Syracuse vs. Villanova: Score and Twitter Reaction from 2014 Regular Season

Syracuse and Villanova may no longer be in the Big East together, but the rivalry remains plenty strong. 

The adversaries competed in another thrilling, back-and-forth battle Saturday afternoon, with the No. 7 Wildcats putting together a wild second-half comeback and holding off Syracuse in overtime to earn the 82-77 win at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. 

Villanova trailed by as many as 15 and didn’t lead until the extra period, but five points in the final 10 seconds of regulation helped keep their undefeated record in tact. 

JayVaughn Pinkston led the way with 25 points, 10 rebounds, three steals and three blocks, while Darrun Hiliard (23 points) and Josh Hart (21 points) were both crucial parts of the comeback. 

CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein discussed the win for Jay Wright’s squad:

Five players scored in double-figures for Syracuse, which shot 49.2 percent from the field and seemed to have a huge road in the books. But they committed a whopping 20 turnovers in a loss that will be difficult to swallow for Jim Boeheim’s squad. 

Syracuse, a double-digit underdog entering the game, jumped out to a 15-point lead and led 43-31 at halftime. 

Michael Gbinije was the engine for the Orange on both sides of the ball. He was aggressive offensively, shooting the ball well, beating ‘Nova off the dribble, setting up teammates and making plays all over the court. 

ESPN Radio Syracuse’s Steve Neikam summarized the first-half performance with a lofty comparison:

Gbinjie played arguably his best game in a Syracuse uniform, finishing with 18 points, eight rebounds, five assists, and three steals. 

For the Wildcats, it was a thoroughly sloppy start. Defensively, they gave up easy baskets on the interior and left sharpshooter Trevor Cooney open at the three-point line. On the other end, they did well to break down the Syracuse zone but missed a lot of shots. 

ESPN’s Dana O’Neil put it simply:

But just five days before Christmas, the Bethlehem (PA) native would lead a comeback. Hilliard scored eight straight points then recorded a steal that led to another basket, fueling a 10-0 run early in the second half to cut the deficit to four. 

Moments later, he flew in on a Hart missed three-pointer, rising above the Syracuse defense and throwing down a monster put-back slam. provided a look:

Every time Villanova closed the gap, though, Syracuse seemed to have an answer. And most of the time that answer was Kaleb Joseph. The freshman point guard served as a calming presence for the Orange down the stretch, scoring or assisting on five of six baskets at one point. 

College Basketball Talk’s Rob Dauster praised the youngster’s play:

But Villanova, always one of the toughest teams in the nation, didn’t quit despite a seemingly insourmountable deficit. Down five with 15 seconds to go, Hart knocked down a three, ‘Nova stole the ensuing inbound pass and Pinkston scored a layup. 

CBS Sports’ Sam Vecenie gave a look at the blink-and-you-might-miss-it comeback:

For the first time since 0-0, the game was tied at 69-69 heading into overtime. 

The New York Post‘s Zach Braziller applauded the Wildcats’ resolve:

Villanova scored its first five overtime points at the free-throw line, and Pinkston came up with a huge block on Joseph to seal the win. 

With conference play on the horizon, neither team should have much trouble with a hangover after this classic. Syracuse hosts Colgate, while ‘Nova takes on New Jersey Institute of Technology, hoping to avoid a similar fate as Michigan. 

Beyond that, both teams look built for a run come March, while Villanova provided more proof that it belongs among the country’s elite. 

Read more College Basketball news on

View full post on Bleacher Report – College Basketball

Boston Celtics Won’t Give Up on Season After Rajon Rondo Trade

BOSTON – No player on the Boston Celtics roster has spent more time alongside Rajon Rondo than Avery Bradley. The former backcourt starting mates have played the last five seasons together in green, through both the highs of a playoff run and the lows of rebuilding.

After Boston’s 114-98 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night, Bradley was understandably emotional about the team’s trade of Rondo to the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night.

“Rondo’s someone I’ve been seeing every single day for the last four-and-a-half years,” Bradley said in his first public comments about the deal. “He’s like an older brother to me, but all I can do is wish all the best for him, tell him I’m going to miss him.”

That kind of reaction was common throughout the Celtics locker room Friday night when Rondo’s name came up. The entire roster respectfully paid tribute to its former captain who was shipped out alongside rookie Dwight Powell for Jae Crowder, Brandan Wright and Jameer Nelson. Despite politely wishing their ex-teammate well in his new home, the tenor of the team seemed unaffected by the move.

