11/18: Daily Dribble
Maryland's win in the Coaches vs Cancer Classic finals should catapult them into the top 25 for the first time this season. I dont necessarily know if Maryland will be better than Michigan State or Texas at the end of the season.. but this shows you what a team with three senior starters can do to start a season. For the Terps, like Texas and Michigan State as well, point guard play will go a long way in determining future success. Greivis Vasquez, Drew Neitzel, and DJ Augustin all impressed this week. The freshman Vasquez was perhaps the most surprising and ultimately got the W's. Neitzel is the veteran of these three, and looks noticeably stronger and more mature this season. Augustin in the end might be the best of those three. The high school All-American often dribbles around too much and needs to do a better job running the offense, but his ability to get into the lane and finish is simply unteachable and gives Texas an edge on most teams.
Iowa isn't known as a hotbed for talented freshman, but Hawkeyes fans have to like the numbers Tyler Smith put up against Toledo: 28 points, 6 boards, and 5 assists. Smith hasn't started Iowa's first two games, but you have to wonder when he'll join the first five. Outside of Adam Haluska, Smith might already be their 2nd best scorer.
A lot of people expect Saint Louis to make an NCAA Tourney run this season, and more 26 point, 8 rebound games out of Tommie Liddell will help the cause. Forward Ian Vouyoukas might be the most well-known Billiken because he's a potential NBA prospect, but Liddell is easily their most dynamic player. The 6-4 guard can score, plays bigger than his size suggests, and can even pass a little as well. He wont get hyped up playing at SLU, but he could emerge as one of this season's big sleeper performers.
Stony Brook notches one for the little guys by getting a win at power conference school Penn State. The Seawolves are a little known program, but have already picked up 3 road wins and are lead by a backcourt combining to average 42+ ppg. Mitchell Beauford, the junior PG, has scored 20+ in all three games. But the key addition is Ricky Lucas, also averaging 20+, a 6-4 wing player that transfered from George Washington. If both of those players continue their hot shooting, Stony Brook could be a major player in the America East along with Vermont and Albany.
Stanford and Northwestern are clearly good academic schools, but apparently they dont have Scoring 101 on the curriculum. Both teams dropped 40-something point efforts in their last game and neither broke 60 in Stanford's 58-53 win. Still, 50 something and 40 something looks pretty good to a Florida A&M team that scored just 11 in the first half against Miami OH and finished with just 33 points in the loss. Illinois, 3-0 playing their usual early season slop schedule is licking their lips to face FAMU this Sunday.