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Midwest Basketball Report

   by ASA - 01/14/2011


Each week, we will take an inside look at some key injuries and
developments
in College Basketball’s heartland.





*Saint Louis*

2009-10 leading scorer *Kwamain Mitchell* was reinstated this week
following
a suspension prior to fall practice. He didn’t play in Thursday
night’s loss
to Duquesne, but the junior guard who averaged 16 points a year ago
would be
a welcome addition to the 5-11 Billikens. Center and second leading
scorer
from 2010, *Willie Reed,* is also expecting to be reinstated sometime
in the
next week.



Perhaps the biggest problem for the Billikens is that head coach *Rick
Majerus* missed his third straight game after suffering a cut in his
leg.
Majerus was injured in Saint Louis’ game against Bowling Green on
January 1
st when two players crashed into him and sent him into the scorer’s
table,
giving him a gash in his leg that would later get infected. Saint
Louis
plays again Saturday and it is uncertain if Majerus, Reed, or
Mitchell will
be back in the lineup. But if they are, you may find a favorable
“play on”
team.



*Northwestern*

Star forward *John Shurna* sprained his ankle in Northwestern’s
blowout win
over Mount Saint Mary’s on December 23rd. Shurna played, but
struggled, in
three losses to Purdue, Michigan State, and Illinois. Shurna, who is
averaging 20.1 points per game, averaged just 9.6 points per game in
the
three losses (Northwestern was 0-3 ATS in those games). It appears
that he
is now healed, as he put up 24 and 16 points in back-to-back wins over
Indiana and Iowa this week.



The Wildcats have a rematch with Michigan State on Saturday and
things could
turn out differently with a healthy Shurna (lost by just three points
on
January 3rd).



*Southern Illinois*

Center *Gene Teague* sustained an ankle injury on December 22nd and
missed
SIU’s next three games. He then played some ineffective minutes in
two games
before sitting out Wednesday night’s loss to Missouri State. Teague
is third
on the team in points, second in rebounds, and first in blocks.
Teague’s
status remains in question.



Starting guard *Justin Bocot* has been dealing with a knee injury but
is
battling through it. He came off the bench last night and played 17
minutes.
He totaled 0 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists. Normally a starting
guard for
the Salukis; Bocot is the fourth leading scorer and is first in
steals but
is clearly not 100%. Bocut will play on Saturday in a showdown with
Northern
Iowa.



*Indiana State*

Indiana State’s top two scorers, *Dwayne Lathan* and *Jake Kelly*,
returned
to the lineup on Wednesday and helped the Sycamores get a six point
win at
Bradley. Other players stepped up in Lathan’s and Kelly’s absence, as
Indiana State won three straight games without their top two scorers.



Neither player had an extended role in the win against Bradley (Kelly
played
just 16 minutes and had 6 points while Lathan played just 12 minutes
and
didn’t score), but with games against Creighton, Missouri State, and
Wichita
State in the next week; they’ll need their top-scorers healthy.



*Kansas State***

Star forward and Wildcats third leading scorer *Curtis Kelly* hasn’t
played
since December 18th. First he was suspended for receiving
impermissible
benefits. Since then, he’s been reinstated but has been dealing with
a shin
injury that held him out of Wednesday’s loss to Colorado.



Kansas State appears to be struggling mightily without Kelly as it
has lost
four of its past seven games (including an 0-2 mark in conference
play)
minus the star forward. Kelly, KSU’s third leading scorer, remains
questionable for Saturday’s matchup with Texas Tech but expects to be
back
soon.



*Detroit*

Detroit’s third leading scorer (11.6 points per game) and best
rebounder
(10.7 per game) *Eli Holman* will miss Friday’s key matchup against
Butler
with a suspension for fighting. He was tangled up with
Illinois-Chicago’s
Brad Birton late in the first half of Saturday’s meeting. Holman will
be
missed against Butler’s strong inside attack.



Guard Chris Blake played his first five games with Detroit since
becoming
eligible after the first semester. After transferring schools, Blake
has
provided a spark to this offense. He is playing around 20 minutes per
game
and is averaging 9.6 points per game (scored more than 11 points three
times).



*Illinois-Chicago*

Forward *Brad Birton* will serve a one-game suspension for an
altercation
with Detroit’s Eli Holman which led to both players being ejected.
Birton
doesn’t average a lot of points (just 4.6 per game), but he is second
on the
team in rebounds and his presence will be missed in Thursday night’s
matchup
with UW-Milwaukee.



Birton’s contribution will be missed more if 6’9” center *Darin
Williams*can’t go. Williams missed UIC’s last two games with an
undisclosed injury
and remains questionable for Thursday night. Williams averages 6.1
points
per game (fourth on team) and 4.4 rebounds per game (third on team).



*Missouri*

Talented freshman guard *Phil Pressey* returned from injury to play
against
Colorado on January 8th. Missouri was starting to get key
contributions from
Pressey before a fractured finger sidelined him for four games. In
his last
three games before injury, the freshman amassed 27 assists with just
seven
turnovers (and averaged 9 points per game). He played nine minutes
last
Saturday but received 21 minutes in last night’s win over Nebraska.
Look for
more playing time for this talented freshman.



*Kansas*

*Mario Little* returns from a December 16th suspension on Wednesday
night.
The junior guard averages just over 6 points per game and 3 rebounds
per
game. Fellow guard *Travis Releford* will miss some time with a leg
injury
sustained in Sunday’s game vs. Michigan. Releford averages just over 5
points per game and 2 boards per game. Kansas has enough depth to play
without Releford. Don’t expect a negative impact.

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