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College Basketball Midseason Awards: Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, All-Americans

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MIDSEASON NATIONAL PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Trae Young, Oklahoma

This one is pretty obvious, isn’t it?

Young is leading the nation in scoring and in assists. He’s averaging damn near 30 and 10 per night, and he’s doing so for a team that is currently ranked in the top ten nationally. He’s scored at least 28 points or finished with at least 10 assists in every game this year. His “off nights” came against pressing teams – Arkansas and West Virginia – and he still ended up averaging 28.5 points and 5.0 assists in those two losses.

But perhaps the most impressive thing that Young has done this season is transform an Oklahoma team that finished last season with an 11-20 record and a 5-13 mark in Big 12 play into Final Four contention. He’s the star that has turned a roster full of role players into a team that will be in the mix for a Big 12 title.

It’s not often that you find a point guard that is as talented and as ball-dominant as Young is that also finds a way to make every single player on the floor with him markedly better.

This isn’t even a conversation. Trae Young. Player of the Year. Lock it in.

Chris Beard (John Weast/Getty Images)

MIDSEASON NATIONAL COACH OF THE YEAR: Chris Beard, Texas Tech

It was generally believed that Tubby Smith had done a really nice job by in turning two sub-.500 and one NCAA tournament appearance for Texas Tech in his three years there before bouncing to Memphis. It’s hard to win in Lubbock, after all.

Unless you’re Chris Beard, apparently.

The second-year Red Raiders coach has Texas Tech at 14-1 overall and 3-0 in the Big 12 with a win at Kansas already tucked away on the resume. They’re flirting with a level of success not seen since the Bob Knight era.

It’s a passion project for Beard, who went from being the coach at Arkansas-Little Rock to UNLV to Texas Tech in the span of less than three weeks as the pull of the place he spent a decade at as an assistant was enough for him to leave the Runnin’ Rebels without ever coaching a game – or even really holding anything other than a press conference. Now he’s given Texas Tech an identity – the Red Raiders are tough as nails and elite defensively.

In a Big 12 outpost like Texas Tech, having a coach that wants to be there and has a defined vision of what will work is absolutely critical. Look at what Fred Hoiberg did at Iowa State or Scott Drew at Baylor or Kansas State with Bob Huggins and Frank Martin (both of whom wanted to be there until, well, they didn’t). Beard fits that model perfectly, and it’s paying off immediately in west Texas.

MIDSEASON ALL-AMERICAN TEAMS

FIRST TEAM

TRAE YOUNG, Oklahoma

JALEN BRUNSON, Villanova: Brunson has been better than we could have imagined this season. He’s averaging 19.4 points and 5.2 assists with a level of efficiency that we rarely see out of anyone, let alone a point guard that always has the ball in his hands. He’s shooting 59 percent from the floor and 49 percent from three with a 4-to-1 assist to turnover ratio. Should I mention that Villanova is the No. 1 team in the country?

JEVON CARTER, West Virginia: Carter is the nation’s best on-ball defender playing in a system that needs all the on-ball defenders that Bobby Huggins can scrounge up. He’s also averaging 16.7 points, 6.9 assists, 5.7 boards and 3.7 steals for a team that is currently sitting in the top five of the AP poll. He has been absolutely superb.

MARVIN BAGLEY III, Duke: Bagley’s numbers are through the roof. He’s averaging 22.5 points and 11.5 boards while grabbing four offensive boards every game and thoroughly dominating any big man that gets in his way. If he could find a way to be an above-average defender, then Duke might actually have a chance to do what the 2015 Duke team did: Go from being a talented team that cannot get a stop to winning a national title.

DEANDRE AYTON, Arizona: Like Bagley, Ayton has been thoroughly dominant on the offensive end of the floor, averaging 20.6 points and 11.4 boards. He’s been slightly better on the defensive end than Bagley has, but it hasn’t exactly shown in Arizona’s numbers. Perhaps the most impressive part of what Ayton is doing is that Sean Miller has been playing him somewhat out of position and it hasn’t even mattered.

