Scouting Report: Oklahoma-Oklahoma St., Duke-Syracuse highlight matchups
Every Monday morning, One and One will examine the upcoming slate of games and highlight individual matchups that intrigue us in the weekly Scouting Report.
Oklahoma State’s Le’Bryan Nash and Oklahoma’s Cameron Clark, Monday. So, yes, the primary concern on both sides will be whether Marcus Smart recovers from one of his worst career games, a 1-for-7 effort against West Virginia over the weekend. Still, the Sooners can lay claim to the title of Kansas’ primary challenger in the Big 12 with another solid effort from Clark, the 6-foot-7 forward enjoying a senior year leap with 17 points per game. And the Cowboys can keep hold of their claim as the Jayhawks’ challenger if Nash continues his pace after a career-best 29 points against West Virginia.
Michigan State’s Gary Harris and Iowa’s Roy Devyn Marble, Tuesday. No one doubts the Spartans’ capabilities when they have a full complement of personnel. And probably no one doubts now that Harris, coming off a career-best 27 points in a loss to Michigan, is the Big Ten’s best all-around player. But there may be some nit-picking the Hawkeyes’ potential and whether they are a legitimate candidate for a deep March run, or just a good team a half-tier below the top. The 6-6 Marble, averaging a team-best 16.1 points, has shot 11-for-31 over his last three games. Harris can help the Spartans cauterize any concerns with a big road effort; Marble can help Iowa get a signature home win.
Cincinnati’s Sean Kilpatrick vs. Louisville’s Russ Smith, Thursday. The surprise leaders of the American Athletic Conference, the Bearcats, visit the presumed favorites in the first of two meetings this month. In a matchup of two top 10 defenses, per kenpom.com – Cincinnati ranks fourth nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency, and Louisville ranks 10th – it falls to two veteran guards to provide punch. Kilpatrick is averaging a career-best 19.1 points per game overall while Smith has been streaking in league play, pumping in 20.1 points during conference games.
Chattanooga’s Zeke Mason and Davidson’s De’Mon Brooks, Thursday. The showdown of the top teams in the Southern Conference features a possible player of the year candidate showdown on the wings as well. Chattanooga is off to an 8-0 start in the league with the 6-6 Mason averaging 18.8 points and 9.5 rebounds on 50.7 percent shooting. The trip to Davidson is the Mocs’ toughest thus far in the league, and there awaits Brooks, a 6-7 forward averaging 17.6 points and 6.9 boards on 54.5 percent shooting.
Duke’s Rodney Hood and Syracuse’s C.J. Fair, Saturday. Easy, and justifiable, to size up the freshman showdown between Jabari Parker and Tyler Ennis. Maybe it’s Hood (17.7 points per game) who moves and finds the gaps in the Syracuse zone, inside and outside, and forces the action. And having Hood and/or Parker draped on him offers Fair a chance for a statement game after a somewhat quiet stretch. Syracuse travels to Wake Forest before this one, but in his last three games, Fair has averaged 13.3 points.