College Basketball's All-Week 12 First Team: Top Performers at Every Position
Week 12 of the college basketball season gave us some amazing repeats.
We can't ignore Buddy Hield. All hail the Oklahoma Sooners' answer to Steph Curry! (Sorry, we got excited there—this guy can play.)
And our weekly all-star review also gets another look at Utah's Jakob Poeltl.
But there are some fresh faces, too, as you'd expect. Watch out for a certain Kentucky Wildcats point guard and also Dillon Brooks of the Oregon Ducks, who only had a one-game workweek but sure made it count in the desert.
Then we even pay tribute to a guy who wouldn't let his coach call a timeout.
That's what makes college basketball so great—big games can involve anyone and come in all shapes and sizes. That's what we examine here.
Every week, we pick a first-teamer and second-teamer at all five positions and also a duo off the bench. Stat-stuffing games are seriously considered, but we also take a look at cumulative consistency against strong competition and those who have played above their season averages from last Sunday through Saturday night's games.
Surprise stories help make up the ranks, too.
Let us know what you think of our picks, and share your own in the comments.
Point Guard: Tyler Ulis, Kentucky
Jan. 27 vs. Missouri: 20 points, eight assists
Jan. 30 at Kansas: 26 points, eight assists, three steals
Tyler Ulis was phenomenal in a tough four-day stretch. The awkward timing (for the Kentucky Wildcats, anyway) of the Big 12/SEC Challenge sure didn't seem to affect him, as he played all 45 minutes of an overtime defeat at a virtually impossible place to win.
The sophomore was shaky from three-point range (three of 12) for the week but otherwise brought his A-game, scoring a career high at Allen Fieldhouse. Certainly Ulis would like to have back that last possession (which resulted in a turnover) in regulation. But he'll learn from it, and the Wildcats will be better because of another step their floor leader took.
Second Team: Cat Barber, North Carolina State
Jan. 27 vs. Georgia Tech: 36 points, four rebounds, five assists
Jan. 30 vs. Miami: 30 points, three rebounds, four assists
Cat Barber leads the ACC in scoring (23.1 points per game) and showed exactly why this week. He was especially dominant against the ranked Miami Hurricanes, scoring twice as many points as talented counterpart Angel Rodriguez, and he made 10 of his 18 shots plus all 10 of his free throws.
Rodriguez was duped into four fouls because of Barber's play, too, as the North Carolina State Wolfpack finally looked like the team that got hot at the end of last season.
Shooting Guard: Buddy Hield, Oklahoma
Jan. 26 vs. Texas Tech: 30 points, six rebounds, three assists
Jan. 30 at LSU: 32 points, seven rebounds
If there was any doubt remaining about who the best player in the country is, Oklahoma Sooners senior Buddy Hield put that to rest this week. He was especially awesome in Baton Rouge, making half of his 22 shots and sinking eight three-pointers.
Hield found a way to improve his 52.3 percent accuracy from the arc to 52.4 percent, hitting a total of 13 of his 23 tries. He is way beyond being in the zone at this point. And is there any college or pro athlete who looks like they're having as much fun being interviewed as Hield did with ESPN's Holly Rowe after the LSU game?
Second Team: Tim Quarterman, LSU
Jan. 26 vs. Georgia: 22 points, six rebounds, five assists
Jan. 30 vs. Oklahoma: 18 points, six rebounds, four assists
So much focus this year for the LSU Tigers has been on the spectacular-ness of Ben Simmons or the questionable-ness of the coaching, but 6'6" junior Tim Quarterman has really come into his own lately. It's a reason the Tigers hung in there with the best team in the country.
Quarterman played considerably better than his average of 11.9 points per game this week, making six of his nine three-point attempts (including all five against the team with some guy named Hield).
Small Forward (Wing): Dillon Brooks, Oregon
Jan. 28 at Arizona: 24 points
The Oregon Ducks played only one game this week, but 6'6" sophomore Dillon Brooks had a heck of a showing. He led the Ducks to an eight-point win that ended the Arizona Wildcats' 49-game home-court winning streak, which was the longest in the country. It was also UA's largest margin of defeat since Feb. 27, 2013.
