College Hoops Barometer: Risers & Fallers

College Hoops Barometer: Risers & Fallers

This article is part of our College Hoops Barometer series.

How about this for a feel-good story?  The Navy Midshipmen are currently the only remaining undefeated team in the Patriot League, sitting at 4-0 in conference play.  Navy has not represented the Patriot League in the NCAA Tournament since 1998.  Since that time, eight different programs have punched a ticket to The Big Dance from the Patriot League.  The Midshipmen have not won a game in the tournament since 1986, when the Admiral, David Robinson, roamed the interior of the lane.  Navy actually finished with the best record in the conference last season but was stunned by lowest remaining seed Loyola (MD) in the quarterfinal round of the Patriot League Tournament.  Navy returns four of its five starters from a season ago, including seniors John Carter and Greg Summers, who are looking to exact revenge for their early exit.  Navy has won each of its first four conference clashes by double digits and should be viewed as the clear-cut favorite in the conference.

Let's take a look at some players in the news in this edition of the College Hoops Barometer.

UPGRADE

Charlie Moore, G, Miami – The 'Canes dropped a heartbreaker to Florida State on Tuesday, but still sit atop the standings in the ACC, and Moore is one of the main reasons for Miami's surprising 5-1 start in conference play.  The DePaul transfer is the floor general and catalyst for the Miami offense and has played inspired ball of late.  Over the last four contests, Moore

How about this for a feel-good story?  The Navy Midshipmen are currently the only remaining undefeated team in the Patriot League, sitting at 4-0 in conference play.  Navy has not represented the Patriot League in the NCAA Tournament since 1998.  Since that time, eight different programs have punched a ticket to The Big Dance from the Patriot League.  The Midshipmen have not won a game in the tournament since 1986, when the Admiral, David Robinson, roamed the interior of the lane.  Navy actually finished with the best record in the conference last season but was stunned by lowest remaining seed Loyola (MD) in the quarterfinal round of the Patriot League Tournament.  Navy returns four of its five starters from a season ago, including seniors John Carter and Greg Summers, who are looking to exact revenge for their early exit.  Navy has won each of its first four conference clashes by double digits and should be viewed as the clear-cut favorite in the conference.

Let's take a look at some players in the news in this edition of the College Hoops Barometer.

UPGRADE

Charlie Moore, G, Miami – The 'Canes dropped a heartbreaker to Florida State on Tuesday, but still sit atop the standings in the ACC, and Moore is one of the main reasons for Miami's surprising 5-1 start in conference play.  The DePaul transfer is the floor general and catalyst for the Miami offense and has played inspired ball of late.  Over the last four contests, Moore is averaging 20.3 points, 3.5 rebounds and 5.3 assists per contest.  He has hit a blistering 63.6 percent of his shots from three-point land over that span.  In addition, his ability to affect the passing lanes has aided Miami on the defensive end of the floor.  Moore tallied seven steals in Saturday's stunning 76-74 triumph over Duke at Cameron Indoor Arena.  Overlooked and disregarded coming into the season, Miami is a legitimate contender for the ACC title behind Moore, Kameron McGusty and Isaiah Wong. 

 Harrison Ingram, F, Stanford – The freshman led the Cardinal to an impressive upset victory over USC on Tuesday, accumulating a double-double with 21 points and 10 boards in the 75-69 triumph over the Trojans.  It was the second double-double of the season for Ingram, who has scored at least 13 points in five of the last six games.  Ingram leads the squad in both scoring and rebounding, while also placing second in assists.  The versatile freshman has been even better than advertised and could test NBA waters once his freshman campaign is completed.

 Armando Bacot, C, North Carolina – An argument can be made that no big man in the country as playing as well as Bacot of late, as the junior has recorded a double-double in six-straight games for the Tar Heels.  That recent torrid stretch was punctuated by a dominant performance in Saturday's win over Virginia.  Bacot set career highs with 29 points and a staggering 21 rebounds in the 74-58 thrashing of the Hoos.  Not since Sean May of UNC royalty had a member of the Heels ripped down 20-plus boards in a home game.  Bacot has simply been a man among boys this season, though upcoming matchups with the aforementioned Hurricanes as well as Louisville and rival Duke will put Bacot to the test.

 Orlando Robinson, F, Fresno State – Robinson is not talked about enough as one of the top players in the Mountain West Conference.  A seven-footer who plays more like a small forward, Robinson nearly jumped to the NBA following his sophomore season last year.  Instead, he returned to the Bulldogs, where he is having yet another banner campaign.  Robinson is averaging 19.5 pints, 8.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.2 steals per contest.  He has gone over the 20-point mark in each of the last three games.  That includes a standout double-double in Tuesday's trouncing of San Jose State with 31 points and 12 boards.  With stalwart San Diego State and upstart Colorado State stealing the headlines this season, it's easy for Robinson to get lost in the shuffle, but he continues to perform at an elite level.

