1/17 – College Hoops Week in Review: Louisville comes back, Khris Middleton’s clutch

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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:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/v/MMC_5K9HZbY?fs=1&hl=en_US]

Also deserving a mention:

  • Texas A&M 91, Missouri 89 OT: Once again, Missouri was involved in a a great game with an exciting finish. Both teams blew double digit leads in regulation, with the Tigers making a late run sparked by Phil Pressey and Ricardo Ratliffe to take a four point lead late. A&M answered, and the two sides proceeded to trade big shot after big shot for the rest of regulation and throughout overtime. In the extra frame, Khris Middleton — who had 11 of his 28 points in overtime and forced the OT with two free throws with 14 seconds left — stole the ball from Marcus Denmon with 40 seconds left and scored the go-ahead layup.
  • Portland 79, Loyola Marymount 78 2OT: This game was wild. Portland was up seven early, trailed by ten late in the first half, opened up their own ten point lead in the second half, and was still leading by seven with less than three minutes left on the clock. But LMU would go on a 9-0 run to take a 60-58 lead with five seconds left before Jared Stohl drew a foul and hit both free throws to force OT. In the first overtime, Luke Sikma answered an Anthony Ireland three with a jump hook to put Portland up 66-65, but Edgar Garibay hit one of two free throws to force the second OT. In that second overtime, Portland pulled away and opened a five point lead, but the Lions fought back and even had a good look at a three from Drew Viney that would have given them the lead. He missed, and Portland held on for a tough win.

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.

All they-were-good-too-team:

  • G: Jimmer Fredette, BYU: Fredette had 47 points and six assists in the Cougars only game this week, beating rival Utah on the road.
  • G: Derwin Kitchen, Florida State: Kitchen averaged 16.5 ppg and 6.5 rpg in a 2-0 week for the Seminoles, including 22 points and 10 boards on 9-13 shooting in an upset of then-No. 1 duke.
  • F: Khris Middleton, Texas A&M: Middleton had 28 points in an overtime win over Missouri. He tied the game with 14 seconds left in regulation, then scored 11 points in overtime, making big shot after big shot, to lead the Aggies to a win.
  • F: Aaron Brackett, UNC-Greensboro: Bracket had a career-high 28 points and a career-high 15 boards (in fact, the 15 rebounds were more than his career high in scoring coming in) as the Spartans won their first game of the season at conference favorite Appalachian State despite trailing by 15 points.
  • F: Kawhi Leonard, SDSU: Leonard averaged 17.0 ppg, 16.0 rpg, and 4.0 apg as the Aztecs beat UNLV and New Mexico.
  • C: Mike Muscala, Bucknell: Muscala averaged 28.0 ppg and 11.5 rpg in two games this week as Bucknell gave American and Holy Cross their first Patriot League losses. The Bison are currently sitting alone atop the conference standings at 3-0.
  • Bench: Mickey McConnell, St. Mary’s (18.5 ppg, 8.5 apg); John Flowers, West Virginia (19.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 2.5 apg, 2.5 spg, 2.5 bpg); Isaiah Thomas, Washington (27 points, 13 assists in win over Cal); Kyle Weems, Missouri State (20.0 ppg, 6.5 rpg); Derrick Williams, Arizona (31 points, 10 boards vs. Arizona State); DJ Gay, San Diego State (30 points, 7-11 3PT vs. New Mexico); Blake Hoffarber, Minnesota (26 points vs. Purdue); Diante Garrett, Iowa State (21.5 ppg, 8.0 apg); Gary Flowers, Southern Mississippi (20.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 3.0 apg, 2.5 bpg)

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

  • 1/17 – 3:30 pm: Villanova @ UConn
  • 1/17 – 5:30 pm: Kansas State @ Missouri
  • 1/17 – 7:30 pm: Syracuse @ Pitt
  • 1/17 – 9:30 pm: Kansas @ Baylor
  • 1/18 – 7:00 pm: Michigan State @ Illinois
  • 1/18 – 7:00 pm: Tennessee @ Georgia
  • 1/19 – 7:00 pm: Memphis @ Southern Miss
  • 1/19 – 9:00 pm: Texas @ Texas A&M
  • 1/20 – 10:00 pm: Arizona @ Washington
  • 1/22 – 12:00 pm: Ohio State @ Illinois
  • 1/22 – 12:00 pm: Villanova @ Syracuse
  • 1/22 – 2:00 pm: Tennessee @ UConn
  • 1/22 – 2:00 pm: Kansas State @ Texas A&M
  • 1/22 – 3:00 pm: Temple @ Xavier
  • 1/22 – 4:00 pm: Texas @ Kansas
  • 1/22 – 9:00 pm: Michigan State @ Purdue

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @ballinisahabit.