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December 8, 2005

SCS.comHalf-court buzzer beaters. Triple overtime classics. Heroic one-man performances. The first month of the college basketball season has provided us with all of that, and much more. The teams at the top are very similar to what people had predicted prior to the season, but after that, it's a crapshoot. Many teams have had surprisingly good seasons, while others have fallen off the map and disappointed. Similarly, there is a host of players that have played very well in the early going, and it is difficult to sift through the group to find the best of the best. However, this is exactly what you want in the college game: parody and balance. With that in mind, let's recap the first few weeks of the season.

First-Month All-American Team

G - J.J. Redick, Duke - Redick is averaging almost 23 a game and shooting 44% from long-range.

G - Randy Foye, Villanova - Playing out of position for the undersized Wildcats, Foye is putting up 22, 6, and 4 per game.

F - Adam Morrison, Gonzaga - The best player in the country. Averaging 30 a game and had 43 vs. both Michigan State and Washington.

F - Glen Davis, LSU - Davis is averaging 19 and 11 a contest and is developing into the best big man in the SEC.

C - LaMarcus Aldridge, Texas - Aldridge is putting up 18 and 10 per game and dominating the paint for the Longhorns.

Second Team

G - Rajon Rondo, Kentucky - Averaging a double-double to go with 6 assists per game...and he's 6-1.

F - Paul Davis, Michigan State - Finally living up to his potential, putting up 21 and 10 per contest.

F - Leon Powe, California - After missing the first four games, Powe is going for 25 and 9 since returning for the Golden Bears.

F - Nick Fazekas, Nevada - Averaging 22 and 9 per game and put up 35 on the road at Kansas in a win.

C - Shelden Williams, Duke - One of the best big men around. 18 and 10 to go with 4 blocks per game.

Other Notable Players

Marco Killingsworth, Indiana - Had 35 against Duke and almost single-handedly upset the Blue Devils. Enough said.

Alando Tucker, Wisconsin - Developing into one of the best offensive players in the country, going for over 19 a game.

Corey Brewer, Florida - Starring for surprising Gators; averaging almost 16 points, 7 boards, 4 assists, and 3 steals per game.

Matt Haryasz, Stanford - One of the few bright spots in the Cardinal's awful start; 19 and 11 a game.

Curtis Stinson, Iowa State - Might be the best all-around guard in the nation. Averaging 20 points, 6 boards, 6 assists, and 3 steals per game.

Rudy Gay, Connecticut - At times, he has looked like the best player in the country. If he improves his consistency, he will be.

Jermareo Davidson, Alabama - Surprise season for Davidson, going for over 15 and 12 per game for the frontcourt-laden Crimson Tide.

First Month Mid-Major All-American Team

G - Jose Juan Barea, Northeastern - One of the best point guards in the country. Averaging 23 points and 9 assists per game.

G - Tim Smith, East Tennessee State - The little guy is still in college, and is putting up 19 points, 4 boards, 5 assists, and 3 steals a contest.

G - Blake Ahearn, Missouri State - Known as one of the best FT shooters in the country, Ahearn is averaging 25 points per game.

G - Quinton Day, UMKC - All-around guard that can do a variety of things. 21 points, 6 assists, and 5 steals per contest.

G - Steve Burtt, Iona - Leading the mid-majors in scoring, putting up almost 27 every night out.

G - Calvin Wooten, Oakland - Rutgers transfer is torching the Mid-Continent, averaging 25 a night.

G - Jeremy Kelly, Tennessee-Martin - Best OVC player so far, going for 20 points, 4 boards, and 6 assists per night (31 and 9 boards vs. Louisville).

G - Dwayne Mitchell, Lousiana Lafayette - 6-5 guard averaging about 19 points and 12 boards a game (19 and 20 vs. Tennessee, 25 and 13 vs. Charlotte).

G - Anthony Winchester, Western Kentucky - The three-point gunner is hitting 50 percent of his long-range shots and averaging almost 25 a game.

F - Ricky Price, SE Lousiana - One of the best players in the low-major conferences, averaging 19 and 11 for the Lions.

F - Joe Martin, Alabama A&M - Even though they haven't played a D-1 team yet, Martin going for over 14 points and 13 boards per night.

F - Harding Nana, Delaware - One of the best PF's you've never heard of, Nana's putting up 18 and 11 per night (14 and 16 vs. NC State).

F - Yemi Nicholson, Denver - NBA prospect dominating competition, averaging almost 19 and 12 per contest (22 and 17 vs. Colorado State).

F - Ivan Almonte, Florida International - Best rebounder in the country at over 14 a game. Also throws in almost 17 points per game.

Who Are These Guys? (Players putting up numbers in relative obscurity)

Quincy Douby, Rutgers - Developing into one of the best scorers in the Big East at 22 points per game. Douby has led Rutgers to a 6-1 start.

Cartier Martin, Kansas State - The 6-8 wing is putting up 20 points and 9 rebounds per night, leading KSU to a 6-1 start.

Jason Smith, Colorado State - One of the best big men in the country. Averaging 20 points, 10 boards, and 3 blocks a game.

Steven Smith, LaSalle - Probably the most unknown great player in college basketball. Smith is averaging 24 points and 11 rebounds, leading Explorers to a 4-0 start.

Vedran Vukusic, Northwestern - Inside-outside scorer puts up over 23 a game, and will be tough to stop in the Big Ten.

