Tyler’s College Basketball Thoughts: Jeff Withey, Adreian Payne, and the Mountain West

I introduce you to the thoughts of Tyler Bradley on the weekend (I will define weekend as Saturday-Monday. Sunday is when college students do homework, so it will be hard for me to blog on Sundays!) in the world of College basketball, which is quite possibly my favorite sport. In other words, I will give you a few players of the week, my thoughts on some important games, and some hardcore Jon Gruden style analysis. Actually, if I ever become that intense, feel free to find me and punch me in the gut. Anyway, let us begin!

From the Magical Land of Kansas

So how many people had been paying attention to Jeff Withey this year? Nobody? Not even you Arizona?

The conversation surrounding the Kansas Jayhawks has been all about Player of the Year (POY) candidate Thomas Robinson, Thomas Robinson’s shoulders (Seriously, his shoulder muscles are at least 15,000 feet high), and the suddenly consistent/lethal Senior Point Guard Tyshawn Taylor. This has been for good reason. Robinson brought in an 18-12 line (Pts-Boards) into last nights game and Taylor a 17-5 (Pts-Assts). Each time Kansas played on National TV this year, the commentators would constantly coax the other Kansas players to step up. One more scorer and Kansas could seriously be considered one of the top teams in the country.

Say hello to Jeff Withey.

In Kansas’ 59-53 win over rival Kansas State on Monday, Withey fell one block short of a triple-double. That’s right, Withey had 9 blocks to go along with 18 points and 11 boards. According to Matt Norlander of CBSSports, that is the first time a player has had that kind of stat line in three years! He came into the game averaging 3.2 blocks on the season, so his defense has been stellar all year, and he was able to save one of the 9 blocks against K-State for the final 30 seconds to help seal a victory in what was truly an ugly game (Both teams shot below 40% from the field, K-State was 4-18 from behind the arc, and both teams shot below 70% from the line. No, this was not a Big Ten game surprisingly!). This capped a third straight amazing performance from the 7 foot Junior, and the development of his offensive game seems to be a result of an array of simple post moves and great free throw shooting. His stats in the last 3 games are almost as eye-popping as Carlos Boozer’s rogaine experiment: 20.3 PPG, 12 RPG, 6.3 BPG. If he keeps this up, Kansas will be a very popular Final 4 pick, and America will have to endure an annoying amount of rock-chalk.

Before Tebow, and THE Ohio State briefly becomes just…Ohio State

In the year 2000 B.T. (B.T.=Before Tebow. Amidst all of this Jeremy Lin talk it seems as if America has already forgotten Tebow is our savior! How can this be? Thus, I use B.T. rather than B.J. Well, maybe there is another reason for why I did not use B.J. Let us move on.), the Michigan State Spartans won the National Championship behind the play of Point Guard Mateen Cleaves and Shooting Guard Morris Peterson. 12 years and 5 more Final 4 appearances later, Tom Izzo has a team that could be as mentally tough as the 2000 champions. Sure, the detractors may mention their brutal 42-41 loss to Illinois a couple weeks ago (Ladies and Gentleman, Big 10 Basketball! First one to 40 wins!), but the Spartans did not let the loss affect them, and they proceeded to dispatch a good Michigan team and a hapless Penn State squad before pulling off a HUGE upset in Columbus against the 3rd ranked Buckeyes. Not only did this snap THE Ohio State University’s 39 game home win streak, but it also moved the Spartans into a first place tie with the Buckeyes, and it gave me a reason to drop the THE from their name, which you will begin to see — as I continue to blog — is one of my favorite pastimes! The play of Draymond Green was stellar as always (One of the best pure college players you will ever see. He is up there with the likes of Tyler Hansbrough, Scottie Reynolds, and other guys who define what a college player truly is. I should write something about this eh?), but Adreian Payne played out of his mind. 6-6 from the field including a fierce put-back jam (terrible display of rebounding fundamentals by Ohio State) that sent a signal through the building. If I were an Ohio State fan, I would be ashamed of how my team played. Not only did Michigan State play tougher, they also were more fundamentally sound and their key players showed up to play. I admit, the Spartans do match up well with Ohio State because of their rebounding prowess, low-post defense, and a number of interchangeable guards to attack Craft and Buford, but the play of Ohio State’s two studs left me puzzled nonetheless. Sullinger (10 turnovers and 5-15 shooting) and Buford (2-12 shooting) better show up during the tournament when they play a team of the Spartans caliber, otherwise their season will end in disappointing fashion yet again.

The Best in the West

To conclude my “expert” analysis of this weekend’s play, the best game as far as quality was UNLV-SDSU. Chase Tapley willed his team back into the game in the second half, but with 3 steals in the final 20 seconds by UNLV and another huge performance from All-America candidate Mike Moser (19 pts, 9 boards, 6 steals, 4 blocks) gave UNLV an important one. Mark my words, neither of these teams will be an easy out in March, and both could make it to the second weekend easily. The Mountain West conference is legit, even though there is no Jimmer, and no Kawhi. I am glad that all of the polls predicted this before the season…not.

That is it for my thoughts for this week. Honorable mention shout outs for players of the week go to Ben Smith of Wichita State, Tyler Zeller of UNC for getting back on the horse after his nightmare ending against Duke, Michael Dixon of Missouri (I could not push him above Withey and Payne if only because ALL of Missouri looked great), Scoop “I take innumerable amounts of ill-advised shots that sometimes go in” Jardine of Syracuse, Trae Golden of Tennessee, Reggie Hamilton of Oakland, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope of Georgia. In the meantime, Happy Valentine’s day, and do not do anything that M.I.A. would do.


Tyler B

  1. Not a bad blog for last week but what about this week. And Kansas!!! I won with them one year but I doubt I will go with them this year. I know it’s early on Sat and you will not be up until what should be your game of the week at 11 am in the Pit. Losing to TCU should make the Rebels hungry but the Lobos squashed SDSU answering their small run in the first moments of the 2nd half with a 16-1 run of their own. And it was the way they did that was impressive, no fanfare, no showboating just good solid in your face b-ball. Glad to see you did not blab on about Lin and stayed loyal to real basketball. Ta ta for now, hope the “runner’ is still treating you well.

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