Many outsiders believe that the Celtics are, in essence, giving up on their season by trading away Rondo, but no one in the Boston locker room was willing to acknowledge that this team is even taking a step back without the 28-year-old point guard.

“In the trade, we got three great players,” Kelly Olynyk said enthusiastically. “We got Brandan Wright, who is super-athletic and can do lots of things to change a game on both ends of the floor. Jameer Nelson, who is solid and can really shoot the ball. Jae Crowder is an energy guy that can make a difference. For us, I think it’s great. I love our team right now. The guys in here are working really hard and going in the right direction.”

“This team is going to prepare everyday to win the game,” Brad Stevens declared Friday night. “There is a group in there right now that I can tell is ready to compete. [Without Rondo,] there has to be some ownership taken and some verbal leadership taken over by some of our younger guys that may or may not be considered old enough to do that.

“That’s the situation we are in. The deal is, this is our team. This is how we are getting ready to win every single night. We are building every single night to be the best we can be. I’m excited about the guys in the locker room. Time will tell how we will do.”

Stevens’ positive outlook has carried over into the locker room as well, as the team prepares for a variety of new roles, both on and off the floor, without their captain.

“I wouldn’t say we are taking a step back, because we are in a good situation,” Bradley said after the game. “We have a lot of talent. The main thing is we know what we need to do in order to be successful.”

Just how can the Celtics remain in the Eastern Conference playoff hunt without Rondo manning the point guard? Evan Turner got the start on Friday night alongside Bradley, but the team appears ready to hand the job to rookie Marcus Smart when he shows he’s capable of staying on the floor.

The 21-year-old has looked promising in his time on the court this season, but he has been plagued by injuries that have forced him to miss significant action in the past couple of months. On Friday night Smart scored eight points in the fourth quarter in his return to the court from an Achilles injury, helping the Celtics pull away with the win over Minnesota.

For his part, Smart is embracing the challenge of additional responsibilities without Rondo in the fold.

“As a competitor, you are your own biggest critic, so I think every last one of us in here is going to step up and put a lot more pressure [on ourselves] than we used to. We just know that it’s going to be there,” Smart said.

Smart’s teammates are also showing confidence that he can fill Rondo’s void on the floor.

“He plays with confidence, but off the court, he knows he needs to learn,” Jared Sullinger said. “When he’s out there, you couldn’t tell if he’s a rookie or not with all the plays he is making. We just want him to play his best basketball as we move on during the season.”

One reality that will make things easier for Smart and Co. is that the team has amassed some experience playing without the four-time All-Star already this season. Rondo missed all of the preseason due to a broken left hand, which allowed for Smart, Turner and Phil Pressey to handle point duties for eight games in October.

“I really haven’t had to communicate anything different to any of those guys,” Stevens said of his guards’ duties.  

While Smart, Turner, Pressey and Nelson may be filling Rondo’s shoes on the floor, the team still needs to fill Rondo’s leadership presence in the locker room. Almost universally around the young squad, players acknowledged that it couldn’t just be one person that steps up.

“It’s a lead-by-committee thing,” Olynyk said. “We are a community. We are a team and everyone is going to hold everyone accountable. I think that’s the best way to build a team.”

Veteran Jeff Green concurred with Olynyk: “It’s a team effort, it’s a team game. Not one person can do it [alone], we have to do it as a team.”

In his role as the longest-tenured member of the Celtics, Bradley acknowledged he has to step up as well. 

“It’s kind of hard to replace someone who was a leader like that,” Bradley said. “I’m going to try to come in here and continue to lead by example. I’m going to try to talk even more and encourage my teammates to go out and play as hard as I can every single night for them.”

Despite their confidence, the Celtics will have a steep hill to climb to remain competitive in the Eastern Conference over the remainder of the season. For the time being, the Celtics are in the hunt. After Friday’s win, Boston is riding a three-game winning streak that has put them in the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference standings with a 10-14 record. With the constant struggles of teams like the Brooklyn Nets, Indiana Pacers and Charlotte Hornets in the bottom half of the East, Boston will have a chance to remain afloat. 

With that modest goal in mind, Stevens’ positivity and focus appears strong, and for at least one night, an overwhelming amount of optimism is present during the start of a post-Rondo era in Boston.

