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College Hoops Barometer: Baylor's No Fluke

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.

Baylor remains about as under the radar as an undefeated team can be. Make no mistake, though, the Bears are for real. Five players average double digits in points, led by sophomore stud Perry Jones III. At 7-foot, Jones is also the leading rebounder for Baylor. But don't be fooled by his size; Jones has some serious ball skills. He can shoot and handle the rock, as well as leap out of the building. Jones could be the top overall pick in this June's upcoming NBA Draft. He is paired in the frontcourt with the two Quincy's: banger Quincy Acy and freshman phenom Quincy Miller. With Pierre Jackson dishing at the point and Brady Heslip shooting a deadly 49.4 percent from three-point land, Baylor can beat you in a bevy of ways. Come tournament time, watch out for coach Scott Drew's ultra-talented squad.

UPGRADES

Allen Crabbe, G, California -
Crabbe is an all-around dynamo for the Bears, averaging 16.5 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game as a sophomore. His recent hot stretch was punctuated by a 26-point, 12-rebound eruption at Oregon on Sunday. Crabbe has proven deadly from long range, Shooting a blistering 47.6 percent from the field. With Jorge Gutierrez dishing him the rock, Crabbe is among the elite scorers in the Pac-12.

Maalik Wayns, G, Villanova -
The loss of Corey Fisher and Corey Stokes has meant a bit of a down year overall for the Wildcats. Statistically, though, Wayns has been the chief beneficiary, manning 17.4 points, 3.7 rebounds and 4.8 dimes per tilt, all career highs for the junior point guard. His three-point shooting needs some work, as Wayns is connecting on just 28.2 percent of his treys. However, he is an 88.5-percent free-throw shooter, making him an excellent option to close out games. If he can improve his shot, Wayns could really be a special player.

Travis Wear, F, UCLA -
The dismissal of Reeves Nelson from the squad has given Wear the chance to shine. Transfers from North Carolina, Travis and his twin brother David sat out last season after being unhappy under coach Roy Williams. Travis has more ball skills than his brother and is second on the squad with 11.0 points per game. Travis scored 36 points and grabbed 12 rebounds combined in his last two games for the Bruins as well. A 53.6-percent shooter from the field, Travis also connects on 86.1 percent of his free-throws. He should only improve as he gains more game experience.

Mark Lyons, G, Xavier -
Lyons will get a bad rap from the brawl with Cincinnati, and perhaps rightly so. Nevertheless, he is an extremely capable sidekick to Tu Holloway, giving the Musketeers one of the most potent backcourts in the nation. Lyons averages 17.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.5 steals per contest. He has hit 40 percent of his shots from beyond the arc; likewise, his shot selection overall has been much improved as a junior. Lyons connects on 47.3 percent of his shots from the floor, a massive improvement from previous seasons. If Lyons can keep his head in the game, the Musketeers could be poised for a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.

CHECK STATUS

Keith Wright, F, Harvard -
It's been an intriguing season thus far for Wright and the Crimson. Individually, Wright's stats are down across the board. He averages four fewer points, one less rebound and one less assists than a season ago. Wright's stats still aren't terrible; the 6-8 senior has accumulated 10.8 points and 7.4 rebounds per game this season. He notched his second double-double of the season Tuesday, which could jumpstart his season. Nevertheless, Harvard has been ranked in the Top 25 for the first time in school history. The Crimson have lost just one game all year. Wright probably prefers to win rather than gain individual notoriety, but he certainly has not been as dominant this season despite his team's success.

Jake Odum, G, Indiana State -
Odum has been battling plantar fasciitis this season, a nagging injury that he will simply have to play through for the length of his sophomore campaign. In turn, his effectiveness has been limited; the guard shoots just 41.5 percent from the field, including a paltry 23.1 percent from downtown. After averaging just 2.2 turnovers per game as a freshman, the 6-4 guard is averaging 3.8 turnovers this season. Odum tallied 15 points, five boards and seven dimes in his last game against Evansville on Tuesday, so he certainly has the tools to lead the Sycamores. Just be wary that the foot injury could be bothersome the whole year.

Dario Hunt/Malik Story, Nevada -
Hunt is the leading rebounder for the Wolf Pack at 8.9 boards per contest, while Story is second on the squad in both scoring and dishing. Hunt injured his shoulder against Utah State on Saturday, while Story suffered an ankle injury in the same game. Both players are questionable for the 12-3 Wolf Pack. Hunt is a force down low for Nevada at 6-8, 230, while Story is shooting a sensational 51.2 percent from three-point land. Both players are vital to the success of the Wolf Pack.

Wayne Blackshear, F, Louisville -
Don't forget about Blackshear, a standout recruit for the Cardinals who suffered a torn labrum prior to the season. While initially it was feared he would miss the entire 2011-2012 campaign, he could return to practice soon. The 6-5 swingman has nice size and athleticism, and can score in a variety of ways. Keep him on your radar as a late season pick-up, assuming, of course, he is deemed fully healthy.

DOWNGRADES

Keala King, G, Arizona State -
Despite leading the Sun Devils in scoring at 13.7 points per game, King was dismissed from the team. King was previously suspended for "unacceptable conduct." Not only was King the team's leading scorer, but he was also the starting point guard and paced the team in assists with 3.3 per game. Third on the squad in rebounding to boot, it is clear King's production will be missed, though perhaps, according to coach Herb Sendek, his attitude will not.

Murphy Holloway, F, Ole Miss -
The leading rebounder for the Rebels at 9.6 boards per game, Holloway missed the last three games due to a high ankle sprain. Holloway is also fourth on the team in scoring, though it's clear his offensive game is limited. Holloway shoots a putrid 47.7 percent from the foul line. Although he's a beast in the paint, Holloway could be tough to count on with a bum ankle and limited offensive upside.

Jorge Brian Diaz, C, Nebraska -
Diaz missed five game in December and early January battling an undisclosed injury. Just as he returned on Saturday against Illinois, he turned his ankle and is questionable moving forward. The center from Puerto Rico is a load down low at 6-11, 245, so it remains to be seen if he'll be in game shape upon his return, assuming he's healthy too. Prior to the injury, Diaz was shooting a career-low 50 percent from the floor.

Johnathan Lloyd, G, Oregon -
The leading assist man for the Ducks at 3.4 dimes per contest, Lloyd bruised his knee against Cal and is questionable for Thursday's game. Lloyd is also stuck behind leading scorer Devoe Joseph, and senior Garrett Sim on the depth chart. Joseph averages 15.1 points per game to lead Oregon, while Sim is second on the team in assists and third in points per game. Although Lloyd can contribute across the board, his shot is preventing him from playing crunch-time minutes. The sophomore shoots a mere 35.4 percent from the field.