Bucknell v Purdue

Bucknell’s Mike Muscala deserved spot on Oscar Robertson Award watch list

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Yesterday the United States Basketball Writers Association released its midseason watch list for the Oscar Robertson Award, and at first glance there didn’t seem to be any issues in regards to a deserving player being omitted.

But there was one: Bucknell forward/senior center Mike Muscala.

The Roseville, Minnesota native hasn’t disappointed and neither have the Bison, who boast a record of 18-4 and are currently tied atop the Patriot League standings with preseason favorite Lehigh (5-1).

Muscala is a big reason why Bucknell is capable of winning its third consecutive Patriot League regular season title, boasting averages of 19.4 points and 11.1 rebounds per game.

A 6-11 big man who consistently attracts the attention of multiple defenders on the low block, Muscala is shooting 52.1% from the field while also  hitting 77.7% of his free throws.

But the biggest improvement has come on the glass, where a player to tallied 18 double-doubles last season (9.1 rpg) is now comfortably averaging the feat and already has 15 double-doubles in 2012-13.

In an article by Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated the challenge that head coach Dave Paulsen set for Muscala, at the encouragement of an NBA scout, was to average a rebound every three minutes (Kenneth Faried territory) and Muscala has delivered.

Muscala snared a rebound every 3.2 minutes last year and is up to one every 2.9 minutes this year. Muscala’s best resume builder for the NBA may be his performances against top-flight competition, as he had 25 and 14 in a two-point loss at Missouri, 24 and nine against New Mexico State and 16 and 15 against George Mason.

Muscala may not be on national television as often as many of the 12 players on the Robertson Award midseason watch list but there should be no doubt as to how talented he is.

When Lehigh’s C.J. McCollum went down with a broken foot, maybe people who don’t follow the Patriot League regularly assumed that the conference was without a viable candidate for national honors.

That couldn’t be further from the truth.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej

Iowa State’s starting center Jameel McKay remains suspended

Iowa State forward Jameel McKay celebrates on the court at the end of an NCAA college basketball game against Oklahoma, Monday, Jan. 18, 2016, in Ames, Iowa. Iowa State won 82-77. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
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Steve Prohm announced on Monday that starting center Jameel McKay will not be in the lineup on Wednesday when the Cyclones take on Texas Tech.

“He’ll practice today because I want him in practice,” Prohm said, “but game-wise, he’s suspended.”

McKay did not make the trip to Stillwater with the team on Saturday, where Iowa State beat Oklahoma State, 64-59. Prohm has not gotten into specifics regarding the cause of McKay’s suspension, but it’s reportedly an issue with the way he has been practicing. McKay is dealing with a nagging knee injury, which may play a role in the situation as well.

“My hope is he’ll be with us on Saturday,” Prohm said.

AP POLL: Villanova climbs to No. 1 in the country.

Jay Wright
(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
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Like the Coaches Poll, Villanova found themselves No. 1 in the AP Poll during the regular season for the first time in the history of the program.

And like the Coaches Poll, there isn’t much in the way of a consensus when it comes to who is the No. 1 team, as there are six teams that received No. 1 votes in the poll this week.

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The biggest shock to me?

The No. 1 team in the NBC Sports Top 25, Iowa, received just 11 first place votes and is ranked fourth in the AP Poll.

They were ranked fifth in the Coaches Poll.

Can we get Fran McCaffery the love they deserve?

Here is the rest of the AP Poll:

1. Villanova (20-3, 32 first-place votes)
2. Maryland (21-3, 13)
3. Oklahoma (19-3, 7)
4. Iowa (19-4, 11)
5. Xavier (21-2)
6. Kansas (19-4, 1)
7. Virginia (19-4, 1)
8. Michigan State (20-4)
9. North Carolina (19-4)
10. West Virginia (19-4)
11. Oregon (18-4)
12. Miami (FL) (18-4)
13. Louisville (19-4)
14. Iowa State (17-6)
15. Texas A&M (18-5)
16. SMU (20-2)
17. Arizona (19-5)
18. Purdue (19-5)
19. Dayton (19-3)
20. Providence (18-6)
21. Baylor (17-6)
22. Kentucky (17-6)
23. USC (18-5)
24. Texas (16-7)
25. Wichita State (17-6)

DROPPED OUT: No. 22 Indiana, No. 25 South Carolina
NEW ADDITIONS: No. 23 USC, No. 24 Texas