12/27-1/2 Teams of the Week
Updated: Jan 4
Happy New Year Hoops Fans! We still saw many intriguing matchups postponed this past week, but also had a few days with college basketball all day. Wednesday and Saturday specifically felt like full slates despite some games not playing. Fuel for the soul! With these games played, we identified the below ten programs as our teams of the week. Check it out!
Teams of the Week!
They are partying in New Orleans! What a week for the Tulane Green Wave. Ron Hunter, head coach of Tulane, is no stranger to big upsets, but I'm not sure even he could have predicted a week like this. Tulane upset Memphis 85-84 on Wednesday at home, and followed it up with a road upset over Cincinnati on Saturday, 68-60. The Green Wave has shot under 35% from the three point line in five of its six losses this season, but was able to improve that mark in these upsets. Tulane made a combined 20 threes this week at a 46.5% clip. If the hot shooting continues, Tulane can be a real pest for teams this year in the American Athletic Conference.
It feels like Providence continues to be featured in our teams of the week pieces, but its for good reason. The Friars are now 13-1 on the year and arguably have a Top-10 resume to go with it. This week, Providence went 2-0, defeating Seton Hall at home 70-65, and DePaul on the road 70-53. The Friars are now on an eight game winning streak, and have not given up more than 65 points in the last six games. This team is a real threat to win the Big East this season, along with many other strong teams, and should also be considered a legitimate Top-10 to 15 team at this moment.
It is no secret that to this point its been a weaker year for the ACC. Regardless of that, Miami is taking advantage of every opportunity in front of them. The Hurricanes have now won seven straight games, and have scored 80+ in four of those wins. Speaking of scoring, that is what fueled Miami this past week when it went 2-0. Miami beat NC State 91-83, and Wake Forest 92-84, while shooting 50% or better from three in both games! This offensive surge the last two games particularly is due to three players averaging over 17 points per game during the week, (Isaiah Wong 22ppg, Jordan Miller 19ppg, Kameron McGusty 17.5ppg). Miami is one of two teams in the ACC currently 3-0 in conference play.
Baylor went 2-0 this week to stay undefeated at 13-0. The Bears beat Northwestern State 104-68 on Tuesday, but Baylor is featured this week because of what it did on Saturday. Baylor defeated Top-10 Iowa State on the road 77-72 in a game with which it led wire to wire. Iowa State's Hilton Coliseum was rocking, and ISU battled, but Baylor had an answer for every Cyclone run. BU also held Iowa State to 7% shooting from outside the arc (1/14), and is still yet to give up more than 72 points in a game this season. Baylor is the best team in the country until further notice.
The Crimson Tide only played one game this past week, but it was a big one. Alabama won a Top-20 showdown with Tennessee, 73-68 on Wednesday night despite only shooting 23% from three. Credit Alabama's defensive effort and depth, (Noah Gurley led the team in scoring with 20 off the bench), for the win. This was a big result for Bama to get coming off tough losses to Davidson and Memphis in the last few weeks. We already know this team can win in multiple ways, see wins over Houston and Gonzaga for proof, but it is good to continue getting results. The Crimson Tide are a Top-15 team in the country as of now, and are one of the programs capable of winning the SEC.
On the topic of teams capable of winning the SEC, we go to Alabama's in-state rival, Auburn. The Tigers are now 12-1 on the year and have won nine straight contests. Like Alabama, Auburn only played one game this week, but it was also a big one. Auburn defeated then undefeated LSU 70-55, looking like the dominant side through the majority of the game. Freshman and future lottery pick Jabari Smith got some of the headlines, rightfully so, scoring 16 points, but Walker Kessler was equally as impressive. The North Carolina transfer also had 16 points, and added 10 rebounds to complete the double-double. The Tigers are scoring over 80 points per game, and giving up less than 65. That is a winning formula, and a combination that has Auburn in the Top-10 in the country.
7. Louisiana Tech:
Staying in the South, Louisiana Tech had a sneaky good week. LA Tech beat Marshall 79-56, and continued the momentum with a comeback victory over Western Kentucky, 74-73. The Bulldogs leading scorer, Kenneth Lofton Jr, made two clutch free throws to secure the win. Louisiana Tech was down by as much as 17 in the second half, and only led after the first basket of the game, so a major hats off for coming all the way back against a very good WKU team. LA Tech is now 11-3 on the year, undefeated at home, and appear to be one of the major factors in a deeper Conference USA league.
Prior to this week, SMU appeared to be a decent distance away from the bubble conversation. However, the Mustangs made a ton of progress to get closer when it went 2-0 this week to move to 11-3 on the young season. On Wednesday, SMU beat Tulsa on the road 74-69, but it made it as a team of the week with the 72-60 victory over UCF on Sunday. UCF was coming off a big win over Michigan earlier in the week, so its impressive SMU was able to halt that momentum and get a quality, Top-40 win. Despite an off shooting night, the Mustang's leading scorer, Kendric Davis, provided 20 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists in the win. If SMU keeps this up during AAC play, it will be right in the mix for a tournament bid.
We mentioned earlier that Miami is 3-0 in ACC play. The only other team with that many conference wins? Louisville. The Cardinals picked up two ACC wins this past week, beating Wake Forest 73-69 and then Georgia Tech in a close one, 67-64 on Sunday night. Despite an up and down start to the year, Louisville is now 9-4 and has seven consecutive games coming against unranked teams before it plays Duke January 29th, so more opportunities are coming. This is a team right on the bubble as of now, but very capable of getting to a safer spot and back to the NCAA Tournament as the season goes on.
Our final highlighted team of this week is a regular feature in college basketball discussions, Villanova. The Wildcats only played one game this week, but it was an impressive 73-67 road win over Seton Hall on Saturday. Villanova played a gauntlet of a non-conference schedule which led to a few more losses prior to conference play than usual, but this team is very capable of finishing near the top of the Big East as it usually does. Against Seton Hall, four players scored in double figures, led by Senior Collin Gillespie who has 21 on 50% shooting from the field and three. The Wildcats are now 9-4 on the season, and will have many more quality win opportunities to come in a deep Big East conference.
-Saint Josephs: upset road win over Richmond, 83-56
-Chattanooga: beat East Tennessee State by 30, 82-52
-Texas: 2-0 week, highlighted by a quality win over West Virginia, 74-59
-Boise State: beat Fresno State 65-55 on Tuesday
-UAB: 2-0 week, both wins in conference by double digits
-Virginia: quality road win over Syracuse, 74-69
-St Thomas: first Summit League home win, 89-66 over 10-5 Western Illinois
-Oklahoma: beat Kansas State in a close on, 71-69
-Saint Louis: defeat Richmond on Sunday, 76-69
-UCF: 14 point home win over Big Ten Michigan, 85-71
-Mississippi State: important victory over Arkansas, 81-68
-Butler: beat DePaul, 63-59 in a defensive battle
Lets keep the hoops momentum going! DM us @TBracketology if there is anyone else worthy of a shoutout! Thanks for reading!