Sunday, November 29, 2009

11/30 - College Hoops Week in Review: Feast Week Rehashed

Maybe it is just us, but Feast Week is easily our favorite week of the season outside the month of March.

Meaningful games and twelve straight hours of basketball in November? For an entire week? Can we make this a holiday tradition? Does anyone else like the idea of gift week in mid-December?

All kidding aside, beyond the fact that this week gives us sports fans something to watch when the Lions are getting blown out on Thanksgiving day, college hoops junkies get a chance to see a number of teams that are going to be a factor come March.

(photo credit: ESPN)

Without Feast Week, would you know that Iona has the horses to compete in the competitive MAAC this season? Or that the Gaels have a seven footer named Jonathon Huffman that is a lights out three point shooter? Or that Portland will beat some good teams with their shooting, but will struggle against athletic teams that pressure on the perimeter and crash the glass?

Probably not.

Hit the jump for a recap of all the Feast Week tournaments.

Feast Week MOP: Klay Thompson, Washington State

Thompson has certified himself as the early favorite for Pac-10 player of the year. In three games in the Great Alaska Shootout, Thompson averaged 29.7 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 4.7 apg, and 2.0 apg while shooting 56.9% from the floor and going 14-24 from deep. He also spent a lot of time defending the best perimeter player on the floor and was a big reason the Cougars were able to hold San Diego's dynamic point guard Brandon Johnson to just 13 points (on 4-12 shooting) and 2 assists. What is most impressive is that Thompson is doing this while team's know that he is the only guy that is a real threat offensively in the half court. There may not be a more dangerous play in the country coming off of a screen than Thompson, who proved that fact on Saturday night. He set a Great Alaska Shootout record with 43 points against San Diego.

Klay Thompson was on fire throughout the four day tournament.
(photo credit: AP)

First Team All-Feast Week:
  • Manny Harris, Michigan: Michigan lost their last two games in the Old Spice Classic, but it wasn't because Manny Harris didn't show up. In the three games in Orlando, Harris averaged 22.7 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 5.7 apg, and 2.7 spg. Evan Turner may have a challenger for most complete player in the Big Ten.
  • John Shurna, Northwestern: Everyone thought Northwestern's season was a lost cause when they lost Kevin Coble, but this John Shurna kid looks pretty good. He only outplayed Luke Harangody and Craig Brackins while averaging 24 ppg, 7.5 rpg, and 4.0 apg in leading Northwestern to a title in the Chicago Invitational. Not a bad introduction to the nation.
  • DJ Kennedy, St. John's: Are the Johnnies back? They won the Hoop Group Classic in Philly this weekend, beating Siena and Temple (in what was basically a road game) en route to the title. Kennedy was the best player on the floor for St. John's as he averaged 19 ppg, 5.5 rpg, and 3.5 apg.
  • Lazar Hayward, Marquette: Hayward, along with his front court counterpart Jimmy Butler, was a huge reason that Marquette was able to make a run to the finals of the Old Spice Classic. In three games in Orlando, Hayward 22.7 ppg and 7.3 rpg, but more importantly created match-up problems all over the court.
  • Da'Sean Butler, West Virginia: The Mountaineers won the 76 Classic in Anaheim, and Butler was the biggest reason why. Butler averaged 18.7 ppg, 4.3 rpg, and 3.3 apg, which included a 15 point second half that carried WVU to a win against Texas A&M, while earning MVP honors.
Second Team All-Feast Week
  • Matt Bouldin, Gonzaga: Bouldin didn't put up the greatest numbers out in Maui, but he consistently made the big plays that helped the Zags bring their first title back to Spokane. He averaged 15 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 4.3 apg, and 2.0 spg.
  • Malcolm Delaney, Virginia Tech: Delaney was borderline unstoppable during the Philly Hoop Group Classic, as he averaged 28.0 ppg in two games. That included a 32 point outburst against Temple in a game where the Hokies managed just 50 as a team.
  • Jon Scheyer, Duke: Scheyer is never going to put up the best numbers playing the point for Duke, but, as Coach K said after the UConn game, Scheyer is the most important player on the Blue Devils roster. He proved it in two games in MSG this week, averaging 17.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg, and 5.0 apg while committing just his first three turnovers of the season. If you include the two first round games from two weeks ago, Scheyer averaged 16.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg, and 5.0 apg with a 6.7:1 assist:turnover ratio.
  • Chris Singleton, Florida State: Singleton won the MVP of the Old Spice Classic as he went for 18 points and 10 boards in the final against Marquette. Not only did he give FSU a huge lift in the second half, he was a big reason that Lazar Hayward struggled to find a rhythm in the final. For the tournament, he averaged 15.0 ppg, 7.7 rpg, and 3.0 spg.
  • Keion Bell, Pepperdine: Bell earned a national reputation in the fall for being a dunker, but through seven games he has shown he is much more than just his vertical. In three games during the World Vision Basketball Challenge, Bell averaged 26.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg, and 4.7 apg while winning tournament MVP.


76 Classic
  • Champ: West Virginia over Portland
  • MVP: Da'Sean Butler
  • Three Key Storylines:

    - UCLA's struggles continue as they lost three games in this tournament to mid-majors - Butler, Long Beach State, and Portland by 27.

    - Portland, a team some think may be the third best WCC, reaches the finals as they knocked off UCLA and Minnesota, a win that will look very good come Selection Sunday. The same can be said for Texas A&M, who knocked off Clemson and Minnesota.

