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College Basketball: Week in Review

It was a wild week that saw both Virginia and Michigan fall, meaning there are now zero undefeated teams left. The talk of either of these programs running the table can finally cease. It’s hard to imagine another team, in this day and age of college basketball, going undefeated. The last team to do it was all the way back in 1976 when Bob Knight’s Indiana Hoosiers went 32-0. Let’s take a look at the winners and losers from the past week:

January 21-28

Winner: Duke Blue Devils

Duke passed its first test without Tre Jones in win over Virginia (Photo by Rob Kinnan)

After losing to Syracuse and starting point guard Tre Jones in the process, many wondered how Duke would manage without their floor general. They silenced many doubters by handing Virginia their first loss of the season.

Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett combined for 57 points and did something many teams don’t do against the Cavaliers: score 70 points. Duke had very little trouble in what appeared to be a sneaky road matchup at Pitt as well. Duke faces a somewhat lighter schedule the next three games with Georgia Tech, Notre Dame and St. Johns.

Loser(s): Indiana, Seton Hall

Two teams that started off the season strong are currently struggling in conference play. The Hoosiers have lost four in a row and still face a gauntlet of a Big Ten schedule with Michigan State and Michigan remaining. Junior guard Devonte Green has been suspended by head coach Archie Miller for “not meeting the standards of the program”, which certainly doesn’t help a team facing adversity.

Kevin Willard’s Pirates have lost four of five, which includes being swept by the lowly Blue Demons of DePaul on the season. Seton Hall needs to get back to playing the style of basketball that Kentucky and Maryland saw in December. Next up for the Pirates is a road matchup at the defending national champions in Villanova. Kevin Willard’s squad has some solid wins, but need to find their footing in the Big East in hopes of getting back to the tournament.

Winner: Michigan State

The Spartans are rolling behind the play of Cassius Winston (Photo by Zimbio)

There are few teams playing better basketball than Michigan State. After falling on the road to Louisville, the Spartans have rattled off 12 in a row and currently stand at 8-0 in Big Ten play.

This past week, they survived Nebraska on the road before hammering 13th ranked Maryland at home. In those two games, Cassius Winston notched 43 points and 13 assists to only five turnovers.

Tom Izzo is getting excellent guard play from his junior captain, who is about as reliable of a point guard in the country. They don’t have as many NBA studs as in recent years, but this Spartan team may be more unified and tough than last year’s team. Michigan State will be tested, however, as their next two games are at Iowa and at Purdue.

Loser: The Pac-12

Let’s face it. The Pac-12 is flat out terrible. It appears to be only a two-bid league, and maybe even that is a bit of a stretch. Washington, Arizona and Arizona State are the only teams that mathematically have a shot at earning an at-large bid on Selection Sunday. Preseason conference favorite Oregon has managed a 2-3 Pac-12 record since losing lottery pick Bol Bol for the year. But their chance of making the Big Dance are slim to none. It’s very likely a team from the Pac-12 will not even sniff cracking the Top 25 for the remaining of the season. Yikes.

Winner: Wisconsin

Ethan Happ was instrumental in the upset win over second-ranked Michigan (Photo by Stacy Revere)

The Badgers were on a two-game slide until handing Michigan it’s first loss in 18 games dating back to last season.

Their tournament hopes may have been revived, thanks to Ethan Happ’s 26 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.

Next up for the Badgers is a road game at Illinois and home matchup versus Northwestern. Wisconsin looks like a team that will sneak into the tournament and is a team no one wants to play against.

Loser: Texas Tech

Texas Tech has dropped three straight in conference play (Photo by Tony Gutierrez)

When Kansas lost Azubuike for the season, many thought Texas Tech would be the team to take advantage of that and grab control of the conference. After a disappointing home loss to the Iowa State Cyclones and a bad road loss to Baylor, the Red Raiders were abysmal on Tuesday against Kansas State. Teams better play excellent defense if they’re only going to put up 45 points on the scoreboard.

There’s still plenty of basketball to be played, but Texas Tech needs to get back to playing how they were in November and December.

Fans have to love conference play. Anybody can truly beat anybody.

 

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