Welcome back to another edition of the Basketball MVP Draft. We chose Arkansas for this week’s contest. How could we pass picking a Big 12/SEC matchup?!
First off, for those who haven’t seen the MVP Draft before, here are the rules: Each participant will pick ONE PLAYER from EACH TEAM they think will perform 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.
Before we call the Hogs, let’s tally up last week’s points:
OSU: Jeffrey Carroll | KSU: Wesley Iwundu | Wild Card:
Phil Forte (OSU)
Mitchell Solomon | KSU: Wesley Iwundu | Wild Card: Jawun Evans (OSU)
Lindy Waters | KSU: Wesley Iwundu | Wild Card: DJ Johnson (KSU)
Opponent: (Gracey Terrill)
Mitchell Solomon | KSU: Dean Wade | Wild Card: Brad Underwood (OSU)
Oklahoma State: Waters only got 7 minutes in this game as he is still working his way back from injury. Solomon continues to improve, but this was not one of his better games. Carroll was LIGHTS OUT going 4 of 4 from three and hitting all six free throw attempts in route to 24 points and 8 rebounds. POINT!
Kansas State: Wade had a solid game, but it wasn’t as impressive as Iwundu. 18 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists, and only 2 turnovers. That earns the point any night.
Wild Card: I appreciate the creativity, but I can’t give the point to Underwood, especially not in a game they lost, at home, with a halftime lead. Forte had a good night, but this once comes down to Evans and Johnson. Evans had 20 points, 7 assists, and 3 steals, but he was 7-17 from the field. It’s good that he’s finding his game again. Johnson had 18 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 blocks. He went 7-9 from the field. He gets the point.
Sumer - 10
Opponent - 9
Sam - 9
Tyler - 7
It looks like Sumer has now jumped into the lead while Tyler continues to inch closer to Sam. Glad to see this getting interesting!
Now for the Razorbacks...
I love this Big 12/SEC challenge and I like that it’s in the middle of the Big 12 schedule. While it’s still a difficult game, it does give the team a sort of break. OSU has had the benefit of 4 days off since their win over TCU on Monday. That should help as they take on a talented, yet underachieving Hogs team.
(Side note: This is a MUST WIN game for me. I live in Little Rock so I’m rooting HARD for an OSU win. I don’t dislike the Razorbacks, I just like the opportunity to mess with my coworkers.)
This week we welcome Doc Harper from our Arkansas SBNation sister site Arkansas Fight to make picks for the opponent! Say hello everyone.
With that, TO THE PICKS!
OSU: Jeffrey Carroll | UofA: Moses Kingsley | Wild Card: Davon Dillard (OSU)
Oklahoma State: I know Jawun Evans had his best game of the conference last game, but I need more than one game for me to feel confident in picking him. Carroll has been consistent game in and game out, and coming off his third double-double of the season, I expect him to stay hot and take it to the Hogs.
Arkansas: Kingsley is the interior presence for the Razorbacks. He pulls down 8.2 rebounds per game to go along with 12.2 points (13.6 in SEC play). He is also by far and large the best shot blocker on the team. He has 51 on the season, and the next closest Hog has 18. Our guards like to drive a lot and Solomon, while playing much better, still doesn't go up as strong as he should. He is a good scorer, rebounder, and shot eraser. If he can take care of the ball and stay out of foul trouble, he should be alright.
Wild Card: Gonna go out on a limb here. Dillard has been playing much better since getting out of Coach Underwood's doghouse. He is capable of getting points and rebounds, but what he is best at is dunks. With the Cowboys playing at home against a border rival, if Dillard can throw down a couple dunks like he did against TCU, it will get the crowd rowdy, and the Cowboys seem to play better then. I'm not saying Dillard is going to be the leading scorer, or rebounder, but I'm predicting he is the shot in the arm for the GIA crowd in an afternoon matchup.
OSU: Phil Forte | UofA: Daryl Macon | Wild Card: Jawun Evans (OSU)
Oklahoma State: I believe this is the game that Phil Forte will break Keaton Paige’s 3-point record. Forte needs three to tie and four to surpass Paige for career 3-pointers made. Arkansas has always deemed themselves as the "fastest 40 minutes in college basketball”, which could lead to many transition looks for Phil Forte. Another factor in playing at an up-tempo pace is the game is usually physical on both ends, meaning Forte could spend some time at the free-throw line, where he is shooting 93%.
Arkansas: Macon is an athletic 6’3 guard from Little Rock, Arkansas. One of the most consistent scorers this season for the Razorbacks, scoring in double figures in all but three games; including 15 against Kentucky and 22 against Florida. Arkansas shoots pretty well as a team, but Macon has the best percentage from behind the arc. I also like that he leads the team in assists. I’m interested to see how he does against OSU’s pressure, as he does turn over the ball at a high rate. If the game goes down to the wire, OSU will probably want to keep him off the charity stripe; where he is shooting 89% on the season.
Wild Card: First off, Jeffrey Carroll has been playing very good basketball as of late. It’s hard not to pick him in this game. Unfortunately, I see Arkansas doing whatever it takes to prevent him from having another 20 point night. Focusing all that attention towards Carroll SHOULD create some opportunities for Evans. Lets not forget Juwan is one of the best guards in the country statistically, and he’s coming off a big 27 point night against TCU. If Forte hits a few 3’s, Carroll goes for 20, and Evans does his thing, the Cowboys are almost unstoppable, so I’m hoping that Evans can do his part for a wild card point.
OSU: Mitchell Solomon | UofA: Daryl Macon | Wild Card: Jaylen Barford (UofA)
Oklahoma State: I know he makes us nervous on a daily basis, but he's growing on me. We have to give this kid a chance because we've seen that he's capable of staying in a game with less than 5 fouls. Even though he only scored 8 points last game, he was decently consistent on both ends, and somehow did not foul out. I think this could be his breakout game.
Arkansas: Averaging 14 points a game, he's a pretty solid offensive presence for the cats, even from the charity stripe. He also leads the team in assists so he knows how to move the ball around. He'll most likely carry them somehow offensively.
Wild Card: He's another high scorer in Arkansas's arsenal. Raking in 15 points in their game against Vandy, he helped inch the Hogs to a 1 point win. He could be big on both ends.
Opponent: Doc Harper
OSU: Jeffrey Carroll | UofA: Dusty Hannahs | Wild Card: Moses Kingsley (UofA)
Oklahoma State: Really I could go with anybody who's capable of shooting the three ball, but I'm going to pick Carroll because of his added size. Arkansas has guards with decent size but if the Hogs end up playing small-ball, which has been effective for them at times, Carroll would have a a solid advantage. But the Hogs have such inconsistent perimeter defense that I easily could go with Forte or Evans.
Arkansas: The Razorbacks have a few guards, any one of whom is capable of getting hot and putting the team on his shoulders. Most frequently, that's Hannahs and Daryl Macon. I'm picking Hannahs here just because he's coming off a blistering hot end of Arkansas' game on Tuesday at Vanderbilt (something like 14 points in the last 5 minutes to lead the comeback win), plus he's played in the Big 12 for two years so he should have a bit more familiarity, at least with the setting (he started his career at Texas Tech and played there for two seasons). People believe he's just a three-point shooter, but he can put the ball on the floor and penetrate.
Wild Card: I have to go Arkansas, here, right? Kingsley was the preseason SEC Player of the Year but hasn't quite lived up to that billing, though he's shown flashes of it. He's an excellent defensive player and has the capability to put up 20 points, especially if his jump shot is falling. He should have a height advantage against OSU (at least based on what's listed) so it's possible he puts something big together on Saturday.