monster for AU for multiple seasons. Both Smith and Kessler are playing too politely. Need Kessler to play with the aggression on offense that he does on defense. I get the feeling from watching Smith that he's only playing at about 90%, holding back a bit for some reason. That isn't unusual, but I'm excited to watch as he develops this season. He has the tools to do whatever he wants on the floor. 

Williams isn't going to get lost in the shuffle. He may end up being 6th man of the year type player for us. He is so versatile and valuable, he will have opportunities to shine. Really like him as a player as well. 

 

We are going to learn a lot in these next few days. Tonight vs USF will show us a good bit about our guards. They are going to have to deal with better competition and athleticism than we have seen so far.  

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  • 1 month later...
On 11/17/2021 at 6:50 PM, JwgreDeux said:

So I won’t be able to do the volume of analysis I’ve done in the past due to life commitments, but I’ll still be watching the games. 
 

So far through two games I like most of what we have seen. The talent and depth are obvious. The scoring has been good and defense has shown some great flashes. I think this group can challenge for the SEC snd get a good seed in the big dance IF coach Pearl can figure a few things out. 
 

1. Guard play or maybe a better way to say it is defining the roles of our guards. This group has some nice talent, but they are not as talented as Harper, Brown, or Cooper. As competition gets stiffer KD will not be effective driving to the rim and Green will have a harder time penetrating. The good news there is they don’t need to carry the load our previous backcourts did. KD can shoot and Jasper and Green need to focus on situational scoring and more facilitating. I think this will happen over time. 
 

2. More touches for Smith and Kessler. We saw Smith get more aggressive in game two and I expect that to continue. He needs to touch the ball, a lot. Kessler also needs more touches. I’m our second game 3 or 4 Gus off the bench took more shots than he did. He needs to be more demanding of the ball, but Green needs to sacrifice some to spread the ball. I also think this will improve, probably pretty quickly. 
 

3. Soooooo many rotations. CBP is subbing guys left and right trying to see what he likes and what works. I think he is doing this before the Bahamas tourney so we can try to compete there. I personally like to see Smith and Williams together with Smith at the three. Will be interesting to see how this evolves in the short term and what happens when Flanagan comes back. 
 

4. Defense is inconsistent. That isn’t surprising either given the number of new faces. First half of first game was amazing, second half of second game was also really good. Guards have had some trouble staying in front of their man and is concerning going forward. Will be watching that closely to see if it improves or if we have to make adjustments strategically. 
 

5. Rebounding has to be better. This has to get better. With our size and athleticism we should have the ability to improve. We have lost the offensive rebounding battle, and the defensive rebounding has been mediocre. 
 

Really excited about this group. Think the ceiling is high but success far from a given. 

Well, feeling pretty good looking back at the early season takes, as most of the issues have been resolved up to this point. My main concern with the early season issues, is rebounding continues to be a problem. We are 12-1 and top 10 and all that. The metrics love us and we are developing as a team, but rebounding has to get better. Statistically, we are somewhere around 95th when averaging defensive and offensive rebounding statistics. St Louis beat us on the glass 46 - 27,  Syracuse got us 38-28, UConn 48-35,  but we have also had some good rebounding games and have out rebounded most of our opponents. We just have to be more consistent without these down games on the glass if we want to win a championship. 

Which gets me to some current observations:

1. This team is can be good enough to win a National Title. The ceiling is absolutely the Final Four and National Title. Flannigan will be better than most teams best players that we are going to face, and he's the third best guy on our club. Smith is blooming and Kessler has continued to come out of his shell and I don't think either have peaked at this point.

2. Our guards don't have to be spectacular and have enough talent to handle their workload. Jasper protects the ball and defends like a mad man, Green and KD provide offensive spark, and have tailored their games to compliment Smith and the other scorers on the floor. Flannigan being back and able to handle the ball should help our guard group significantly. 

