Syracuse Tyler Ennis

Tyler Ennis, Jabari Parker among nine on midseason Tisdale Award list

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One day after releasing its midseason list for the Oscar Robertson Award, which is given to the best player in college basketball, the United State Basketball Writers Association released its midseason list for the Wayman Tisdale Award. The Tisdale Award is annually give to the nation’s best freshman as voted upon by members of the USBWA.

The list is only nine players deep, with six of the players also making yesterday’s Robertson Award list. Here’s the list, with the players on both the Robertson and Tisdale award lists in italics:

  • Joel Embiid, Kansas
  • Tyler Ennis, Syracuse
  • Aaron Gordon, Arizona
  • Jordan Mickey, LSU
  • Jabari Parker, Duke
  • Julius Randle, Kentucky
  • Noah Vonleh, Indiana
  • Andrew Wiggins, Kansas
  • James Young, Kentucky

The SEC claims the most representatives on the list with three players being named, and Kentucky is one of two programs with multiple players listed with Kansas being the other. Embiid’s play of late has been universally praised and with good reason, as he’s one of the reasons why the Jayhawks once again look to be the class of the Big 12 after navigating a brutal non-conference slate with Wiggins being another.

But the two freshmen who have enjoyed the most team success thus far are Ennis and Gordon, with both having prominent roles on teams that are still undefeated and sitting atop the national polls.

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: