College Basketball's Major All-Conference Teams Midway Through League Play
Conference play is more than 50 percent complete and Selection Sunday is less than six weeks away, but we want to take a look back over the last three months to figure out which players and coaches would be on their all-conference teams if the season ended today.
Consider it something of a combination between a Wooden Watch and an all-star ballot.
We've got all of the sensational, scintillating superstars that everyone is talking about. You know, the Marcus Smarts, the Jabari Parkers, the Andrew Wiggins and the Doug McDermotts of the world.
But we've also recognized a lot of players who have hardly received any national press. You won't find K.J. McDaniels, Terran Petteway, Delon Wright, Markus Kennedy, Jarvis Summers or anyone from the non-majors all-conference team on any sort of list of Wooden Award candidates, but you better believe they're among the 50 best players in the country.
All statistics courtesy of KenPom.com and ESPN.com and are current through the start of play on Tuesday, Feb. 4.
On the following slides, PPG = points per game, RPG = rebounds per game, APG = assists per game, SPG = steals per game and BPG = blocks per game.
Point guard: Tyler Ennis, Syracuse (12.1 PPG, 5.7 APG, 2.3 SPG)
Shooting guard: T.J. Warren, North Carolina State (22.4 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 1.6 SPG)
Small forward: C.J. Fair, Syracuse (16.7 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 1.5 APG, 1.5 SPG)
Power forward: Lamar Patterson, Pittsburgh (17.4 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 4.5 APG)
Center: K.J. McDaniels, Clemson (16.7 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 2.7 BPG)
Sixth man: Jabari Parker, Duke (18.6 PPG, 8.2 RPG)
Coach: Tony Bennett, Virginia
Also considered: Rodney Hood (Duke), Marcus Paige (North Carolina) and Garrick Sherman (Notre Dame)
The ACC was an incredibly difficult conference to grade.
Not only does 15 teams mean more players to choose from—Olivier Hanlan and Quinn Cook would be starters in most conferences, but didn't even qualify for the "Also considered" club in the ACC—but the most elite players in the conference are pretty much contained to three positions.
The ACC has exceptional point guards and forwards, but shooting guards and centers are a bit lacking, so we had to stretch a little bit to include Warren and McDaniels in the starting five. But it wouldn't be a complete list without those two players.
Warren is leading the conference in scoring by no small margin, and is pretty much NC State's entire team. If the Wolfpack are 14-8 with Warren, I shudder to think where they would be without him. McDaniels is only 6'6", but he leads the conference in blocks per game. He leads the Tigers in every "per game" category except for assists, and that's only because it's hard to get assists when you're the only reliable source of points on the team.
Syracuse is 22-0, and thus gets two players in the starting five. Ennis leads the conference in both assists and steals per game, and has earned a (well-deserved) reputation as one of the most clutch point guards in the country. And Fair is pretty much a lock to finish in the top five in the Wooden Award voting, so there's no question he's top five in the ACC.
Rounding out the six-man roster, Patterson and Parker have both been completely indispensable to their teams. Each has struggled with his shooting over the past several weeks—Parker missed at least 10 field-goal attempts in Duke's last three games while Patterson bricked nine or more in four of Pittsburgh's last six contests—but they are the team leaders for two of the conference's best four teams.
Conventional wisdom might suggest that the head coach of the undefeated team should be the coach of the all-conference team, but Jim Boeheim finishes second to Tony Bennett in my book. Bennett doesn't have the luxury of having a single player anywhere near the all-conference team, yet he has coached the Cavaliers to a 17-5 record with only one loss in conference play. If Virginia keeps playing as well as it has, Bennett could be headed for his second term as AP coach of the year.
Point guard: Shabazz Napier, Connecticut (17.9 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 5.7 APG, 1.9 SPG)
Shooting guard: Russ Smith, Louisville (18.4 PPG, 4.6 APG, 3.4 RPG, 1.9 SPG)
Small forward: Sean Kilpatrick, Cincinnati (19.4 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 1.5 SPG)
Power forward: Markus Kennedy, Southern Methodist (12.1 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 1.4 BPG)
Center: Montrezl Harrell, Louisville (12.5 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 1.2 BPG)
Sixth man: Justin Jackson, Cincinnati (11.3 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 3.3 BPG, 1.8 SPG)
Coach: Larry Brown, Southern Methodist
Also considered: Dalton Pepper (Temple), Shaq Goodwin (Memphis), Nic Moore (Southern Methodist)
You can count on one hand the number of players who stuff the stat sheet as well as Napier. DeAndre Kane (Iowa State), Elfrid Payton (Louisiana-Lafayette), Jarvis Threatt (Delaware), Kyle Anderson (UCLA) and Delon Wright (Utah) are the only other players in the country averaging at least 15.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.5 steals per game, per Sports-Reference.com.
