Michigan Wolverines: We are firm believers of the Wolverines after their first handful of games, including wins over feisty Pittsburgh and Kansas State. Outside of Tim Hardaway Jr.'s marksmenship, perimeter shooting is still a big question mark, but point guard Trey Burke is doing an excellent job right now penetrating and finding the open man. Glenn Robinson has been an immediate impact player. Mitch McGary isn't quite there yet as his minutes and production are limited by foul troubles.
Mississippi Rebels: Ole Miss is 5-0 on the year, led by former JuCo Player of the Year, Marshall Henderson (17 points per game), giving the team huge production from the outside (4 made 3s/game). This Rebels team had previously been frontcourt heavy, almost always relying on the defensive play from Murphy Holloway and Reginald Buckner, but now have some firepower on the other end of the floor. But without a pure point guard, how far can Ole Miss go?
Arizona State Sun Devils: Carrick Felix. Jordan Bachynski. Jahii Carson. The big three for the Sun Devils are as hot of a trio as there is in the country and have ASU out to a 5-0 start. Carson, and Felix are combining to average 32.5 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists, while shooting .500 from behind the arc right now. In the middle, Bachynski is averaging 13.3 points, 10.8 rebounds and 6.5 blocks per game.
3 Teams On The Decline:
Memphis Tigers: It is not a question of talent for Memphis, but a question of execution and focus. Dropping back-to-back games to VCU and Minnesota, allowing Treveon Graham (VCU) and Andre Hollins (Minnesota) to knock down 9 3s and get to the foul line 22 times in the two losses. Their perimeter defense needs to improve greatly and what will happen with former starting point guard Joe Jackson? He played just 7 minutes in the loss to Minnesota, riding the pine for the entire second-half of the loss.
Missouri Tigers: Losing to Louisville is no slouch, but the way in which the Tigers did it was disappointing. Behind All-American point guard Phil Pressey's 8 turnovers, Missouri had 21 as a team compared to just 13 assists and 3 steals. Two transfers, Keion Bell and Earnest Ross, who had looked very strong in games past, combined for just 1-of-4 shooting and 9 points in the loss to Louisville. Missouri desperately needs senior guard Michael Dixon (team imposed suspension) to return to the lineup.
N.C. State Wolfpack: Now, NC State did not lose this past week, but the team had a shown continued signs of disappointment since dropping a blowout to Oklahoma State a week ago. They nearly fell to UNC-Asheville (82-80) as National Player of the Year candidate, Lorenzo Brown has yet to find his game (11.4 points, 5.2 assists, .348 shooting, 4.4 turnovers per game).
3 Prospects On The Rise:
Semanj Christon, Xavier: This top freshman point guard prospect is still trying to find his role with the rebuilding Musketeers, but is certainly one of the better ball-handlers and floor generals out East. In starting three games for Xavier, Christon is averaging 21 points and 6 assists per game, but his outside shooting and decision-making are holding him back right now.
Rodney Williams, Minnesota: Known for his unbelievable athleticism, but also terribly inconsistencies, Williams is putting his skills to the test in his senior year. He has scored in double-figures in all six of Minnesota's games this season, playing a nice mix of small forward and power forward, though, we would like to see Williams on the perimeter more (but given Minnesota's lack of depth up front, it's nigh-impossible). He can battle down low with bigger post players or attack the rim off the bounce from the wing, he is looking like a solid second-round prospect with room to grow.
Erick Green, Virginia Tech: The senior point guard is finally growing into a true floor general despite the depleted Hokies' roster. He is averaging an unbelievable 10.2 free-throw attempts per game, knocking down.863 percent of those en route to a 24.4 point per game average. But most impressivle, Green is nearly doubling his assists averages from last game, at 5.2 per game compared to just 1.8 turnovers.
3 Prospects On The Decline:
Trey Zeigler, Pittsburgh: The former-Central Michigan wing certainly has the talent to compete for his new team at the higher level of competition, but the Panthers are rolling with their bigger lineup with three or four forwards at a time. Between Talib Zanna, Steven Adams and Lamar Patterson, their simply aren't enough shots or minutes to give Zeigler the opportunity to shine.
Mike Moser, UNLV: While Moser's stats are still relatively healthy (10 points, 9.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists), his perimeter skills have taken a decline since last season. He is just 1-of-9 from 3-point range and just .375 percent overall from the field. Freshman Anthony Bennett has taken over much of the spotlight from Moser as the team's best NBA prospect.