By JOHN MARSHALL
AP Basketball Writer
The 2010-2011 college basketball season was notable for its carry-the-team individuals, players like Connecticut's Kemba Walker and Brigham Young's Jimmer Fredette putting up prodigious numbers while piling up victories.
West Virginia’s Kevin Jones leads the Big East in scoring and rebounding.
The Mountaineers’ Truck Bryant has become a force from his guard spot.
This season, it's more of a collective effort, pairs and bands of players leading their teams.
Many of the top teams in the polls have several players sharing the load, like Kentucky, Syracuse, Duke and Missouri.
A few teams rely on a little more of a buddy-system approach, a 1-2 punch to carry them to victories. We came up with a few:
Kevin Jones and Truck Bryant
The Mountaineers left coach Bob Huggins exasperated with a recent three-game slide, but they could be a dangerous team down the stretch because of these two seniors.
Jones was a key contributor to West Virginia's run to the 2010 Final Four and has developed into one of the toughest post players to defend in the nation, leading the Big East in scoring and rebounding.
Bryant didn't get a chance to play during the Mountaineers' run to the Final Four because of a broken foot, but has become one of the most fearless guards in the country over the past two seasons. Jones and the Truck combine to average 38.2 points per game, third-most among teammates in the country, according to STATS LLC.
Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor, Kansas
The eighth-ranked Jayhawks, as usual, have plenty of talent up and down their roster, but Robinson and Taylor are the ones who make them fly. Robinson is one of the most dominating forces in college hoops, an athletic and powerfully built power forward who has a nice midrange game to go with his rim-rattling dunks. Once a player who would let his emotions get the best of him, Taylor has matured in his fourth season in Lawrence, providing Kansas with a steadying influence at the point. Robinson averages 17.6 points and is second nationally with 12 rebounds a game, while Taylor scores 16.7 points and 5.2 assists per game on a team that has a shot at an eighth straight Big 12 championship.
John Jenkins and Jeffrey Taylor, Vanderbilt
The Southeastern Conference is filled with great players, including what could someday be an NBA roster at Kentucky. The highest-scoring teammates in the conference? Jenkins and Taylor. Jenkins, a junior, leads the SEC with 20 points per game and Taylor, a senior, is second at 17.3. Jenkins is a sharpshooter, leading the conference in 3-point shooting at 44 percent and is second in free throws at 85 percent. Taylor added 25 pounds of muscle during the offseason, becoming even more of a powerful force at 6-foot-7. He's fifth in the SEC in shooting at 53 percent, giving the Commodores a superb inside-outside combination.
Terrence Ross and Tony Wroten, Washington
The Huskies are tied atop the Pac-12 in large part because of Ross and Wroten. Ross took a little while to build up steam as a freshman last season before being named to the Pac-10 All-Tournament team and has picked up from there this season, averaging 15.1 points per game. Wroten didn't have a feeling-out period. The freshman has been fearless from the start, willing to take over the team at crucial moments. He did it against Duke at Madison Square Garden and most recently at Arizona's McKale Center, swatting a shot at the buzzer to preserve Washington's victory. He's also second in Pac-12 scoring at 17.1. Sophomore C.J. Wilcox is a vital cog for the Huskies, but Wroten and Ross are the players they turn to with the game on the line.
Chase Tapley and Jamaal Franklin, San Diego State
The Aztecs were expected to back up after losing Kawhi Leonard and four starters from last year's Sweet 16 team. Instead, San Diego State is 19-3 and currently 17th in The Associated Press poll. Tapley and Franklin have been a big reason for it. Tapley, a junior guard, came on strong late last season and was a key contributor during the Aztecs' NCAA Tournament run. This season, he leads San Diego State with 16 points per game and is hitting 42 percent from beyond the 3-point arc. Franklin has developed into a steady player after seeing limited action last season, averaging 15.7 points and a team-best seven rebounds per game as a 6-foot-5 guard. Together, they could help the Aztecs make another deep NCAA run.
Kevin Murphy and Jud Dillard, Tennessee Tech
Hoops fans outside of Tennessee probably don't know much about this pair, but they can fill it up. Murphy, a senior guard, is sixth nationally at 21.3 points per game and is coming off the single-best scoring game in school history. Hitting six 3-pointers and 16 of 21 shots overall, Murphy had 50 points in a win over Southern Illinois-Edwardsville on Monday, the most points scored in Division I this season. A lanky guard like Murphy, Dillard is an adept scorer at 18.3 points per game and leads the Ohio Valley Conference with 8.4 rebounds. Their 39.6 points per game is second in the nation.