For what it's worth, Kemba Walker averaged 23.5 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 4.5 APG and 1.9 SPG during Connecticut's last championship season (in 2010-11).
Louisville has struggled to come up with quality wins this season, but that doesn't make the contributions of Smith or Harrell any less impressive. Smith and Pepper were statistically neck-and-neck for the shooting guard spot, but I had to give the honor to the guy playing on an 18-4 team as opposed to the one on a 6-14 squad.
Cincinnati also gets two spots in the six-man roster, due in large part to opening the conference schedule with 10 consecutive victories. Kilpatrick isn't a great shooter (41.9 percent field goals, 34.1 percent three-pointers), but he's the team's primary scorer and leads the conference in points per game. And Jackson might be the most criminally underrated player in the country, anchoring an incredible defense with 3.3 blocks per game while shooting 56 percent from the floor.
Last but certainly not least, Kennedy has been downright phenomenal for the upstart Mustangs. His overall numbers aren't too flashy, but that's because he didn't play nearly as much during the first 10 games of the season. In SMU's last 12 games, Kennedy averaged 14.7 points, 9.3 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game. He has tallied a minimum of 10 points and seven rebounds in each of those games, including the 21-point, 15-rebound effort in a big win over Memphis on Saturday.
Similar to the ACC, we overlooked the obvious choice for coach of the year (Mick Cronin, Cincinnati) in favor of the one steering the ship of the most surprising team.
Only twice in the last 25 years has SMU finished a season with a winning percentage of .650 or better—as compared to a team like Kansas, which is working on its 25th consecutive season with at least a .697 winning percentage. Success is far from normal for SMU, but Larry Brown has rewritten that script. The Mustangs are 17-5 and likely headed for their first NCAA tournament bid in more than two decades.
I didn't factor this into the consideration, but even better news for Brown is that his two leading scorers are sophomores and he has signed one of the top recruits in the entire country (Emmanuel Mudiay) to join the team next year. Myles Turner is still undecided, but he has SMU as one of the few schools left on his list of choices. Don't be surprised if SMU contends for a national championship next year.
Point guard: Bryce Cotton, Providence (20.8 PPG, 5.8 APG, 3.3 RPG)
Shooting guard: D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Georgetown (16.8 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 2.8 APG, 1.3 SPG)
Small forward: Doug McDermott, Creighton (25.0 PPG, 7.1 RPG)
Power forward: JayVaughn Pinkston, Villanova, (14.7 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 1.6 APG)
Center: Davante Gardner, Marquette (14.7 PPG, 6.0 RPG)
Sixth man: Semaj Christon, Xavier (17.1 PPG, 4.0 APG, 2.8 RPG, 1.3 SPG)
Coach: Jay Wright, Villanova
Also considered: D'Angelo Harrison (St. John's), James Bell (Villanova), Cleveland Melvin (DePaul)
The pickings were slim in the Big East, but that's not a surprise. The conference only has two considerably above-average teams, and while Creighton has one huge star and a bunch of role players, Villanova doesn't really have any jaw-dropping talents.
Cotton has been a godsend for Providence. Not only does he lead the conference in assists and rank second to McDermott in points per game, but his conditioning is off the charts. Cotton has been on the court for 95.4 percent of Providence's minutes—the highest rate in the country, according to KenPom.com (subscription required).
In the Friars' last 14 games, he has played 581 out of a possible 585 minutes, including playing all 50 minutes in both of their double-OT games. Because all he has to do is avoid taking Cotton out of games, Ed Cooley lost out on the honor of coaching the all-conference team, despite almost certainly leading Providence (16-6) to its first 20-win season in a decade.
Smith-Rivera and Christon were No. 1 and No. 1a at shooting guard, with Smith-Rivera getting the nod because he actually is a shooting guard. Christon has been great, but he's barely averaging one three-point attempt per game. He's a much better fit as the sixth man than Smith-Rivera, who oftentimes needs to take a lot of shots before he can get going.
