College Hoops Barometer: Risers & Fallers

College Hoops Barometer: Risers & Fallers

This article is part of our College Hoops Barometer series.

The state of Florida appears to have surpassed the state of North Carolina, at least in terms of pecking order in the ACC this season.  Miami shocked Duke at Cameron Indoor Arena earlier this season, then had another stunning result Tuesday.  The 'Canes destroyed North Carolina, pummeling the Tar Heels from the opening tip en route to an 85-57 shellacking.  Somehow, Miami remains the Rodney Dangerfield of the college basketball scene, still unable to get respect and a ranking in the polls.  The only loss in ACC play this season for the Hurricanes was a controversial one-point loss at Florida State last week.

Speaking of the Seminoles, FSU managed to knock off both NC State and Duke in the same month.  Tuesday's OT thriller over the Blue Devils was particularly impressive, as the 'Noles blew a late lead in regulation but managed to send the game to the extra session before edging out Coach K's crew.  Florida State has won five of its last six games in the ACC.

The top two squads in the ACC meet this weekend in a rematch of their thriller from earlier this year.  No, it's not a matchup between perennial bluebloods Duke and North Carolina.  Instead, Florida State visits Miami with first place in the conference on the line.

As always, the College Hoops Barometer tries to showcase a broad cross-section of players from across the nation, residing in different conferences and playing different positions.  Here are some of the ballers that jumped out

The state of Florida appears to have surpassed the state of North Carolina, at least in terms of pecking order in the ACC this season.  Miami shocked Duke at Cameron Indoor Arena earlier this season, then had another stunning result Tuesday.  The 'Canes destroyed North Carolina, pummeling the Tar Heels from the opening tip en route to an 85-57 shellacking.  Somehow, Miami remains the Rodney Dangerfield of the college basketball scene, still unable to get respect and a ranking in the polls.  The only loss in ACC play this season for the Hurricanes was a controversial one-point loss at Florida State last week.

Speaking of the Seminoles, FSU managed to knock off both NC State and Duke in the same month.  Tuesday's OT thriller over the Blue Devils was particularly impressive, as the 'Noles blew a late lead in regulation but managed to send the game to the extra session before edging out Coach K's crew.  Florida State has won five of its last six games in the ACC.

The top two squads in the ACC meet this weekend in a rematch of their thriller from earlier this year.  No, it's not a matchup between perennial bluebloods Duke and North Carolina.  Instead, Florida State visits Miami with first place in the conference on the line.

As always, the College Hoops Barometer tries to showcase a broad cross-section of players from across the nation, residing in different conferences and playing different positions.  Here are some of the ballers that jumped out for this edition.

UPGRADE

Adama Sanogo, F, Connecticut – Sanogo has been playing like a man possessed of late for the Huskies.  He's recorded double-doubles in each of the last three games for UConn, though they have been particularly dominant performances as well.  Sanogo has averaged 19.0 points, 16.3 rebounds and 4.3 blocks during this three-game span.  In his signature performance versus St. John's, he scored 26 points, ripped down 18 boards and swatted six shots in an 86-78 OT triumph.  The Huskies are ranked for the time being but will face a slew of ranked Big East opponents in February.  UConn will need Sanogo to continue to impose his will to keep pace.

 Lucas Williamson, G, Loyola Chicago – Williamson was a freshman on the 2017-2018 Ramblers squad that captured the attention of the nation with a shocking run to the Final Four.  Williamson is now a senior and leads Loyola in scoring, rebounding and steals.  He is also second on the team in assists.  Williamson has spearheaded the current 10-game winning streak for the Ramblers.  Perhaps notably, their last lost came against Auburn, arguably the top team in the country right now.  Loyola is undefeated in Missouri Valley Conference play at the time of this writing and could be poised for yet another appearance in the NCAA Tournament on the shoulders of the experienced Williamson.

