2022-2023 Week 15 Teams of the Week
It’s crunch time folks. We are now less than a month away from learning who will be in the NCAA Tournament. Exciting times! With conference tournaments looming and Bracketology picking up, this will be our second to last teams of the week article of the season. We hope you enjoy this insight on some of the standout teams of this past week in college hoops!
Teams of the Week!
Kentucky came into the week either barely in the NCAA Tournament field, or just on the outside. After a 2-0 week this week, the Wildcats are much safer. Kentucky held on for a three point road win over projected tournament bubble team Mississippi State on Wednesday. Very important win for UK. Four out of five starters scored in double figures in that win. This pushed Kentucky back into the field, but Saturday morning’s controlled, 12 point win over Top 10 Tennessee catapulted this group to safety for now. Once again, four out of five starters scored ten or more points for the Wildcats, and Kentucky held Tennessee to just 37% shooting from the field, 22% from three. Is Kentucky figuring it out at the right time? Time will tell!
Staying in the middle portion of the country, we head to the state of Nebraska, home of the Huskers. Thanks to three straight wins, and four of its last five, Nebraska is now back to .500 on the season, 14-14! Tuesday night, Nebraska went on the road and upset Rutgers by 10, 82-72! Very few come into Rutgers and get a win, massive result. Keisei Tominaga led all Husker scorers with 22 points on 8/15 shooting. Nebraska as a team made 12 three pointers, going 12/28 from deep. The momentum did not stop there. Sunday evening Nebraska hosted Maryland who was fresh off of a win over Purdue, and defeated them 70-66 in overtime. Derrick Walker was the star in this one, scoring 23 points to lead all scorers. Nebraska was much colder from three in this game, but held Maryland to just 33% shooting from the field to get the job done. With three games remaining, the Huskers have a shot to make things interesting if they are to win out and steal a few wins in the Big Ten tournament. Starting to click at the right time!
Moving from the Big Ten, we head to another “Big” conference, the Big 12. It’s always quite funny that the “Big 12” has ten teams, and the “Big 10” has 14. Anyways, what a week for Kansas! The Jayhawks were featured last week for us, and continued that momentum again this week, going 2-0 once again. KU went on the road and beat a solid Oklahoma State team on Tuesday, winning by 11. Gradey Dick dropped 26 points in the win. On Saturday, Kansas picked up an even bigger victory, beating Baylor by 16, 87-71. On the surface, it looks like KU picked up two dominant wins from start to finish. However, the win over Baylor was anything but that. The Bears came out quick, got well in front of Kansas and led 45-32 at the half. The Jayhawks then put on a show, taking the lead and pulling away, outscoring Baylor 55-26!!! in the second half. Wow! The reigning national champions are still good folks!
4. Texas Tech:
Sticking in the Big 12, we head south to Texas. Texas Tech got back on the bubble map last Saturday defeating Kansas State at home. The momentum continued into this week, as the Red Raiders picked up two more quality wins in conference play! On Saturday, TTU went on the road and defeated West Virginia by six, a game that could be important down the stretch with both on the bubble. Monday evening though, was the statement win. In a battle of the state of Texas, Texas Tech upset Texas at home 74-67. The Red Raiders shot 50% from three, De’vion Harmon scored 25 points, and Texas Tech out-rebounded the Longhorns by 12. Texas Tech still has work to do to move into the NCAA Tournament field. But, the last three games certainly have our attention.
5. Texas A&M:
A small geography shift next within the state of Texas, but we do shift conferences to the SEC and Texas A&M. Similar to Texas Tech, the Aggies had a tough non conference. Unlike the Red Raiders, A&M has been making up for it for much longer than just the last three games. Texas A&M has won five straight games, two of which came this week. On Wednesday, the Aggies held on for a six point home win over another projected tournament team in Arkansas, holding the Razorbacks to just 56 points. Wade Taylor IV led all scorers with 18 points. On Saturday, Texas A&M secured a significant road win, defeating Missouri 69-60. Wade Taylor IV once again led all TAMU players in scoring with 21 points. That’s now three wins over projected tournament teams in its last four games. A&M has gone from a team closer to being out of the field, to a team closer to a single digit seed, in a short amount of time. A hot team to look out for.