Read more NBA news on

View full post on Bleacher Report – NBA

Thunder vs. Lakers: Score and Twitter Reaction from 2014 Regular Season

The Oklahoma City Thunder held on late for a 104-103 over the Los Angeles Lakers inside the Staples Center on Friday night.

Hounded by the Thunder’s Andre Roberson, Kobe Bryant couldn’t get a clean in the final seconds, and his shot hit the front iron and bounced out.

Baxter Holmes of ESPN provided comments from Jeremy Lin, who spoke about the shot after the game:

Pro Basketball Talk’s Kurt Helin questioned whether Kobe should’ve gotten the final shot considering his off night:

Bryant struggled from start to finish, going 3-of-15 from the field for nine points. He did, however, add eight rebounds and eight assists.

Nick Young also failed to find a groove. While he knocked down four of his eight shots, scoring 10 points against the Thunder won’t cut it most of the time. More importantly, Young wasn’t on the court for most of the fourth quarter after getting ejected for a flagrant-2 foul. 

On the other side, Russell Westbrook missed 13 field-goal attempts but still managed to score 31 points, dish out 10 assists and grab five boards. He had to do most of the heavy lifting with Kevin Durant out. According to ESPN Stats & Info, only LeBron James and Stephen Curry have more 30-point, 10-assist games:

Reggie Jackson did well to help fill the Durant void, scoring 25 points off the bench.

The big question coming into the game was whether the Thunder would be without Durant. The 2014 MVP injured his right ankle Thursday in the first half against the Golden State Warriors and didn’t appear at all in the second half.

Durant injured the same foot he fractured a few months ago, which caused him to miss the first 17 games of this season.’s Royce Young reported that Durant would miss the Lakers game and get the ankle looked at again on Saturday:

“I was a little nervous,” Durant said following the 114-109 defeat to the Warriors, per Young. “But I knew when I got up and started walking it felt good. So I just wanted to make sure with the X-rays everything was good.”

Between Durant’s absence and being on a the second half of a back-to-back, Oklahoma City labored early in the game. The Lakers jumped out to a 17-7 lead a little over five-and-a-half minutes into the game after a three-pointer by Ronnie Price.

Price provided a major spark in the first quarter and was a big reason the Lakers held a 26-20 lead heading into the second. He nailed four three-pointers and scored 14 points, four below his career high, per Mike Trudell of

Offensively, Oklahoma City looked sluggish. The Lakers entered the game with the worst defensive rating in the league. Even without Durant, the Thunder only scoring 20 points in the first quarter was surprising.

Helin felt OKC needed to be more aggressive in the paint:

In the second quarter, the Thunder began finding their footing, in large part because Westbrook kept getting to the foul line. By halftime, the All-Star point guard attempted and made 13 free throws, scoring 21 points and dishing out five dimes.

While anybody can tell you Oklahoma City is better with Westbrook on the floor, ESPN Stats & Info provided the extent to which the Thunder were better with him in the first half:

Jackson also chipped in, recovering well from his 2-of-8 shooting night against the Warriors on Thursday. He was 5-of-9 from the floor in the first two quarters for 12 points.

Meanwhile, Price completely cooled off from his hot start, failing to score a single point in the second quarter. Bryant also failed to make much of an impact, going 1-of-6 for five points. The Thunder made sure to smother Kobe at every available opportunity:

Oklahoma City grabbed its first lead, 50-48, after a bucket by Serge Ibaka with 40 seconds left in the half. The Thunder led 52-50 heading into the locker room.

OKC added to the lead in the third quarter, outscoring the Lakers 30-23. Anthony Morrow nailed a three-pointer at the buzzer, capping off a solid 12 minutes for the Thunder and giving them an 82-73 edge heading into the final frame.

As if overcoming a nine-point deficit wasn’t tough enough for Los Angeles, Young was ejected 37 seconds into the quarter after earning a flagrant-2 foul for using his forearm/elbow to Steven Adams’ throat.

The Lakers, however, fought back, taking a 91-88 lead with 7:13 to go following a three from Wayne Ellington.

The two teams exchanged the lead for the majority of the final five minutes. Neither side could enjoy a long spell before going back down again.

An off-the-ball foul by Carlos Boozer on Jackson sent the Thunder guard to the foul line with the Lakers clinging to a 101-100 lead in the final 65 seconds. Jackson knocked down both free throws to again put the Thunder on top. Westbrook followed with a jumper to make it a three-point game, 104-101, with 38 seconds to go.

