UNLV v North Carolina

North Carolina point guard Marcus Paige focuses on adding weight

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North Carolina point guard Marcus Paige performed admirably as a freshman,  but quickly learned that in the ACC, it is a tough and physical battle every game. The lefty may have been a McDonald’s All-American coming out of high school, but at 6’1 and only 157 pounds, Paige quickly learned that he needed to add strength and weight in order to maximize his potential.

So far this summer, that plan seems to be working out. According to a WRAL report, Paige has spent the summer working on his frame and is already up to 171 pounds.

“I’d always played lighter than my opponents, even back in high school I wasn’t the heaviest guy on the court, but it really made a difference in college. Strength is a key part of the game, refs let you play more physical,” said Paige.

Paige found that out while playing against bigger, stronger competition in the ACC, such as guards like Miami’s Shane Larkin and NC State’s Lorenzo Brown.

“Dealing with guys like that was a lot harder as a small guy,” Paige said. “I’m not focused on playing at a certain weight or anything. I just want to be stronger, have a stronger base, so I can get through screens and not get fatigued so easily.”
Earning extended minutes as a freshman, Paige averaged 8.2 points, 2.7 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game in 35 games last season with the Tar Heels. But one thing that Paige could stand to improve is his field goal percentage as he only shot with a 35.6 percent from the field.

Playing at a heavier weight should improve Paige’s game immensely as he’ll be able to bump off defenders more to create space and look for his own shot while also aiding in his ability to finish through contact.

PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: A Big 12 and a Big Ten showdown

Denzel Valentine
(AP Photo/Al Goldis)
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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 10 West Virginia at No. 6 Kansas, 7:00 p.m.

The last time these two teams got together, West Virginia actually knocked off Kansas in Morgantown. It was the third time in the last three seasons that WVU has beaten KU at home. So there’s some revenge at stake here. But there’s also the whole Big 12 title race, which West Virginia currently leads. If the Mountaineers win tonight, they’ll be up by two games on Kansas with the tie breaker and just seven games left to play. The Jayhawks regular season title streak could be over if that happens.

THIS ONE’S GOOD, TOO: No. 8 Michigan State at No. 18 Purdue, 7:00 p.m.

We think the Spartans are back to their early season form after wins over Maryland (at home), Northwestern, Rutgers and Michigan. If Michigan State really wants to prove something to the college basketball world, they will go into West Lafayette tonight and get a win. Denzel Valentine vs. Raphael Davis will be fun.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR

  1. Pitt will pay a visit to No. 12 Miami in a game the Panthers could really use a win in. Pitt hasn’t been the most consistent team in the country and without adding a few quality wins they could be looking at the bubble.
  2. Duquesne will be paying a visit to No. 19 Dayton, who moved into a tie for first place in the Atlantic 10 thanks to VCU’s loss on Saturday.
  3. Georgia is right there on the bubble, and they will have a chance to try and push themselves into a better spot when they play at No. 22 Kentucky tonight.
  4. Creighton probably has to win out to have a shot of making the NCAA tournament, and that includes tonight, when they host No. 5 Xavier.
  5. No. 7 Virginia will be hosting Virginia Tech, who picked off the Wahoos in Blacksburg earlier this year.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 1 Villanova at DePaul, 8:30 p.m.
  • No. 25 Wichita State at Drake, 8:00 p.m.

 

PLAYER OF THE YEAR POWER RANKINGS: Buddy Hield isn’t going anywhere

Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield (24) drives to the basket as LSU guard Antonio Blakeney (2) defends in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)
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It’s Tuesday, which means that it is once again time for the NBC Sports Player of the Year Power Rankings.

And you’ll be shocked to find out that Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield is still No. 1 in those rankings. By a pretty wide margin.

The rest of the top 10?

They can be found here, at the CBT FaceBook page. Follow that page for the countdown: