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Best NCAA 1-2 punches in 2013-14
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On August 2, 2013 @ 1:37 pm In Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY Sports
Is it March yet? Hardly. With the NCAA tournament far in the rearview mirror and Midnight Madness several months away, USA TODAY Sports examines several story lines for the 2013-14 college basketball season.
When the season tips off in November, the nation’s best teams almost always boast star-caliber players with the ability to take over games on the offensive end.
Whether it’s in the backcourt, in the paint or a mix of both — off a pick-and-roll combination, the formula of two potent scorers can give a team a huge edge and strong NCAA tournament chances.
The 2013-14 season figures to be one of beauty — with top returners coming back after exploring NBA waters, and let’s not forget one of the most hyped freshmen classes to date. Almost every premier team’s makeup is led by a 1-2 scoring punch. Here’s a forecast of next season’s best dynamic duos:
Adreian Payne and Gary Harris, Michigan State: Payne and Harris passed on chances at the NBA to return to East Lansing — giving coach Tom Izzo what could be one of his best teams to date (that includes consecutive Final Four teams). The Spartans look like a preseason top five team, and that’s because Payne (10.5 points, 7.6 rebounds per game) and Harris (12.9 points per game) were the catalysts of MSU’s 27-9 team last season. At 6-10, 240 lbs, Payne is an interior force with major upside, and now that Derrick Nix is gone Izzo will count on Payne for much more offensive productivity. Harris is a dynamic combo guard who can create, and when teamed up with point guard Keith Appling, the Spartans own the Big Ten’s best backcourt. Appling might be the most important piece in initiating Izzo’s offense — running the pick and roll with Payne and creating for Harris. But Payne and Harris are the difference-makers.
Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III, Michigan: When Trey Burke announced he’d return for his sophomore season in 2012, coach John Beilein was gift-wrapped a future player of the year. Although NBA lottery candidates Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III … [For more on Starting Five: Best 1-2 punches in 2013-14, click here.]
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