3. CBP has some tough decisions to make. It's hard to play 10-11 guys meaningful minutes, and with AF back, someone has to sit more. I expect to see him try some different things over the course of the early SEC play, but hope we get it figured out quickly. If I had to guess Moore will be the most affected by this, followed by Lior. No matter how CBP handles it, I expect this group to buy in. CBP seems to have found a way to keep a positive looker room and this group seems to have meshed well quickly. 

 

Until next time...

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Thanks @JwgreDeux!!!

I totally agree with your assessment.   I would like to see Jabari shoot more and be more aggressive.   He seems to be playing like he doesn’t realize how good he is.    I also really want to see Cardwell step up!   He needs to be more dependable when we give Kessler a breather.  He can’t come in, play 2 minutes with 3 fouls and 2 turnovers!    I think BP has really emphasized the rebounding problem, and I think it’s improving.   AF being in there will help with this too.   Basketball season is so much fun at AU!!!

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2 hours ago, JwgreDeux said:

Well, feeling pretty good looking back at the early season takes, as most of the issues have been resolved up to this point. My main concern with the early season issues, is rebounding continues to be a problem. We are 12-1 and top 10 and all that. The metrics love us and we are developing as a team, but rebounding has to get better. Statistically, we are somewhere around 95th when averaging defensive and offensive rebounding statistics. St Louis beat us on the glass 46 - 27,  Syracuse got us 38-28, UConn 48-35,  but we have also had some good rebounding games and have out rebounded most of our opponents. We just have to be more consistent without these down games on the glass if we want to win a championship. 

Which gets me to some current observations:

1. This team is can be good enough to win a National Title. The ceiling is absolutely the Final Four and National Title. Flannigan will be better than most teams best players that we are going to face, and he's the third best guy on our club. Smith is blooming and Kessler has continued to come out of his shell and I don't think either have peaked at this point.

2. Our guards don't have to be spectacular and have enough talent to handle their workload. Jasper protects the ball and defends like a mad man, Green and KD provide offensive spark, and have tailored their games to compliment Smith and the other scorers on the floor. Flannigan being back and able to handle the ball should help our guard group significantly. 

3. CBP has some tough decisions to make. It's hard to play 10-11 guys meaningful minutes, and with AF back, someone has to sit more. I expect to see him try some different things over the course of the early SEC play, but hope we get it figured out quickly. If I had to guess Moore will be the most affected by this, followed by Lior. No matter how CBP handles it, I expect this group to buy in. CBP seems to have found a way to keep a positive looker room and this group seems to have meshed well quickly. 

 

Until next time...

Yeah the Berman tenure definitely seems like it's winding down. I don't even remember him playing last game, I could be wrong though. Moore should last a bit longer before his get chopped, but vs competitive teams, I would be shocked if either saw the court. 

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1 hour ago, AUpreacherman22 said:

Thanks @JwgreDeux!!!

I totally agree with your assessment.   I would like to see Jabari shoot more and be more aggressive.   He seems to be playing like he doesn’t realize how good he is.    I also really want to see Cardwell step up!   He needs to be more dependable when we give Kessler a breather.  He can’t come in, play 2 minutes with 3 fouls and 2 turnovers!    I think BP has really emphasized the rebounding problem, and I think it’s improving.   AF being in there will help with this too.   Basketball season is so much fun at AU!!!

When Jabari starts going to the goal more, I think he will be unstoppable.

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Todays game against SC saw Kessler do another double double plus 4 blocks and a lot of altered shots. Jabari had one of his worst games and yet still had 10 points, Flanigan was out and yet other players stepped up Wendall Greene, Moore, Williams, Cardwell we got a lot of bench scoring.  Our D was solid again.  One of the big 3 Flanigan out and another Jabari a little off his game and we still beat a solid SC team on the road. The depth on this team is scary.

 

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18 hours ago, AUpreacherman22 said:

Thanks @JwgreDeux!!!

I totally agree with your assessment.   I would like to see Jabari shoot more and be more aggressive.   He seems to be playing like he doesn’t realize how good he is.    I also really want to see Cardwell step up!   He needs to be more dependable when we give Kessler a breather.  He can’t come in, play 2 minutes with 3 fouls and 2 turnovers!    I think BP has really emphasized the rebounding problem, and I think it’s improving.   AF being in there will help with this too.   Basketball season is so much fun at AU!!!

I shouldn't have used the work "problem" for our rebounding. It isn't a problem per se as we out rebound most teams, but it is inconsistent and needs to be shored up. 

14 hours ago, AuburnNTexas said:

Todays game against SC saw Kessler do another double double plus 4 blocks and a lot of altered shots. Jabari had one of his worst games and yet still had 10 points, Flanigan was out and yet other players stepped up Wendall Greene, Moore, Williams, Cardwell we got a lot of bench scoring.  Our D was solid again.  One of the big 3 Flanigan out and another Jabari a little off his game and we still beat a solid SC team on the road. The depth on this team is scary.

 

Jabari was being guarded by a smaller guy and it seem to bother him. I don't think he played poorly, just too passive. Teams are going to keep throwing different things at him and he will have to adjust. I expect him to as the season grinds along. Eight shots isn't enough for him, and neither is one rebound. 

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In regards to the talk about Jabari being passive. How much those his play remind you of one Chuma Okeke when he was first at AU? Jabari is obviously much further along and more assertive than Chuma was his freshmen season but i still see some similarities there. With all the new faces we have it easy to forget this is actually a pretty experienced team we are running out on the court. I think its natural for Jabari to take a back seat at times being the young guy out there. I bet as we get further into the season and get into some really tight and close games you'll see Bruce call more "Jabari, go get us a basket" kind of plays. 

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1 hour ago, JwgreDeux said:

Jabari was being guarded by a smaller guy and it seem to bother him. I don't think he played poorly, just too passive. Teams are going to keep throwing different things at him and he will have to adjust. I expect him to as the season grinds along. Eight shots isn't enough for him, and neither is one rebound. 

This piece reminds me of how the Spurs or Mavs (moreso the latter) would defend LeBron earlier in his career. They could throw a smaller guy at him thatd get in his grill and shadow with help defenders and throw LeBron’s processing out of wack

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2 hours ago, Dual-Threat Rigby said:

This piece reminds me of how the Spurs or Mavs (moreso the latter) would defend LeBron earlier in his career. They could throw a smaller guy at him thatd get in his grill and shadow with help defenders and throw LeBron’s processing out of wack

Remember when Lebron didn’t have a back to the basket post game? Wild. 
 

Imo Jabari’s biggest offensive weakness is his reticence to get to the rim. Luckily the jumper is incredible. 

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What does it say about this team and coaches when we win convincingly on the road against a 9-3 SEC team with our top player having his worst night, our next best player recovering from injury but out again with illness, our next guy has an average night, our 4th player has a bad night, and our top 3-point shooter is 1 for 5, I think. We have great depth, but I sure hope we're hitting on all cylinders this Saturday. WDE

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24 minutes ago, Dunndone414 said:

Remember when Lebron didn’t have a back to the basket post game? Wild. 
 

Imo Jabari’s biggest offensive weakness is his reticence to get to the rim. Luckily the jumper is incredible. 

I think that weakness is highlighted in the mid range. He loves settling even if it is isolated, and I think it goes back to his handle. He’s more than good enough dribbling in transition, and seems comfortable dribbling from the top of the key.  But beating his man in that area, that’s gotta be his next step if he’s gonna be the KD lite 

And it’s something that should definitely be possible. The J is gonna allow him to get a lot of guys to bite. Footwork and pump fakes, those are finesse traits even Bron Bron didn’t have early like you said. 

