Redick, Morrison Way In Front Right Now

As if we didn't know it already, J.J. Redick and Adam Morrison showed the nation Saturday why they are the standout performers of the still-young college basketball season while helping Duke and Gonzaga, respectively, to very differnt victories. Redick's effort (41) points came minus much suspense. But there was suspense-galore for Morrison and the Bulldogs.

J.J. Redick of Duke and Adam Morrison of Gonzaga used Saturday afternoon to demonstrate why, a month into the season, they are far and away the leading candidates for post-season national Player of the Year honors.

*In East Rutherford, N.J., Redick scored 41 points against Texas (No. 3 in the Scout.com Top 25 at the time) in what was advertised as The Matchup of The Season (so far) and but turned into a 31-point Blue Devils' blowout.

*A couple of hours later on the other side of the country, Morrison wasn't required to call "glass" while banking in a 3-pointer over two defenders with 2.5 seconds to go in Seattle to give the Bulldogs a come-from-behind, 64-62 victory over Oklahoma State.

So, guess the names of two of the five athletes chosen as the latest Scout.com National Players of the Week . . . way to go!

Duke and Connecticut remain 1-2 in the Scout.com Top 25 ratings, with Villanova taking advantage of losses by Texas and Boston College to join the Blue Devils, Huskies and now-No. 3 Louisville in the top four.

Here is a look at some of the week's best matchups, as well as Scout.com's updated Top 25 and the five Scout.com National Players of the Week:

Tuesday

Villanova at Pennsylvania: For those of you into comparing scores, you'll love this one. The Quakers lost by 13 in Cameron Indoor Stadium last week.

Wednesday

UAB at Minnesota: With Vincent Grier (19 points Saturday against UNLV after missing five games with a broken finger) back in the fold for the Gophers, the Big Ten is even stronger. This is a game that could impact at-large decisions during NCAA Tournament pairings weekend.

Winthrop at South Carolina: The Gamecocks didn't fare well in their last game against an in-state opponent (losing by 19 points at Clemson on Dec. 3). The Eagles haven't played since losing their first game of the season on the home floor of another team from the SEC, Alabama (60-57 on Dec. 3).

Thursday

Wisconsin-Milwaukee at Wisconsin: In a matchup that will challenge the verbal dexterity of TV and radio play-by-play broadcasters working the game, the visitors' 6-5, 220-pound Joah Tucker is likely to hook up with the Badgers' 6-5, 205 Alando Tucker on many possessions.

Missouri State at Arkansas: The team representing the school formerly known as Southwest Missouri State has a winning margin of 24.2 points during its 6-0 start. Arkansas is 6-2 but struggled to beat winless Texas State at home last week.

Saturday

Louisville at Kentucky: After dropping to 6-3 with a 26-point loss to Indiana in Indianapolis Saturday, the Wildcats need to win this one or the Lexington grumbling will get considerably more pronounced. Don't you think so?

UCLA at Michigan: The Bruins, coming off their most significant non-conference victory (over Nevada Saturday in the John R. Wooden Classic) in two-plus seasons under Ben Howland, face a team off to a 7-0 start. And three of those Wolverines' victories have come outside of Ann Arbor.

Tennessee at Texas: After a 5-0 start at home, things should get more than just a bit tougher for the Volunteers with this game in Austin and then a visit to Oklahoma City on Dec. 22 to play Oklahoma State. If Coach Bruce Pearl's team is 7-0, then it's time to get really excited in Knoxville.

Ohio State at Iowa State: The Buckeyes, with impressive victories over Virginia Tech and Saint Joseph's, might be exceeding even Thad Matta's expectations during an unbeaten start. The Cyclones have lost twice at home to teams (Iona and Fresno State) that don't appear to be nearly as good as the Buckeyes are.

Virginia Tech vs. Stanford (in Las Vegas): In a the second game of a doubleheader in the Thomas & Mack Center (UNLV hooks up with Texas Tech in the first), the Hokies take a pop at one of several Pac 10 teams off to disappointing starts. And "disappointing" is putting it mildly in describing a Cardinal squad that, considered by some as a co-favorite to win the conference, is 2-3 with losses to UC Irvine, Montana and UC Davis.

Players of the Week

(Games Dec. 4-10)

  • Adam Morrison (6-foot-8, Jr., Gonzaga): Wrapped around his 43-point effort against Washington on Dec. 4 and the 25 points and game-winning 3-pointer he put up against Oklahoma State on Saturday in Seattle was a 25-point and 5-rebound output in a 67-53 victory over Washington State Thursday in Spokane. For the season: 28.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game.

