We talk about it all the time: If you’re going to be college basketball’s National Player of the Year, you have to have the performances – or, in some cases, the individual play – to justify that title in the games when the entire sport is watching.
If this was college football, we’d call them Heisman Moments.
In college basketball, there are a half-dozen Player of the Year awards, so we don’t have a catchy moniker to label what Josh Hart did on Saturday afternoon.
In the biggest game of the first Saturday without college football on TV, Hart had the most dominating performance of his career. He scored 37 points on 10-for-14 shooting, grabbing 11 rebounds and handing out four assists for good measure as he single-handily kept No. 1 Villanova among the ranks of the undefeated, leading them to a win over No. 23 Notre Dame. Think about it like this: Hart scored as many points on Saturday as his teammates did combined.
Considering the opponent, the moment and the performance, it was the best game we’ve seen from an individual player this season.
And, as a result, Hart should top just about everyone’s Player of the Year rankings heading into Christmas.
THEY WERE GOOD, TOO
- Jeremy Morgan, Northern Iowa: Morgan put together one of the most impressive halves of basketball you’ll ever see, scoring all 38 of his points after halftime as the Panthers landed a come-from-behind win over North Dakota. Earlier in the week, Morgan had 17 points, eight boards and seven assists in a win over South Dakota State.
- Marquise Moore, George Mason: Moore had an incredible game of his own on Saturday, finishing with 17 points, 16 boards and 10 assists in a win at Penn. That’s only the third time that’s happened since 2010 and it’s only the seventh 15-15-10 games in the last 20 years. Oh, and Moore – a 6-foot-2 guard – also had 25 points, 13 boards and five assists in a win at Penn State this week.
- Jayson Tatum, Duke: Tatum wasn’t the best player on the floor for Duke in either of their wins this week – Luke Kennard and Amile Jefferson were against Florida and Grayson Allen was against UNLV – but Tatum gets the mention here for the simple fact that we can mention his name. He’s back.
- Marcus Marshall, Nevada: Marshall scored 32 points on Sunday night, outplaying Markelle Fultz and hitting the game-winner with 0.2 seconds left to beat Washington in Seattle.
- Dedric Lawson, Memphis: Lawson finished with 24 points, 10 boards and eight blocks for the Tigers as they picked up a much-needed come-from-behind win over UAB.