After the first couple of months, Club Seat is back with a midseason report. A lot has happened over the first few weeks and we will discuss some of the surprises, disappointments, and of course, our midseason All Americans and Final Four contenders.
It may not seem like a surprise to see Syracuse in the top five, but think about where they started the year. After a loss to Division II Le Moyne in an exhibition game, they started out unranked in the AP poll and #25 in the ESPN/USA Today poll. I wrote them off right then and there, as I’m sure some of you may have to.
Enter Iowa State transfer, Wesley Johnson. He’s only averaging 17 points a game and is sure to be all Big East at the end of the year. After Johnson, the Cuse have three other players averaging double figures, and also have Andy Rautins averaging 9 and Scoop Jardine at 8 a game, respectively. They play extraordinary defense and look like the best team in the Big East right now. Coach Boeheim has the 2-3 zone working and is averaging over 85 points a game while allowing only 64. They had huge wins at UNC, beating them by 16, as well as destroying Cal and Memphis. Watch out for the Orange.
The biggest disappointment isn’t a team or player, it’s an entire conference. Where is the Pac 10? Don’t look in either top 25 poll because their isn’t a team from the Pac 10 in there this week. Trust Club Seat when filling out your brackets come March and don’t pick any teams from the conference. The early favorite, Cal, is the only team I would have faith in winning a game come March. Granted four of their five losses are to top 25 teams, the conference as a whole is very weak. Forget a Big 12/Pac 10 challenge. We need a Pac 10/Atlantic 10 challenge. I’ll take the Atlantic 10.
Midseason All-American team:
G John Wall
John Wall is easily the most electrifying player in the country. He does it all. He’s averaging 17 points, 7 dimes, and 2 steals a game. Not only does he get his, but he makes everyone on the court better by just being there. The knock on him was that he wasn’t a great outside shooter, only averaging 35% from three. We don’t care. Wall will be the second freshman to win Player of the Year award (Kevin Durant).
G John Scheyer
Scheyer has been the most valuable player in Duke’s success. He moved to the point guard position this year after playing off the ball for his first three years. As a point guard you immediately look at assists and turnovers. Scheyer has a 4.9 assist to turnover ratio, which is outstanding, especially since it’s his first year handling the rock. Oh yea, and he’s getting 20 points a game while averaging 7 assists.
F Evan Turner
Turner missed six games with a back injury which he sustained dunking. He’s the most complete player in the NCAA. Like Wall, Turner does it all. He can play point guard at 6’7, he averages a double-double with 18 points and 10 boards a game. Turner also dishes out 5 assists a game. No question that Evan Turner is the most important player in the country to his team. Without him, Ohio State went 3-3, with their wins over Presbyterian, Delaware State and Cleveland State.
F Damion James
James is a tremendous athlete and averages a double-double as well. He has 8 double-doubles this year and has been held to single digit scoring only twice this year (Rice and Texas Pan-Am where he played only about a half in each). Along with averaging 19 and 11, he gets to the line almost 7 times a game which is a lot if you ask us.
C Luke Harangody
Haven’t heard a lot about Notre Dame this year but they’re sitting at 14-3, and 3-1 in the Big East with a big win over West Virginia recently. The “Gody” is getting his. He’s averaging almost 25 a game and 10 boards. Harangody would be getting a lot more press if Notre Dame was in the top 25. They have a solid team and you can’t shy away from putting him on this list if he’s averaging 25 a game on a Big East team.
Player of the Year: John Wall
Coach of the Year: Bo Ryan
Bo Ryan doesn’t get enough credit for the job he does in Madison. The Badgers are always competitive, play some of the best defense in the country and always make the tournament. Never a top 10 team but always a tough out. Ryan is something like 130-10 at the Kohl Center in his career.
Final Four favorites:
Just missing our Final Four favorite list…
- Michigan State
Sleeper team come March:
Yeah, they’re ranked in the top 15, but who out there is going to put them in the Final Four?