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January 13, 2014
Mid-Term exam - Mens and Womens BKB
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It's the half-way point for basketball (yes, time is moving that fast). As we reach the mid-season point for both programs, they are both at crossroads and have earned some grades along the way. Here are the grades for both programs and some awards for the two sides as they continue to battle in the AAC.
Mid-Season MVP - In my eyes, Victor Rudd is the clear winner here for the MVP. He is averagng 16.2 PPG (leads the team), 7.3 RPG, and has 10 steals on the year. Rudd is constantly putting up double-doubles and has been the backbone of the offense all year. As he closes in on 1000 career points, Rudd is asserting himself as the go-to scorer for the offense and his defense has come along as well.
Freshman of the year - Chris Perry has a strong argument here, but in my eyes, John Egbunu should get the award at this stage. The touted freshman is averaging 8.5 PPG, 7.1 RPG and has 24 blocks on the season. While Perry has earned more honors in the AAC, Egbunu has been the center of the defense, starting nearly every game, playing hard and improving all the time. Egbunu is a monster on the boards, playing hard on defense and his offensive game is just improving each time. This award should be a joint award with Perry, but the defensive abilities for Egbunu give him the edge here.
Surprise player - Corey Allen Jr. - the JUCO recruit, has been huge for the Bulls. Time after time, Allen has come up huge on offense and on defense for the Bulls. Whether he is attacking the basket or running the point, Allen has been the man. He is averaging 12.1 PPG, 4.7 RPG and has added 58 assists and 26 steals this season. Allen has been great and has to continue to rise to the level he has played all year and help the Bulls' offense that has struggled.
Biggest disappointment - Musa Abdul-Aleem - I thought about Anthony Collins would be here, but with his injury, I can't do that. Musa, the "3-point specialist" hasn't lived up to the the talk of his shooting ability. He is averaging 3.9 PPG and shooting just 23% from 3-point range. While Musa had a strong game against Temple his play through the season has been bad. His shots have been rushed, flat, and off the mark. He is healthy, has been given the minutes, but the stats are not there at all. Let's all hope the second half of the year gets better for him.
Best moment: Double overtime over FGCU - The Bulls have had their come from behind wins, but the win against Dunk City was huge. Both sides battled it out, but the Bulls were able to come back and held on late in the second overtime in the game to win it. The end of the second half was a little questionable as the Eagles looked like they got the shot off, but the rules were upheld and the win went to Coach Heath and his team.
Worst moment - Losing 65 to 60 to Detroit - The Bulls were playing well before they ran into Detroit and Juwuan Howard. Howard and crew went into a zone defense and the Bulls couldn't handle in that game. This game went all Detroit and the Bulls simply couldn't shake it off, notching a bad loss to a team that will hurt their RPI down the road.
Second half thoughts - Does this team have enough offense to contend? - The Bulls have struggled at times to score and often go into shooting slumps. They have a hard time shooting out of a 2-3 defense that teams continue to use against them and its hard basketball to watch. The Bulls have to figure out their shooting woes, get more movement, and execute at a much higher level heading down the second half of the year or they won't win many more games.
Mid-Season MVP - Courtney Williams - Williams has been consistent all year, whether she has started or come off of the bench. She is averaging 14.1 PPG, 6.3 RPG, and shooting 40% from the floor. While Inga Orekhova has missed time and others have struggled to find their range shooting, Williams has been the one player that on any given night, she will score in double figures and lead the offense.
Freshman of the year - Ariadna Pujol - After a slow start to her freshman year, Pujol has become a lot better as of late and earned AAC honor roll just a week ago. Pujol is averaging 6.9 PPG, 2.7 RPG, and continues to get better on defense. Pujol, who started the year in the starting lineup, has become an important player off the bench as of late and will continue to get more minutes as the season goes on.
Surprise player - Alisia Jenkins - How good has Jenkins been this season? Jenkins is averaging 10.3 PPG, 10.9 RPG, has 19 blocks, and 16 steals on the year. Every game, Jenkins is putting up a double-double, playing great offense and cleaning up on defense. She has been probably the best all-around player for Coach Fernandez in the first half of the year and has been that boost the Bulls need at times.
Biggest disappointment - Inga Orekhova - Now I say this with a big grain of salt. Orekhova missed a few games after having minor knee surgery. Her knee was probably the reason for her slow start to the year, but she did have a very bad start to the season before the surgery. Orekhova is averaging 8.5 PPG and 4.2 RPG on the season and has been picking up her game lately, but the cold start to the year is the only reason I have her at this spot.
Best moment - 3 straight wins in AAC - Conference play got off to a bad start for the Bulls with a bad loss to Rutgers, but three wins in a row have turned it around. USF is playing better on defense, rebounding more, and shooting at a much higher percentage. The Bulls need to keep it going if they want to hang around the top of the league.
Worst moment - Losing to the College of Charleston - All losses are bad, but losing a road game to the College of Charleston, a team that really had no chance (on paper) was awful. USF led the game, but they fell asleep in the second half and just gave the game away. There are other losses that could be on here, but this game continues to stick out to me.
Second half thoughts - Who is this team? - The ladies had won 3 straight in league play before falling to Louisville Sunday, and have been shutting opponents down on defense. It's a far cry to the 4 game losing streak they endured earlier in the year where nothing went right for them. So who are they? Coach Fernandez has a talented team, they just have to find consistency and they should win a lot more games heading into the second half of the year.