PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Tyler Ulis, Kentucky
Tyler Ulis played his best game of the season on Saturday, scoring 21 points and handing out eight assists to lead the Wildcats to a thrilling, 75-73 win over No. 16 Louisville. He scored early to keep Kentucky from getting run out of their own gym. He made the plays and hit the big shots down the stretch to keep Louisville’s come back from coming to fruition. And he switched onto 6-foot-6 Damion Lee to try and slow down the Louisville star when he got hot in the second half.
And the result was the Wildcats landing the kind of confidence-boosting win they needed as we bear down on SEC play.
But perhaps the most important part of Ulis’ Saturday was that he actually knocked down some jumpers. Since he had hyper-extended his elbow earlier this month, he’s been mired in a pretty nasty shooting slump, hitting just 12-for-45 from the floor (26.7 percent) and 6-for-25 from three (24.0 percent) in the last four games. On Saturday, he shot 7-for-12 and hit four threes, including a pair of bombs in the second half that came late in a shot clock and when Louisville had some momentum. When he’s playing like this, he’s the best pure point guard in the country.
THE ‘ALL THEY WERE GOOD, TOO’ TEAM
- Zena Edosomwan, Harvard: Edosomwan averaged 20.3 points, 13.0 boards and 2.7 assists in Harvard’s second-place finish at the Diamond Head Classic. That inclued 25 points and 16 boards against Oklahoma.
- Buddy Hield, Oklahoma: Hield might have been better than Edosomwan, as he finished the week averaging 28.7 points while shooting 13-for-22 from three for the champs.
- Kahlil Felder, Oakland: Felder’s Oakland squad couldn’t quite pull the upset on No. 1 Michigan State, but the Grizzlies got 37 points and nine assists out of their diminutive superstar.
- Georges Niang, Iowa State: Niang scored 24 points and had 10 boards as the Cyclones landed a statement win at Cincinnati. He also notched an assist on the game-winning basket.
- A.J. Hammons, Purdue: Hammons is starting to assert himself as the dominant low-post presence on this Purdue roster. He had 17 points, 10 boards and seven blocks in the win over Vanderbilt.
- BENCH: Bryn Forbes (Michigan State), Ben Bentil (Providence)
TEAM OF THE WEEK: Harvard Crimson
Harvard made quite the statement on the islands this week, letting the rest of the Ivy League know that they’re going to be in the race for the conference title. Entering the year, it looked like Yale, Princeton and Columbia would be battling it out for the conference title, but the fact that the Crimson lost Siyani Chambers, Wesley Saunders and Steve Moundou-Missi hasn’t stopped this program. Harvard had a slow start to the year, but this week they landed wins over BYU and Auburn before taking a lead on Oklahoma into the break. That’s what happens when Zena Edosomwan starts playing like he’s Dwight Howard.
THEY WERE GOOD, TOO
- Oklahoma Sooners: Three more wins in the Diamond Head Classic, three more outstanding Buddy Hield performances. The Sooners are a legitimate title contender in the Big 12, which may be tougher to win outright than the national title.
- SMU Mustangs: The Mustangs picked up a pair of wins, including one against a decent Colorado team, as they will remain undefeated heading into AAC play.
- Iowa State Cyclones: Iowa State made the statement that they needed to make on Tuesday, winning in Cincinnati over a Bearcat team that matched up well with them.
- DePaul Blue Demons: DePaul has not been great this season, but they didn’t manage to land a quality home win over No. 20 George Washington by 21 points.
- Milwaukee Panthers: The Panthers now own two road wins against Big Ten competition, knocking off Minnesota at The Barn this week.
SET YOUR DVR
- No. 6 Xavier at No. 17 Villanova, Thu. 12:00 p.m.
- No. 10 Providence at No. 9 Butler, Thu. 2:30 p.m.
- No. 9 Butler at No. 6 Xavier, Sat. 1:00 p.m.
- No. 23 Baylor at No. 2 Kansas, Sat. 4:00 p.m.
- No. 11 Iowa State at No. 3 Oklahoma, Sat. 7:00 p.m.