Everybody knew Bryant would get the ball on Los Angeles’ final possession, and Roberson did extremely well to hang with him and prevent him from getting a wide-open look. 

Oklahoma City gets a much-needed day off on Saturday before heading home. The Thunder play the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday and then welcome in the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday.

The Lakers take Saturday off before hitting the road and heading north to play the Sacramento Kings on Sunday.

Read more NBA news on

View full post on Bleacher Report – NBA

The Best Dunks so Far in the 2014-15 College Basketball Season

The name of the game is hang time.

These athletes make video games look unreal. They are anti-gravity. The laws of physics are mere suggestions to these gravitational contrarians.

That’s enough of that nonsense.

Sometimes it’s best to just get out of the way and let these cats rattle the rim and raise the roof.

These are the best dunks that I was able to curate in this young season. Hopefully you don’t end up posterized.

You’ve been warned.

Begin Slideshow

View full post on Bleacher Report – College Basketball

Thunder vs. Warriors: Score and Twitter Reaction from 2014 Regular Season

The Golden State Warriors earned a hard-fought 114-109 home victory over the rapidly rising Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night.

Stephen Curry led all scorers with 34 points on 14-of-24 shooting. Klay Thompson provided plenty of support with 19 points. As a team, Golden State recorded 32 assists to just nine turnovers, in contrast to Oklahoma City, which had 17 and 15 respectively.

Russell Westbrook did his best to single-handedly push the Thunder over the top in the second half, scoring 33 points and dishing out eight assists on the night.

Westbrook didn’t have the support of Kevin Durant after halftime due to the Thunder star suffering an ankle injury, which limited him to just 19 minutes on the court. Durant shone brightly in his limited appearance, scoring 30 points on 10-of-13 shooting, including 5-of-6 from behind the arc.

Durant hurt his right ankle stepping on Marreese Speights‘ foot with seconds remaining in the first half.’s Royce Young reported that Durant sprained the ankle, and he didn’t return for the second half:

Replacing a player of Durant’s caliber is impossible, and the Thunder didn’t get enough from the supporting cast to compensate for his exit.

It’s hard to add much weight to a regular-season game in the middle of December, but you couldn’t help but to see this game as a bit of a litmus test for both teams.

The Warriors are arguably the best team in the league at the moment, and beating the Thunder at full strength would keep Golden State atop its perch.

Meanwhile, few expected Oklahoma City to return to form so quickly after getting both Westbrook and Durant back. A win over the Warriors would add further validation to the idea that the Thunder are once again among the West’s elite.

Golden State already owned one win against OKC entering Thursday. Head coach Steve Kerr made sure to qualify that victory, noting that winning tonight would be much more difficult, per Sam Amick of USA Today:

As the Warriors pointed out on Twitter, this battle also pitted two of the NBA‘s top defensive units against one another:

Golden State, however, entered with a big disadvantage, both literally and figuratively. The team announced earlier Thursday that Andrew Bogut will be out indefinitely, per Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle:

His absence leaves a big hole inside, one the Thunder were happy to exploit early on. Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group noted how Curry especially was having trouble. Bogut often serves as the safety valve should Curry’s defender blow by and drive into the paint:

Oklahoma City jumped on the Warriors early, running out to a 30-13 lead six minutes and 44 seconds into the first quarter. The Thunder wrapped up the first frame with a 40-32 advantage. Golden State had no answer for Durant and Westbrook, who combined to shoot 10-of-17 for 29 points, per ESPN Stats & Info:

Golden State, Curry in particular, responded in kind in the second quarter, locking down on the defensive end and knocking down key shots on the offensive end. The Warriors clawed back to within a point, 48-47, 7:37 from halftime.

Just as the Warriors were having trouble corralling the Thunder’s biggest stars, Oklahoma City found itself at times helpless as Curry knocked down clutch three-pointers, such as this shot that gave the Warriors a 55-52 lead, via NBA on TNT:

That was the start of an 8-0 run, which helped propel the Warriors to a 65-63 halftime lead.

Golden State struck a good offensive balance in the first half. Curry led the way with 19 points, adding six assists. Thompson and Draymond Green also scored in double figures, while the bench contributed 15 points.

