Welcome to another version of College Basketball’s Week In Review as March is quickly approaching. This past week’s theme would be defined by clutch shots and surprising upsets. Once again, welcome to conference play. Let’s breakdown what transpired over the college hoop’s landscape this past week:
January 7 – 13
Duke’s Big Week
The Blue Devils took care of Wake Forest on Tuesday in their first true road game of the season. Against the Demon Deacons, Zion Williamson became one of two freshmen in the last 15 years to record 30 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals in a game.
On Saturday, Duke outlasted 13th-ranked Florida State thanks to Cam Reddish’s game-winner at the buzzer. Williamson missed the second half due to an eye injury, but we finally got a glimpse of how good Cam Reddish can be. With Williamson’s absence and Reddish’s emergence against a ranked opponent on the road, the Blue Devils might be an even more dangerous team than originally thought. Duke hosts Virginia on Saturday in Cameron Indoor in a battle of ACC heavyweights.
Life in the Big 12
After upsetting fifth-ranked Kansas a week earlier, Iowa State lost their next two games to unranked Baylor and Kansas State. It doesn’t get any easier either, as a road tilt at eighth-ranked Texas Tech is next for the Cyclones. After cracking the Top 25 this past week, TCU dropped their next two games, too, to Big 12 powers in Kansas and Oklahoma. No game is a guaranteed win in conference play, as even sub-par teams like Oklahoma State and West Virginia will give teams fits.
Conference play requires you to take care of business at home while stealing a couple on the road. In an ultra-competitive Big 12, with Azubuike out for Kansas, it appears Texas Tech looks like the team most capable of doing just that.
Houston Suffers First Loss
The Houston Cougars were 15-0 before entering Wednesday’s road matchup at Temple and one of three undefeated teams left. It’s obvious conference road games are tough, and any road win should be cherished as if it were a winning lottery ticket. Houston found that out for themselves as Temple outlasted the Cougars by four, handing them their first loss of the year.
The Owls made a whopping 25 of 28 free throws and Quinton Rose scored 22 points in the upset win. The game ended in controversial fashion as Houston was called for a charging foul at the buzzer while driving in the lane to tie the game. Virginia and Michigan are the only remaining undefeated teams left in the country.
Ole Miss Makes a Statement
What a week for Kermit Davis and the Rebels. On Wednesday, Auburn traveled to Oxford and got smoked by 15 thanks to Terence Davis’ 27 points and 12 rebounds. Ole Miss’ defense allowed the Tigers to hit 14 three-pointers but forced Bruce Pearl’s team into 24 fouls and 16 turnovers.
The Rebels followed up that win with a huge road victory at rival and 14th-ranked Mississippi State. Blake Hinson scored a career-high 26 points for the Rebels as they moved to 3-0 in conference play. Beating two of the favorites in their conference definitely demands some attention and recognition. It’s time to take Ole Miss as a serious contender in the SEC.
Markus Howard is Ridiculous
We’ve talked about the Marquette guard plenty before, but this guy is unreal. He’s the only player in Division 1 to score 40 points in a half. He has multiple 50 point games already this season and it’s only mid-January.
Marquette somehow managed to squeak out a win at Creighton and needed every bit of Howard’s 53 points on Wednesday, as well as Sam Hauser’s prayer at the buzzer to force overtime. Howard also dished out six assists, and made 10 of 14 from three-point range and 13 of 15 free throws.
Several days later, Howard *only* put up 26 points, 6 assists and 6 rebounds in a win over Seton Hall. There may not be a more valuable player to his team in the country than Markus Howard. He and Zion Williamson could both be neck-and-neck for Naismith Player of the Year.
Louisville Makes History at UNC
In what was probably the most surprising outcome from Saturday, the Cardinals traveled to North Carolina and throttled the Tar Heels by 21 for their first-ever win in Chapel Hill. It comes as a surprise considering Louisville just dropped a road game at Pittsburgh, who hadn’t won an ACC game in over a year, but also because North Carolina had just beaten rival NC State on their home floor days prior.
Steven Enoch (17 points, 11 rebounds) and Dwayne Sutton (17 points and 10 rebounds) led the way for the Cards. It was UNC’s worst home loss under Roy Williams and their worst home loss period since 2002.