Wizards

College basketball's best - so far

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College basketball's best - so far

Kentucky's Anthony Davis was pretty much everyone's choice as the national player of the year last season.

This season, at least as it nears the midpoint, the player of the year honor appears to be up for grabs.

Though there are a few players who might be considered front-runners, there are roughly two dozen, maybe more, who could be considered the best in the country.

Here's a few, sort of a sampler of the season so far:

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Mason Plumlee, Duke. Best player on the No. 1 team is a pretty good start the conversation. The versatile, 6-foot-10 forward has been dominating at times during his senior season, shooting 61 percent from the floor while averaging 19.1 points and 11.3 rebounds per game. Plumlee had 21 points and 15 rebounds in the Blue Devils' rout of Elon Thursday night, a day after getting 19 and nine against Cornell. When Duke (11-0) needs a big shot or rebound, it's usually Plumlee who gets it, and he's a big reason the Blue Devils climbed to No. 1 for the 16th straight season under coach Mike Krzyzewski.

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Trey Burke, Michigan. Burke thought about leaving for the NBA after his freshman season. Deciding to stick around may end up helping his draft status. The 6-0 sophomore was an AP preseason All-American and has arguably been the nation's best point guard through the first two months of the season. Burke got away with playing on natural ability last season, but his game has matured and he's helped the Wolverines open the season 11-0 and climb to No. 2 in the AP Top 25. He's shooting 53 percent, impressive for a guard, while averaging 18 points and seven assists, teaming with Tim Hardaway Jr. in what may be the nation's best backcourt.

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Doug McDermott, Creighton. Another preseason All-American, the coach's son is as tenacious as anyone in the game. Teams have tried just about everything against the 6-8 junior forward and few have found a way to slow him down. McDermott was third nationally with 22.9 points per game last season and is third again this year, up to 23.7. McDermott became the first Creighton player since 1990 to score 30 points in consecutive games last week and is averaging 6.8 rebounds. He's also shooting 55 percent, including 51 percent from 3-point range.

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Nick Johnson, Arizona. East Coast fans probably don't get to see much of Johnson since Arizona's games are usually on late, but he's been the glue that's held the Wildcats (9-0) together during their best start in 25 years. An athletic 6-3 guard, he was solid as a freshman last season, but has played with much more poise and confidence as a sophomore. Johnson has hit some big shots for Arizona while scoring 13.6 points per game, second on the team, and is a tenacious defender in the vein of his uncle, former Boston Celtics great Dennis Johnson.

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C.J. McCollum, Lehigh. McCollum was fifth nationally with 21.9 points per game last season and drew plenty of attention by scoring 30 points in Lehigh's upset victory over Duke in the NCAA tournament. Even with opponents geared toward stopping him, McCollum has been nearly unstoppable during his senior season. The 6-3 guard leads the nation with 24.9 points per game and is averaging 5.4 rebounds and 3.1 assists. McCollum is tied for fifth nationally in 3-point shooting, hitting 51.9 percent, and is generating plenty of attention from NBA scouts.

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Isaiah Canaan, Murray State. Canaan may be the best player in his state, which is saying something with powerhouses like Louisville and Kentucky just down the road. The 6-1 senior guard led the Racers to national prominence last season and has been even better this season. A preseason All-American and the reigning Ohio Valley Conference player of the year, he's seventh nationally in scoring at 21.3 points per game and has led Murray State to a 9-1 record. Relatively unheralded when he joined the Racers, he could be headed to the NBA after he leaves Murray.

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Wizards vs. Spurs Game 12: TV Channel, Live stream, how to watch

Wizards vs. Spurs Game 12: TV Channel, Live stream, how to watch

The Wizards host the Spurs Wednesday at Capital One Arena with both teams looking to get back into the win column.

Scott Brooks' squad was unable to grab the victory on the road in Orlando Sunday as the Wizards (3-8) fell to Magic, 125-121. Bradley Beal put up 34 points and eight assists in the effort but that was not enough. C.J. Miles and Davis Bertans contributed 21 and 15, respectively.

The Spurs fell to the Mavericks on Monday night, 117-110. The Spurs have now lost eight of their last nine games and are sitting at 5-9 in the Western Conference. DeMar DeRozan scored a season-high 36 in the losing effort. 

In their last matchup on Oct. 26, the Spurs came out on top of D.C. with a 124-122 victory. 

Here is everything you need to know: 

SPURS @ WIZARDS HOW TO WATCH

What: San Antonio Spurs @ Washington Wizards, Game 12

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington D.C.

When: Wednesday, November 20 at 7 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Spurs @ Wizards will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington Plus (NBC Sports Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can live stream Spurs @ Wizards on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the NBC Sports MyTeams App.