The bulk of Oklahoma City’s scoring was left to Durant and Westbrook, who had 30 and 15, respectively. The 30 points were Durant’s most this season:

Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman wasn’t convinced, though. He questioned whether the Thunder were a little too reliant on the duo, which is the most common refrain about the team’s offense:

Durant’s importance to the team is obvious, and ESPN Stats & Info provided the quantitative first-half data illustrating the extent—at least in terms of Thursday night—of the decline in performance:

Without No. 35 on the court, Oklahoma City simply couldn’t break through, and when it did, it quickly ceded the advantage.

The Thunder continued to hang around, but Golden State kept them at arm’s reach. The Warriors owned a 94-89 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Serge Ibaka and Andre Roberson stepped up a bit to help shoulder the scoring load, while Westbrook wasn’t shy about looking for his shot. The length and athleticism of the Thunder defense also helped to keep Oklahoma City in the game.

The Thunder took the lead in the fourth quarter, 105-104, with three minutes left following a jump shot from Westbrook. Golden State answered with three straight buckets to get back into the driver’s seat and own a five-point advantage with 1:39 to go.

A Harrison Barnes fadeaway iced the game for Golden State in the dying seconds. Young felt that it just wasn’t OKC‘s night:

Tim Bontemps of the New York Post also felt the play demonstrated Golden State’s team mentality, even in the crucial moments:

Durant’s injury not only made OKC‘s defeat somewhat inevitable, it also robbed NBA fans of what could’ve been a potential game of the year. The first half produced breathless, end-to-end basketball. The second was slightly more plodding, with the specter of Durant’s absence hanging throughout.

Luckily for Oklahoma City fans, his injury doesn’t appear to be too serious, as relayed by Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:

The Thunder stay on the West Coast for their next game. They move down the California coast to play the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday.

Golden State gets a couple of days off before starting a rough stretch of four games in six days. The Warriors welcome in the Sacramento Kings on Monday night.

Read more NBA news on

View full post on Bleacher Report – NBA

5 Statistics That Are Defining Los Angeles Clippers’ Season so Far

Statistics are an important part of analyzing a team’s strengths and weaknesses. The Los Angeles Clippers are no different, as the statistics clearly align with the problems that plague the team on the court.

Looking at point totals, or wins and losses, is an easy way to claim a team is good or bad. However, which statistics on the micro level define the macro results?

Does a team score a plethora of points each night because it plays at a fast tempo or because it scores efficiently? Is a team winning because of its defense or despite it?

There are five key statistics that corroborate what is visible when watching the Clippers play, analyzing their final scores and measuring wins and losses. These statistics tell the story of why they’re struggling and point to areas that are either strengths or areas for improvement.

Begin Slideshow

View full post on Bleacher Report – NBA

Jabari Parker out for season

Parker sustained the injury during the third quarter of Milwaukee’s win against the Suns.



View full post on USATODAY – NBA Top Stories

5 Players The Miami Heat Could Be Looking To Target This Season

Following the Miami Heat‘s 105-87 loss to the Utah Jazz, the Heat have dropped to a record of 12-14.
Despite Dwyane Wade’s 42 points, including 21 free throw attempts, Miami was unable to defeat the second-worst team in the Western Conference. Chris Bosh is out for the near future due to a calf strain, while Josh McRoberts is likely out for the rest of the season due to a knee injury that requires surgery,
The Heat have had their projected starting lineup on the court for a total of 34 minutes together. That lineup was supposed to be Bosh, McRoberts, Luol Deng, Wade and Norris Cole.
All five of the aforementioned players have missed periods of time due to injury. Bosh has missed the last three games, McRoberts has been out nine out of a possible 26 contests, Deng was inactive for two matchups, Wade was absent for seven games and Cole was hurt for four matchups.
This has resulted in the Heat using 11 different starting lineups through just 26 games.
The team is currently seeking a $2…

View full post on Yardbarker: NBA

Grizzlies and Spurs Trade Buzzer-Beaters in the Best Game of the NBA Season

The Memphis Grizzlies toppled the defending champion San Antonio Spurs, 117-116 in triple overtime, at the AT&T Center Wednesday in what may have been the best NBA game so far this season.

Memphis’ Marc Gasol dropped 26 points and nine rebounds and nailed a buzzer-beater to send the game into its first overtime as the Grizzlies eventually prevailed one night after knocking off the streaking Golden State Warriors. 

Check out the video above to see all the craziness!

Read more NBA news on

View full post on Bleacher Report – NBA

Michigan Basketball: How Wolverines Can Turn the Season Around

After three losses in a row, it’s clearly time for panic in Michigan.

