1/10-1/16 Teams of the Week
It is now about two months until an official NCAA Tournament bracket will be released, and it was quite the week of basketball. We saw the highest percentage of games played as less and less postponements occurred. Hopefully this trend continues and we have more exciting hoops action! Saturday in particular was an incredible, full day of College basketball! Once again, many teams were worthy of being a team of the week, but we have narrowed it down to ten below!
Teams of the Week!
As of January 16th, the Auburn Tigers are the new number one team in the country! The Tigers are now 16-1, are currently on a 13 game winning streak which is tied for the longest active streak in D1, and went 2-0 this week. Both of Auburn's wins on the week came in conference and on the road. On Tuesday, Auburn beat in-state rival Alabama in the "Iron Bowl" of basketball. It was an awesome game that saw the Tigers edge the Crimson Tide 81-77 behind 25 points from future lottery pick Jabari Smith. Auburn concluded the week coming from behind and defeating Ole Miss 80-71 on Saturday. It seems that Auburn can handle having the target on its back just fine, and weather any storm. Reminder, Auburn's lone loss this season is in double overtime almost two months ago in the Bahamas to a good UConn team. Don't be surprised if this is one of the last teams standing come April.
We mentioned above that Auburn's 13 game winning streak was tied for the active leader. The other team with a winning streak that long? Davidson. The Wildcats continued their streak by going 2-0 this week with wins over UMass and Richmond, and are now 4-0 in Atlantic-10 play. Davidson also holds an incredible non-conference road win over Alabama to go along with the strong start to conference play, further strengthening the at-large resume moving forward. Davidson is led by three outstanding shooters all capable of being members of the 50/40/90 shooting club at season's end. Hyunjung Lee, (shot 50/40/90 last season) is averaging 17.5 points on 51/42/79 splits. Michigan State transfer Foster Loyer is averaging 15.9 points on 46/47/91 splits. Finally Michael Jones is averaging 13.3 points, and currently is pacing towards the historic milestone as his current split is 53/50/90. Jones in particular was incredible Friday night in the win over Richmond. He had 29 points on 9/12 shooting, (8/9 from three), and hit a dagger three pointer to secure the win.
The Oregon Ducks have entered the chat. After a rough few months that saw Oregon at 6-6 overall on the season, the Ducks have now won five straight and sit at 11-6. Three of those five wins came this past week as Oregon defeated in-state rival Oregon State on Monday, and two Top-5 conference opponents in UCLA and USC on Thursday and Saturday night respectively. Oregon is getting it done on the offensive end. The Ducks only scored over 73 points once in the entire month of December, but have now scored over that amount in all four contests in January. It was also a productive week defensively, as Oregon held all three opponents this week to under 34% shooting from the three point line. This recent success has put Oregon right back into the NCAA Tournament discussion.
4. Boise State:
Despite having its three previous matchups postponed, Boise State managed to have a productive week, going 2-0 with both wins coming on the road. The Broncos win streak is now up to nine in a row, and BSU is 3-0 and atop the Mountain West conference. Marcus Shaver Jr was spectacular in each win for Boise State this week, scoring 28 on 71% shooting against Nevada, and 18 points with 6 rebounds against New Mexico. The Broncos have only given up 70 points once on this current win streak, and have held five opponents under 60. In fact, Boise State is only giving up an average of 59.3 points per game on the entire season. If that trend continues, we could very well see the Broncos back in the NCAA Tournament field.
It was a big week for a Kentucky team that seems to have the talent once again to compete at the top of the SEC. Kentucky defeated an improved Vanderbilt squad on the road Tuesday, followed by a statement win against Tennessee, 107-79! In the win over Tennessee, UK's guard trio were fantastic. Tyty Washington led all scorers with 28 points on 10/13 shooting, Sahvir Wheeler added 21 points and 8 assists, and Senior, Kellan Grady, contributed 16 points including 4/7 from three. The aforementioned influx of talent this roster has makes the Wildcats a threat against any opponent they play, the key moving forward is consistency. Kentucky will have a great opportunity to build on this week in its next four games this month, at Texas A&M, at Auburn, at home against Mississippi State, and at Kansas in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge to end the month. We will learn a lot more about UK during this stretch.
A massive week for the Razorbacks came at the perfect time. Arkansas came into the week on a three game losing streak, and was on the verge of nearly falling off the bubble. The Razorbacks answered the bell though and beat Missouri by 44 on Wednesday night, and won on the road versus LSU 65-58 Saturday. Arkansas held both Missouri and LSU to under 60 points, something Arkansas had only done once in the past eight games. The Razorbacks now sit in the middle of the SEC pack, and are 12-5 overall on the season. More opportunities loom against opponents in a similar position to them leading up to an important non-conference game against West Virginia on 1/29 in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge.
