DICK'S NOTEBOOK | Feb. 20
XAVIER'S STARS SHINE
Just look at what Romain Sato and David West have done lately, baby! Two of the hottest players in America, they're the keys to Xavier's 10-game win streak.
Sato hit 14 of 27 three-pointers, grabbed 18 rebounds and totaled 69 points in wins over Rhode Island and LaSalle. West totaled 73 points and 34 rebounds in victories against Dayton and Rhode Island.
The Musketeers are making noise in the A-10, a league that should send three teams to the big dance. I see Xavier, St. Joseph's and Dayton all making the field of 65.
Speaking of the Flyers, they have a big rematch against the Musketeers this weekend. Xavier beat Dayton 85-77 on February 8th.
BELL ALSO ON FIRE
The Big East has so many stars shining: Brandin Knight had a big game against Georgetown on Tuesday. Diaper dandy Carmelo Anthony has been making his share of noise. Matt Carroll and Chris Thomas have Notre Dame in contention in their division. You have to love Ben Gordon and Emeka Okafor of Connecticut. And Michael Sweetney and Marcus Hatten have had solid seasons even though their teams have struggled.
But the hottest player in the Big East isn't among those stars. He's Boston College guard Troy Bell.
Bell has played nine straight games with 25 or more points (29 against Virginia Tech on Wednesday night, including nine of 13 from the field and six of eight trifectas). That was after a week of consecutive 30+ performances (34 vs. Miami, 33 vs. Providence). Think about those numbers, baby!
Bell recently passed Dana Barros as the school's all-time leading scorer. Boston College is making a run, winning six of its last seven games.
MORE GREAT PERFORMANCES
The MAC has had its share of stars over the years, from Ron Harper to Thunder Dan Majerle. Yet, the conference has had its share of upsets in the NCAA tournament.
Wednesday night saw more great Mid-American action when Central Michigan beat Ball State, 94-92.
It matched a special battle of Chris's: Central Michigan center Chris Kaman hit 15 of 19 shots, scored 43 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and blocked seven shots. And Ball State's Chris Williams, in a losing effort, hit 18 of 28 shots and scored 44 points.