6. Middle Tennessee:
Keeping the trend of states that start with the letter T, we head to the state of Tennessee, the middle of the state in fact. Middle Tennessee went 2-0 this week, and is 4-2 over its last six games. The Blue Raiders defeated FIU on Saturday, coming back from 24 points down to win by 11, and out-scoring FIU 42-17 in the second half alone. That was an extremely impressive comeback, but surprisingly, that was not even the best part of MTSU’s week. On Thursday, Middle Tennessee upset Top 25 and conference leader FAU 74-70! The Blue Raiders forced 15 FAU turnovers while turning it over less than ten times themselves. Camryn Weston led all MTSU players with 16 points, and Elias King added 15 off the bench, including a perfect 3/3 from deep. The Conference USA tournament is going to be a blast, and you can add MTSU as another group capable of making noise in it.
Providence took a bit of a stumble last weekend, being upset by St Johns on the road. However, like the previous team MTSU, Providence is 4-2 in its last six games, including a 2-0 week this week. Providence is also a perfect 15-0 at home after two more home victories over the last seven days. On Saturday, Providence pulled away from Villanova late to win 85-72. It’s been a tough season for Villanova this year, but now that the team is healthier, it’s a much more difficult game then the record indicates. Good win for the Friars. Tuesday night’s double OT thriller though is what gets Providence here this week. The Friars took down Creighton in front of a phenomenal crowd, 94-86, in two overtimes. Guard Devin Carter scored a career high 25 points to lead all scorers, with Noah Locke and Bryce Hopkins adding 20 apiece. Hopkins led all players with 50 total minutes played in this game. My goodness he must have been tired! Providence now finds itself 20-7 on the season, 12-4 in Big East play, and just one game back of first. Ed Cooley has his group in the mix once again.
8. Chicago State:
The Cougars from Chicago State are currently one of two Independent teams in Division One Men’s Basketball. The other is the University of Hartford. CSU defeated Hartford on the road a few weeks back, and on Sunday, used a dominant second half, out-scoring Hartford 41-18, to complete the season sweep, and finish 2-0 in the mini two team conference! Also with Sunday’s win over Hartford and similar to Providence from above, Chicago State remains PERFECT at home, 8-0 this season. Outstanding! This win, and a 2-0 week, also moved Chicago State to eleven total wins on the year, the first time the Cougars have had ten or more wins in a season in nine years. This program has been through a lot over the last few years, and it’s great to see them turning the corner and finding some success. Congrats on the mini conference championship! Go Chicago State Cougars!
9. Welcome to First Place:
Multiple teams this week played in games in which the winner would move into first place in their conference. In this next section, we will highlight three schools that moved into first place alone this week, that also went 2-0, and deserve more attention. First up, the UC Irvine Anteaters! UCI has won four straight games, including two this week. On Thursday, the Anteaters defeated UC Santa Barbara to move into first place by a game in the Big West Conference. UCI has many other good wins on the season too, a 13-14 seed that could make some real noise in March. Moving northeast, the Youngstown State Penguins avenged an earlier season loss to Milwaukee, winning by 29 this time around, to move 1.5 games ahead in the Horizon. The Penguins can really play. Finally, on the east coast, UNC Asheville defeated Radford on the road on Thursday and now have a significant lead in the Big South. UNCA has won four straight and THIRTEEN of its last fourteen games. Three teams that look like one seeds in their respective conference tournaments. Keep an eye out!
10. 10+ Game Win Streaks Needing More Attention:
Our final team of the week spot is once again dedicated to highlighting teams with win streaks of 10+ games, that deserve more recognition. Similar to spot 9 above, there are others with win streaks of 10+, but have received more recognition for us and/nationally than these two. The Hofstra Pride showed up for us earlier on this win streak when it upset Charleston. Hofstra has won seven straight since that game, and ten in a row overall. The Pride are 15-2 and in first place in the CAA, 22-8 overall. In the Midwest, Toledo has won eleven games in a row, and is tied for first in the MAC with a 12-2 conference record, 21-6 overall. The Rockets continue to showcase one of the nation’s best offenses, averaging 90 points over its two games this week.
Thanks for reading hoops fans!