After a unique two weeks where we drafted for an SEC team and a repeat appearance by West Virginia, the Basketball MVP Draft returns to welcome a first timer again; the Texas Longhorns.
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 get to the heifers, let’s tally up the points from last week’s game:
OSU: Jeffrey Carroll | WVU:
Jevon Carter | Wild Card: Phil Forte (OSU)
OSU: Jeffrey Carroll | WVU: Nathan Adrian | Wild Card: Phil Forte (OSU)
Phil Forte | WVU: Daxter Miles | Wild Card: Javon Carter (WVU)
Opponent: Adam Mikles
Jawun Evans | WVU: Esa Ahmad | Wild Card: Phil Forte
Oklahoma State: This was a tough one, with all three players performing very well. However, I’m going with Carroll. He scored 17 of his OSU-leading 20 points in the first half. Plus, he put the team on his back at the beginning of the game and was on pace for 100 points! I think he’s gone from the Big-12 Sixth Man, to First-Team All Big 12 this season.
West Virginia: This was a tough one for the completely opposite reason, none of them played all that well. The Mountaineers two best players, were guys who came off the bench; Freshman Lamont West who had a career high 21 and Senior Tarik Phillip who scored 15 points. Since nobody picked either one of them, It came down to Adrian and Carter. Both had 9 points, but Carter’s came on 4-10 shooting while Adrian hit 2-5 and 3-4 from the line. It comes down to what Adrian didn’t do, that Carter did; turnovers and fouls. Carter had 2 turnovers and 4 fouls. Adrian had 0s in both categories. Point Adrian.
Wild Card: I think this one is obvious. Forte scored all 13 of his points in the second half, including a HUGE late three and hitting all eight of his free-throw attempts. Point Forte.
Sam - 13
Sumer - 11
Tyler - 10
Opponent - 10
With a perfect 3-0 week, Sam bolts into first place! Tyler has climbed his way up to a tie with the Opponent! This is getting exciting.
Now it’s time we turned our attention to the Longhorns of Texas.
(I will take any opportunity I can get to use that gif).
The Longhorns are having a rough season and come into Stillwater with a 10-14 record, including 0-10 on the road. This is one of those games for the Cowboys where winning doesn’t do much, but losing could hurt a LOT.
OSU: Jeffrey Carrol l UT: Jarrett Allen | Wild Card: Davon Dillard (OSU)
Oklahoma State: (Note: I was going to pick Evans, but after seeing everyone else picked him, I decided to be bold and pick differently. You’re welcome Phillip.)
Can Carroll’s nickname be Mr. Reliable? Can I start that? That’s who he is. Game in and game out he consistently racks up the points, hitting from all over the floor. He can drive the ball to the rack and make it with contact, or he can pull up and drain it from beyond the arc. The thing with Carroll is he flies under the radar a bit. I often find myself looking at the box score and saying, “Wow. Jeff Carroll had the quietest ___ points against ________.” I don’t expect that to change. Evans amazes you with his ball handling skills, Dillard wows you with his emphatic slams, but Carroll just gets it done. Look for a double-double against the Longhorns.
Texas: How can you pick anybody else other than the man who is averaging a double-double in league play? Don’t think for a second that Texas didn’t watch Jonathan Motley absolutely wreck the Cowboys inside. After seeing that utter domination, what do you think the Longhorns’ gameplan is going to be (at least to start)? I expect the 6’11 (one inch taller than Motley) forward to see a lot of looks in the post, and clean up the glass on both ends of the floor. If Brad Underwood can’t make the adjustment, watch out for Allen to beat us like the red-headed stepchild. At 6’11, I don’t know if the Cowboys can contain him enough to eliminate him from the game. I expect him to at least get his average and also claim a double-double.
Wild Card: The kid is getting better and better everyday. He is willing to showcase his natural athleticism at the drop of the hat. I expect GIA to be sold out (or damn near) for the game against Texas. All Dillard needs is a step, and he can bring 13,611 (or so) people to their feet with deafening cheers. I think he can get double digit points (including a monster dunk) and half a dozen rebounds or so. Add that in with a win, and it should be enough to give Dillard the Wild Card point this week. What’s that? You want a bold prediction? Alright. Dillard barely gets the first double-double of his career.
...Man. I feel like Oprah right now.
OSU: Jawun Evans | UT: Jarrett Allen | Wild Card: Phil Forte (OSU)
Oklahoma State: Evans is coming off a big game against Baylor, with 16 points against the #1 RPI rated team in the country. You have to go back to Texas Tech in January to find the last time Evans didn’t score in double figures. He is playing good, consistent basketball against quality opponents (West Virginia, Baylor, KU). Look for him to have a good night against a team that can be suspect on defense.
Texas: Allen has started every game this season for the Longhorns, he is a 6’11 Freshmen from Round Rock, Texas that seems to be fitting in well with Shaka Smart’s system. Allen is averaging 12 PPG but shoots at a high level (58%). His season high for scoring was against the Kansas Jayhawks with 22 points.
Wild Card: I’m still on the Forte bandwagon, I love his momentum heading into another big game against Texas. This is a must win game for OSU, with March Madness right around the corner; and I like Phil Forte’s experience and his scoring ability. He is always a threat from the outside, and his free-throw ability is key in late games. Forte is coming off 11 point game against Baylor, but he did hit 3 three pointers.
OSU: Jawun Evans | UT: Jarrett Allen | Wild Card: Andrew Jones (UT)
Oklahoma State: This sophomore is the backbone of our conference rally lately. Racking up 16 in the loss against Baylor, he's really showing that he's capable of leading this team.
Texas: Averaging 12.9 a game, this freshman big is making a huge difference for this super young team. He's been putting up big numbers lately, which I expect that to continue.
Wild Card: Another little nugget putting up big numbers for the Horns. He's also pretty consistent on the assist front. He's a steady piece that this young team needs.
Opponent: Jeff Haley
OSU: Jawun Evans | UT: Andrew Jones | Wild Card: Kerwin Roach (UT)
Oklahoma State: This is not particularly original, but Jawun Evans is the key player for Oklahoma State. There are many excellent guards in the Big 12, and Evans is as good -- and as fast -- as any of them. He sees the floor well, makes plays, protects the ball, and can really shoot. The one thing that Texas has going for it in its match-up against Evans is the ability to throw taller athletic defenders at Evans. The best of these is Kerwin Roach, who is coming off of a game where he mostly contained Iowa State's Monte Morris, and who last time these two teams met did a reasonable job on Evans.
Texas: Texas' other freshman Jarrett Allen gets more attention, but lately Jones has been the more important player for the Texas offense. Texas has a hard time scoring, but is going to need to keep pace with a prolific OSU offense, and Jones is Shaka Smart's most consistent and effective perimeter player. Jones functions as one of the primary ball handlers for Texas, is the team's best playmaker and possibly its best perimeter shooter as well. And he is outstanding in transition, which is a mode of scoring that Texas did rather successfully the last two times these teams played.
Wild Card: Roach has had an up and down season this year for Texas. Last year, he mostly played off the ball. But this year, he has become one of Texas' point guards by default. It hasn't always gone well. One of Roach's best games of the season came the last time these two teams met. It was a game that really played to Roach's strengths. Texas was able to get out in transition a lot in that game, where Roach is really, really good. Additionally, OSU's ball-denying defense creates chances for dribble penetration, which is why Cowboy opponents attempt 42 percent of their shots at the rim -- a rate that puts the OSU defense in the bottom 10 percent naturally in terms of keeping opponents away from the basket. Roach's best offensive skill is his ability to go off the dribble and get to the hoop.