When he's on fire, though, few are better than Smith-Rivera. He has five games this season with 24 or more points, and has made 22 of his 27 three-point attempts in those contests.
If you need me to explain why McDermott made the team, I'd like to take this opportunity to welcome you to the 2013-14 college basketball season. It was nice of you to join us now that football season is finally over. McDermott is the runaway favorite to win the Wooden Award.
The last two guys on the list are big-bodied individuals who don't get nearly enough respect for the amount of energy they expend on a nightly basis. Pinkston and Gardner don't fill up the stat sheet anywhere near as much as they fill up the paint, keeping the opposition from doing much of anything inside the arc. Both Marquette and Villanova rank in the top 25 in the nation in two-point field-goal defense, according to KenPom.com (subscription required).
At coach, we finally decided to go with the chief of staff at the highest-ranking program in the conference. Jay Wright has had more talented rosters in his 13 years at Villanova, but this is perhaps his best coaching job to date.
We haven't commented on any of the "Also considered" players to this point, but a quick note on Melvin, because he should absolutely be in the starting lineup based on his statistics. As of Monday afternoon, there has been no word of the nature of his suspension, but Melvin has missed DePaul's last two games after being suspended indefinitely from the team.
Point guard: Keith Appling, Michigan State (15.0 PPG, 4.9 APG, 3.5 RPG, 1.4 SPG)
Shooting guard: Gary Harris, Michigan State (18.4 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 2.7 APG, 2.0 SPG)
Small forward: Terran Petteway, Nebraska (18.2 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 1.6 APG)
Power forward: Aaron White, Iowa (13.5 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 2.2 APG)
Center: Noah Vonleh, Indiana (11.7 PPG, 9.4 RPG, 1.2 BPG)
Sixth man: Nik Stauskas, Michigan (17.8, 3.7 APG, 3.5 RPG)
Coach: Chris Collins, Northwestern
Also considered: Frank Kaminsky (Wisconsin), Adreian Payne (Michigan State), Yogi Ferrell (Indiana)
There were a lot of difficult omissions from this team—most notably Roy Devyn Marble, D.J. Newbill and Aaron Craft—but the Big Ten has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to individual players.
Both members of Michigan State's starting backcourt made the team with room to spare. Take Payne and Branden Dawson away from most teams, and they would fall flat on their faces. Not Michigan State, though, because Appling and Harris have been simply sensational.
After Michigan State's 71-66 victory over Indiana on Jan. 21, Indiana coach Tom Crean told reporters, "Knowing (Harris) as long as we've known him, he is as good as it gets it in the backcourt."
Not far behind Harris for the honor of starting shooting guard is the Wolverines' leading scorer. Stauskas struggled early in the season with an ankle injury—and was curiously invisible in Sunday's loss to Indiana—but he was unequivocally the team's driving force during the recent stretch of three straight wins against Top 10 opponents that propelled them to the top of the conference standings.
Petteway isn't much of a household name, but he should be. The second-highest scoring player in the conference has tallied at least 15 points in 10 consecutive games, including a 35-point effort against Minnesota on Jan. 26.
White isn't much more noteworthy on a national scale than Petteway, but he has been the steady, driving force for the Hawkeyes. For some reason, White is only playing 26.2 minutes per game, but he is averaging 20.7 points and 9.9 rebounds per 40 minutes. Compare his numbers to those of C.J. Fair—who is averaging 18.0 points and 6.3 rebounds per 40 minutes—and you have to wonder how underrated White must be.
Speaking of absurd numbers on a per 40 minute basis, Vonleh's 11.7 points and 9.4 rebounds extrapolate to 18.5 points and 14.9 rebounds in 40 minutes. Considering Aaron Gordon is averaging 15.2 points and 10.5 rebounds per 40 minutes, one could easily make a very compelling argument that Vonleh is being heinously overlooked in most of the "best freshmen in the country" discussions.
And three cheers to Chris Collins, because no one in their right mind would have guessed that Northwestern would be 5-5 in conference play after losing its first three games against Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa by a combined 76 points. The Wildcats have won three straight road games and four out of five overall.
