Don’t sleep on Pelle Larsson. (X.com)
Purdue Boilermakers big man Zach Edey, already a mainstay on Player of the Year watch lists, finally drained his first career three-pointer; the Kentucky Wildcats look vulnerable, having dropped three straight home games (a first since its current arena opened in 1976); and the effort to unionize the Dartmouth basketball team is gaining steam.
Another Arizona Guard Making Waves
The Arizona Wildcats have rhymed off five straight wins, needing each one to maintain their one-game lead in the Pac 12. The eighth-ranked team was even able to hand Colorado its first home loss of the season.
While most people focus on guard Caleb Love as the main reason Arizona is rolling, senior guard Pelle Larsson has been flying under the radar. However, after potting 17 or more points in each of the last three while flirting with a triple double on Thursday (when he scored a career-high 27 points), Larsson’s tremendous play should start to gain more national attention for the underrated guard (see video below).
He’s become a much bigger part of the Wildcat attack this season, but even as his touches rise, he hasn’t been settling for treys. And no, the increase in Larsson’s scoring hasn’t come from the line, either; it’s all been inside the arc. He’s big for a guard (6’6″) and is a highly efficient pick-and-roll player.
Larsson’s stock has increased this season, and while it’s unclear if he’s moved the needle enough to get drafted, he should at the very least be invited to the NBA Combine to showcase his skills and ultimately try to work his way into the league as an undrafted free agent.
Dalton Knecht Remains Red Hot
The Tennessee Volunteers may be the sixth ranked team in the country, but having gone just 2-2 over their last four games, they’re having issues in SEC play, dropping to fourth place in the conference.
It’s been a bit of an underwhelming performance for a team with +280 odds of entering March Madness as a No. 1 seed, according to FanDuel.
On Saturday, the Vols were crushed on the road by the Aggies to the tune of a 16-point defeat in a game they never led. The fact that leading scorer Dalton Knecht was stapled to the bench for a long stretch with foul trouble didn’t help Tennessee in the least.
The senior guard has been red-hot of late, putting up at least 16 points in nine straight games, and while Saturday was a substandard shooting performance for him, all six of his successful attempts were treys.
A transfer from Northern Colorado this season, Knecht’s PT is down significantly, but even with fewer field goal and three-point attempts, he’s managed to up his scoring a tad thanks to more trips to the line and better accuracy from long distance and the charity stripe. He’s only behind Edey on most national player of the year watch lists.
Knecht has potential as an impact NBA wing given his tremendous shot-making prowess. With his size (6’6″) and NBA readiness, he could go in the top five of the draft. Knecht may have issues as a defender because of his lack of quickness, but as a scorer? He’s constantly in attack mode.
As an NBA player, Knecht could be a Pat Connaughton type, but likely without the defensive chops (or baseball skills).
Best Panther Team Ever?
The High Point Panthers have now won 13 of their last 14 games to maintain their slim lead atop the Big South Conference. However, given that they are not even a top 100 team in the country, it’s likely their only chance to earn their first ever March Madness bid will be by winning the conference tourney.
Still, since switching to Division I play in 1999, this is the best team the Panthers have had. High Point hit rock bottom in 2019-20, but has slowly improved since, taking a massive leap this season under first-year coach Alan Huss.
The key player on this squad is junior guard Duke Miles, who leads the team in scoring, assists and steals. He’s actually been very quiet lately, failing to top 18 points in five straight games, but overall he’s taken his game to a new level this season after transferring from Troy.
Miles has become almost a full-time starter, is jacking up more three-pointers and earning more points at the line. The combo guard is not considered an NBA prospect at this point, but has proven he can score against much bigger players.
RotoRob Tune of the Day
American new wave band The B-52s have been at it since 1976. In 1989, they released their fifth album, Cosmic Thing, and the fourth single was “Roam,” which rose all the way to No. 3 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.