Home > News > DAILY DISH: Pacers, Sixers send shockwaves through the NBA, Memphis joining Big East

DAILY DISH: Pacers, Sixers send shockwaves through the NBA, Memphis joining Big East

By: Kels Dayton

  • Lou Williams has been the man for the Sixers down the stretch, and is a big reason why Philly owns a surprising 18-7 mark. (AP Photo)

    The Pacers and Sixers have been the feel-good stories of the early NBA season, streaking out to a combined 35-14 record (Philly is 18-7, Indy 17-7). Neither team has a bona-fire superstar, but both are loaded with good young players who go hard for a full 48 minutes every night. Philadelphia’s Doug Collins has done an amazing job of lifting the Sixers from a team with a relatively shallow ceiling to a legitimate contender in the Eastern Conference. Philly has had remarkable balance, with six players averaging in double figures in scoring, led by sixth man of the year candidate Lou Williams (15.5 ppg). Jrue Holiday, Andre Iguodala and Thaddeus Young are each averaging over 12 points per game.

    The Sixers are the league’s stingiest team defensively, allowing a robust 86.6 points per game. Indiana has the 4th-best defense in the league (90.4 ppg) and is the NBA’s top rebounding team (44.9 rpg). The emergence of Roy Hibbert (13.7 ppg, 9.7 rpg) has come as a shock to Big East fans who thought the big man from Georgetown would be a stiff at the next level.  Don’t be surprised if either team wins its division, particularly the Sixers, which have been the class of the aging Atlantic.

  • Kentucky's Anthony Davis is one of the most unique talents in the nation. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

    Kentucky’s Anthony Davis is closing the gap on Kansas F Thomas Robinson for the National Player of the Year Award, and he’s closing it fast. Davis was spectacular in the Wildcats’ 78-58 thrashing of No. 7 Florida in Rupp Arena on Tuesday, putting up 16 points, 6 rebounds and 4 blocks in what has become the norm for him. Davis is now averaging 13.9 points, 10.1 rebounds and 4.8 blocks per game, is an absolute certainty to be named Defensive Player of the Year and has the national Freshman of the Year award on pretty good lockdown, too. ESPN’s Dick Vitale has been wondering aloud whether Davis can become the first player ever to win those two awards, capture National Player of the Year honors and go number 1 in that year’s NBA draft. It’s certainly a possibility for Davis, whose unibrow has apparently given him other-worldly powers normally reserved for non-human life forms.

  • Joe Jackson and Memphis just got a significant strength of schedule upgrade next season. ( Joe Murphy/Getty Images)

    Memphis has announced that it will join the Big East in all sports in 2013, a move that has been long overdue. The conference needed to replace departing basketball powers Pittsburgh and Syracuse with another basketball-first school, which newcomers San Diego State, SMU, Houston and Central Florida are not. Louisville’s Rick Pitino had been clamoring to get the Tigers into the Big East, but the conference was reluctant because of Memphis’ paltry football history. The whole thing is disgusting, but at least the Big East won’t fall apart as a basketball power without two of its prime members.

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