Game of the Week: Louisville 71, Marquette 70
This game was over. Marquette was up 65-47 with jut 5:45 left on the clock. After beating Notre Dame by 22 at home, it looked like the Golden Eagles were finally putting together a string of impressive victories. And then Preston Knowles woke up.
Louisville's leading scorer had just two points in the first half. In the final 5:45, he had 12 points on four threes and added two assists as the Cardinals came storming back. After a Knowles three made the score 65-62, Jaw Crowder snapped the 15-0 run with a bucket at the other end. Knowles hit another three on the ensuing possession, but again Marquette had an answer, this time in the form of a Dwight Buycks bucket.
Louisville would get Marquette's lead down to 70-69 after four Terrence Jennings free throws surrounding one from Junior Cadougan, but 16 seconds left, Dwight Buycks challenged Jennings on a layup at the rim with the shot clock turned off. He was blocked, Louisville got the ball back, and it set up this ending:
Also deserving a mention:
Player of the Week: Draymond Green, Michigan State
For the first time seemingly all season long, Green played like we expected him too. Is it any surprise that the Spartans went 2-0 this week? Against Wisconsin, Green finished with 26 points, nine boards, and four assists, making seemingly every big play down the stretch. In a win over Northwestern, Grene had 16 points, eight boards, and two assists. He got an offensive rebound, drew a foul, and hit two free throws to force overtime. He jumped a passing lane and had a dunk in the extra frame with MSU down three. He found Keith Appling for the go-ahead three pointer. Green was attacking the basket, he was hitting the offensive glass, and he was making plays for his teammates. When he plays like this, he make the Spartans a much better team.
Team of the Week: Texas A&M Aggies
The Aggies were an after thought in the preseason. They were losing so much senior leadership and scoring, few expected them to be in the thick of the Big XII race come mid-January, but that they are thanks to a 2-0 week. A&M beat Oklahoma State by 23 on Wednesday, and then on Saturday the Aggies knocked off Missouri in overtime to improve to 3-0 in Big XII play. We'll have a better feel for just how good A&M is after the next ten days -- when they play Texas twice and Kansas State once -- but it is time to start discussing this team as a legitimate conference title contender. After those three games, A&M only has one more game against a ranked opponent (Kansas in February) and they only play Missouri, Kansas, and Kansas State once each.
Deserving of a shoutout:
San Diego State: Can we finally call the Aztecs legit? They may not be as good as Ohio State, Kansas, Duke, or Syracuse, but this is a team that truly deserves to be in the conversation for best of the rest. This week, they went 2-0 against fellow MWC contenders, beating UNLV at home and then manhandling New Mexico on the road.
Florida State: The Seminoles have a legitimate chance to be the second place team in the ACC. After beating No. 1 Duke and NC State this week, FSU is tied for first in the conference at 3-1. The Noles are going to be an inconsistent team all year long -- when they are hitting offensively, you'll get performances like this week; when they aren't, they lose to Auburn.
West Virginia: The 'Eers had quite a good week this week. They smoked Providence at home on Thursday before No. 8 Purdue came to town. WVU got a number of late, clutch buckets from John Flowers and Kevin Jones as they were able to land a marquee win they really needed on their resume. WVU had now won four in a row and seems to finally have gotten their season on track.
Minnesota: The Golden Gophers had a terrific week, as they evened up their record in the Big Ten with wins over Purdue and Iowa. All three of Minnesota's losses have come on the road to top 25 opponents -- Ohio State, Michigan State, Wisconsin. The top of the Big Ten is loaded, which means that Minnesota is going to need more wins like the one they got against Wisconsin if they are going to make a run at the top of the league.
Michigan State: Are the Spartans finally turning that corner? This week, they picked up a couple of nice wins in overtime, beating both Wisconsin and Northwestern at home in overtime. It was a turnaround the Spartans needed, as they were coming off of a loss to Penn State last Saturday.
Colorado: This Buffalo team is looking more and more like a team we are going to have to keep an eye on all season long. They are now 3-0 in the Big XII with wins against Kansas State and Oklahoma State this week.
Valpo: After a weekend that featured four games between the top four teams in the Horizon, Valpo came out 2-0 and in sole possession of first place in the conference after winning on the road at Wright State and Detroit. The Crusaders also own a win over Cleveland State this season. For the first time is seemingly forever, it looks like the Horizon has more contenders than just Butler.
Belmont: The Bruins are playing at historic levels right now. They are 7-0 in the Atlantic Sun, and they are currently beating their opponent's by an average of 28.8 ppg. By comparison, UNLV beat their opponents by an average of 29.6 ppg in 1990-1991. This week, they beat Lipscomb and Campell by a combined 71 points, holding Lipscomb's Adnan Hodzic seven points and five boards.
Duquesne: After sweeping St. Louis and Duquesne this week, the Dukes are currently sitting tied for first a top the A-10 with Xavier and George Washington. They've now won six games in a row.
Matchups of the Week
Monday, January 17, 2011
Game of the Week: Louisville 71, Marquette 70