There's still a ton of season left to be played, but Northwestern has never made the NCAA tournament and hasn't finished above .500 in Big Ten play since the 1967-68 season. Forget about coach of the year; if Collins can lead this team to the tournament in his first year at the helm, he deserves a medal of honor.
Point guard: DeAndre Kane, Iowa State (16.5 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 6.0 APG, 1.5 SPG)
Shooting guard: Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State (17.3 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 4.4 APG, 2.4 SPG)
Small forward: Andrew Wiggins, Kansas (16.0 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 1.5 APG)
Power forward: Melvin Ejim, Iowa State (18.3 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 1.9 APG, 1.3 SPG)
Center: Cameron Ridley, Texas (11.0 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 2.5 BPG) / Joel Embiid, Kansas (11.2 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 2.7 BPG)
Sixth man: Juwan Staten, West Virginia (18.0 PPG, 6.0 APG, 5.8 RPG, 1.3 SPG)
Coach: Lon Kruger, Oklahoma
Also considered: Cameron Clark (Oklahoma), Ryan Spangler (Oklahoma), Markel Brown (Oklahoma State)
Let's start at the bottom and address the fact that I'm totally cheating by including both Ridley and Embiid as the center. At this point in time, it's virtually impossible to distinguish between the two—a testament to how great Ridley has been—but there's no way we can put one at center and the other at sixth man, because Staten has been better than both.
The two big men are separated by just two-tenths of a point in each of their three primary categories. Though you could argue that Embiid should get the nod for being a more valuable passer (29 assists combined to just five for Ridley), you could also argue that Ridley's numbers are even more impressive because he has done just as well as Embiid without the luxury of Embiid's supporting cast.
So, for now, they both make the cut. If Embiid is actually going to become the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, one can assume that he will eventually lay singular claim to that spot on the hypothetical roster.
Elsewhere, good luck deciding whether Kane or Ejim is Iowa State's most valuable player, but they both made the starting five. Their stats are a little misleading because Iowa State plays at one of the fastest tempos in the country, giving Cyclones players more opportunities for counting statistics than most other players. However, there isn't a particularly compelling case for any other Big 12 player to replace them.
Neither Smart nor Wiggins has quite lived up to the preseason hype, but how could they? Even if they were contending with Antoine Mason and Doug McDermott for the scoring title, it might not have been enough to match the lofty expectations we had. But there's no question that both belong in the Big 12's starting five.
Smart has struggled to find his stroke as of late—making just four of his last 33 three-point attempts—but he is shooting 52 percent from inside the arc on the season and has some of the most impressive peripheral numbers one could request.
Wiggins has also been pretty inconsistent over the past month, but his numbers as a freshman are every bit as good as those of seniors like Brown, Clark and Cory Jefferson who might have a case for inclusion. In comparisons like those, we'll always be more impressed by the player working with considerably less experience at the collegiate level.
The sixth man on the roster just might be the best major conference player that you've never seen play. Staten has scored at least 14 points in 14 straight games, including a 35-point game against Kansas State on Saturday in which he shot 18-of-21 from the free-throw line. The Mountaineers' point guard hasn't quite gotten a triple-double yet this season, but he does have at least five assists in 16 out of 22 games.
Oklahoma narrowly missed out on getting included in the six-man roster, but the Sooners are represented by head coach Lon Kruger. When they gave up 282 points in a span of three consecutive home games against Tulsa, Texas-Arlington and Louisiana Tech in December, the Sooners appeared headed for a long two months of conference play.
To the contrary, Kruger has gotten the most out of Buddy Hield and his merry men. Oklahoma already has wins over Baylor, Iowa State, Oklahoma State and Texas. Outside of road games against Oklahoma State and Kansas, the Sooners should win the rest of their conference games to get to 13-5 in one of the best conferences in the country.
Point guard: Kyle Anderson, UCLA (15.1 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 6.6 APG, 1.7 SPG)
Shooting guard: Nick Johnson, Arizona (16.1 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.1 SPG)
Small forward: Delon Wright, Utah (16.1 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 5.3 APG, 2.8 SPG)
Power forward: Josh Scott, Colorado (14.4 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 1.2 BPG)
Center: Jordan Bachynski, Arizona State (11.4 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 4.1 BPG)
Sixth man: Roberto Nelson, Oregon State (21.8 PPG, 3.6 APG, 3.4 RPG)
Coach: Craig Robinson, Oregon State
Also considered: Joseph Young (Oregon), Jahii Carson (Arizona State), Dwight Powell (Stanford)
UCLA's point forward affectionately nicknamed "Slow Mo" already has one triple-double this season and is incessantly flirting with another one. Against Duke, Anderson had 15 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and five steals. Against Arizona, he went for 16 points, 11 rebounds, six assists and three steals. It doesn't matter who he's playing against; Anderson is one of the best in the game.
