12/20-12/26 Teams of the Week
Many programs continuing to work through Covid protocols, along with the holiday hoops break, left us with a lighter schedule of games than normal this week. Despite that, we still saw many great games that yielded important results for teams. Those results led to the below schools being our choices for teams of the week! Take a look!
Teams of the Week!
In a game that was put together quickly after cancelations due to Covid, Davidson upset Alabama 79-78 in what was one of the best games of the entire week. Both teams made exactly 12 threes and shot over 45% from the field. With this marquee win, the Wildcats have now won 9 straight, are 10-2 on the season, and already have 5 wins away from home (3 neutral and 2 road). The Wildcats are also shooting an even 50% from the field on the season, and have four players averaging over 12 points per game. Look for Davidson to be near the top of the A-10 in the coming months and compete for an NCAA Tournament bid.
Auburn has won 8 straight games, is undefeated in December, and beat a very good Murray State team 71-58 this past week. In the win, Auburn did not have a player score over 13 points, but out-rebounded the Racers by 15 and blocked 11 shots. On the year Auburn is 11-1, with the only loss coming to UConn in a double OT thriller in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament back in November. This hot start to the year sets up what should be a great matchup at home Wednesday against 12-0 LSU.
Tennessee is 9-2 on the year, 4-1 so far in December, and got a big win this last week. The Volunteers defeated then 11-0 Arizona 77-73 providing what is its best win to date. Senior John Fulkerson led the way with 24 points and 10 rebounds. Tennessee now has a few quality non-conference wins for its Top-15 resume as it begins SEC play this week against Alabama.
Clemson’s season thus far has been a roller coaster ride. The Tigers began the year 4-0 followed by losing 4 of its next 5 before beginning its current 4 game winning streak. Clemson is now 9-4 on the year, and beat Virginia 67-50 on the road this past week. Clemson’s focus on the glass and taking care of the ball have been a few factors to the recent success. The Tigers are averaging just 9.7 turnovers a game during the 4 game streak while they averaged 12.6 turnovers during the previous 5 games (1-4 record). Clemson has also lost the rebounding battle in 3 of its 4 losses, but is a combined +37 on the glass during the winning streak. This will need to continue in a major way when Clemson meets Duke this week.
When Kentucky lost to Notre Dame two weeks ago, many began to doubt how good the Wildcats were. UK’s last two games have quieted that quickly. This week Kentucky beat Western Kentucky by 35, 95-60, after it had beat North Carolina 4 days before 98-69. This recent surge, both on offense and defense, has been fueled by efficient shot making and three point defense. Kentucky shot over 50% from the field and three in both wins, and held both UNC and WKU to under 16% shooting from three in the wins. Kentucky is now 9-2 heading into a conference game with Missouri next.
6. Wright State:
Wright State upset NC State 84-70 on Tuesday, in a game that they held NC State to under 30% shooting from 3, out rebounded the Wolfpack, and had 4/5 starters score 13+ points. The game against NC State was only the third time this season the Raiders have shot over 50% from the field. Wright State will have to keep that up to compete with the likes of Oakland and Cleveland State at the top of the Horizon League.
Samford has won 4 straight games, and 8 of its last 9. This week, they went on the road and upset Ole Miss 75-73 in a fantastic game. Both Samford and Ole Miss held double digit leads at different points in the game before the close finish. Samford’s leading scorer, Ques Glover, was phenomenal once again, scoring 21 points on 50% shooting. The Southern Conference looks deep with many teams that could win it, but Samford should be considered one of the top tier teams heading into the new year.
After upsetting Arkansas on the road last week, Hofstra followed it up with a 77-71 upset win over Monmouth this past Wednesday. These last two road wins represent Hofstra’s best wins on the year to date. Hofstra has hung close on the road against quality opponents all season, losing close games to Houston, Iona, Richmond and Maryland, but have finally been able to break through these last two contests. The Pride has lost the rebound battle in all 5 of its losses, and the turnover battle in 4/5 of its losses, but flipped the script in these two upsets. Jalen Ray led the team in scoring in this week’s Monmouth win, scoring 19 points and connecting on five threes. Look for Hofstra to be a solid test for the CAA favorites in Towson and James Madison all season.
Speaking of Towson, the Tigers beat Navy 69-52 on Wednesday, have won 4 straight and are 5-1 in December, with its only loss to Ohio St. Towson’s last two wins have also arguably been two of the three best wins it’s had on the year, so momentum is moving in the right direction. Towson has shot over 42% from three in each of the last 5 games, and 50%+ in the last 2 wins. Similar to Hofstra, consider Towson one of the top three factors in the CAA as conference play begins.
10. Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic "Co-Champs"
While on a technicality Vanderbilt went home as Champions of the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic due to Covid, for the sake of this article we will call both co-champions as neither lost a game. Stanford and Vanderbilt went 2-0 this past week, advancing to the tournament championship before it was canceled Saturday evening. Stanford defeated quality programs in Wyoming and Liberty, while Vanderbilt beat Hawaii, the host of the tournament, followed up with an upset of BYU. Vandy has had a bumpy start to the year, so this was an important few days for the Commodores. Stanford, on the other hand, has begun to hit its stride in December. The Cardinal finished 4-1 this month and like Vanderbilt are 8-4 on the season.
-Villanova: 71-58 quality win over Xavier
-St Thomas: first ever win in Summit League, 80-73 over Omaha
-Utah: win over Fresno St, 55-50
-UConn: road win over Marquette, 78-70
-Toledo: blowout of Marshall, 95-63
-Utah Valley: Pac-12 road win over Washington, 68-52
Lets keep the hoops momentum going! DM us @TBracketology if there is anyone else worthy of a shoutout! Thanks for reading!