4 GAMES I WISH YOU WATCHED
Colorado 75, Kansas 72: The renewal of an old (albeit historically lopsided) Big 12 rivalry saw the Buffaloes get some buzzer-beater redemption on Saturday. It was almost a year ago in Tucson when Colorado’s sabatino chen banked in a three-pointer that appeared to upset Arizona (ranked No. 3 at the time) and sent the Buffaloes' bench stampeding onto the court. But the refs reviewed the shot and -- erroneously, if you ask me -- waved it off. Colorado eventually lost in overtime. This time there was no question about Askia Booker's running 30-footer that beat the sixth-ranked Jayhawks and sent the Buffaloes’ players (along with the home crowd) stampeding onto the court again. Silver lining for Kansas? This was first time Andrew Wiggins (22 points) really took the baton in crunch time and played like the Jayhawks are his team.
Texas 81, Temple 80 (OT): Before he launched the three that would lift the Longhorns over the Owls are Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia (where the 76ers play), Javan Felix had gone 2-of-10 from the field and 0-of-4 from deep. An off night? You wouldn't have known by looking at him. With less than 10 seconds to go and down by two, the sophomore Felix took the handoff from freshman Isaiah Taylor and got a pick from sophomore Connor Lammert (Texas is a very young team), then rose with the confidence of J.R. Smith and nailed the trey. Before that, the Longhorns had blown a 16-point lead and had to make their own comeback after trailing the Owls with three minutes left in overtime.
Missouri 80, UCLA 71: The depth of talent at these respective programs was never in doubt going into this season, but coaching instability (Frank Haith's NCAA suspension; Steve Alford replacing Ben Howland) and last season’s underachieving results combined to set the bar of expectations relatively low. And yet when the Tigers and Bruins met on Saturday in Columbia, Mo., both teams were undefeated and UCLA was ranked in the top 20. Mizzou’s starting backcourt trio of Jabari Brown, Jordan Clarkson and Earnest Ross each scored at least 20 points in the upset win.
Kentucky 133, Baylor 130 (4OT): The highest scoring game in women’s NCAA Division I history stole the spotlight at Cowboys Stadium from the Kentucky-Baylor men’s game that would take place the same night. UK's Jennifer O’Neill set a school record with 43 points -- and she wasn’t even the best guard on the court wearing the number zero on her jersey. That distinction went to Baylor’s Odyssey Sims, who poured in 47 points before fouling out in the first overtime. Three OTs later, O’Neill hit the bucket that would put the Wildcats ahead for good.
4 FUTURE PROS YOU KNOW
Isaiah Austin, Baylor: The 7-foot skinny sophomore was the standout on a Bears front line that outplayed Kentucky’s star-studded frontcourt on Friday, putting up 16 points, six rebounds and five blocks. Coming out of high school, Austin was projected as a one-and-done, top-five NBA pick. His freshman season was solid but unspectacular and his stock slipped a bit, but a big-time performance on a big-time stage like Cowboys Stadium against UK's big-time pro prospects should put Austin back on the lottery board.
Shaq Goodwin, Memphis: The versatile 6-9 sophomore got the nation’s attention in last week’s win over Oklahoma State. In Saturday’s much easier win over Northwestern State, Goodwin -- who could become a Paul Millsap-type of player on the next level -- was all over the place with 21 points, six boards, three blocks and two steals.
Marshall Henderson, Ole Miss: The book on Henderson is a familiar story that's easy to read. The 6-2 senior is an offensive fireplug -- as evidenced by his 39 points and 10 threes in Sunday's overtime loss to Oregon -- who gives you somewhere between little and nothing on defense. But because he's more of a volume scorer than a pure long-range marksman like J.J. Redick or Jimmer Fredette, Henderson seems destined to make a career getting buckets in, like, Belgium.
Kaleb Tarczewski, Arizona: Facing UNLV’s active and athletic frontcourt duo of Khem Birch and Roscoe Smith on Saturday, Tarczewski had a respectable 12 points and eight rebounds. The 7-foot sophomore and projected first-round NBA pick will get an even bigger test in the Wildcats’ next game, however, when New Mexico State brings 7-5, 350-pound Sim Bhullar and 6-10, 270-pound Tshilidzi Nephawe to Tucson.
4 FUTURE PROS YOU MAY NOT KNOW
Andre Hollins, Minnesota: The junior point guard benefited from two years of tutelage under Tubby Smith, and now he has two years under Richard Pitino to show pro scouts he can ran an up-tempo offense and lead a young team. Hollins had 18 points in Saturday's win over New Orleans and is averaging 16.6 points for the 8-2 Gophers.
Sam Dekker, Wisconsin: At 6-7 with athleticism to live above the rim and shooting range to thrive beyond the arc, Dekker is the Chandler Parsons clone who dropped 20 points and 10 boards on Marquette as the Badgers won this year's edition of the smashmouth football fan's favorite basketball rivalry on Saturday.
James Bell, Villanova: Coming into this season, it looked like Bell’s best shot at making an NBA roster would be as a defensive stopper at the two-guard spot. Lately, though, he's showing scouts what he brings to the table offensively. Bell scored 25 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in Saturday’s win over St. Joseph’s, hitting five threes and raising his senior-year scoring average to 17.6 after averaging 8.6 points as a junior.
Chaz Williams, UMass: The Minutemen are ranked and off to their best start since the Marcus Camby era. But instead of a 6-11 shot-blocking giraffe leading the way, this UMass squad revolves around a 5-9 point guard. Williams lit up BYU for 32 points and 15 assists (with only one turnover) in Saturday's win, outplaying Team USA guard Tyler Haws.
