Bull Market—Trending Up
Matt Jones and Andre Dawkins: With Alex Murphy announcing that he will be transferring at the end of the semester, there is one less player to clog the wing rotation. Though Murphy hadn't been playing much of late—he was a DNP-CD in four of Duke's last five games—his absence does give Jones and Dawkins a longer leash. Nonetheless, the duo deserved time on the court regardless of Murphy's playing status. The guards form what amounts to a perfect platoon, with Jones a near-lockdown defender and Dawkins a skilled shooter who can score in bunches. With that being said, good luck to Murphy in his post-Duke life.
Seth Curry: Curry was trending up a week ago for his play on the court, which apparently the Memphis Grizzlies noticed, as Curry was invited to tryout for the club this week. Among the other guards in attendance were NBA veterans Darius Morris and Reggie Williams, and former North Carolina point guard Kendall Marshall. Curry is proving on the hardwood to NBA teams that he is much more than just Stephen's kid brother.
Andrew Wiggins: Jabari Parker and the rest of the Blue Devils were off this week, opening the door for another Diaper Dandy to steal the spotlight. That man was Wiggins. Wiggins has taken his game to a whole new level in his past two contests, averaging 24.0 points on 53.8 percent shooting to go with 8.0 rebounds. His 26 points and 11 rebounds against Florida were both career-highs. Although the Jayhawks are struggling—more on that later—Wiggins has been better than ever.
North Carolina: Has there been a more bipolar team in recent history? The Tar Heels just have everyone guessing as to what their potential really is. North Carolina lost a pair of home games to non-conference foes Belmont and UAB, but also have tough wins against then-No. 3 Louisville and then-No. 1 Michigan State. The Louisville win came on a neutral court and the win against the Spartans was on the road. I don't know who will win when the No. 18 Tar Heels meet No. 11 Kentucky in the Dean Dome, but I do know I'll be glued to that game.
- Utah Jazz: Or are they trending up? It's so hard to tell in the NBA these days. The Jazz, led by former Butler star Gordon Hayward, are now the owners of the NBA's worst record, sitting at 4-19. That means Utah is in the pole position in the Sorry for Jabari race. Rumors say that it is Parker—not Wiggins, Marcus Smart, Julius Randle, Dante Exum or Joel Embiid—that would be the Jazz's choice if they landed the first pick in the 2014 NBA draft. The Mormon connection is probably not a coincidence.
- UCLA: The Bruins suffered their first loss of the season this week, dropping a road game to Missouri 81-70. The loss knocked UCLA out of the AP Top 25 before its Dec. 19 matchup with Duke at Madison Square Garden in New York. With the immense talent on the Bruins roster, it is a guarantee that they will pose a significant threat to the Blue Devils when the two teams meet. Jordan Adams is averaging 21.6 points per game, Zach LaVine has entered the conversation as a lottery pick in the upcoming NBA draft and Kyle Anderson has started drawing Paul George comparisons for his well-rounded game.
- Kansas: Not even Andrew Wiggins' brilliance has been able to save Kansas these last few games. After a bad loss in Colorado, the Jayhawks followed it up with a 69-61 loss to No. 19 Florida. It's well too early to give up on Kansas this season, however. The Jayhawks did beat Duke earlier this year, and let's not forget that they survived a three-game losing streak in conference play a season ago and had three non-conference losses the season before that.