The MVP Draft is back for basketball season! New faces, new rules, same great player-to-watch analysis.
Here’s how the basketball version of the draft will go down: Each participant will pick ONE PLAYER from EACH TEAM they think will play the best. They will then pick a third player from either team as their wild card pick. Each correct pick is worth one point. We will tally the points throughout the season.
We are also changing the competitors! Say hello to Tyler, Sam, and Sumer. We’re also adding picks from the opposition’s point of view. This is going to be fun!
This week, Ryan Connors of our Maryland Terrapin SBNation sister-site Testudo Times joins us for the opponent picks.
We won’t do a draft for every game in the non-conference, but we will in conference play.
Without further adieu, let’s get started.
This Saturday, the 6-1 Cowboys are heading to College Park, Maryland to face the 7-1 Terrapins. It’s a big opportunity for a resume-boosting win for the Cowboys. Let’s see who to watch for.
OSU: Jawun Evans | UofM: Justin Jackson | Wild Card: Jeffrey Carroll (OSU)
Oklahoma State: Gotta try and get ahead in the beginning, so I don't have to play catch-up later. So I gotta take Evans. The dude has been on a tear so far this year, and I don't see him slowing down. Gotta ride the hot hand and take my boy Jawun.
Maryland: Most people would go Melo Trimble here, and I wouldn't blame them. Trimble is the Terrapins' superstar, but I predict Underwood will play him tough and force the rest of the Maryland squad to step up and try to beat the Cowboys. The Cowboys defense is wreaking havoc by creating turnovers and winning the stat battles this season, but it isn’t perfect. As rough as the Cowboys interior D is, I'm thinking Jackson will have a good day if Trimble cannot get going.
WildCard: Thus far, Carroll is having one hell of a season off the bench. Coach Underwood seems to have found the role Carroll excels in, and continues to use it perfectly. Similar to Jackson, should Maryland lock down Evans, look for Carroll and Forte to step up and pick up the slack.
OSU: Jawun Evans | UofM: Melo Trimble | Wild Card: Michal Cekovsky (UofM)
Oklahoma State: Evans has been a machine on offense for the 6-1 Cowboys this season. Averaging a little more than 24 points and 5 assists per game. Evans should be matched up with Preseason All-Big Ten point guard Melo Trimble, but Evans has proved he has the ability to score at a high level against quality opponents. I don’t see that changing, expect a big night from Evans in a big game for the Pokes.
Maryland: After getting embarrassed by Pittsburgh, I see Maryland guard Melo Trimble putting up his usual numbers of around 20 PPG. Trimble can be known for turning the ball over, and against an "in your face" defense like Oklahoma State, Trimble needs to handle the ball at a high level. The matchup with Juwan Evans should be fun to watch, look for a “Whatever you can do, I can do better” type of game from both point guards.
WildCard: My wildcard pick is 7’1 center Michael Cekovsky. A 7-footer is a tough matchup for any team, and if the Oklahoma State frontcourt gets in early foul trouble, look for Cekovsky to go to work in the low post. Cekovsky leads the team in FG% and can be a problem on defense with his length and size.
OSU: Phil Forte | UofM: Melo Trimble | Wild Card: Lindy Waters (OSU)
Oklahoma State: We cloned Keiton Page, just changed his name and made him a little taller. Great outside shooter. Leader. Could put up big numbers from everywhere, including at the free throw line. He has potential to be powerful inside against Maryland's bigs.
Maryland: If he had entered the draft like he was rumored to, Maryland wouldn't have a team. But seriously, he's all they have. He'll be Maryland's leading scorer.
WildCard: Throwing one out to my fellow native. I think he'll be at least top 4 in scoring and a big help on defense.
Opponent: Ryan Connors
OSU: Jeffrey Carroll | UofM: Melo Trimble | Wild Card: Justin Jackson (UofM)
Oklahoma State: I'm interested to see what he brings to the table on Saturday. Carroll is Oklahoma State's leading rebounder despite being only 6'6. I'm curious to see if that persists against Maryland's big guys.
Maryland: He's the Terps' leading scorer by a whole lot, averaging 20 points per game on a team that only averages about 66 in total. The addition of freshman guard Anthony Cowan means he's been able to play off the ball for the first time in his college career, and that's been a big help for Trimble as he shoulders the load for this team's offense. He's been exceptional at getting to the rim (shooting 57 percent from two) as he waits for his three-point stroke to come back (only shooting 33 percent from deep).
WildCard: He's emerged as the No. 2 option behind Melo Trimble. Pitt was able to limit Jackson to only eight points in the Terps' loss on Tuesday, and he's be capable of catching fire this season. He's Maryland's best three-point shooter (52 percent), and that's not even his strength. He's 6'7 with a 7'3 wingspan, which helps him play down low and outside.