7. Murray State:
The two bid Ohio Valley Conference dream is alive and well. For the moment, fellow conference mate Belmont is safely in the field, and Murray State beat Belmont 82-60 on the road on Saturday to solidify its position for the time being. The Racers also defeated Tennessee State by 23 to go 2-0 on the week. Murray State's win streak is now up to 4, and the Racers are 14-2 on the season. Murray State is averaging just over 83 points per game on the year on 49.6% shooting, along with 8 steals per game. The Racers are also 13-0 when scoring over 70 points, while just 1-2 when they do not reach that mark, so "70" appears to be the magic scoring number for Murray State.
It was a big time seven days for the Jayhawks as they remain right in the 1 seed discussion. Kansas defeated Top-20 Iowa State 62-61 in a thriller on Tuesday, followed by a 85-59 dominant win over West Virginia Saturday. Ochai Agbaji continues to be a national star for KU, scoring over 20 points in both wins with exactly 7 rebounds in each game. The All-American candidate is averaging 20.6 points per game on the year. Kansas is now 14-2 overall, and sitting in 1st in the Big 12 with a 3-1 conference record. While Baylor is the highest ranked team in the Big 12, KU has a team capable of winning the league and playing deep into March once again.
9. Texas A&M:
Texas A&M went 2-1 at the Maui Invitational back around Thanksgiving, and had a big lead in its only loss in the tournament to a great Wisconsin team. Since then, the Aggies have continued rolling, but without much national attention. A&M is currently on an eight game winning streak, is 4-0 in SEC play, and went 2-0 this week. While this week's wins over Missouri and Ole Miss don't jump off the page, Texas A&M's 15-2 overall and 3-0 road record sure do. Couple that with the win streak, and Texas A&M has themselves right in the bubble discussion for an NCAA Tournament bid. The Aggies are averaging 76 points per game, are only giving up 62.9 points, and are averaging just under 11 steals per contest. Texas A&M is going to have a great chance to get on the national map if it continues this great play in the matchup with Kentucky this Wednesday night.
10. The WAC Frontrunners
Our final team(s) of the week belongs to the current frontrunners in a revamped WAC, New Mexico State, and Grand Canyon. Both NMSU (11 straight) and GCU (7 straight) are on long win streaks, are 5-0 in WAC games, and have quietly built resumes worthy of at least being in the at-large discussion. Both programs also beat the same two teams this week in Abilene Christian and Tarleton, what a coincidence! Abilene Christian had a solid NCAA Tournament last season and is off to a decent start this year, and Tarleton has given many top programs including Gonzaga and Michigan a valiant fight, so these are solid in-conference wins. New Mexico State and Grand Canyon have similar schedules this week against SF Austin and Sam Houston, before the two meet in New Mexico on Saturday, January 29th. That is a matchup to circle on the calendar now.
-Oklahoma State: 1-1 on the week, but upset then number one Baylor on the road, 61-54
-Illinois: continued 6 game win streak and 6-0 start to Big Ten play, highlighted this week by dominating Michigan, 68-53
-Marquette: 2-0 week, beat DePaul by 10, and Top-25 Seton Hall at home, 73-72
-Villanova: continued its 6 game win streak, won at Xavier and beat Butler by 40
-Wisconsin: 1-0 on the week with a 10 point win over Ohio State, also on a 6 game winning streak
-BYU: 1-1 week, but defeated San Francisco on the road, 71-69
-Florida State: 2-0 week with wins over Miami and Syracuse
-Kansas State: big upset over Texas Tech on Saturday, 62-51
-Cal State Fullerton: now 3-0 in the Big West, 2-0 week, and are on a 5 game win streak
-North Texas: 2-0 on the week with two key road wins over WKU and Marshall
-Northwestern: pulled off an impressive road upset over Michigan State, 64-62
-Western Carolina: defeated one of the best SoCon teams in Chattanooga, 70-59
-DePaul: huge victory in an offensive battle over Seton Hall, 96-92
-St Bonaventure: 2-0 week, highlighted by the Friday night win over VCU
-Saint Peter's: two wins on the week including a MAAC upset over Monmouth Friday
-Marist: Sunday upset over Monmouth, 84-48
-East Carolina: defeated Memphis on a last second shot, 72-71
-TCU: 2-0 week, beat both Kansas State and Oklahoma
-Washington: upset a hot Stanford team, 67-64
-Wyoming: on a 3 game win streak, won on the road versus Utah State on Saturday
-Oakland: now on a 6 game winning streak and atop the Horizon after defeating Cleveland State
Lets keep the hoops momentum going! DM us @TBracketology if there is anyone else worthy of a shoutout! Thanks for reading!