Zak Irvin (AP Photo)

Zak Irvin will be good, but he’s not the next Nik Stauskas

1 Comment

As a freshman, Nik Stauskas was the third or fourth option for Michigan, a sharpshooter used strictly to spread the floor.

An average offensive possession for Stauskas? Standing in the corner and spotting up, which would either create space for Trey Burke or Tim Hardaway Jr. to get to the rim or allow him a wide-open, catch-and-shoot three.

That was the role that he was asked to play.

The same can be said for Zak Irvin last season, another 6-foot-6 shooter that played limited minutes as a freshman whose primary role was spreading the floor for, you guessed it, Stauskas.

And as Brendan Quinn of laid out in this column from Tuesday, there are some expectations for Irvin this season, namely that he will follow in Stauskas’ footsteps and become the centerpiece for Michigan’s offensive attack.

That, frankly, is unfair for a number of reasons.

Let’s start with the obvious: Stauskas was the Big Ten Player of the Year, a second team all-american and a lottery pick. Asking any player to fill those shoes puts unneeded pressure on them. Irvin can get better as a player and have a productive season for the Wolverines without coming close to that kind of performance.

But that’s not all: Irvin and Stauskas are very different players. Stauskas is excellent in pick-and-roll situations. He could cross people over, he could beat people off the dribble and he was a very good passer. Irvin had just four assists combined in Big Ten play and the postseason. He’s not going to thrive the way that Stauskas did as the centerpiece of John Beilein’s offensive attack.

You know who will?

Caris LeVert.

If there is anyone on Michigan who is going to act as a replacement for Stauskas, it is LeVert. The 6-foot-6 combo-guard is not the same caliber of athlete and he’s not as good of a passer or a shooter as Stauskas, but he can take over games and he can make plays with the ball in his hands in pick-and-roll actions. And don’t forget about Derrick Walton, who is primed for a breakout sophomore campaign.

Irvin has a chance to be a very good player at Michigan.

Just don’t expect him to be the next Nik Stauskas.

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)
Leave a comment

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)
Leave a comment

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.



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