College Basketball Nation: O.D. Anosike

Player of the year straw poll update

February, 15, 2012
With a month left before the NCAA tournament begins, there is a legitimate race for the National Player of the Year.

Kansas junior Thomas Robinson, the leader in the first two National POY straw polls, is getting a major challenge from Kentucky freshman Anthony Davis.

And in the Year of the Versatile Forward, it makes sense. College basketball hasn’t seen a year of top big men like this since 2009, when the top three finishers for the Wooden Award and the top four for the Naismith Award were all forwards and centers.

In that year, Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin ran away with both awards, blowing by Pittsburgh’s DeJuan Blair, Connecticut’s Hasheem Thabeet and the 2008 Wooden Award winner, North Carolina’s Tyler Hansbrough. The top college guard that season, Davidson’s Stephen Curry, had a standout season but his team ended up in the NIT.

That season did have a lot of talented, well-known guards, led by Curry, UNC’s Ty Lawson, Kentucky’s Jodie Meeks, Memphis’ Tyreke Evans and Arizona State’s James Harden. All were in the final ballot of that season's straw poll.

As for this season, the top six vote-getters in this week’s poll were forwards, and 12 of 17 players mentioned by the 54 pollsters who responded were forwards or centers. Players like Michigan State’s Draymond Green and West Virginia’s Kevin Jones, now among the best players in the nation, were freshmen during that 2009 season and are now in this straw poll as seniors.

For those who missed the first two polls, here’s a recap of how it all works: Each pollster sends us their top three. A first-place vote is worth three points, a second-place vote worth two and a third-place vote worth one. Every voter is granted anonymity. Every voter has a voice in at least one of the four major college basketball player of the year awards: Wooden, Naismith, Associated Press or Robertson (the USBWA award).

Poll analysis:

-- For the third straight ballot, 17 players were represented. They come from 11 conferences (ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Sky, Big Ten, MAAC, Missouri Valley, Mountain West, Ohio Valley, SEC and West Coast). Just one school, Missouri, had multiple players on the ballot -- Denmon and Ratliffe.

-- Four players are making their first ballot of the season -- Johnson-Odom, Canaan, Anosike and Rob Jones. Five players dropped off from the second ballot: UNC’s Harrison Barnes, Vanderbilt’s John Jenkins, Maryland’s Terrell Stoglin, Kentucky’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Miami (Ohio)’s Julian Mavunga. In addition, the poll had its first returning player after being knocked off the ballot. Denmon was in the first poll, off the second and returns for the third.

-- The biggest mover was Davis, who jumped from fourth to second. Even more so, he went from being on 16 ballots to 47 ballots and from 30 points to 112 points. He also went from four first-place votes to 20. McDermott had the biggest drop, falling from second to fourth and from 70 points to 15.

-- In what is shaping up as a two-man race, only Robinson and Davis received first-place votes. On the second ballot, seven players received first-place votes: Robinson, McDermott, Sullinger, Davis, Kevin Jones and two players completely off this poll -- Barnes and Jenkins.

-- Player on the poll who should be getting more attention: Scott. This is the second poll I’ve mentioned this. His statistical numbers might not be as strong as others, but he consistently faces opponent double-teams and the exceedingly slow pace the Cavaliers play at limits Scott’s possessions to put up huge numbers.

-- Three players not in the poll who should get more attention: Iona guard Scott Machado, who continues to be one of the nation’s top passers, averaging 10 assists a game. Iowa State forward Royce White, while not putting up monster numbers, has been the key cog to the Cyclones' attempt to make a run at the NCAA tournament and is a matchup nightmare for any team facing him. Syracuse guard Dion Waiters, who while being the Orange’s sixth man, has been a major reason for their success averaging 12.2 points, 2.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists in just 23.7 minutes -- minutes much lower than any other contender. Three of the four players mentioned here two weeks ago ended up in this poll. The other was Seton Hall’s Herb Pope.

So what comes next? Here is a look at the next two weeks for the main contenders.

-- Sullinger has three marquee games that could give him one last push. He’ll be on ESPN at 9 p.m. ET Saturday against rival No. 19 Michigan, then faces elite big man Meyers Leonard and Illinois on Feb. 21 and No. 17 Wisconsin on Feb. 26.

-- Davis faces Ole Miss on Saturday, goes to Mississippi State on Feb. 21 and then faces Vanderbilt on Feb. 25.