Radio: Wizards Radio Network, 1500 AM

SPURS @ WIZARDS TV SCHEDULE

6:00 PM: Wizards Outsiders (LIVE) [NBC Sports Washington Plus]

6:30 PM: Wizards Pregame Live (LIVE) [NBC Sports Washington Plus]

7:00: Spurs @ Wizards (LIVE) [NBC Sports Washington Plus]

9:30 PM: Wizards Postgame Live (LIVE) [NBC Sports Washington Plus]

10:00 PM: Wizards Talk (LIVE) [NBC Sports Washington Plus]

SPURS @ WIZARDS INJURY REPORT:

Spurs: Dejounte Murray (Day-to-day, illness)

Wizards: John Wall (OUT, Left Achilles rehab), Ian Mahinmi (OUT, Right Achilles strain)

SPURS @ WIZARDS PLAYERS TO WATCH

Bradley Beal, G, Wizards (30.1 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 6.9 apg): Over Beal's last three games, the star shooting guard is averaging 40.7 points, 8.0 assists, and 4.7 rebounds.

Rui Hachimura, PF, Wizards (13.1 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.7 apg): Hachimura struggled against the Magic, shooting 3-for-7 in the losing effort. 

DeMar DeRozan, SG, Spurs (19.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 4.8 apg): DeRozan's season-high 36 points was not enough to put the Spurs ahead of the Mavericks on Monday night. Luka Doncic led the Mavs with 42 points, 11 rebounds, and 12 assists. 

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Hathaway spits, Panik scores and Boyd produces

Hathaway spits, Panik scores and Boyd produces

WASHINGTON -- The Capitals won 5-2 on Monday against the Anaheim Ducks in a game that very much took a backseat to the fight that erupted in the second period.

You can read a recap of the game here.

Observations from the win

Take off your fan hat for a minute when watching Hathaway

I love fans. I have a job because of fans. You guys love hockey so much you want people like me to write about hockey so that you can read about hockey when you're not watching hockey. But when you watch the Hathaway fracas, you guys have to take a step back and take off the fan hats.

Hathaway spit on a dude. You can't have that.

Yes, Erik Gudbranson socked him while he was being held back by the refs. That's bad. Yes, I can understand why he would be pissed. Honestly, he should have just tried to punch him back. But...

Hathaway spit on a dude. You can't have that.

I got a lot of reaction from fans saying "It was his mouth guard," "Some spit came out of his mouth when he was punched, but it wasn't a spit," "What about Brad Marchand licking people?" "The rules say game misconduct, not an automatic match penalty, so clearly the suspension should be rescinded!

Let's try to look at this objectively.

Hathaway after the game admitted to spitting on Gudbranson, albeit in the most awkward way possible.

"The refs were trying to break it up," he said, "And it felt like there was a couple sucker punches thrown and I got there one quick and then reacted a little emotionally and unfortunately spit came out of my mouth after I got sucker punched and it went on to him.”

One player spit on another, it was caught on camera and he admitted to it afterward.

The gaggle of penalties the referees called was a mess and half of them were wrong. Having said that, they got Hathaway right by tossing him and supplementary discipline is likely coming.

"It has no place," Hathaway said. "It was an emotional play by me. You don’t plan any of that stuff in your head and it was a quick reaction and unfortunately the wrong one for me to a sucker punch.”

Journalist note

Hathaway did not have to talk after the game. A lot of players don't talk after a bad game or a bad situation like this. Hathaway did. That does not absolve him from spitting, but I thought it was worth noting that he did not hide away from the media. He came out and answered our questions. I'm sure it wasn't fun, but he did it. Good on him.

Oh yeah, there was a hockey game....

It was easy to forget that an actual game was being played with everything going on in the second period. I have to admit that I did not even notice that Stephenson scored. When Brendan Leipsic came in and decked Derek Grant, my eyes were glued to everything going on below the goal line. I literally did not know there was a goal until I watched the replay and realized, oh...Stephenson scored?

By the way, the Ducks and Caps play again on Dec. 6.

Don't Panik

Panik has played well since returning from injury and finally, finally he was rewarded with a goal. He spoke after the game about how his game improved after the injury and that has been clear to me ever since he returned.

Travis Boyd is an NHL player

Boyd added another assist in this game as he set up Panik 50 seconds in.  He now has six points in eight games played. Most importantly, he has a cap hit of only $800,000. He needs to stick around in Washington.

Turning point

Stephenson's goal simultaneously marked the moment the game was out of reach, and the moment neither team cared what the score was anymore.

Play of the game

This was a real pretty move by Evgeny Kuznetsov. I thought he was shooting, John Gibson thought he was shooting, the Ducks thought he was shooting, but he wasn't.

Stat of the game

There were 50 total penalty minutes handed out for the second-period brawl:

Hathaway received a five-minute major for fighting and a 10-minute match penalty
Brendan Leipsic received a double-minor for roughing
Gudbranson received a minor for roughing and a 10-minute misconduct
Brendan Guhle received a double-minor for roughing
Nick Ritchie received a game (10-minute) misconduct

Quote of the game

The entire scrum erupted when Leipsic knocked Grant over with an incredible hit. From there all hell broke loose. Stephenson was asked about Leipsic after the game:

"Since growing up, playing against him since I was 15, and you know he's been the exact same. He catches guys by surprise. I've seen him knock guys that are twice his size on their ass. So he's pretty stocky and a little fire hydrant out there."

Fan predictions

This is impressive. Hathaway fought...the entire Ducks team. Ovechkin and Jakub Vrana both scored while Boyd assisted on the first goal.

Nailed it. This makes me feel sorry for the one fan who predicts a Radko Gudas goal every single game....

Yikes. This is awkward.

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