    - West Virginia finally got Devin Ebanks back into uniform, and he didn't disappoint, scoring 14 points and 9 boards in his debut on Friday.
CBE Classic
  • Champ: Texas over Pitt
  • MVP: Damion James
  • Three Key Storylines:

    - Pitt may be without Jermaine Dixon and Gilbert Brown, and they sure are going to miss the four starters that are gone, but the Panthers are going to be able to compete with anyone simply because they play defense and they play hard.

    - Texas lost guard Varez Ward for the season with a torn quad muscle he suffered in warmups. Ward was much improved this season, and was a starter for Rick Barnes. The Longhorns are deep in the back court, but losing Ward could still hurt this team.

    - How much longer is Todd Lickliter going to be allowed to try and rebuild Iowa?
Chicago Invitational Challenge
  • Champ: Northwestern over Iowa State
  • MVP: John Shurna
  • Three Key Storylines:

    - A lot of people thought Northwestern had a chance to make to NCAA Tournament for the first time ever before Kevin Coble got hurt. With John Shurna out playing Craig Brackins and Luke Harangody, they may still have a chance.

    - We know about Craig Brackins, but with Lucca Staiger and Marquis Gilstrap developing into solid offensive threats, the Cyclones may be end up being able to compete in the Big XII.

    - Along those same lines, we know what Ben Hansbrough can provide, but will Tim Abromaitis continue to play at this level as the competition increases.
Great Alaska Shootout
  • Champ: Washington State over San Diego
  • MVP: Klay Thompson
  • Three Key Storylines:

    - Klay Thompson averaged 29.7 ppg in three games. If he can keep producing anywhere near that well, Wazzu has a shot of getting a bid to the dance.

    - Oklahoma lost their first two games in this tournament, and won their third despite Willie Warren being held out by Jeff Capel.

    - San Diego picked up two wins in the tournament, including one over Oklahoma. Brandon Johnson looks like he can really play. Can the Toreros win enough games to make the tournament?
Legends Classic
  • Champ: Florida over Rutgers
  • MVP: Erving Walker
  • Three Key Storylines:

    - After beating Florida State and Michigan State in the span of a week, Florida should be getting the hype that Syracuse got after their run through the CvC. They won't. They won on HDNet. Syracuse won on ESPN.

    - How good is Mike Rosario? He scored 20 in the first half of Rutgers opener against UMass, but he scored just 16 over the rest of the two day tournament.

    - Against Florida, Michigan State committed 23 turnovers and made a number of silly, costly fouls down the stretch. Is this really a team coached by Tom Izzo?
Maui Invitational
  • Champ: Gonzaga over Cincinnati
  • MVP: Matt Bouldin and Steven Gray
  • Three Key Storylines:

    - Cincinnati has the talent, the toughness, and the size to make a run at a top three spot in the Big East. But will they be enough of a team?

    - Apparently, Gonzaga has some strength on the interior this season, as Robert Sacre and Elias Harris were able to hold their own against a very big Cincinnati team.

    - Greivis Vasquez still has yet to find his stride. He is shooting just 32.9% from the floor and 26.1% from deep on the season, and in the three games this week, he was just 13-37 from the field and 4-15 from deep. He had 11 assists and 11 turnovers.
NIT Season Tip-Off
  • Champ: Duke over UConn
  • MVP: Jon Scheyer
  • Three Key Storylines:

    - If Derek Glasser and Eric Boateng can perform like they against LSU, the Sun Devils may just be good enough to make the NCAA Tournament.

    - UConn is athletic. UConn can block shots. But UConn is not strong inside, and not a good rebounding team this season.

    - Duke is for real this season, as their back court is playing some great basketball right now and their front court seems to be living up to the potential.
Old Spice Classic
  • Champ: Florida State over Marquette
  • MVP: Chris Singleton
  • Three Key Storylines:

    - Manny Harris, who averaged 22.7 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 5.7 apg, and 2.7 spg, looks like he may be having a good enough season to make a run at the Big 10 player of the year award.

    - Siena and Niagara may not be the runaway favorites in the MAAC. Iona gave Florida State all they could hand in the opener, took Baylor to OT in the second round, and yesterday knocked off Creighton.

    - Xavier goes as Jordan Crawford goes. In the win, he had 22 points on 8-12 from the field and 4-5 from three. In the two losses, Crawford was a combined 10-39 from the floor while averaging 12.5 ppg.
Match-ups of the week:
  • 12/2 - 7:00 pm: Siena @ Georgia Tech
  • 12/2 - 7:00 pm: Pitt @ Duquesne
  • 12/2 - 8:00 pm: Northern Iowa @ Iowa State
  • 12/2 - 8:00 pm: Arkansas @ Oklahoma
  • 12/2 - 8:00 pm: Oklahoma State @ Tulsa
  • 12/2 - 9:00 pm: UNLV @ Arizona
  • 12/2 - 9:00 pm: Washington State @ Gonzaga
  • 12/2 - 9:30 pm: Missouri @ Vanderbilt
  • 12/3 - 7:00 pm: Washington @ Texas Tech
  • 12/3 - 10:30 pm: Baylor @ Arizona State
  • 12/5 - 12:30 pm: UNC @ Kentucky
  • 12/5 - 3:30 pm: St. John's @ Duke
  • 12/5 - 5:30 pm: Wake Forest @ Gonzaga
  • 12/5 - 9:00 pm: Washington State @ Kansas State
  • 12/5 - 11:00 pm: Iowa State @ Cal
  • 12/6 - 1:00 pm: South Carolina @ Clemson
  • 12/6 - 5:30 pm: Kansas @ UCLA
  • 12/6 - 7:30 pm: Villanova @ Maryland

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