Following a nice Week 10 (10-4
ATS), I crapped the bed in Week 11 (6-7-1). There are still a handful of
teams that I honestly don't have a solid read on...kinda disconcerting
this late in a season.
me, Philadelphia must be faded until further notice. Simply fading
Sanchez is usually a good bet; when you factor in a crumbling defensive
unit and a locker room that is reportedly coming apart at the seams, how
can you justify picking the Eagles? Four days isn't enough time to
address their growing list of problems. I can see Megatron eclipsing 200
yards vs. Byron Maxwell/Nolan Carroll.
of the Week. I love this spot for the Cowboys; an absolute must-win
situation vs. a team that has created some cushion in the NFC and blew
their wad against Washington. Don't underestimate the absence of Peanut
Tillman in this one. Without Tillman, Benwikere moves to the perimeter,
meaning the godawful Colin Jones draws slot duties. Cole Beasley should
Bennett is out, so if Alshon Jeffery can't go, Jay Cutler's starting
receivers will be Marquess Wilson, Josh Bellamy and Zach Miller. That's
practice squad-quality. Given Jay Cutler's history vs. GB and the
absence of secondary QB Antrel Rolle, there seems little hope for the
Bears. Still, I can't shake the feeling that they will keep it close if
Matt Forte is active. This might be Chicago's Super Bowl, and with high
winds/frozen rain in the forecast, both teams could be restricted to
ball-control offense...an ideal scenario for John Fox and the
Forte/Langford duo. If both Forte and Jeffery can go and the pregame
forecast is as expected, I may jump on the Bears.
F/C: Mitchell Young (Jr)/Kenton Walker (Sr)/Kyle Rowley (Jr)/Brad Waldow (Fr)
PF: Rob Jones (Sr)/Tim Williams (Jr)/Beau Levesque (So)
G/F: Stephen Holt (So)/Clint Steindel (Sr)/Eividas Petrulis (Fr)
G: Paul McCoy (Jr)
PG: Matthew Dellavedova (Jr)/Jorden Page (So)
Gone: G-Mickey McConnell, PF-Phil Benson
For the second time in three years, Saint Mary's ended up on the wrong side of the NCAA-Tournament bubble despite a successful regular season. Things only get more difficult for the Gaels with addition of BYU to the West Coast Conference (WCC). Still, with a solid core returning, St. Mary's should be right back in the conference title hunt.
The Gaels lose half of their backcourt in WCC Player of the Year Mickey McConnell, but return Matthew Dellavedova. The Aussie is a two-year starter and got even more experience this summer playing for the Australian National Team. He is not nearly as efficient a three-point shooter as McConnell, but can light it up from deep when he gets the hot hand and also uses his size to get to the basket.
Dellavedova will likely take on the ball-handling responsibilities, although SMU transfer Paul McCoy is also capable of running the point. After sitting out last season, McCoy will be an impact player and possibly part of a three-guard look that will also feature rising sophomore Stephen Holt. Jorden Page returns from a season-ending knee injury that cost him all but seven games last year and will be a key backcourt reserve for the Gaels.
The frontcourt returns all its contributors and will provide head coach Randy Bennett with plenty of options. At 6-foot-6, Rob Jones might be undersized but uses his physicality in the paint and three-point range to be an effective inside/outside threat. He will return to the starting lineup and be joined by either Mitchell Young, Clint Steindel, Kenton Walker, or Tim Williams.
Young is the only of those four players not to start a game last season but is undoubtedly the most talented. He averaged more than ten points and five rebounds, despite playing around 21 minutes a night. Walker and Williams seem better suited as role players off the bench and will also have to compete with Northwestern transfer Kyle Rowley for playing time. Steindel is a perimeter-based forward who connected on 42.3% of his triple tries and gives Bennett more size at small forward when he wants to go with a bigger lineup. Redshirt freshman Brad Waldow, Beau Lavesque, and Eividas Petrulis figure to be the odd men out in the rotation.
McConnell is the only contributor gone from last year's team, which means the Gaels bring plenty of experience and versatility to the floor. Gonzaga will once again be the team to beat in the WCC, but Saint Mary's should find themselves on the right side of the bubble this year if they don't earn the league's automatic bid to the Big Dance.
Player to Watch: Paul McCoy, G
As a freshman at SMU, the 5-11 guard averaged 13.4 points, 4 boards, and 3 assists per game. His numbers dipped a bit his sophomore year, which ended early due to a knee injury. McCoy is a solid defender who will pester opposing points guard and allow the bigger Dellavedova to guard two's.