Naismith Trophy’s 50 Watch List announced

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The Naismith Trophy announced the 50 players on their watch list for the Player of the Year award on Thursday. If you’re curious, here are our Player of the Year Power Rankings:

Jordan Adams, UCLA
Kyle Anderson, UCLA
Isaiah Austin, Baylor
Jerrelle Benimon, Towson
Jahii Carson, Arizona State
Semaj Christon, Xavier
Aaron Craft, Ohio State
Sam Dekker, Wisconsin
Spencer Dinwiddie, Colorado
Cleanthony Early, Wichita State
Perry Ellis, Kansas
C.J. Fair, Syracuse
Yogi Ferrell, Indiana
Aaron Gordon, Arizona
Treveon Graham, VCU
Jerian Grant, Notre Dame
Montrezl Harrell, Louisville
Gary Harris, Michigan State
Joe Harris, Virginia
Andrew Harrison, Kentucky
Tyler Haws, BYU
Marshall Henderson, Ole Miss
Rodney Hood, Duke
Joe Jackson, Memphis
Cory Jefferson, Baylor
Sean Kilpatrick, Cincinnati
Alex Kirk, New Mexico
Doug McDermott, Creighton
Mitch McGary, Michigan
Jordan McRae, Tennessee
James Michael McAdoo, North Carolina
Shabazz Napier, Connecticut
Johnny O’Bryant, LSU
Kevin Pangos, Gonzaga
Jabari Parker, Duke
Adreian Payne, Michigan State
Julius Randle, Kentucky
Juvonte Reddic, VCU
Glenn Robinson III, Michigan
LaQuinton Ross, Ohio State
Wayne Selden, Kansas
Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State
Russ Smith, Louisville
Jarnell Stokes, Tennessee
Rasheed Sulaimon, Duke
Noah Vonleh, Indiana
Andrew Wiggins, Kansas
Kendall Williams, New Mexico
Chaz Williams, Massachusetts
James Young, Kentucky

Here is the conference-by-conference breakdown:

ACC: 7
American: 5
Atlantic-10: 3
Big East: 2
Big Ten: 9
Big 12: 6
Mountain West: 2
Pac-12: 5
SEC: 7
WCC: 2
Everyone else: 5

Marcus Paige, Joel Berry lead No. 9 North Carolina past No. 2 Maryland

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — He’s back.

For the first time this season — and for the first time in more than a year that he hasn’t been hampered with some kind of foot or ankle injury — Marcus Paige donned a North Carolina jersey, and it didn’t take him long to find the form that made him the NBCSports.com Preseason National Player of the Year.

On the first Tar Heel possession, Paige came off of a ball-screen, drove the lane and found Kennedy Meeks at the rim for a layup. Not 30 seconds later, he came off of a down screen and buried a three. Paige would finish with 20 points and five assists as No. 9 North Carolina put together a fairly resounding win over No. 2 Maryland in the Dean Dome on Tuesday night, winning 89-81.

Paige finished 7-for-12 from the floor and 4-for-5 from beyond the arc, hitting a number of threes in the second half that helped hold off a Maryland push sparked by their own all-american point guard, Melo Trimble.

Trimble was erratic early on, committing three turnovers in the first six minutes and eight on the night, but it was his play at the end of the first half and early second half that kept North Carolina from blowing their doors. At one point, Maryland was down 32-19 and in danger of getting run out of Tobacco Road.

In total, Trimble finished with 23 points and 12 assists, hitting four big threes during that stretch. He either scored or assisted on 11 of Maryland’s first 12 second half field goals.

As good as Paige was, the bigger story may actually be Joel Berry II. He took two dumb threes in the first half — which played a role in Maryland being able to make this a game — and he missed a few free throws late, but overall he was terrific. He finished with 14 points and five assists, making 3-of-5 threes and turning the ball over just twice. He’s clearly beat Nate Britt out at the point guard spot, and his ability to take pressure off of Paige as a secondary ball-handler and playmaker is huge.

(More to come from Chapel Hill…)

VIDEO: Melo Trimble drops Nate Britt with a crossover

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North Carolina is hosting No. 2 Maryland in a heated contest in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Terps sophomore guard Melo Trimble is playing very well and part of his performance was dropping North Carolina’s Nate Britt with a crossover in the second half.

(H/T: The Cauldron)