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In HS Jabari being 6'10" and he was able to run, dunk and then add that sweet J he was dominant. He is now seeing mid size players 6'4" to 6'6" who are strong and quick and getting into his chest.  He never had to deal with that before but it is a learning experience and he will learn as we have players on our team who can do that to him in practice.  The more he sees the better he will get. With his skill set and work ethic he will get better each week. Things that are giving him trouble like what happened with SC yesterday will just make him hungry to get better in a few weeks he will eat up players who try the same thing on him. 

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Saw this story on ESPN. Pretty cool. 

https://www.espn.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/32992489/the-best-moments-2021-22-men-college-basketball-season-far

Quote

The best moments of the 2021-22 men's college basketball season so far

 

Adama Sanogo led the UConn Huskies in one of the most thrilling games of the 2021-22 college basketball season. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

4:00 AM PT
  • medcalf_myron.png&h=80&w=80&scale=crop
    Myron MedcalfESPN Staff Writer

Time flies.

We have nearly reached the midpoint of the 2021-22 men's college basketball season, and conference play is about to enter its most frenzied phase. The first two (mostly nonconference) months of the season were full of chaos and excellent matchups, but the important part starts now.

 
ADVERTISEMENT

March is fast approaching, and it's about to get real, folks.

But, we know some fans are only just now catching up, and need to know what they've missed so far.

Well, we're here for you.

Here are some of the highlights from a wild opening chapter to the 2021-22 college basketball season.


 

play

2:15

Sanogo drops career-high 30 points as UConn survives in 2OT

No. 22 UConn outlasts No. 19 Auburn in double overtime behind Adama Sanogo's 30-point effort.

41.png&w=110&h=1102.png&w=110&h=110

Best Game: UConn Huskies 115, Auburn Tigers 109

Nov. 24, 2021, Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis (Paradise Island, Bahamas)
There was so much drama in this game between the AP Top 25 teams. In the Huskies' double-overtime victory, Adama Sanogo finished with 30 points, six rebounds and three blocks -- and managed to produce a chunk of that while playing with four fouls. A late UConn turnover in the first overtime was converted into a K.D. Johnson layup that sent the game into a second overtime, where the Huskies pulled away and secured the win. What a matchup. Find a replay and watch.

Honorable mention: Duke Blue Devils 84, Gonzaga Bulldogs 81 (Las Vegas)
Duke's three-point victory over Gonzaga happened in one of the best atmospheres thus far. Brooks Koepka and Floyd Mayweather both sat in the front row at T-Mobile Center. The projected No. 1 and No. 2 picks in the 2022 NBA draft battled on the floor, with Chet Holmgren missing time because of foul trouble and Paolo Banchero absent for a stretch in the second half due to cramps. Even with the two most closely watched college athletes off the court, this game did not disappoint. Both teams were competitive until the final minutes when late free throws sealed the win for the Blue Devils.

 

play

0:23

Kansas fans erupt as Agbaji slams down alley-oop

Madison Square Garden goes wild over Christian Braun's alley-oop lob to Ochai Agbaji for the thunderous slam.

2305.png&w=110&h=110

Best Player: Ochai Agbaji, Kansas Jayhawks

Before this season began, Agbaji said he would step up as a leader for a Kansas squad aiming to capture Bill Self's second national title. In the first half of the season, it was clear that he was serious about those ambitions. So far, Agbaji is averaging 20.6 PPG and connecting on 45.9% of his 3-point attempts. The Jayhawks have made 61% of their shots inside the arc with Agbaji on the floor and 46% with him on the bench, per hooplens.com. His 29-point effort (9-for-17) in KU's 87-74 win over Michigan State in the Champions Classic was the start of a strong national player of the year campaign.

