Busting Brackets

NCAA Basketball: Oumar Ballo, Morris Udeze among Week 3 top players

FAYETTEVILLE, ARKANSAS - NOVEMBER 11: Anthony Black #0 of the Arkansas Razorbacks looks at the camera during a game against the Fordham Rams at Bud Walton Arena on November 11, 2022 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The Razorbacks defeated the Rams 74-48. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
FAYETTEVILLE, ARKANSAS - NOVEMBER 11: Anthony Black #0 of the Arkansas Razorbacks looks at the camera during a game against the Fordham Rams at Bud Walton Arena on November 11, 2022 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The Razorbacks defeated the Rams 74-48. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /
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Foster Loyer #0 of the Davidson Wildcats (Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images)
Foster Loyer #0 of the Davidson Wildcats (Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images) /

Mid Major Nominees for the week

Rayquawandis Mitchell

Kansas City may have had the best Feast week of any of the mid-major teams. The Roos played in the Championship of the Gulf Coast Classic and they had the biggest win of their young season when they pulled off the upset against Toledo. Mitchell was a huge part of Kansas City’s success at that tournament as he averaged 27 points per game at the tournament and couldn’t miss against Toledo. The guard entered the week averaging just a shade over 10 points per game but saw his average increase. Mitchell just had the best week of his career.

Justin Johnson

The UT Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros won 2 out of their three games this week and Johnson nearly had back-to-back 30-point games. The guard scored 34 points in a win over Western Illinois and then followed it up with a 26-point performance in a win of Northern Arizona. Not many people know about Johnson and even fewer have ever watched the Vaqueros play. The guard is turning into one of the elite scorers in the game and likely will find himself on this list multiple times.

Josh Cohen

I really Cohen as a player and he turns the Saint Francis Red Flash into a legitimate title threat in the Northeast Conference. Cohen is the big man for Saint Francis and dominates the touches in the offense. The Red Flash may have only won one game this last week but it was not because of Cohen. In a loss to Lehigh, the big man had 40 points and 9 rebounds. He followed that up with a 16-point outing against a non-Division 1 and then ended the week with a 12-point and 5-rebound game in a loss to American. Cohen tapered off toward the end of the week, but anytime you can score 40 points in a game you are going to find yourself in the Player of the week conversation.

Freddy Hicks

Hicks is a 6’6” 210 pound point guard for the Tarleton Texans and he is a guy who everyone should watch play. The Texans are not known for their offense and they like to play slow and grind games out but the sophomore point guard is the focal point of the offense and is on pace to lead the WAC in scoring. Tarleton lost both of their games this week but Hicks had a 30-point 9 rebound game against Drake and then followed it up with a 14-point, 8-rebound and 5-assist game. The second game was a struggle for Hicks from the floor but he still had a tremendous impact on the game. He is the most important player for Tarleton.

Jelly Walker

The UAB point guard makes his second appearance on the nominee list for the mid-majors. Walker is an elite scorer and one of the best overall in the game and he stands at just 5’11.”  The point guard is one of the fastest players in the country and has the ability to score points quickly. In a game against the Georgia Bulldogs, he scored 30 points to go with 5 assists and 5 steals. That game was a bounce back from one of his worst performances in a long time in a win over South Florida he only managed 15 points on 29% shooting from the floor. It was very uncharacteristic for Walker to play that badly but he made up for it against the Bulldogs. Walker is currently leading the country in scoring.

Ishmael Leggett

It has been a struggle for the Rhode Island Rams early on this season and Leggett has been one of the few bright spots for head coach Archie Miller. The guard had one of the best performances in the Cayman Islands Classic history. In the second game against Tulane Leggett had 34 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists. He also shot 70% from the floor in that game. Leggett came back to reality a bit but still had a great week. Rhode Island is not going to win many games but the guard may keep them in some games they have no business being in if he can get hot.

Bryce Pope

UC San Diego was a great Division 2 school and they are now showing that they are going to be a factor in the Big West quickly. They may not win the league but they are going to play hard and give every team a game. The Tritons have one of the best guards in the league in Pope. To start the season the guard was having a good start already averaging 15 points per game over the first two weeks. Then when this week hit he erupted and was the best player on the floor in both games the Tritons played this week. In a win over George Washington, the guard scored 31 points missing only 5 shots in the process in a win. He was able to follow that up with a 20-point performance in a win over Eastern Michigan.

Morris Udeze

The New Mexico Lobos were very active in the transfer portal, and Udeze is a result of a find that head coach Richard Pitino made to get the big man to the Mountain West. Udeze has always been efficient from the floor and this week was no exception. In the win over Jacksonville State, Udeze shot 81% from the floor and finished with 22 points and 6 rebounds. He was able to follow that up in a win over North Dakota State with 12 points. The game that put him on this list this week and very well may win him the award was a 33-point and 14-rebound performance against Northern Colorado. Sure the Lobos didn’t have much in the way of competition this week but Udeze was great all week long.

Steven Ashworth

The Mountain West is going to be loaded this year with San Diego State, UNLV, Colorado State, New Mexico, and Utah State. The Aggies are back to being one of the premier programs in the Mountain West and guard Ashworth is a huge reason why. In the one game this week against Oral Roberts, the guard scored 30 points with 4 assists. He shot 90 from deep, which upped his season average to 50% from beyond the arc. Ashworth is one of the game’s best shooters and 30-point games may become a thing with him.

Tyree Corbett

The Denver Pioneers have been a pleasant surprise through the first three weeks as they sit at 6-1 and look to be a player in the Summit League. Corbett has been the best player for the Pioneers and had a great week on the floor. In the win over IUPUI, the forward had 12 points and 10 rebounds. In a win over the Citadel, Corbett went off for 30 points and 12 rebounds. He capped off the week with a 3-point and 8-rebound performance in a win over New Orleans. The end of the week was not great but Corbett still contributed on the glass if he was not scoring.

Foster Loyer

I am going to go ahead and go out on a very sturdy limb and say that the Davidson Wildcats star is going to find himself on this list more often than not. It is because of his ability to have 30-point scoring nights on the regular. He already has 3 30 point games in 7 games played this year. Loyer is going to win this award a few times as well. In a win over San Francisco, the senior point guard scored 30 points to go along with 7 assists and 5 rebounds. Davidson only playing one game last week hurt Loyer. Fear, not Wildcats fans your point guard will get his recognition.

Tylor Perry

North Texas has never been known much for offense, the Mean Green has been one of the best defensive teams in the country for a while but Perry is changing that as he is one of the biggest offensive threats in the Conference USA. Perry had a great week in the Bahamas. He started off the week with 35 points in a win over San Jose State. He followed that up with 12 points and 2 assists in a win over Long Beach State. Then to close out the week on Championship Sunday he scored 17 points with 4 rebounds in a close loss to North Carolina Wilmington.

That does it for the nominations for week three of the Busting Brackets mid-major player of the week. Who is the winner this week?