Then there's Johnson, who won't statistically blow you out of the water, but always seems to come through in the clutch—aside from that 1-of-14 effort against California on Saturday. Much of his increasing allure over the past several weeks has been due the perception of him being the best player on the best team in the country. Frankly, it was tempting to put Young on the roster in place of Johnson, but it certainly wouldn't have been right to keep Arizona from having anyone on the team.
Wright's overall numbers are right up there with the best in the country. He probably doesn't get a fair shake from most, due to Utah's atrocious nonconference schedule. But like Anderson, Wright has thrived against enemies big and small. Heck, he has been even better in Pac-12 play, averaging 17.8 points, 6.6 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 3.1 steals per game in nine contests against conference opponents.
Colorado's season has gone into the toilet since losing Spencer Dinwiddie, but it's certainly not due to lack of effort from Scott. In the Buffaloes' last five games, he averaged 17.0 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game, including a double-double on the road against the best frontcourt in the country in Arizona.
Bachynski never developed into the offensive force we kept hoping he would become, but he is leading the nation in blocks per game while checking in at third place in the Pac-12 in rebounds per game. When he does decide to shoot, it's usually a good thing. Bachynski has consistently been a 58 percent shooter over the past three seasons.
Who could have guessed three months ago that Oregon State would have a player and coach on the Pac-12's all-conference team in early February?
Nelson is leading the conference in scoring, and scored 21 or more points in seven of his nine conference games. He has excelled since day one of the 2013-14 season, scoring 91 points in Oregon State's first three games.
Thanks in large part to Nelson's production, the Beavers are actually relevant in the Pac-12 standings for the first time in a long time. Oregon State has not finished above .500 in conference play since the 1989-90 season, which is not-so-coincidentally the last time it made the NCAA tournament.
Until now, Robinson's primary claim to fame has been having Michelle Obama as a sibling, but with four wins in the last five games, he might finally become known for his coaching prowess, too. If he can get the Beavers to a 10-8 or better record against their remaining schedule (most notably including two vs. Arizona, two vs. Arizona State, at UCLA and at Oregon), it would be most impressive.
Honorable mention to Arizona's Sean Miller for a 21-0 start to the season, but how the Wildcats fare in life without Brandon Ashley will be the deciding factor in the narrative of his season as a coach.
Point guard: Scottie Wilbekin, Florida (11.9 PPG, 3.6 APG, 2.8 RPG, 1.6 SPG)
Shooting guard: Jabari Brown, Missouri (20.4 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 1.6 APG)
Small forward: Casey Prather, Florida (16.2 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 1.7 APG)
Power forward: Johnny O'Bryant III, LSU (15.8 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 1.7 APG)
Center: Julius Randle, Kentucky (16.1 PPG, 10.1 PPG, 1.8 APG)
Sixth man: Jarvis Summers, Ole Miss (17.8 PPG, 3.9 APG, 2.4 RPG)
Coach: Billy Donovan, Florida
Also considered: Jordan McRae (Tennessee), Jarnell Stokes (Tennessee), Trevor Releford (Alabama)
Wilbekin is the proverbial game manager. He doesn't put up big numbers or dominate the highlight reels, but the team is just noticeably less cohesive when he isn't on the court. Since serving a five-game suspension to open the season, the Gators are 15-1 with Wilbekin in the lineup, and have won games against Kansas, Memphis, Florida State and Arkansas—the latter of which was Wilbekin's guttiest effort of the season.
What made that effort so gutty, you ask? Florida was playing without its leading scorer, Casey Prather. Aside from the two games he missed with a knee injury, Prather scored at least 10 points in each of his first 18 games this season.
This comes in stark contrast to his first three seasons with Florida, in which Prather scored a grand total of 276 points—roughly 2.5 points per game. In John Gasaway's preseason projection for Florida (subscription required), Prather wasn't even projected to be a starter. Now, who knows where the Gators would be without him?