Runner-Up: E.J. Liddell, Ohio State Buckeyes

Liddell entered a Nov. 30 matchup against Duke in Columbus as a sidebar to a Blue Devils squad that had, four days prior, knocked off then-No. 1 Gonzaga. But Liddell's 14 points, 14 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 blocks helped take down the Blue Devils 71-66, and alerted the nation that Liddell (averaging 19.6 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 3.0 BPG), too, is a national player of the year candidate.

 

play

0:17

Jabari Smith drains off-the-dribble 3 for Auburn

Auburn freshman Jabari Smith shows off his skills with a smooth 3-pointer with a hand in his face.

2.png&w=110&h=110

Best Freshman: Jabari Smith, Auburn Tigers

Entering this season, there was a lot of hype around Holmgren and Banchero. The duo deserved it. But the best freshman effort thus far belongs to five-star prospect Smith. The 6-foot-10 Auburn star is so far averaging 16.2 PPG, 6.9 RPG and 2.2 APG. He's also connecting on 43% of his 3-point attempts. Smith is must-see TV.

EDITOR'S PICKS

Runner-Up: Paolo Banchero, Duke Blue Devils
The only thing that has stopped Banchero thus far has been muscle cramping, which has sidelined him for portions of multiple matchups. But when he's on the court, he's a savant. At 6-foot-10, he has an inside-outside game unlike any player currently in college basketball. Case in point: He dropped 21 points in his team's win over Gonzaga, despite missing a chunk of the second half. He's a phenomenal player.

 

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No. 2 Baylor cruises to win over No. 6 Villanova

Baylor holds Villanova to just 36 points and grabs a convincing win over the Wildcats.

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Best Team: Baylor Bears

 

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I will also point out he picked up two early fouls that probably threw off his mental approach a bit. I think it is too early to say he doesn't have various aspects to his game, because we just don't know yet. I wasn't intending to criticize his game at all, just that in CBP's guard dominant offense, at times JB needs to be more assertive on the offensive end. He took 4 or 5 of his 8 shot attempts in the last two minutes. His one rebound and one assist suggests he got a bit tight after the early foul trouble. 

 

I do think he reminds me of Chuma quite a bit and like him, do fully expect him to continue to bloom and get more demanding. 

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5 minutes ago, JwgreDeux said:

I will also point out he picked up two early fouls that probably threw off his mental approach a bit. I think it is too early to say he doesn't have various aspects to his game, because we just don't know yet. I wasn't intending to criticize his game at all, just that in CBP's guard dominant offense, at times JB needs to be more assertive on the offensive end. He took 4 or 5 of his 8 shot attempts in the last two minutes. His one rebound and one assist suggests he got a bit tight after the early foul trouble. 

 

I do think he reminds me of Chuma quite a bit and like him, do fully expect him to continue to bloom and get more demanding. 

A sophomore jabari would be something to behold.  An nba team will get to see this kid truly blossom next year.  If March madness okeke attitude shows up in jabari in the next couple weeks then I’m gonna just grin and enjoy the ride.

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1 hour ago, mustache eagle said:

A sophomore jabari would be something to behold.  An nba team will get to see this kid truly blossom next year.  If March madness okeke attitude shows up in jabari in the next couple weeks then I’m gonna just grin and enjoy the ride.

We won't see sophomore Jabari. He will be a lottery pick, maybe even number one overall if he continues to develop. 

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36 minutes ago, JwgreDeux said:

We won't see sophomore Jabari. He will be a lottery pick, maybe even number one overall if he continues to develop. 

That’s what I meant … he won’t be here as a soph and the nba will get to benefit from his maturation.  I’m just day dreaming what he would be if he was an Auburn soph … I’ll only get to dream

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  • JwgreDeux changed the title to Early impressions (Mid Season review added)
6 hours ago, JwgreDeux said:

We won't see sophomore Jabari. He will be a lottery pick, maybe even number one overall if he continues to develop. 

Ha I think that’s why he used

”would” instead of “will”. He’s right though, a Soph Jabari would have been something we’ve never seen at AU I think. I’m enjoying the ride as well. 

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