This Week In College Hoops: Must See! Oklahoma St. vs. Kansas
No. 9 Oklahoma State (14-2) vs. No. 15 Kansas (11-4), Sat., 4 p.m. ET on CBS
Fueled by talk of massive sneaker endorsement contracts, cosigns by Canadian compatriot Drake and the magic words “The Next LeBron”, the Andrew Wiggins hype train steadily picked up steam for most of 2013 – until people actually saw him play. Such is life in the Twitter era, when opinions can readily be formed, disseminated and discarded without the benefit of any substance.
Wiggins is averaging about 15 points and six rebounds, nothing to sneeze at for a freshman, and he has shown signs of being a truly special defensive player. But, he appears to coast at times, his jump shot needs some work, and he’s definitively not quite as extraordinary as advertised.
Don’t forget, though, Wiggins didn’t do any of the advertising. While at Huntington Prep, Wiggins rarely granted interviews, and he didn’t say a whole lot when he did. Similarly, though his natural talent and explosiveness jumped off the court, Wiggins sometimes seemed reluctant to completely take over. That trend has continued at Kansas.
In terms of his future NBA-lottery peers, Wiggins doesn’t have the polish of Duke’s Jabari Parker, and he isn’t a center, like teammate Joel Embiid. But, nothing about Wiggins’s freshman campaign has changed his potential to have a Paul George-like impact – at least – on the next level. Parker and Embiid are compelling options, but pass on Wiggins at your own peril.
Like its phenom, Kansas isn’t the juggernaut many expected after they brought in Wiggins, Embiid and Wayne Selden, but I doubt anyone would want to see them in their bracket come March. And given his extremely bright future, you’d be hard-pressed to find a college player more worth watching than Wiggins, especially in a premier matchup against fellow Top 5 candidate Marcus Smart and Oklahoma State.
After all, with a good number of people having vacated the bandwagon, now is the perfect time to secure a good seat for moments like this one.
Also be sure to check out:
No. 3 Wisconsin (16-0) vs. Indiana (11-5), Tues., 7 p.m. ET on ESPN
No phenoms, no hype – all Wisconsin does is win, powered by a solid defense and the lowest turnover rate in the country. They’ll face a young and talented Indiana squad going through some growing pains.
No. 25 UCLA (13-3) vs. No. 21 Colorado (14-3), Thurs., 8 p.m. ET, PAC12 Network
UCLA is the flashier program, with multi-talented point forward Kyle Anderson and high-scoring guard Jordan Adams leading the way. But the Buffaloes are 10-0 at home, benefiting from high altitude, a great home crowd and a balanced attack. A knee injury to leading scorer Spencer Dinwiddie could be costly, though.
Team of the week:
Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how you win, it just matters that you win.
Despite blowing a 17-point lead on Tuesday and ending up in overtime, Michigan State dealt Ohio State its first loss of the season on Keith Appling’s clutch three-pointer. On Saturday, powered by Appling’s 24 points, the Spartans overcame a 10-point second-half deficit against Minnesota for another overtime win. Already ranked in the Top 5, MSU hasn’t always been dominant, but Tom Izzo’s teams almost always get better as March approaches, a scary proposition for the rest of the country.
Tyler Thornton, Duke, Jan. 4 vs. Notre Dame
Duke lost this game, but any time someone wears Nike Air Flightposite IIIs, he’s a winner in our book.