SECOND TEAM

TRA HOLDER, Arizona State: Holder is the biggest reason why Arizona State has turned into a top 15 team this season. He may be the most entertaining point guard in the country to watch this side of Trae Young.

MIKAL BRIDGES, Villanova: Brunson gets all of the attention, but Bridges may actually be the best NBA player on the Villanova roster. This season, we are finally seeing what we all thought we would see out of him since Villanova won the 2016 NCAA tournament.

TREVON BLUIETT, Xavier: I’m not sure there is a more complete shooter in college basketball this year. Bluiett is, quite simply, a bucket-getter, and the biggest reason that the Musketeers look to be a top ten team this season.

BONZIE COLSON, Notre Dame: Colson is not long for this list as he’s currently dealing with a broken bone in his foot. But he was sensational for the first two months of the season for Notre Dame, as he was for the majority of his career.

KEITA BATES-DIOP, Ohio State: It’s hard to believe, but KBD has been the best player in the Big Ten this season. He’s averaging 20 points and 8.8 boards for a team that suddenly looks like they are going to be heading to the NCAA tournament.

THIRD TEAM

DEVONTE’ GRAHAM, Kansas: The Jayhawks have been struggling, but it’s not because Graham hasn’t been doing what he can: 18.6 points, 7.4 assists, 19 steals, 44.1% 3PT. He’s been as good as advertised.

KEENAN EVANS, Texas Tech: Evans is the best player on Chris Beard’s Texas Tech team, playing the role of alpha and closer for a Red Raiders team that is going to make a run at the Big 12 title.

DESI RODRIGUEZ, Seton Hall: Desi Rodriguez has been Seton Hall’s best player this season. Khadeen Carrington and Angel Delgado have been Seton Hall’s best players for the last two weeks, and Desi has been just as good. Keep an eye on this team.

JORDAN MURPHY, Minnesota: Murphy would be getting a lot more attention if Minnesota’s season wasn’t crumbling at the foundations. He’s averaging 19 points and 12 boards and has notched a double-double in every game this year.

JOCK LANDALE, Saint Mary’s: Landale has been a name that’s floated around for a few years, but he’s having his best season to date this year. The big question with this group is whether or not it will be enough for the Gaels to get to the NCAA tournament.

College Basketball Power Rankings: Kentucky drops out of the Top 25

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I’m not sure that this Kentucky season can be considered a worst-case scenario.

Kentucky fans have seen a worst-case scenario.

That came during the 2012-13 season, when a Wildcat team that was trending towards the back end of the top 25 lost their star center Nerlens Noel to a torn ACL in February, dooming them to the NIT, where they lost in the first round to Robert Morris.

That is a worst-case scenario, and barring something totally unforeseen, this Kentucky team is not going to turn into that Kentucky team.

This group looks much more like the team we saw the following year, the one that featured Julius Randle, James Young, the Harrison twins and Willie Cauley-Stein and entered the NCAA tournament as a No. 8 seed with a 24-10 record before making a run to the national title game. That team had plenty of talent, but they never quite gelled until March.

This year’s team does not have that same level of talent, but they are running into some of the same problems.

The question is whether or not this group actually has the potential to come together and make a run like that 2014 team.

RELATED: Kentucky just is not that good

And frankly, I still think they do. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has emerged as a go-to guy while Kevin Knox had seemingly regained his confidence before a poor performance in the home loss to Florida. Quade Green has returned to the lineup, as has Jarred Vanderbilt, who might be the key to unlock the potential on this roster.

In an ideal world, Kentucky’s length and athleticism allows them to be one of the nation’s best defensive teams while the playmaking of Vanderbilt and Green makes their offense fluid enough that they overcome some of their shooting issues. I can still tell myself a story where Kentucky finds a way to put it all together for six straight games in March.

But that’s not who they are right now.

And with each passing game, I grow less and less confident that the elite will ever come out of this group.

