The Best College Backcourts (2010 Edition)
A couple of weeks ago I comprised a comprehensive list of the greatest college backcourts of the 21st century. In response, I experienced a number of healthy attacks as well as some reluctant support. But most so, the list sparked an ongoing and spectacularly fun debate. The issue of most contention: my overemphasized formula that teams with the best guards always win in March…
So I figured, why don’t we go ahead and try applying this formula to this year’s tournament? And thus, my list of the best guards heading into March Madness 2010 was born. Let’s say, at the minimum, if 3 of my top 4 backcourts make the elite 8, the formula will be accepted for at least one more season. Sound fair? Eh, who cares. Here it is.
Disclaimer: These are not the best teams or even my picks for the tournament. This list only addresses my rather subjective assessment of the best guard play in college basketball, mind you, with the most important games still left to play.
1. Kansas Jayhawks (32-2)
Sheron Collins is the best guard in the country. It is easy to put him at number one because he has experience, durability, poise, and has shown he can be clutch in the tournament (i.e. 2008 against Memphis- steal, three, pass to Chalmers). This backcourt is too deep with a lot of next level potential.
Sherron Collins: 15.3 ppg, 4.4 apg
Xavier Henry: 13.9 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 41.6% 3PT
Tyshawn Taylor: 7.7. ppg, 3.3 apg
Brady Morningstar: 4.3 ppg, 3 apg
2. Kansas State Wildcats (26-7)
I love the speed of this backcourt. They’ve shown themselves to be a formidable opponent to the Big 12′s best- kept it really close with Kansas in 2 of 3 and beat Baylor twice (the next best Big 12 backcourt). They’re very capable of (and will have to rely on) riding these two to the Final Four.
Jacob Pullen: 18.9 ppg, 2 spg, 3.6 apg
Denis Clemente: 16 ppg, 4.2 apg
3. Kentucky Wildcats (32-2)
The most talented of any of the duos. If they both stayed another year, I’d certainly have to place them at number one. But, undeniably, their youth and inexperience could be their downfall. I’d still expect them going on a run to the Final Four or even a championship, but with that being said.. they haven’t played any team as talented as Texas all season. Oh yeah, and they have DeMarcus Cousins to pass to.
John Wall: 16.9 ppg, 6.4 apg, 4.2 rpg, 1.8 spg
Eric Bledsoe: 10.8 ppg, 3 apg, 3.1 rpg
4. Duke Blue Devils (29-5)
By their scoring numbers, Scheyer and Smith could easily be number one on this list. Neither of the two, however, are the greatest penetrators or the best inside the lane. Nonetheless, Scheyer is one of the elite perimeter shooters in the country. With a seemingly easy draw, they could be well on their way to Lucas Oil Stadium and the Final Four.
Jon Scheyer: 19 ppg, 5.1 apg, 1.6 spg, 3.7 rpg
Nolan Smith: 17.3 ppg, 2.9 apg
5. Villanova Wildcats (24-7)
Nova has always relied on their guards. Scottie Reynolds is one of the nation’s best perimeter scorers and I’ve always thought Corey Fisher was an incomparably tough gamer. They work well enough with each other to go deep, but the team relies so heavily on them (like Kansas State) that they could be upset early.
Scottie Reynolds: 18.8 ppg, 3.4 apg, 40% 3PT
Corey Fisher: 13.7 ppg, 4 apg, 2.9 rpg
Corey Stokes: 9.5 ppg, 4 rpg
Reggie Redding: 7.6 ppg, 42.1 % 3PT
6. Ohio State Buckeyes (27-7)
You may not agree with me on this, but ask any NBA scout and they’ll tell you this backcourt has more NBA talent than you’d think. We know about Turner by now, but there is also Diebler- a 6’7″ lights out shooter with another year to make his case for the draft. And Buford is a surprising 6’5″. The Buckeyes may have problems with depth as well as ball control on offense, and they do have a tough draw, but don’t be surprised if Turner wills his team to the Elite 8.
Evan Turner: 20.3 ppg, 5.9 apg, 9.2 rpg, 1.9 spg
Jon Diebler: 12.9 ppg, 42.3% 3PT
William Buford: 14.5 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 3.3 apg
David Lighty: 12.7 ppg, 4.6 rpg
7. Baylor Bears (25-7)
The bottom of the South region is exciting. Two of the best backcourts in the land (‘Nova and Baylor) could face off in the Sweet 16. Both of these teams will live and die by their guard play, and in Baylor’s case its allowed them to remain competitive in every single game this season- they’ve never lost by more than 7 points!
LaceDarius Dunn: 19.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 42.6% 3 PT
Tweety Carter: 15.7 ppg, 6.4 apg
8. Maryland Terrapins (23-8)
A tough road for Maryland with Michigan State and Kansas on the horizon, but you can’t deny the numbers Grevis Vasquez has put up this year and the underrated Eric Hayes who happens to be one of the best three point gunners in the land. Remember the last time Maryland had a better backcourt.. What were those guys names? Dixon? Blake?
Grevis Vasquez: 19.5 ppg, 6.3 apg, 4.6 rpg, 1.8 spg
Eric Hayes: 11.1 ppg, 3.9 apg, 45% 3PT
Sean Mosley: 10.5 ppg, 5.2 rpg
9. BYU Cougars
Plain and simple, they got jipped with a 7 seed. Although they got a draw against arguably the worst 10 in Florida, BYU deserved better. They’ll have a tough time advancing to the Sweet 16 with Kansas State awaiting. But I can assure you, if they win first round and compete with K State, everyone in the country will know Jimmer Fredette.
Jimmer Fredette: 21.8 ppg, 4.7 apg, 44.8% 3PT
Jackson Emery: 12.6 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 2.7 spg, 43% 3PT
Tyler Haws: 11.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg
10. Oklahoma State Cowboys (22-10)
They have a potential top 5 pick in the best scorer in the country. Anderson will have a chance to display is ability in the best first round matchup of the tourney (vs. Ga Tech). It behooves me to include a team of this talent, with the NCAA ppg leader and 3 guards as their top 3 scorers.
James Anderson: 22.7 ppg, 5.8 rpg
Keiton Page: 10.7 ppg, 2.8 apg
Obi Muonelo: 13.4 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 43.3% 3PT
-Syracuse Orangemen (28-4)
Andy Rautins: 11.7 ppg, 5 apg, 2.1 spg
Scoop Jardine: 8.8 ppg, 4.6 apg
Brandon Triche: 8.1 ppg, 3 apg
-Wisconsin Badgers (23-8)
Trevon Hughes: 15.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 1.8 spg
Jason Bohannon: 11.8 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 40.3 3PT
Jordan Taylor: 10.2 ppg, 3.6 apg
-Michigan State Spartans (24-8)
Kalin Lucas: 14.9 ppg, 4 apg
Durrell Summers: 10.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg
Chris Allen: 9.1 ppg, 41% 3PT
-Temple Owls (29-5)
Ryan Brooks: 14.4 ppg, 4.4 rpg,
Juan Fernandez: 12.7 ppg, 3.6 apg, 46.1% 3PT
Ramon Moore: 7.6 ppg, 3.1 rpg