CHECK STATUS

 Luka Brajkovic, F, Davidson – Brajkovic is another overlooked frontcourt player who has helped lead Steph Curry's alma mater to a 3-0 start in Atlantic 10 conference play.  He has started all but one game during his four years at Davidson.  The senior punished UMass on Tuesday with 25 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks.  It was his second double-double of the season, and the 25 points set a career high. In the last five outings, Brajkovic is averaging 16.7 points and 7.6 rebounds.  He is a more than capable passer, too, as he has at least two dimes in 10 games this season.  Brajkovic has proven an excellent interior complement to the standout guard play of Foster Loyer and Hyunjung Lee.

 Cliff Omoruyi, C, Rutgers – The Scarlet Knights are not taking anyone by surprise after last year's sensational campaign while also knocking off previously No. 1 Purdue earlier this season.  Omoruyi has graduated to a more central role as a sophomore, providing a consistent interior presence.  He has recorded double-digit rebounds in three of the last four contests, including two double-doubles over that span.  His offensive game is still a tad raw, though Omoruyi is still shooting over 60 percent from the field this season.  Rutgers may have a difficult time with a return engagement to the NCAA Tournament playing in the ultra-competitive Big Ten, but Omoruyi and company have ensured that the Scarlet Knights are no longer pushovers.

 Sahvir Wheeler, G, Kentucky – The leading assist man in the SEC has missed the last two games for the Wildcats due to a neck issue.  The injury is not considered serious, though Wheeler remains listed as day-to-day for Kentucky.  The Georgia transfer is averaging 7.3 dimes per tilt, which places him third in the country overall.  The Wildcats had little trouble dispatching of Vandy and Wheeler's former school in his absence, though the schedule stiffens with matchups against ranked foes in the form of Tennessee, Auburn and Kansas before the month is completed.  Thus, the Wildcats could simply be exercising caution before the competition gets tougher.  TyTy Washington had an outrageous 17 dimes in the win over Georgia and would continue to run the show if Wheeler misses additional time.

DOWNGRADE

 Chris Lykes, F, Arkansas – The Razorbacks were ranked to begin the season and reeled off nine-straight wins but have sputtered since that time.  Arkansas has lost five of six subsequent contests, including its first three SEC Conference games of the year.  Lykes and fellow transfer Au'Diese Toney have not provided the predicted support for star JD Notae.  Lykes played just two games last season at Miami due to a serious ankle issue and has reportedly been nursing a groin injury of late as well.  Meanwhile, when on the court, Lykes is shooting just 37 percent from the floor this season, including a career-low 30.8 percent from three-point range.  In addition, with Notae and Davonte Davis serving as the chief facilitators in the backcourt, Lykes is averaging under two assists for the first time in his career.  In sum, Lykes is a 5-foot-7 off guard with an injury history and decreased usage managing career lows in shooting percentages from the floor.  Both he and the Hogs are struggling for answers.

 Branden Carlson, C, Utah – The Utes have had a dismal season so far, including a putrid 1-5 start in Pac-12 action.  Losing their best player certainly does not help matters, as Carlsen has been battling an abdominal issue but had previously been trying to play through the injury.  Unfortunately, the injury was not healing properly, and as a result, Utah has decided to shut down the big man for at least the next two weeks.  Carlson already missed Saturday's loss to Washington State, which was Wazzu's first win in the state of Utah since 1946.  The Utes have almost no depth in the frontcourt, leaving part-time players Lahat Thioune and Riley Battin attempting to hold down the fort until Carlson can return.

 Bryce Nze, F, Butler – A shoulder injury has limited Nze to just seven games thus far this season, and he is still attempting to return to his form from a season ago.  Though the sample size is small given the number of contests he has missed, Nze is still managing fewer points and rebounds than last year.  In addition, he is shooting a career-low 40.8 percent from the floor, including an abysmal 25 percent from three-point land.  He is just 2-for-10 from long range in his last two games.  The lack of talent of this Butler squad certainly does not help his cause either, and the Bulldogs have limped to an 8-6 start.  Hopefully Nze can get his feet under him and turn this season around for the Bulldogs.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jesse Siegel
Siegel covers college football, college basketball and minor league baseball for RotoWire. He was named College Sports Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.
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