Kentucky is not a top 25 basketball team right now. They are nowhere near one of the favorites to win a national title right now. And, at this point, Kentucky fans would do well to adjust their expectations, as a trip out of the Sweet 16 should be considered a success.

Here is the full top 25.

1. Villanova, 18-1 (Last Week: No. 1)
2. Purdue, 19-2 (2)
3. Virginia, 18-1 (5)
4. Kansas, 16-3 (13)
5. Michigan State, 17-3 (7)
6. Duke, 17-2 (10)
7. West Virginia, 16-3 (4)
8. Arizona, 16-4 (8)
9. Xavier, 18-3 (11)
10. Oklahoma, 14-4 (6)
11. North Carolina, 16-4 (17)
12. Texas Tech, 15-4 (3)
13. Cincinnati, 17-2 (19)
14. Ohio State, 17-4 (22)
15. Auburn, 17-2 (18)
16. Tennessee, 13-5 (23)
17. Wichita State, 15-4 (9)
18. Clemson, 16-3 (20)
19. Saint Mary’s, 19-2 (NR)
20. Gonzaga, 17-4 (16)
21. Nevada, 18-3 (NR)
22. Florida, 14-5 (NR)
23. Rhode Island, 15-3 (NR)
24. Arizona State, 15-4 (14)
25. TCU, 14-5 (25)

DROPPED OUT: No. 12 Seton Hall, No. 15 Kentucky, No. 21 Michigan, No. 24 Miami

NEW ADDITIONS: No. 19 Saint Mary’s, No. 21 Nevada, No. 22 Florida, No. 23 Rhode Island

VIDEO: Northern Colorado wins game with halfcourt buzzer beater

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Northern Colorado knocked off North Dakota on Saturday night thanks to a half court buzzer-beating three from Andre Spight.

Spight is averaging 20.3 points on the season and finished with 34 points and six assists in the 94-91 win.

Clemson’s Grantham tears ACL

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The news on Donte Grantham’s knee was not good.

No. 20 Clemson announced on Sunday morning that Grantham, the team’s second-leading scorer and rebounder, would miss the rest of the season after tearing his ACL in a win over Notre Dame on Saturday.

“I’m disappointed that Donte’s career at Clemson had to end this way,” head coach Brad Brownell said. “He was putting together a terrific season statistically, but he really helps this team is so many ways. He’s been a pleasure to coach and it has been fun to watch him mature and grow into the leader of our program.”

Grantham was averaging 14.2 points and 7.1 boards this year.

The Tigers are 16-3 on the season and in line to make a run at an NCAA tournament bid.

VIDEO: West Virginia honored Andrew Jones before game vs. Texas

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The West Virginia basketball team donned burnt orange ‘Big 12 Strong’ warmup shirts with the No. 1 on the back in honor of Texas point guard Andrew Jones.

Jones was diagnosed with leukemia earlier this month.

Texas Tech also honored Jones before a game this week, and Texas has raised more than $100,000 for his medical expenses.

Saturday College Basketball Recap: No. 7 Wichita State, No. 8 Texas Tech lose

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PLAYER OF THE DAY

It’s hard to argue with the performance that J.P. Macura had on Saturday. No. 11 Xavier went into Newark and knocked off No. 19 Seton Hall, 73-64, behind 27 points, five boards and three assists from Macura.

This win was particularly important for Xavier, who remain just a game out of first place in the Big East and in great position to make a run at getting a top three seed, which would mean they likely won’t have to play Villanova until the Big East title game. The loss is the second in a row for Seton Hall and the their third loss in four games.