4 FAB FRESHMEN
Jordan Mathews, California: When Jabari Bird struggled against UC Santa Barbara on Friday night, the Golden Bears’ other freshman two-guard stepped up. Mathews, who had struggled to find his shot all season, finished with 22 points and four threes off the bench in a losing effort.
Noah Vonleh, Indiana: He won't make a lot of Top-10 highlight lists, but Vonleh will win a lot of games and have a lot of good reasons to be a one-and-done at Indiana. The 6-10 forward posted 13 points, 11 rebounds and four steals in Saturday’s win over North Florida, his sixth double-double in nine games for the Hoosiers.
Julius Randle, Kentucky: Swarmed by Baylor’s zone defense -- which featured the long arms and quick feet of 7-foot Isaiah Austin and 6-9 Cory Jefferson -- Randle still managed 16 points on 5-of-10 shooting and eight rebounds in Friday night’s loss to the Bears.
Bobby Portis, Arkansas: Landing an in-state blue chipper like Portis was a huge recruiting win for Razorbacks coach Mike Anderson’s rebuilding project. The 6-10 Little Rock native scored 13 points in Saturday’s win over Clemson, his fourth straight double-digit scoring night after an up-and-down start to the season.
4 TEAMS RUNNING TOWARD THE FINAL FOUR
Arizona: For all their youthful athleticism and kinetic energy, the Wildcats will need a veteran leader with a steady hand to guide them through tough games against tough defenses. That vet appears to be junior point guard T.J. McConnell, whose 13 points, six assists, seven rebounds and numerous clutch play down the stretch pushed Arizona past UNLV on Saturday. Brandon Ashley, Nick Johnson, Kaleb Tarczewski, Aaron Gordon and the rest will finish many big plays for the Wildcats, but it's how often McConnell gets them started that will determine how deep 'Zona goes in the NCAA tournament.
Pittsburgh: Toughness, rebounding and defense will likely never be a problem for the Panthers, but if Jamie Dixon's squad is also running an efficient and balanced offense, their transition from the Big East to the ACC won't be hard at all. In Pitt’s most recent win, an easy one over Loyola Marymount on Friday that improved their record to 9-0, the Panthers recorded assists on 23 of their 35 field goals. They turned the ball over just 10 times, shot 58 percent from the field, and had five players score in double figures.
Oklahoma State: How the Cowboys responded to last week's high-profile loss to Memphis would be a good sign of what to expect from the team that is talented enough to threaten Kansas' streak of Big 12 titles. OK State passed the test with ease, routing South Carolina on Friday even though superstar Marcus Smart was more of a background player than a dominant force. All five starters scored in double figures, led by Le'Bryan Nash's 16 points. Smart added 13 points and five assists.
North Carolina: What can you say about a team that has beaten Michigan State and Louisville this season, but also lost to Belmont and UAB? If the Tar Heels handle their busines against the teams they’re expected to beat -- like they did in Saturday’s blowout of UNC-Greensboro -- they can avoid disaster in the early rounds of the NCAA tournament. From there, they can run with (and run away from) any team in the country on the Elite Eight and Final Four level.
4 TEAMS RUNNING SUICIDES THIS WEEK
Washington: The Huskies led San Diego State by nine at halftime on Sunday before wearing down as the Aztecs rallied and then ran away in the second half. Thing is, San Diego State was the team that had played five games in 11 days and should have been tired. Washington got next to no production from its bench, which isn’t very deep to begin with. If coach Lorenzo Romar is going to avoid a third straight season without an NCAA tourney bid, he’ll need to figure out how his injury-plagued roster can thrive playing small-ball with a short rotation.
Long Beach State: It was just two seasons ago when the 49ers became the playground set's favorite underdog, winning 25 games and making the NCAA tournament. Last season they won 19 and went to the NIT. This season, things aren’t going so well. After winning its opener against Hawaii Pacific, the 49ers have lost nine in a row, including Saturday’s loss to NC State in which the offense went ice cold during a key stretch in the second half.
Cornell: The Big Red have had some tough games on the schedule -- getting smacked around by Syracuse, Louisville and Notre Dame on the road -- but they’ve also faced Binghamton, Siena and St. Francis at home. And they’ve lost them all. Saturday’s double-digit loss to St. Francis dropped Cornell to 0-10. Is there a win on the horizon before the Ivy League schedule starts? The Big Red have three road games before returning home to face D-III Oberlin College in their last game before conference play.
Virginia: Having a six-game win streak snapped by Wisconsin is understandable, although the Cavaliers could have done better than scoring 38 points in that loss. But to follow it up with another loss at Wisconsin-Green Bay -- basically in front of coach Tony Bennett's hometown crowd -- really wasn’t a good look for Virginia. Green Bay does have a legit NBA prospect in 7-foot center Alec Brown, but he only had eight points and one rebound in a foul-plagued performance on Saturday. The Cavaliers were simply outplayed by a team they should have been able to beat.
4 QUESTIONS THAT NEED ANSWERS
If college basketball worked on a BCS system, which two teams would you put in the national championship game right now?
Should an athlete with an internal defibrillator -- like High Point senior Allan Chaney, who announced his retirement on Friday following a medical scare -- be cleared to compete on an NCAA level?
Who is the best alley-oop combo in college basketball?
If Coach K retires in the foreseeable future, who will take over for him at Duke: assistant Steve Wojciechowski, Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins, or Northwestern coach Chris Collins?
4 NAMES OF THE WEEK
Mike LaTulip, Illinois
Andell Cumberbatch, St. Bonaventure
Jarquez Smith, Florida State
Traddarius McPhearson, New Orleans