Predicting Which Red-Hot College Basketball Stars Will Cool Off

David Aldridge@davidmaldridgeFeatured ColumnistDecember 2, 2013

Predicting Which Red-Hot College Basketball Stars Will Cool Off

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    There have been some incredible performances through the first part of the 2013-14 college basketball season.

    Some players have lived up to expectations with their great play, while others have been more of a surprise.

    And while it’s been impressive to see so many get off to fantastic starts, there are many who won’t be able to maintain the pace they are currently on.

    Here are a few red-hot college basketball players who will cool off as the season progresses.

D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Georgetown

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    Georgetown got off to a slow start when it lost two of its first three games, but D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera has done everything he can to lead the Hoyas to victory.

    The team has responded and is currently on a three-game winning streak, with Smith-Rivera leading the way as he’s averaging 18.7 points per game. Yet, it’s unlikely he continues playing with the same efficiency.

    Smith-Rivera is shooting over 52 percent from the field and 53 percent from three-point range, which are incredibly high numbers considering the amount of shots he takes. His effective field-goal percentage is 64.9 percent, which is also outstanding.

    His percentages could drop by 10 points, and he’d still have great season averages. At some point, Smith-Rivera’s efficiency has to regress back to a reasonable mean.

Cameron Clark, Oklahoma

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    Cameron Clark has been fantastic for Oklahoma this season, and he had his best game when he scored 32 points and grabbed seven rebounds in a loss to Michigan State.

    Though Clark is a senior who appears to be blossoming in the final year of his career, his average of 18.8 points this season is nearly 10 points higher than what he’s averaged during any other season.

    He’s also never averaged more than eight shots per game, and this season he’s already taking nearly 13 shots per contest. While it’s natural for his productivity to increase, it’s also unlikely he can continue to shoot over 53 percent from the field and 50 percent from beyond the three-point line.

    Once Oklahoma begins to play better opponents on a regular basis, Clark’s numbers will decline.

Gary Bell Jr., Gonzaga

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    Gary Bell Jr. hasn’t been the best player for Gonzaga, as that award would go to Kevin Pangos, the team’s talented point guard.

    However, Bell has combined with Pangos to give the Bulldogs one of the best backcourts in the country.

    He’s scoring 15 points per game and shooting over 60 percent from the field and 56 percent from three-point range. He shot just under 40 percent from beyond the three-point line last season while taking fewer shots, which doesn’t typically lend itself to such a dramatic increase in efficiency in the next season.

    Though Gonzaga’s schedule lends itself to Bell continuing to put up big numbers, it’s nearly impossible for him to continue shooting the ball as well as he has through the first seven games.

Marcus Paige, North Carolina

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    Marcus Paige has been one of the most valuable players in the country to start the season.

    With P.J. Hairston and Leslie McDonald still sidelined because of off-court issues, Paige has had to carry the Tar Heels.

    He’s scoring 22.4 points per game and shooting 53 percent from the field, but these numbers won’t continue.

    If Hairston and/or McDonald return, Paige won’t have the burden of creating so much of the offense for the Tar Heels and can be more of a distributor. If neither player returns, other defenses will devote more attention to Paige and force him to find open teammates.

    And as long as North Carolina continues to be so dependent on Paige, the Tar Heels will continue to struggle.

Nik Stauskas, Michigan

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    Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary were viewed as the two key returning players from last year’s Michigan team that reached the national championship game, but Nik Stauskas has been the most productive Wolverine in the 2013-14 season.

    The sophomore guard is averaging more than 20 points per game and has filled a huge gap left by Tim Hardaway Jr. and Trey Burke.

    Unfortunately for Michigan, he sprained his ankle in a loss to Charlotte in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Championship, and his return date is unknown.

    The Wolverines will also benefit as Mitch McGary continues to work his way back into form after dealing with a back injury, which should impact the responsibility Stauskas has had of carrying the offense.