Oliver Lafayette, Houston - Scoring guard averages almost 23 points and 4 steals per night. Averaged 30 in wins over LSU and Arizona.

Louis Admundson, UNLV - Averaging 17 and 12 each night. Had 22 and 21 in a win over Hawaii.

Corey Rouse, East Carolina - Yes, East Carolina. Rouse goes for 17 and 11 per contest, averaging a double-double for the second year in a row.

Top Ten Freshmen

Jon Brockman, Washington - Tough inside scorer has been a force for the Huskies, averaging 13 points and 8 boards a game.

Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina - Going to be one of the best post players in the country, putting up 16 points and 8 rebounds per game.

Tasmin Mitchell, LSU - My preseason pick for National Freshman of the Year is averaging 13 points and 9 rebounds at the forward spot, but hasn't been the best freshman for the Tigers.

Tyrus Thomas, LSU - That would go to Thomas. He is going for 17 points and 9 rebounds a game. He and Mitchell are going to be dominant for the next few years.

Shawne Williams, Memphis - Possibly the most impressive freshman in the country. The 6-9 forward is impossible to stop one on one, and is averaging 17 points, 6 boards, 3 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks, and is shooting 40 percent from beyond the arc.

Dominic James, Marquette - Best freshman point guard in the country. Averaging 15 points and 7 assists per game, to go with 2 steals.

Brandon Rush, Kansas - His offensive game is going to be tremendous. Averaging 14 points and 5 boards per contest on 55 percent shooting from the field.

Jamont Gordon, Mississippi State - The 6-4 wing is averaging over 13 points and 6 boards per game, and is shooting 42 percent from long range. Will be a force in the SEC.

Tyrese Rice, Boston College - Finally, BC has an athletic guard that can score. Rice is averaging almost 12 points per game, and has mostly come off the bench.

Mike Mercer, Georgia - One of the better freshmen point guards in the country. Putting up 13 points and 4 boards in helping lead the Bulldogs to a 6-1 start.

Surprise Teams

Vanderbilt - Will challenge for an SEC title. Went out to Georgetown and then came back to beat Oregon on a last second shot at home.

Florida - One of the best teams in the country right now. Won the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, with wins over Syracuse and Wake Forest. Also beat Florida State.

Tennessee - Undefeated at 5-0. Has not played any name teams, but has five wins over quality mid-majors, including OVC favorites Eastern Kentucky and Murray State.

Colorado State - New favorite in the Mountain West. Wins at home against Colorado and Auburn, and a victory on the road at Yemi Nicholson and Denver.

Kansas State - 6-1, fresh off a win over Colorado State. Also have dominant home wins over New Mexico and Big West favorite Cal State-Fullerton.

Clemson - A dominant 7-0 start for the Tigers. Have wins over South Carolina and MEAC favorite South Carolina State, as well as a road victory vs. Penn State.

Florida State - Very deep and athletic team whose only loss is at Florida. Showed the country what they could do with a 40-point win over Purdue in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

Rutgers - Will win some games in the Big East. Quincy Douby and company blew out Temple at home and got a quality road win at St. Mary's (CA). Only lost to Illinois.

Marquette - Won the Great Alaska Shootout with victories over South Carolina and Oral Roberts. Only losses at Nebraska and against Winthrop.

Colorado - Sleeper in the Big 12. Have home wins over 7-1 UNC-Wilmington, St. Mary's, and Utah. Only loss is a one-point road loss to Colorado State.

Houston - Challenger to Memphis in Conference USA. In a one week span, Houston beat LSU on the road, and then came home to upset Arizona at home.

Disappointing Teams

Stanford - Pac-10 favorite? Um, no, not at all. Opened the season with a blowout loss at home to UC-Irvine, then lost their last two games on the road at Montana and UC-Davis. That's just terrible.

Charlotte - They are turning the ship around now, but they started off awful. Had losses to Northwestern, Wyoming, and at home to Mississippi State (a game in which they scored nine points in the first half) in a nine-day period.

Arizona - Thought they were overrated at the beginning of the season, and they have shown that so far. Lack of leadership has led to a 2-3 record, including a loss to Houston.

Miami (Fl.) - They need point guard Anthony Harris back. Lost at Air Force, and did not look remotely competitive in blowout losses at Temple and Michigan.

Iowa State - This shows that some front-court production is needed to win games. Have lost to Iona and Fresno State at home by substantial margins.

Texas Tech - Bobby Knight must be having a field day. Blowout losses to San Francisco and Louisiana Tech don't look good on at-large resumes.

Manhattan - Were supposed to be a contender for the MAAC title. Stand 0-4, although none of the losses were that bad.

Creighton - Back to back road losses to DePaul and Chattanooga. To make matters worse, Nate Funk might be out for the season.

San Diego State - So much for an MWC title. Aztecs once again underachieving, with losses to Illinois-Chicago and San Diego.

My Top 10 Teams

1. Connecticut
2. Duke
3. Texas
4. Villanova
5. Memphis
6. Washington
7. Gonzaga
8. Florida
9. Louisville
10. Michigan State

My Top 10 Mid-Majors

1. Bucknell
2. Old Dominion
3. Northern Iowa
4. Winthrop
5. Ohio
6. Western Kentucky
7. Oral Roberts
8. Wichita State
9. Iona
10. UNC-Wilmington

 > Talk about it in The College Corner...

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