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NCAA Basketball

Big East Player to Watch: Peyton Siva (Louisville)

Mesmerizing yet erratic. Extremely talented yet out of control. And in a nutshell you have Louisville’s Peyton Siva.

Siva has the ability to take over games, but sometimes he does too much, leading to turnovers and mistakes that kill his team. He’ll come close to a triple-double against Notre Dame—13, 9 and 8—but he’ll also submit a four-point, six-turnover dud against Syracuse in the same week.

Every year, the consensus is that Siva will be better, but in reality, he slipped as a junior. He turned the ball over more frequently and his shooting percentages from the floor and long range dipped.

Sometimes he strays from what he does best—getting into the lane—and, instead, settles for mid-range jumpers and threes.

Especially in a backcourt with Russ Smith, Siva will need to play smarter basketball as a senior—he cannot average 3.4 turnovers per game like he did last year.

Siva no longer has Kyle Kuric or Chris Smith on the wing, but a healthy Wayne Blackshear coupled with a more experienced Chane Behanan gives the senior two reliable—possibly even more reliable—targets for his passes.

Now, all of the above regards Siva on offense. Defensively he is solid, averaging 1.7 steals as a junior. But sometimes his competitiveness makes him overeager and results in foolish fouls, which, combined with his proclivity for charging on offense, frequently lands him in foul trouble. Siva finished 15 games with four or more fouls in 2011-12.

To Siva’s credit, he carried Louisville through the Big East tournament, earning Most Outstanding Player honors as a result, and played well in the NCAA Tournament. But even though he was instrumental in the Final Four run, Siva still fouled out twice, averaged three turnovers per game and shot under 37 percent three times.

The overarching theme is that Siva won’t maximize his productivity unless he plays smarter on both ends. If he can do that, he has the talent to be one of the conference’s best players.

Follow Ari Kramer on Twitter for more on the Big East and college basketball. 

Here are the rest of the Big East Player to Watch pieces to date: Brandon Triche, Chane Behanan