  • J.J. Redick (6-4, Sr., Duke): Prior to dropping 41 points on the Longhorns, he popped in 24 (with four assists) in a 72-59 win over Pennsylvania on Wednesday, after having his worst shooting game of the season (six of 19) while scoring 18 in the 77-75 ACC-opening victory against Virginia Tech on Dec. 4. For the season: 24.9 ppg., 2.0 rpg., 2.1 apg.

  • Jamaal Williams (6-6, Sr., Washington): He was remarkably consistent, and productive, while helping the Huskies improve to 8-0, scoring 22 points and hitting 10 of 16 from the field in each of the wins over Gonzaga on Dec. 4 and his former school, New Mexico, Saturday during the John R. Wooden Classic in Anaheim, Calif. He totaled 13 rebounds and four assists for the games. For the season: 14.9 ppg., 5.5 rpg., 1.6 apg.

  • Maurice Ager (6-5, Sr., Michigan State): He went for 22 points (nine of 13 from the field), with three rebounds and six assists, in a 77-70 victory over Boston College on Tuesday. Four days later, he scored 21 (eight of 12 shooting), with five rebounds and five assists, as the Spartans knocked off Wichita State, 83-64. For the season: 21.7 ppg., 2.8 rpg., 3.2 apg.

  • Dominick Mejia (6-4, Jr., Drexel): The transfer from North Carolina State led his team to a couple of Colonial Conference victories, with 21 points and six rebounds in the 68-57 decision over James Madison on Wednesday, and then 27 points (seven of 11 on 3's) and four rebounds on Saturday as the Dragons stunned Old Dominion, 61-42. For the season: 15.6 ppg., 3.1 rpg., 2.8 apg.

    Scout.com's updated Top 25

    (with previous ratings; records include games through Dec. 11)

    1.  (1) Duke (9-0)
           Next game: vs. Valparaiso (Sunday)
    2.  (2) Connecticut (7-0)
           Next game: vs. New Hampshire (Sunday)
    3.  (4) Louisville (5-0)
           Next game: vs. Chicago State (Tuesday)
    4.  (6) Villanova (6-0)
           Next game: at Pennsylvania (Tuesday)
    5.  (7) Ohio State (4-0)
           Next game: vs. Norfolk State (Monday)
    6.  (10) Illinois (10-0)
           Next game: vs. Coppin State (Sunday)
    7.  (11) Washington (8-0)
           Next game: vs. Eastern Washington (Friday)
    8.  (12) Gonzaga (6-2)
           Next game: vs. Virginia (Saturday)
    9.  (13) Memphis (7-1)
           Next game: at Mississippi (Saturday)
    10. (3) Texas (8-1)
           Next game: vs. Tennessee (Saturday)
    11. (14) Oklahoma (5-1)
           Next game: vs. Southern (Saturday)
    12. (15) Florida (9-0)
           Next game: vs. Jacksonville (Sunday)
    13. (16) Wisconsin (7-1)
           Next game: vs. North Carolina-Wilmington (Monday)
    14. (17) North Carolina State (6-1)
           Next game: vs. North Carolina-Ashville (Wednesday)
    15. (18) Michigan State (7-2)
           Next game: vs. Cleveland State (Friday)
    16. (5) Boston College (6-2)
           Next game: vs. Texas Southern (Sunday)
    17. (23) North Carolina (5-1)
           Next game: vs. Santa Clara (Saturday)
    18. (21) Indiana (5-2)
           Next game: at Charlotte (Dec. 19)
    19. (24) Wake Forest (7-1)
           Next game: vs. DePaul (Tuesday)
    20. (ur) George Washington (7-0)
           Next game: vs. Maryland-Eastern Shore (Saturday)
    21. (ur) Michigan (7-0)
           Next game: vs. UCLA (Saturday)
    22. (ur) UCLA (7-1)
           Next game: at Michigan (Saturday)
    23. (9) Nevada (6-1)
           Next game: vs. Seattle (Tuesday)
    24. (ur) Houston (4-1)
           Next game: at South Alabama (Saturday)
    25. (ur) Maryland (7-2)
           Next game: vs. American (Dec. 23)
    

    Dropped out: Iowa (8), Old Dominion (19), Alabama (20), Vanderbilt (22) and Bucknell (25)

    An April inductee into the USBWA Hall of Fame, Frank Burlison is Scout.com's National Basketball Expert and is also a columnist for the Long Beach (Calif.) Press-Telegram. He can be reached at frank.burlison@presstelegram.com. Read more of Burlison's pieces at www.FrankHoops.com.


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