LSU and Missouri have gone through their share of cold spells this season, but not Brown or O'Bryant. Brown has scored at least 15 points in all but two games for his Tigers, and is currently working on a six-game streak of 22 or more points per game. O'Bryant hasn't been quite that prolific, but he has been a reliable source of points and rebounds all season, culminating in a 29-point, 9-rebound effort in LSU's win over Kentucky.
Randle hasn't been anywhere near as unstoppable in SEC play as he was in the opening month of the season, but he's still averaging 13.0 points and 9.4 rebounds per game in conference play. A decrease in free-throw attempts is largely to blame for his slight drop in scoring. Randle attempted at least 10 freebies in five of his first six games of the season, but is averaging just 5.3 attempts per SEC game.
If I simply told you that the sixth man was a guard from Ole Miss who is averaging better than 17 points per game, you would naturally assume it was Marshall Henderson. However, it's Summers who makes the SEC all-conference team.
The junior guard is shooting 51.9 percent from the field and 54.7 percent from beyond the arc. Among players averaging at least two three-point attempts per game, that's the third-highest percentage in the country.
Billy Donovan as the coach is a no-brainer. Not only is Florida undefeated in conference play, but this team has weathered more injuries and suspensions than just about any team in the country. And aside from the first two games of the season, the Gators haven't endured anything resembling a rough stretch. Quality consistency through adversity is the sign of great coaching.
Point guard: Keifer Sykes, Green Bay (20.6 PPG, 5.1 APG, 4.0 RPG, 1.2 SPG)
Shooting guard: Billy Baron, Canisius (23.7 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 4.7 APG, 1.7 SPG)
Small forward: Antoine Mason, Niagara (26.6 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 1.4 APG, 1.2 SPG)
Power forward: Alan Williams, UC Santa Barbara (23.3 PPG, 11.1 RPG, 2.3 BPG, 1.3 SPG)
Center: Shawn Long, Louisiana-Lafayette (19.8 PPG, 10.9 RPG, 3.1 BPG)
Sixth man: Aaric Murray, Texas Southern (23.9 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 2.3 BPG)
Coach: Gregg Marshall, Wichita State
Also considered: Jason Brickman (Long Island), Elfrid Payton (Louisiana-Lafayette), Xavier Thames (San Diego State), Chaw Williams (Massachusetts)
Just to make sure the rest of the nation doesn't feel left out, I'm including a "bonus" team comprised from the collection of players and coaches at non-major programs.
It was very difficult to pick the ACC's all-conference team, and there are only 15 teams in that conference. For this group, there were 268 teams to choose from, so you'll hopefully forgive me if I overlooked someone whom you consider a worthy candidate.
However, wouldn't it be awesome if these six players teamed up for an exhibition game against the eventual NCAA champs? Combined, they are averaging 137.9 points per game this season.
Sykes and Baron are the do-everything backcourt. Whether you want points, assists, steals, rebounds or just great free-throw shooting, you're in safe hands with either of these guards. Baron in particular has been making a mockery of the sport of basketball as of late, averaging 27.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 2.4 steals while making 73 out of 81 free throws over his last 11 games.
Mason leads the nation in scoring, earning a spot in the starting five despite mediocre peripheral stats.
A stretch of six sub-par games by his standards (15.5 points and 10.7 rebounds per game) caused Long's scoring average to dip below 20 points per game, but for a while there, he and Williams were the only players in the country averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds per game. Also, Long is tied with Kentucky's Willie Cauley-Stein for 14th in the nation in blocks per game.
Williams has four games this season with at least 22 points and 15 rebounds. Against UC Davis on Saturday, he went off for 27 points and 20 rebounds. Back in November, Williams missed two games with back spasms. In his first game back in the lineup, he had 39 points, nine rebounds and eight blocked shots against South Dakota State. Simply ridiculous.
Rounding out the roster, Murray has been a bright spot in an otherwise dismal conference. The SWAC star dropped 48 points in a 90-89 win over Temple back in December, and recently posted 26 points, 19 rebounds and six blocks in a game against Mississippi Valley State.
And, of course, the head coach of the undefeated Wichita State Shockers is the leader of the non-major all-conference team.
Kerry Miller covers college basketball for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @kerrancejames.
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