RotoWire Partners

College Hoops Barometer: Big Dawg on Campus

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.

The teams at the top of the polls have been in constant flux the last month or so. The No. 1-ranked squad has lost each of the last five weeks. This past week, four of the top five teams suffered defeats. Indiana remains on top, but for how much longer? The Hoosiers have road games against Michigan State and Michigan left on the slate. The winner of the Duke-Miami rematch in front of the Cameron Crazies on March 2 could determine the No. 1 team in the country heading into conference tournaments. The Hurricanes are playing the best basketball in the country, while the Blue Devils will certainly be amped up for a chance at revenge. Don't forget about Gonzaga, though; the Zags are undefeated in conference play just likes the Canes.

Without further ado, let's dive into this week's College Hoops Barometer.

UPGRADE

Nate Wolters, G, San Diego State -
Even though he is a triple-double threat any night, Wolters is still a scorer at heart. Nowhere was that more apparent than last Thursday, when he torched the ferocious IPFW Mastodons for 53 points. Wolters shot 17-for-28 from the floor, including an impressive 9-of-14 from three-point territory. Interestingly, though, despite the high shot total in certain games, Wolters has become more efficient overall. He is shooting fewer times per game than last season, yet hitting a career-high 48.4 percent from the floor. Wolters' three-point stroke has also returned after a down junior campaign. Wolters followed that 53-point barrage with a 36-point outburst at Oakland. In sum, Wolters has always possessed the all-around game that makes fantasy owners salivate, but he has stepped up his play even more of late.

Ben Brust, G, Wisconsin -
Brust hit a running three-pointer from nearly half-court at the buzzer to send Saturday's tilt with Michigan to overtime, then sealed the 65-62 victory with a crucial trey. Brust's sharpshooting has extended to the last three games, in which he is averaging 17.3 points for the Badgers. Brust is shooting 48.6-percent from the field over that span, and is connecting on 40 percent of his threes this season. With the Badgers facing a ranked opponent nearly every night in the hotly contested Big Ten, Brust's shooting touch continues to be invaluable.

Julian Gamble, F-C, Miami -
Searching for a serviceable big man? Gamble does all the dirty work for the Canes. The 6-foot-10 senior plays stellar defense, rebounds with fervor and has underrated athletic ability. Gamble has recorded at least four blocks in four of Miami's last eight games. He has also grabbed at least five rebounds in six of those eight contests. Players like Kenny Kadji, Shane Larkin, Reggie Johnson and Durand Scott may have more stylish game, but Gamble is the defensive anchor for the Hurricanes and can provide a decent source of blocks, rebounds and dunks.

Aziz N'Diaye, C, Washington
N'Diaye has recorded four straight double-doubles for the Huskies, punctuated by an 18-rebound performance last Thursday at UCLA. He has notched 11 double-doubles for the season. Despite his continued struggles at the foul line, N'Diaye is shooting a career-high 61.6 percent from the floor, showcasing an improved repertoire in the post on the offensive end. While he'll never be confused for Hakeem Olajuwon, N'Diaye has made great strides as a senior.

CHECK STATUS

Austin Chatman, G, Creighton -
What's wrong with the Bluejays? Creighton has lost consecutive games, and Chatman has not played well in either contest. His season averages stand at 8.0 points, 2.6 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game. By contrast, Chatman has managed 3.5 points, 2.0 rebounds and just 1.5 assists during the two latest Bluejay losses. Creighton goes as Doug McDermott goes, but the supporting case has been suspect recently, as the Bluejays have lost four of their last seven conference games. Chatman must come to McDermott's aid if the Jays are to make some noise in March.

Angel Rodriguez, G, Kansas State -
After hitting a midseason lull, Rodriguez has stormed back with three stellar outputs. He is averaging 16.7 points per game over his last three contests. A-Rod has hit 7-of-15 treys over that span. He also notched six steals and three steals in Monday's loss to Kansas. The sophomore point guard is managing 4.8 assists per game this season. Although Rodney McGruder is the star for the Wildcats, Rodriguez's playmaking abilities are vital to K-State's success. He's been inconsistent to date, but hopefully this recent hot stretch is a sign of things to come.

Larry Nance, Jr., F, Wyoming -
Nance's status is in the air due to a wrist injury. The sophomore forward missed Saturday's tilt at Boise State as a result. Nance had just come off arguably his best game of the season on Feb. 6, a 17-point, 15-rebound effort at Cal State Bakersfield. Although it was just Nance's third double-double of the season, he has been productive for the Cowboys. The 6-8 forward averages 10.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. Unfortunately, Nance's injury will only hurt the reeling Cowboys even more, as Wyoming has lost 7 of 10 games after starting the season 13-0.

Connell Crossland, F, TCU -
Crossland has become a rebounding force for the Horned Frogs. In last week's stunning victory over Kansas, Crossland grabbed a career-high 15 rebounds. The senior forward has snatched at least eight rebounds in each of TCU's last four games. The Horned Frogs likely will get blown out of a lot of games, so Crossland may have the opportunity to pick up some extra boards in garbage time. He has played at least 32 minutes in the last four games, of which three of the four were lopsided affairs. It remains to be seen if Crossland's rebounding upswing will continue, but pick him up as a cheap source of boards in the short-term.

DOWNGRADE

Will Yeguete, F, Florida
An arthroscopic procedure on his right knee will sideline Yeguete for the remainder of the season. A tough defender and "glue guy" for the Gators, Yeguete averaged 6.0 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. He missed a large chunk of last season due to a broken foot, so Yeguete will have to rehab once again and try to shake that injury-prone label.

Antonio Barton, G, Memphis -
Barton broke his foot against Southern Miss on Saturday and will miss at least a month. Barton's junior season was not going as planned even before the injury, though. Barton averaged career-lows across the board with 6.2 points, 1.4 rebounds and 1.2 assists. He experienced particular difficulty with his shot, hitting just 39.5 percent from the floor. By contrast, Barton connected on 48.2 percent from the field as a sophomore. Even his free-throw percentage had suffered, falling to less than 60 percent from the charity stripe. In sum, the reserve guard might be able to use this time off to regain confidence in his shooting stroke.

Jalen Steele, G, Mississippi State
Steele has been suspended indefinitely for violating team rules. It's been a rough season for the 6-3 junior guard, who missed eight games earlier this season after breaking his wrist. One of five players on the Bulldogs averaging nine or more points per game, Steele had scored in double figures for the first time in five games in his last contest before the suspension. He had been struggling this season shooting the rock, though, hitting a career-low 34.5-percent from the floor.

Buddy Hield, G, Oklahoma -
Hield also suffered a broken foot and will miss about four-to-six weeks for the Sooners. A 6-3 freshman guard from the Bahamas, Hield had made an immediate impact for Oklahoma, averaging 8.6 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists per tilt. Look for fellow freshman Isaiah Cousins and Je'lon Hornbeak to see an uptick in minutes as a result.

Follow @JesseLSiegel on Twitter.

Siegel was named the 2012 College Sports Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.

Top Fantasy NCAA Basketball News
No major news stories have been reported recently.