The early season surprise in college basketball could be the reemergence of the Indiana under former Marquette coach Tom Crean. Crean had Dwyane Wade at Marquette, and parlayed that success into a Big Ten gig in Hoosier Land. After a few years of changing the culture in Bloomington, Crean landed prized recruit Cody Zeller. The younger brother of North Carolina's Tyler Zeller, Cody has been a revelation for Indiana, averaging 14.2 points and 6.7 rebounds to lead the Hoosiers to a 13-1 start. With wins over Kentucky and Ohio State already on their resume, the Hoosiers look to be the real deal. Although they stumbled at Michigan State on Dec. 28, the aura and mystique of Hoosier basketball appears to be back, which can only mean good things for the proud basketball state of Indiana, as well as college hoops as a whole.
Thomas Robinson, F, Kansas - Robinson has been a beast for the Jayhawks this season, averaging 17.7 points and 12.2 rebounds. With the Morris Twins in the NBA, Robinson has taken his game to the next level with nine double-doubles in 13 contests. Robinson punctuated the end of 2011 with a monstrous 30-point, 21-rebound destruction of lowly North Dakota. A surefire lottery pick due to his freakish athleticism if he chooses to go pro, Robinson is a fantasy owner's dream this year.
C.J. Aiken, F, St. Josephs - Aiken is coming into his own this season for the Hawks, increasing his scoring average from 7.4 to 11.6 from his freshman to sophomore campaign. He is shooting a scorching 61.9 percent from the floor and has even added the three-pointer to his arsenal. The 6-foot-9 forward also averages 5.7 rebounds and an impressive 4.2 rejections per game, showing his ferociousness on the defensive end. Aiken has become a force to be reckoned with in the Atlantic 10.
Tony Wroten Jr., G, Washington - He doesn't get as much pub as Duke's Austin Rivers, or even Myck Kabongo of Texas. However, U-Dub's freshman point guard has been the catalyst for the Huskies early in the season. Wroten averages 16.8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game, and he has great size at 6-5, 205. Wroten is a dynamic perpetrator and also shoots 50.0 percent from the field.
Andre Roberson, G-F, Colorado - It's never a bad thing to average a double-double, which is exactly what the 6-7 Roberson has done through Colorado's first 13 games. Roberson averages 12.1 points and 12.0 rebounds, with nine double-doubles to his name. The sophomore's offensive game has shown improvement, though his outside shot still could use some work. He's a bit small to mix it up with big boys down low at the next level, but for now he uses his size advantage.
Travon Woodall, G, Pittsburgh - Woodall missed about a month due to a strained groin and abdominal tear. The starting point guard for the Panthers returned Dec. 27 at Notre Dame, but did not score and logged just 18 minutes. Then he sat out New Year's Day against Cincinnati. It is clear Woodall was bothered by the injury upon his return to the floor, leaving his status in jeopardy. The junior averaged 12.4 points, 3.0 rebounds and 7.5 assists per contest before being sidelined.
Peyton Siva, G, Louisville - The ultra-talented Siva has not had the smoothest start to his junior campaign, hitting just 34.0 percent of his shots from the field, including a paltry 21.1 percent from three-point land. Although the point guard is averaging a healthy 6.0 dimes per tilt, he is also turning the ball over a career-high 3.5 times per game. Siva is the motor for the Louisville offense, but won't become a truly elite player until he works out the kinks in his shot.
Jordan Morgan, F, Michigan - Morgan has loads of potential, but has yet to cash in for the Wolverines. The 6-8 forward's scoring and rebounding is down from last season, and he is shooting a putrid 46.2 percent from the charity stripe. The Wolverines are extremely guard-oriented with Trey Burke, Tim Hardway and Zack Novak, which has limited Morgan's effectiveness. It's not that Morgan can't take his game to the next level; he just hasn't been able to assert himself in the post just yet.
E.J. Singler, F, Oregon - Singler isn't playing poorly; in fact, he averages 12.8 points and 1.9 assists per game, both career highs. However, he will always suffer from the comparisons to his older brother, Kyle, who was a superstar at Duke in leading the Blue Devils to the national championship two years ago. E.J. is smaller and not as talented as his older brother; he's also shooting career lows of 45.4 percent from the floor and 33.3 percent from the three-point line. Perhaps the younger Singler can prove his doubters wrong, but it doesn't look like he has star potential.
Nurideen Lindsey, G, St. John's - Lindsey decided to transfer from the Johnnies despite averaging 11.8 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 29.6 minutes per game. Lindsey wanted to play for coach Steve Lavin, though Lavin has been fighting a battle with prostate cancer. D'Angelo Harrison will benefit most in Lindsey's absence. The freshman has compiled at least 15 points and five rebounds in three of St. John's last five games.
Joe Jackson, G, Memphis - Jackson had reportedly been mulling a transfer from Memphis but decided to stick it out with the Tigers. Naturally, though, with uncertainty surrounding his future and personal issues to deal with, Jackson's game has not elevated as hoped. He has shown only modest improvement in points in his sophomore season, while remaining pretty much the same in all other categories. Jackson's talent is not in question; whether his head is in the game is a different story.
Jean-Paul Olukemi, F, Oklahoma State - Olukemi tore his ACL against Virginia Tech on Saturday and will miss the remainder of the season for the Cowboys. The 6-5 junior averaged 9.4 points and 4.8 rebounds per game, good for third on the squad in each category. He also shot a team-high 47.0 percent from the field. The Cowboys now have to rely even more on their backcourt tandem on freshman LeBryan Nash and senior Keiton Page.
Cameron Clark, G, Oklahoma - Clark is another player who has not lived up to his preseason billing. The 6-6 sophomore guard is shooting just 38.4 percent from the floor, down from 47.4 percent from his freshman campaign. He is also averaging fewer rebounds, while turning the ball over at a more frequent rate. Surprisingly, Clark is shooting better from three-point land than from the field overall. Nevertheless, he's hitting just 65.5 percent of his free-throws. Junior Steven Pledger has been the main beneficiary of Clark's downturn, with JUCO transfer Sam Grooms also cutting into Clark's playing time. Clark is still starting for Oklahoma, but is far from the focal point of the offense.