PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Jaysean Paige, West Virginia
Paige has been terrific for the Mountaineers this season, leading the team in scoring despite operating as their sixth-man. He was once again phenomenal this week, going for 34 points in a 97-87 win over No. 17 Iowa State in Morgantown earlier this week. He followed that up with 17 points in a win at Oklahoma State on Saturday.
The reason that Paige is such an important piece for WVU is due to the way that the Mountaineers play. They press and press and press largely due to the fact that they need to be able to get points in transition if they want to score. This is not exactly the Golden State Warriors offensively. But Paige is their most dangerous shooter and their best scorer, meaning he is the guy that allows them to be able to get into their press even when the press is not working all that well.
THE ‘ALL THEY WERE GOOD, TOO’ TEAM
- Davon Reed, Miami: In wins over No. 3 Virginia and No. 11 Louisville, Reed averaging 19.0 points while shooting 13-for-15 from the floor. Not bad for the fourth-best perimeter player that Jim Larrañaga has at his disposal.
- Isaiah Whitehead, Seton Hall: Whitehead was sensational for the Pirates this week, averaging 23.5 points, 7.0 assists, 4.0 boards and 4.0 blocks in wins over Providence and No. 2 Xavier. He’s a guard, by the way.
- Bronson Koenig, Wisconsin: Koenig was the best player on the floor for the Badgers in wins at No. 8 Iowa and over Michigan on Sunday. The Badgers all-but clinched their NCAA tournament at-large bid and are a 2-0 week away from winning a share of the Big Ten title.
- Brandon Taylor, Utah: Taylor came up huge in Utah’s win over No. 9 Arizona on Saturday, scoring 15 of his 19 points in the second half, hitting the dagger with this filth.
- AJ Hammons, Purdue: Hammons had one of his best games of the season on Saturday, helping the Boilermakers overpower No. 10 Maryland’s front line.
TEAM OF THE WEEK: Seton Hall Pirates
The Pirates punched their ticket to the NCAA tournament this week with two dominating performances in Newark. It started on Wednesday, when they sent the Friars back to Providence with an 18-point loss and continued on Sunday as they pounded No. 5 Xavier, who was coming off of a win over then-No. 1 Villanova.
Think about where this team and this program was a year ago. They had players transferring in the middle of the year. They were reports that there was a complete fracture in the locker room. They had gone from a top 15 team in January to a team that missed the NCAA tournament. The assistant that was hired specifically to get Isaiah Whitehead onto campus was sent packing. They were picked seventh in the conference in the preseason.
And here they are, tournament bound and a borderline top 25 team.
THEY WERE GOOD, TOO
- Colorado: The Buffaloes will be dancing this season. They locked that up with wins over the Arizona schools this week.
- Miami: The Hurricanes bounced back from a dreadful loss at UNC to beat both Virginia and Louisville in Coral Gables.
- Wisconsin: After wins at Iowa and over Michigan, if the season ended today, the Badgers would be the No. 2 seed in the Big Ten tournament.
- Texas: The Longhorns avoided a loss at Kansas State and followed that up with a win over No. 3 Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry on Saturday.
- Vanderbilt: The Commodores played their way onto the right side of the cut line (for now) by winning at Florida and knocking off No. 16 Kentucky in Nashville.
SET YOUR DVR
No. 2 Kansas at No. 25 Texas, Mon. 9:00 p.m.
No. 19 Baylor at No. 3 Oklahoma, Tue. 9:00 p.m.
No. 18 Indiana at No. 8 Iowa, Tue. 9:00 p.m.
Cal at No. 9 Arizona, Thu. 9:00 p.m.
No. 17 Iowa State at No. 2 Kansas, Sat. 4:00 p.m.
No. 7 North Carolina at No. 15 Duke, Sat. 6:30 p.m.
No. 11 Louisville at No. 3 Virginia, Sat. 8:30 p.m.
No. 10 Maryland at No. 18 Indiana, Sun. 4:30 p.m.