Brooks kept bringing more swagger than Mick Jagger, knocking down 10 of his 19 shots. Of note, he's scored in double figures in 15 of the last 16 outings.
Second Team: Wayne Selden Jr., Kansas
Jan. 25 at Iowa State: 11 points
Jan. 30 vs. Kentucky: 33 points, three rebounds
Sometimes you've got to give a guy credit for getting his focus back. Wayne Selden Jr. was in a funk—and it showed against Iowa State—but he rallied in a highly anticipated game against another college basketball blue blood.
He had a slam on freshman Skal Labissiere that will be shown on highlight reels for a while, but he was more than a one-dunk show, scoring a career high, including half of the Kansas Jayhawks' 14 overtime points in a needed win.
Power Forward: Ben Bentil, Providence
Jan. 26 vs. Xavier: 25 points, six rebounds
Jan. 30 at Georgetown: 26 points, nine rebounds
Providence Friars sophomore Ben Bentil connected on his first six shots from the floor against the Georgetown Hoyas, which set up point guard Kris Dunn in a nice Big East road win. Bentil needed just 30 shots to score 51 points this week, and he even made nearly half (three of seven) of his three-point tries.
He's been exactly what the Friars need to complement Dunn.
Second Team: Nigel Hayes, Wisconsin
Jan. 26 vs. Indiana: 31 points, five rebounds
These aren't the Wisconsin Badgers of last year. We know that. But let's applaud Hayes, a junior who just keeps getting after it. He made seven of 12 shots against the No. 19 Indiana Hoosiers, along with 17 free throws (in 22 attempts).
Hayes also had the energy for a last-second tip-away that kept Hoosiers sharpshooter Yogi Ferrell—who had 30 points—from getting a last look to try to force a second overtime.
Center: Jakob Poeltl, Utah
Jan. 27 vs. Cal: 21 points, nine rebounds
Jan. 30 vs. Stanford: 23 points, seven rebounds
Sophomore Jakob Poeltl's scoring average (now at 17.3 points per game) has spiked over the past three games, two of which count for this week. The Utah Utes 7-footer was nasty to the Stanford Cardinal in the second half, scoring 12 of the Utes' 14 points during an eight-minute-plus stretch.
Poeltl is looking like the top-five draft pick everyone forecasted at the beginning of the season.
Second Team: Thomas Bryant, Indiana
Jan. 26 at Wisconsin: 16 points, seven rebounds
Jan. 30 vs. Minnesota: 23 points, eight rebounds
This second-team slot could've gone to the Indiana Hoosiers' Thomas Bryant or Purdue's A.J. Hammons. Both dominated the Minnesota Golden Gophers this week, but we gave the IU freshman the credit for being a little more efficient from the field—Bryant made 16 of his 21 tries this week (to Hammons' 21-of-31 performance).
The Golden Gophers had erased a 16-point second-half deficit before Bryant got tough at both ends of the floor, snatching three rebounds (including two on the offensive glass), blocking a shot and scoring four points in the final three minutes as the Hoosiers held on to first place in the Big Ten.
Off the Bench: J.P. Macura, Xavier
Jan. 26 at Providence: 10 points
Jan. 30 at DePaul: 12 points
The Xavier Musketeers' J.P. Macura picked his spots in a couple of Big East road wins, which included a clutch shot against the No. 10 Providence Friars. The 6'5" sophomore hit a late three-pointer to extend the Musketeers' lead to six points—which means it was a good thing head coach Chris Mack didn't get that timeout.
Second Team: Deonte Burton, Iowa State
Jan. 25 vs. Kansas: Nine points, four rebounds
Jan. 30 at Texas A&M: 11 points, four rebounds
Another pick-his-spots type of player, Iowa State Cyclones junior Deonte Burton made nine of his 15 field-goal attempts against a couple of top-five opponents—the Kansas Jayhawks and Texas A&M Aggies—to push his scoring average to 8.8 points per game. He hit a critical momentum-shifter against the Jayhawks, a three-pointer with nine minutes left that gave ISU its first lead.
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