 Marcus Shaver, G, Boise State – The top of the Mountain West is going to be quite competitive this season with San Diego State, Colorado State and Wyoming all playing inspired ball.  Let's not forget about the Broncos, too, who sit atop the standings currently with a spotless 4-0 record in the conference.  Shaver is the leading scorer for Boise and has been hot during the 10-game winning streak for the Broncos.  Shaver is averaging 16.1 points per game during that span, along with 5.1 boards, 2.3 assists and 1.3 thefts.  Backcourt mate Emmanuel Akot is a matchup nightmare for the opposition as a 6-8 point guard, while Agu Kigab leads the squad in rebounding and anchors the frontcourt.  The three seniors are trying to lead Boise to its first NCAA appearance since 2015, though matchups with the remaining three above-referenced squads are still to come on their schedule.

 Kyler Edwards, G, Houston – The Cougars made the Final Four last season but lost their two best players, Quentin Grimes and Dejon Jarreau, to the NBA.  Marcus Sasser and Tramon Mark were expected to carry the squad in the absence of the aforementioned starters, but both have been sidelined for the last month due to injury.  Recipe for disaster, right?  Not quite.  Showing the true staying power of this program, the Cougars are 16-2, with their only losses to solid squads in the form of Wisconsin and Alabama.  Edwards, a transfer from Texas Tech, has helped to fill a massive void.  He is averaging 13.8 points, 5.8 rebounds and  2.2 dimes per contest this season.  He has been surging of late, averaging 26 points in his last two outings.  Houston is riding an eight-game winning streak and sits atop the American Athletic Conference.  So much for a letdown season for the Cougars.

CHECK STATUS

 Tyler Wahl, F, Wisconsin – Teammate Johnny Davis gets the pub, and rightly so, but Wahl at least deserves a little credit for the recent surge by the Badgers.  The junior has scored in double figures in six of the last seven games for Wisconsin, all of which have been wins.  He has hit the 20-point mark twice over that span, including an outstanding performance versus Ohio State with 20 points, seven rebounds, six assists and three steals.  In his last outing, Wahl registered his first double-double of the season with 14 points and 11 rebounds in a road win at Northwestern.  In the last seven games, Wahl is averaging 15.3 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.4 dimes and 1.3 steals, serving as a superb complement to Davis.

 Mark Smith, G, Kansas State – The Wildcats stunned a reeling Texas squad Tuesday behind 22 points and eight rebounds from Smith.  Despite standing at just 6-4, Smith is a superior rebounder for his size, averaging 8.3 rebounds per game.  Not only does he lead the team in that category, but he is first in the entire Big 12 conference in rebounding.  The Wildcats posted impressive back-to-back wins over ranked squad in the form of Texas Tech and Texas after starting 0-4 in conference play.  Smith and company will need more performances like this if they want to continue to turn around their season.

 Malik Osborne, F, Florida State – The Seminoles were without the services of Osborne for one game due to an ankle ailment, but the senior is having his best collegiate season, averaging 11.1 points and 7.2 rebounds per contest.  Osborne is shooting career bests from the field, including three-point range, as well as the charity stripe.  His improvement from long distance is particularly noteworthy, as he went from a subpar three-point shooter to nearly leading the team in shooting percentage from downtown.  Osborne's ankle issue is not considered serious, and FSU still dispatched of Duke on Tuesday without in the starting five, though he did log 32 minutes off the bench, so the injury issues may be behind him.

DOWNGRADE

 Trevor Keels, G, Duke – The talented freshman left Tuesday's OT loss to Florida State due to an unspecified right lower leg injury.  The nature and severity of his injury is currently unknown.  Keels has been something of a stat sheet stuffer for the Blue Devils, compiling averages of 11.9 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.9 steals.  He is first on the team in thefts, second in dishing and third in scoring.  Even more pressure will be placed on Paolo Banchero if Keels misses time, though sophomore Jeremy Roach could also see an uptick in usage if Keels remains sidelined.

 Rob Perry, G, Stetson – Perry is one of the top players in the Atlantic Sun Conference, the conference that has given us Dunk City's Florida Gulf Coast.  Perry had been averaging 16.0 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.6 assists per contest for the Hatters.  He was a member of the preseason all-conference squad.  Unfortunately, Perry suffered a recent undisclosed injury, and will be sidelined indefinitely.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, Stetson has lost all three of the contests Perry has missed thus far.  Chase Johnston and Christiaan Jones will be asked to continue shouldering the bulk of the scoring load in the absence of Perry.

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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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