-- Robinson has a major statement game on Feb. 25 against Missouri as well as three games against three teams at the bottom of the Big 12: Texas Tech (Saturday), Texas A&M (Feb. 22) and Oklahoma State (Feb. 27).

Behind the box scores: Friday's games

February, 4, 2012
A scan of the college basketball box scores each night guarantees all kinds of statistical oddities and standout performances. Here are some we found from Friday.

Cleveland State 65, Loyola (IL) 47
Cleveland State missed just 12 shots from the field Friday night, matching the fewest field goal misses by any team this season. They’re the third team this year to miss just 12 shots, joining Norfolk State on Nov. 27 against Eastern Kentucky and Mercer against Navy on Dec. 30. Of the three teams, the Vikings attempted the most shots (37).

St. Peter’s 63, Siena 58
Siena’s O.D. Anosike finished with nine points and 13 rebounds, narrowly missing his 18th straight double-double. That would have been the longest double-double streak since Fairfield's Darren Phillip recorded 19 straight double-doubles in the 1999-2000 season.

Fairfield 77, Niagara 69
Although each team made exactly 24 field goals, Fairfield had 19 assists to Niagara’s four.

D-III shocker leads Friday's under the radar

January, 28, 2012
University of Chicago 103, #4 Emory 102
Division III: Chicago’s Matt Johnson hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to give Chicago the win and Johnson a school-record and University Athletic Association-record 49 points. He scored 44 points in his previous game to tie the school record.

You can check the video here.

Harvard 65, Yale 35
Greg Mangano of Yale scored 17 points; none of his teammates scored more than four points. Only Towson in a 60-27 loss to Drexel on January 4th played a game in which only one player scored more than four points.

Siena 66, Marist 55
Siena’s O.D. Anosike poured in 21 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in the Saints' 66-55 win over Marist on Friday to record his 16th consecutive double-double. According to Siena, Anosike's streak is now tied for the third longest in Division I since 1996-97. Fairfield's Darren Phillip recorded 19 straight double-doubles in the 1999-2000 season. Next on the list for Anosike is Tim Duncan, who posted 17 straight in the 1996-97 campaign.

From a size standpoint, Monday’s Charleston Southern-Florida State game could not have been a bigger mismatch. According to, the Seminoles are the third tallest team in the nation, averaging almost 6-7. Only Kentucky and North Carolina have more size on the roster. Meanwhile, Charleston Southern is the smallest team in the nation, with the average player barely over 6-2. Florida State led by 27 at halftime and cruised to a 76-51 win. The Seminoles defense continued to flummox opponents, holding the Buccaneers under 30 percent. However, Florida State will need to solve its turnover problem to compete with equally-matched opponents. After 21 turnovers Monday, they are averaging 18.2 per game, which ranks 327th in the nation.

Milwaukee’s best shooting night
DePaul had never lost to Milwaukee in 10 previous meetings. That changed Monday. Milwaukee had three players score at least 19 points in an 87-76 win. The Panthers had their best shooting performance in recent memory, and it started right out of the gates. Milwaukee hit six of their first seven threes and led 35-13 midway through the first half. The Panthers finished 61.7 percent from the floor, an Allstate Arena record for an opponent. Tony Meier and Paris Gulley combined to go 10-for-10 from long distance.

Council falls a rebound short
Vincent Council couldn’t quite get that last rebound. Despite playing 37 minutes in a 31-point win over Brown, the Providence junior fell one rebound short of his first career triple-double. Council finished with 21 points, nine rebounds and 11 assists. It would have been the first triple-double by a Friar since Geoff McDermott in 2006. It was a tale of two halves for Council, who went into halftime with 15 points. In the second half, he had six rebounds and eight assists.

You can’t spell Anosike without Siena
Siena snapped a five-game losing streaking, defeating Albany 64-60 in this battle of crosstown rivals. The Saints came back from a 19-point first-half deficit. Evan Hymes kept Siena in the game, scoring 19 of the team’s 29 points at halftime. But the line of the night came from O.D. Anosike. The junior finished with 21 points and a career-high 18 rebounds. He’s the fifth D-I player with at least 20 points and 18 rebounds in a game this season.

Samford’s keeps launching
Samford took its three-point attack to a new level on Monday, with poor results. In a 74-52 loss to UTSA, the Bulldogs attempted 41 threes and only 14 shots from inside the arc. It’s the most three-point attempts against a D-I opponent in a regulation game this season. On the season, 57 percent of Samford’s attempts have come from beyond the arc. Over the past nine seasons, the highest such percentage is 54.4 by VMI in 2009.