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College Hoops Barometer: Basketball Smorgasbord

Jesse Siegel

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.

There seems to be an unintentional food theme running through much of this week's College Hoops Barometer. Teams like Ohio State, Villanova and Texas have gotten healthy feasting on their opponents. Still others like Michigan State, Temple and Illinois seem stuck with the leftovers. Will this article leave you stuffed and satisfied, or hungry for more? Let's dig in and find out what's on everyone's plate in the world of college basketball.

UPGRADES

1. Jeremy Lamb, G-F, Connecticut -
Although Kemba Walker has been getting all the pub, and to a certain extent rightly so, he's had help recently from his teammates, including the freshman Lamb. Tuesday against Marquette, with Walker shooting just 5-for-16 from the floor, Lamb stole the show with a career-high 24 points on 9-of-14 shooting. The 6-foot-5 neophyte has scored at least 13 points in each of his last four games, while shooting a blistering 60.0 percent from the floor over that span. An above-average rebounder for his height as well, Lamb has been vital to Connecticut's continued success this season.

2. Aaron Craft, G, Ohio State -
Craft was his high school's valedictorian while also averaging 27.0 points, seven rebounds and six assists per game on the court. He has emerged as the point guard for the undefeated Buckeyes and scorched Purdue for 11 points, six rebounds and six assists in Tuesday's 87-64 mashing of the Boilermakers. With at least four dimes in each of his last five games, Craft has solidified himself as the primary distributor on a team with a vast array of outside and inside options. He is also an excellent defender and posted seven steals against Iowa on Jan. 19. Coach Thad Motta must love having this cerebral general on the court.

3. Jeremy Hazell, G, Seton Hall -
Hazell is back after missing 13 games due to a broken wrist as well as a gunshot wound, and simply tormented Syracuse in Tuesday's stunning 90-68 shellacking of the Orange. Hazell shot 10-for-17 from the floor, including 5-of-10 from beyond the arc, en route to a season-high 28 points. The senior guard also accumulated nine rebounds, four assists and four steals in the contest. Hazell is a natural scorer, but the added stats in other categories could serve to boost him into the upper echelon of guards in college hoops.

4. Iman Shumpert, G, Georgia Tech -
Shumpert recorded the first triple-double for Georgia Tech in more than 20 years on Tuesday, tallying 22 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists against Virginia Tech. The last triple-double by a Yellow Jacket came from Kenny Anderson on Dec. 28, 1989. Not a bad feat for Shumpert, considering that since that time talent like Stephon Marbury, Chris Bosh and Derrick Favors, among others, has come through and never achieved the same feat. In fact, Shumpert came three steals shy of the ultra-rare quadruple-double, shutting down Virginia Tech's star guard Malcolm Delaney in the process. On the year, Shumpert averages 16.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists per contest.

5. Bill Clark, G-F, Duquesne -
The Dukes are 5-0 in conference play, including an impressive 78-66 victory over Temple on Jan. 15. Much of the credit belongs to Clark, a 6-5 senior swingman from Redondo Beach, Calif. Clark leads the Dukes in scoring at 17.0 points per contest, is second in rebounding with 6.4 boards per game and is tied for second in assists with 2.6 dimes per tilt. He is shooting a career-high 49.5 percent from the floor, including 40.0 percent from three-point land. The Dukes still must face Xavier, also undefeated in A-10 action, but the performance of Clark this season gives them a fighting chance.

6. Derwin Kitchen, G, Florida State -
The Seminoles have been getting it done with defense this season, possessing the nation's No. 1 ranked defense. Kitchen, a 6-4 guard, has been a core member of FSU this season on that end, averaging 5.9 rebounds and 1.9 steals per contest. He's not too shabby when he wants to score either, though, as he poured in 22 points against Duke on Jan. 12, the only loss of the season for the Blue Devils. With his ability to stuff the stat sheet across the board, Kitchen makes for a standout play.

Honorable Mention

1. Reggie Johnson, C, Miami
2. Marshon Brooks, G, Providence
3. Sam Willard, F, Pacific
4. Chris Wroblewski, G, Cornell
5. Curtis Kelly, F, Kansas State

DOWNGRADES

1. Casey Mitchell, G, West Virginia -
The Mountaineers' leading scorer, Mitchell was suspended indefinitely by coach Bob Huggins for violation of team rules. A 6-4 senior from Savannah, Ga., Mitchell averaged 16.6 points per game before the suspension, with 3.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists per contest. Look for Kevin Jones to provide even more of the offensive firepower in Mitchell's absence.

2. Ashton Gibbs, G, Pittsburgh -
Although Pitt has been extremely successful of late, rising as high as No. 2 in the rankings before Monday's loss to Notre Dame, Gibbs has not exactly been the catalyst for the Panthers' recent run. After failing to score double-digits just twice over Pitt's first 17 games, Gibbs has not scored double figures in two of his last four games. He's shooting just 30.6 percent from the floor over that span. Not normally a huge contributor in the rebounding and dishing categories, Gibbs' value takes a hit if he isn't filling it up in the scoring column.

3. Durrell Summers, G, Michigan State -
Part of the reason for Michigan State's lackluster performance thus far this season has been the play of Summers, who has been adequate if unspectacular for the Spartans. He hasn't quite taken the leap into superstardom that coach Tom Izzo had hoped, averaging 13.9 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. He hasn't recorded a single assist over his last five games, while failing to score more than four points in two of those five games. The senior's field-goal shooting is at a career-low 42.5 percent. If the Spartans are to get back on track, Summers must step his game up.

4. Al Nolen, G, Minnesota -
Nolen, a senior leader for the Golden Gophers, will miss a significant chunk of the remainder of the season after suffering a broken foot that will require surgery. Nolen had been a jack of all trades for Minnesota, averaging 8.4 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.7 assists per tilt. The Gophers do not have a viable backup to Nolen, as three freshman will vie for the opportunity to start. Should none emerge, that will place even more pressure on fellow senior Blake Hoffarber, normally known as a shooter.

5. Lavoy Allen, F, Temple -
One of the premiere rebounders in college basketball last season, Allen's boards have taken a nosedive this year. Part of the reason could be foul trouble; Allen played a season-low 13 minutes against Xavier on Saturday due to quick fouls. It also could be that his poor shooting is affecting the rest of his game, as he is shooting 44.7 percent from the field, a staggeringly low number for a player who never shot below 53.6 percent in his previous three seasons for the Owls. Allen has the physical assets to succeed, but perhaps the mental aspect of the game is causing him some distress this season.

6. Justin Brownlee, F, St. John's -
The second-leading scorer for the Johnnies, Brownlee's nine-game streak with double-digit points ended in Saturday's excruciating 53-51 loss to Cincinnati. Brownlee shot just 1-for-7 from the floor, while also failing to grab a single rebound for the game. Brownlee has certainly aided in St. John's resurgence this season, but fell flat against the Bearcats in a crucial game in Big East conference play.

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