Over the weekend there was the possibility of Maryland making an addition to its 2014 recruiting class, with three-star point guard John Crosby making a visit to the College Park campus. However Crosby’s visit didn’t lead to a change in his plans, as it was reported Sunday via Twitter by Don Markus of the Baltimore Sun that the Baltimore Poly product will attend New Hampton Prep this school year.
Maryland already has a high-level point guard in freshman Romelo Trimble, but a change of heart from Crosby would have given head coach Mark Turgeon some additional depth at the position. As it currently stands Trimble will be asked to shoulder the load, something that was expected to be the case when he committed to the Big Ten school, with senior Dez Wells being the likely option to run the point when Trimble needs a rest.
Wells did pick up some experience at the point guard position last season with Seth Allen sidelined with a broken foot and then-freshman Roddy Peters still getting acclimated to the college game at that time (both Allen and Peters have since transferred). Wells finished the season averaging 2.2 assists per game (second on the team) to go along with his team-best 14.9 ppg. And in the 12 games the Terrapins played without Allen, Wells accounted for 25 assists and 31 turnovers.
Provided Trimble’s capable of taking the reins (and the early expectation is that he’ll be able to) Maryland will be in a better spot at the point in 2014-15 than they were last season. Adding Crosby to the fold would have given Maryland another primary ball-handler, providing depth at a position that could have used the boost.
Among Crosby’s other offers picked up were Rutgers and George Mason.
Not exactly noted for their ability to knock down shots from the perimeter, No. 14 West Virginia grabbed sole possession of first place in the Big 12 thanks in part to their perimeter shooting. The Mountaineers shot 7-for-14 from three and 49.1 percent from the field in a 80-69 win over No. 15 Baylor that wasn’t as close as the final margin would lead one to believe.
Bob Huggins’ team led by as much as 19 in the second half, and the way in which they did it is what makes the win so impressive. “Press Virginia” yielded just ten Baylor turnovers, but that low number didn’t matter much thanks to West Virginia’s execution offensively.
They found quality looks against Baylor’s 1-1-3 zone in the first half and made them at a good clip, forcing Scott Drew to switch to man-to-man. That change didn’t do much to slow down West Virginia either, as Daxter Miles Jr. scored 20 points and sixth man Jaysean Paige added 17 off the bench. And with Devin Williams chipping in with 16 points and seven boards in the post, outplaying Baylor’s Rico Gathers Sr. (five points, seven rebounds), West Virginia grabbed control of the game in the first half and did not relinquish it.
The usual formula for West Virginia offensively is to attack the offensive glass, as their offensive rebounding percentage (43 percent) is tops in the country. “Their best offense is a missed shot” is a familiar refrain heard when people discuss the Mountaineers, who entered the game shooting just over 30 percent from three.
They didn’t need to lean on those second chances as heavily as they normally do Saturday night, not only because of the improved accuracy but also the improved work in finding shots. The ball moved against the Baylor defense and so did the players, resulting in an offensive attack that proved tougher for the visiting Bears to stop that one would expect given the statistics entering the game.
West Virginia was already established as a contender in the Big 12, but thanks to their win Saturday night the Mountaineers are the current pace setters. With a showdown at No. 7 Kansas set for Tuesday night, this was a big win for Bob Huggins’ team to get. And with it coming in spite of a low turnover (forced) count, this should only help West Virginia in the confidence department moving forward.
Brendan Taylor scored 24 points to lead Penn State to a 68-63 upset of No. 22 Indiana on Saturday night.
The Nittany Lions were 2-8 in Big Ten play entering the weekend. Indiana? They were 9-1 and tied for first in the conference. It’s the second loss in four games for the Hoosiers following a 7-0 start to Big Ten play, a fact made all the more concerning by the fact that their league schedule is finally about to get difficult.
The Hoosiers play No. 5 Iowa at home and No. 10 Michigan State in East Lansing next week. The following week they get No. 18 Purdue at home. In the final week of the regular season, Indiana squares off with No. 5 Iowa on the road and close the regular season with a visit from No. 4 Maryland.
That’s a lot of good teams that the Hoosiers to close out the year.
The question has been asked since Indiana’s hot start to league play: Are they for real? Did the Hoosiers really somehow turn things around defensively, or was that winning streak simply a by-product of their schedule?
The truth is that it was probably a combination of both. Calling them a fraud would be unjust — if you watched those games, there wasn’t much fluky about them; Indiana earned the Ws — but it does seem fair to say this is something of a regression to the mean.
They were going to slip up eventually.
And it will totally be forgotten if the Hoosiers can find a way to close the regular season with a winning record in their final seven games.