THE REST OF SATURDAY’S STARS

  • CARSEN EDWARDS, Purdue: Edwards finished with 22 points, eight assists, two steals and no turnovers as the No. 3 Boilermakers blew out Iowa on the road.
  • MALIK NEWMAN, Kansas: Newman finished with 24 points and seven boards, including a personal 7-0 run with three minutes left to help No. 10 Kansas remain in sole possession of first place in the Big 12 with a 70-67 win over Baylor.
  • BRYCE BROWN, Auburn: Brown finished with 28 points as Auburn erased a 14-point halftime deficit to knock off Georgia 79-65 and remain within a game of first-place in the SEC.
  • DEAN WADE, Kansas State: In a win over No. 24 Kansas State, TCU’s second-straight win over a ranked team, Wade went for 20 pints, six boards, six assists, two blocks and two steals.

TEAM OF THE DAY

Houston landed themselves their first marquee win of the season as they pounded No. 7 Wichita State in Houston, 73-59. Rob Gray led the way with 24 points and four assists, putting the Cougars in a position where earning an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament is feasible. There is still plenty of work left to do, but this is the start they needed.

The bigger question mark, however, is Wichita State, who also lost at home to SMU this week. The Shockers are nowhere near as good as many expected them to be. Their offense isn’t good enough to make up for the fact that they aren’t guarding anyone.

GAME OF THE DAY

Trae Young went for 48 points, 34 of which came after halftime as the Sooners erased a 19-point deficit, but thanks to a Kendall Smith three at the end of regulation, this game went into overtime. Young had shots at the buzzer in regulation and in overtime to win the game and missed both, as the Pokes escaped with an 83-81 win.

Young needed 39 shots to get those 48 points. We went through whether or not that is too many shots for him here.

WTF???? OF THE DAY

Iowa State, who can’t guard anyone and is probably the worst team in the Big 12 this season, knocked off No. 8 Texas Tech, 70-52. The Red Raiders have now lost three of their last four games – all of which came on the road – after winning at Kansas. Texas Tech is also now just 1-3 in the four games since Zach Smith broke his foot, but they also beat Baylor by 24 points and won at Kansas when Smith played 10 total minutes.

So you explain Texas Tech to me. Because I don’t get it.

WHAT ELSE DO YOU NEED TO KNOW?

The Florida Gators moved into sole possession of first place in the SEC thanks to a 66-64 win at No. 18 Kentucky on Saturday. It was hardly a pretty game – Florida shot 33 percent from the floor and 6-for-30 from three – but the Gators were able to hang on thanks to a questionable no-call in the final seconds.

No. 20 Clemson held on to beat Notre Dame at home on Saturday, 67-58, but missing out on a commitment from Zion Williamson wasn’t the only bad news of the day. Star forward Donte Grantham went down with a knee injury midway through the second half. He averages 14.3 points and 7.1 boards. Losing him would be disastrous for the Tigers.

No. 14 Arizona had to rally down the stretch, but the Wildcats did. Trailing by as many as 11 points late in the second half at Stanford, the Wildcats survived as Dorian Pickens missed a three at the buzzer. The win puts Arizona all alone in first place in the Pac-12.

Jalen Brunson scored 23 points and Donte DiVincenzo added 17 points off the bench as No. 1 Villanova blew out UConn in Hartford, 81-61.

No. 13 Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s both won, meaning that the Gaels still hold a one game lead over the Zags in the WCC. Nevada knocked off Boise State, giving the Wolf Pack a two-game lead in the Mountain West.

At this point, Pitt barely counts as ACC competition. But they are and No. 5 Duke beat them 81-54 tonight.

Jevon Carter went for 22 points and eight assists as No. 6 West Virginia knocked off Texas, 86-51. The game was closer than the final score indicates, as the Mountaineers pulled away late.

The star of the day for No. 12 Cincinnati was Gary Clark, who finished with 14 points, 14 boards, two assists, two steals and two blocks, in an 86-60 win over East Carolina.

Luke Maye went for 17 points and 11 boards to lead four players in double figures as No. 15 North Carolina held on to beat Josh Pastner and Georgia Tech, 80-66.

It ended up not being much of a game when the Big Ten invaded Madison Square Garden as No. 22 Ohio State put a beating on Minnesota, 67-49. Minnesota lost Jordan Murphy to an ankle injury in the game as well.