The Wolverines aren’t quite as bad as the 6-4 record seems to indicate, especially with the miserable losses to N.J.I.T. and Eastern Michigan. However, this is not a situation where you can just sit back and wait for things to turn around.

“It’s a great reality check for everyone, knowing that we have a lot of work to do,” head coach John Beilein said after the 80-53 loss to Arizona, per the Detroit Free Press‘ Mark Snyder. “We’ve been here before. Our great teams have been exactly in this spot before. This is part of the process. You’ve got to embrace it.”

If this team doesn’t work hard to reach its potential, the basketball season will go down in flames just as fast as the football season did.

The good news is there is talent on the roster, but in order to get the team back on track, it will need to take advantage of the team’s strengths in a way that can cover up the weaknesses.

Like any sports team, there are negatives about Michigan that cannot be changed no matter how hard the players work. For one, the lack of size in the frontcourt is a major problem that will only be highlighted more in conference play.

While Mark Donnal and Ricky Doyle are improving quickly, they are not going to get any taller as the year continues. Against quality frontcourts like those of Wisconsin and Michigan State, this could lead to bad mismatches.

On the other hand, there are bigger problems on both ends of the court that can be fixed. One of the most notable problems comes on the defensive end with the poor effort guarding the perimeter.

Between Caris LeVert, Zak Irvin, Kameron Chatman and others, there is enough length and athleticism to be an elite defense. However, ESPN’s Jeff Goodman noted how well a usually pedestrian offense fared against Michigan:

Through 10 games, the Wolverines are allowing opponents to shoot 37.7 percent from three-point range, which ranks just 293rd in the nation, according to, N.J.I.T. hit 11 of its 17 attempts from behind the arc.

Meanwhile, opponents don’t even have to shoot three-point shots because they are able to penetrate into the lane with ease and make things happen from there.

When you see firsthand what someone like Rondae Hollis-Jefferson can do defensively, it’s almost embarrassing to watch the perimeter defense on Michigan. This can be turned around with more effort and focus on each possession, but it will take a bigger commitment from every player on the court.

If the guards can’t improve defensively, it won’t matter if Anthony Davis is patrolling the paint because defenses will still find a way to score.

The problems are pretty much the opposite on the other end of the court as the players spend too much time outside the arc.

This is a quality outside shooting team, but few teams succeed by only taking long shots. Michigan gets 37.7 percent of its points from three-pointers, compared to 44.9 percent from two-point shots and 17.4 percent from free throws, according to (subscription required). The latter two numbers rank among the worst in the country, while the squad is 319th (out of 351) in free throws per shot attempt.

What this means is instead of driving and getting easier attempts, the Wolverines are settling on a strategy of chucking the ball up and hoping for the best.

Considering they shoot an impressive 75.8 percent from the charity stripe, it behooves them to try to draw more fouls. Even when they aren’t getting contact, LeVert and Irvin are certainly capable of penetrating into the lane and finishing with easy layups at the rim.

The Wolverines have shot 11-of-47 from deep over the past two games and have totaled just 95 points. It might be time to change up the strategy.

Another problem on the offensive end is the lack of balance with LeVert and Irvin taking 46.4 percent of the team’s shots for the season. These two are the stars of the team and the ones who need to step up when a play needs to be made, but there still needs to be more help over the course of the game.

Nick Baumgardner of believes Derrick Walton Jr. is the one who needs to step up:

The guard has been dealing with injuries, but he certainly has to do a better job of creating opportunities for himself and others. 

Additionally, fans are waiting for highly touted freshman Kam Chatman to show what he can do on more consistent basis. After totaling 10 points and nine rebounds in a win over Syracuse, he only has 11 points and 10 rebounds over the last three games combined.

The 18-year-old player has appeared to be in over his head over the past two weeks. However, the team needs him to reach his potential in a hurry or else the squad can be in trouble.

Over the past few years, Michigan has had one of the best offenses in the nation to go with a solid-but-unspectacular defense. This season, the offense is inefficient and unable to mask a below-average defense.

Both of these can be changed with a better mindset, more effort and an overall commitment to individual improvement.

Beilein has turned teams around in the past, but it will be up to the players to work toward improvement and get back into the discussion for Big Ten and NCAA tournament contention.


Want to talk about anything college basketball? Follow Rob Goldberg on Twitter.

Follow TheRobGoldberg on Twitter

Read more College Basketball news on

View full post on Bleacher Report – College Basketball

Next Page »