Friar Basketball

Around College Basketball: MCW, Obekpa Shine Early, Michigan’s Surprise, Hoyas in Lockdown Mode


1. I asked some friends this weekend which was the more impressive feat: Michael Carter-Williams 16 assists in only 26 minutes versus Monmouth on Saturday, or Chris Obekpa blocking 11 shots in St. John’s 58-47 victory over Fordham?

How good has Carter-Williams been now that he’s getting extended minutes at Syracuse?  His ridiculous 10.4 assists per game lead the country (no one else is at 9), while he’s third nationally in steals at 3.8.  He’s doing it all while logging big, but not monster minutes at 31 per game.

What’s scary for Big East opponents is that MCW, a tremendous scoring prospect coming out of St. Andrew’s in Rhode Island, has struggled to find his own shot so far, as he’s at 22% from three point range after making nearly 39% last season.  Only a sophomore, he could make a run at Big East Player of the Year this winter.

Obekpa has been ridiculous defensively.  The former PC recruit has already blocked at least five shots in a game on five different occasions, and is averaging 4.9 blocks a night.  That’s slightly higher than what Anthony Davis notched anchoring Kentucky’s national championship defense last season.

Oh, and he’s doing it in only 24 minutes per game.

2. Behind perhaps the best backcourt in the Big East, Cincinnati is off to a conference-best 9-0 start.  Sean Kilpatrick has been a 20 point a game scorer, while point guard Cashmere Wright has shot a scorching 46% from three point range on his way to 15 points per game.

The Bearcats are fourth nationally in scoring, and despite graduating monster Yancy Gates, they sit second in rebounding in the country.

They haven’t been rolling over mid-majors either, knocking off a high-scoring Iowa State team, topping Alabama and giving 9-1 Oregon their only loss to date.  A big test comes next week when they meet up with fierce rival Xavier – the first time the two will see each other since a nasty brawl a year ago.

3. Colgate will head to the Dunkin Donuts Center on a four game losing streak after getting blown out by Syracuse and then falling to Quinnipiac, Cornell and Albany.

4. According to, Providence’s RPI currently sits at 127, thanks in part to a strength of schedule (SOS) that has them at #244.  That is about to change soon though.  The site projects their SOS to be #46 at season’s end, due in large part to Big East play, yet also getting a spike with potential road wins against Boston College and Brown.

Ed Cooley said before the season he thought that playing in a small, hostile environment at Brown would be good for the team’s growth, but it also won’t hurt the old RPI, as road victories are a huge positive in the final RPI rating.  Brown’s current RPI is 274.

5. St. Mark’s product Nik Stauskas has been tremendous for Final Four contender Michigan.  The freshman is shooting 54% from the field, 60% from three and nearly 90% at the free throw line.  He’s putting up these percentages on a good amount of shots too, taking over four 3 pointers a game and averaging nearly 14 points on a Michigan team loaded with talent.  Many knew he was good, but few were expecting him to be this good this early.

Scary to think he was high school teammates with top 10 center Kaleb Tarczewski, who has been solid for Arizona.

6. Georgetown has struggled mightily on the offensive end at times this year, most notably in a 37-36 snoozer of a win over Tennessee and in scoring a 46-40 victory over Towson, but they’ve been locking teams down since losing to Indiana in overtime in mid-November.

Opponents have scored only 44 points per game against them over their last five games.



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