2022-2023 Week 5 Teams of the Week
We are now over one month into the new season! We have seen numerous exciting games, been surprised by many teams, and disappointed by others. This week was no different, and saw many teams stand out above the rest, especially the teams listed below. Check it out!
Teams of the Week!
Are the Crimson Tide a Top-5 team in the country? We will leave that debate up to you all, but Alabama certainly has one of the best wins on the season to date! Alabama trailed by as much as 15, on the road, against number one Houston. That did not phase Nate Oats’ side as Bama came back to pick up the huge non-conference victory! Freshman Noah Clowney led the way with 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Tide, his second highest point and rebound total on the season. Alabama moves to 8-1 on the year, with it’s only loss to one of the two best teams in the country in UConn. A threat at the top of the SEC!
Memphis has won six straight games, and is 8-2 overall on the early season. The Tigers picked up two of those wins this week, defeating Little Rock on Tuesday, and Top-15 Auburn on Saturday. The win over another set of Tigers in Auburn is what gets Memphis here. The game was played on a neutral court in Georgia, and SMU transfer Kendric Davis was the star, dropping 27 points and playing 38/40 minutes in the win. Memphis had a few nice results go their way already, but this is far and away it’s best win to date. It appears early on that Memphis will be a NCAA Tournament team again this year, and look like the clear number two team in the AAC behind Houston.
3. Saint Marys:
The Gaels make another appearance on our teams of the week, and if past seasons tell us anything, this won’t be the last time either. Following a close, competitive loss to Houston last weekend, SMC went 2-0 this week. Saint Mary’s beat Missouri State by 20 on Wednesday, and followed it up with a 68-61 neutral court win over San Diego State Saturday afternoon. In the victory over SDSU, three players scored over 15 points for SMC, while not a single player scored more than 13 for the Aztecs. 61 points allowed is surprisingly a lot for Saint Mary’s to give up, which should tell you a lot about how good this defense is. SMC has games ahead against New Mexico State, Colorado State and Wyoming before WCC play begins to continue to strengthen its tournament resume.
No this is not a typo, another school nicknamed the “Gaels” makes our teams of the week list! The Gaels of Iona have won four straight games, including two this week. Both of Iona’s games came against teams normally near the top of the A-10 conference, Saint Louis and St Bonaventure. Iona did not just beat these two solid teams, they dominated them. The Gaels beat SLU by 22, and SBU by 15 on Sunday. This is a group that was projected to make major noise in the NCAA Tournament last season as the MAAC representative. Instead Iona was upset in the conference tournament, and a team called the Peacocks from Saint Peters made the dance. I’m sure you are all familiar with how that went. That withstanding, Iona is the MAAC favorites once again, and thus far they are living up to that hype.
The Badgers may not be flashy, but they get the job done! Wisconsin won two games this week, and is 8-2 on the year. Coming off the in-state non conference win over Marquette last weekend, Wisconsin defeated Maryland by five on Tuesday, and capped off the week with a three point thrilling road win over Iowa on Sunday. Iowa went on an 8-0 run in 45 seconds to tie the game late and force overtime, but Wisconsin prevailed 78-75 in the extra session. Tyler Wahl led Wisconsin in scoring in the victory over Iowa with 21 points. With these two wins on its resume now, this looks more and more like a Top-25 caliber side.
The Vols make its second appearance in our teams of the week! Tennessee previously was recognized for winning the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament, and they still haven’t lost since. It’s now eight straight wins for Tennessee, including two this week. The Vols defeated Eastern Kentucky on Wednesday, but make the list after surviving on Sunday evening against another Top-15 team in Maryland. On a neutral court in Brooklyn, Tennessee held Maryland to 2/24 (8%) shooting from three, and 33% overall from the field. All eight players that checked in for Tennessee scored, and Zakai Zeigler led the way with 12 points. Tennessee is now 9-1 with arguably a top 5 resume in the country. As is a theme with this week’s teams of the week, this is another team in the SEC to watch near the top of the league.
7. Utah Valley:
You know that saying, “history repeats itself”? Utah Valley and BYU sure do! UVU upset BYU at home last season, and completed the upset again this season, this time at BYU! The Wolverines did not just beat BYU either, they blew them out, winning 75-60. Utah Valley shot 46% from three in the game, connecting on 11 triples, while holding BYU to just 15% from deep. UVU completed the week by surviving an upset scare against NAU in overtime on Saturday. This week moved Utah Valley to 6-4 on the year and the Wolverines have now won three straight contests. The WAC is very deep this year, but Utah Valley is capable of being in the top half of the league come March.
Mid way through the second half against UNC Greensboro, it looked as if the Razorbacks were going to be upset, and miss out on our teams of the week list. I’m sure Arkansas was much more worried about the former, but nonetheless Arkansas was able to survive the game, setting up an exciting contest on Saturday against Oklahoma. Arkansas defeated OU on a neutral court in Tulsa, OK, 88-78. Despite OU shooting 57% from the field and 47% from three, Arkansas was able to lead the majority of the final 14 minutes by 10+ points. Ricky Council IV led the way with 26 points, while highly touted freshman Nick Smith added 21. This was arguably Smith’s best game on the year for the Razorbacks as he’s worked his way back from an injury that held him out the first few weeks. Another elite team to keep an eye on in a deep SEC this season.
9. UMass Lowell:
Some other programs may have picked up higher profile wins this week, but we would be remise without giving UMass Lowell a shoutout this week. The Riverhawks are 11-1 now, have won nine in a row, and three games this week. The highlight of the three victories was the in-state win over UMass, a team that also came into the game with just one loss, and previously won the Myrtle Beach Invitational tournament. The Riverhawks had four players score in double figures in the win over the Minutemen, and shot 52% from three. UMass Lowell also forced 21 UMass turnovers to get it done. While there are a few other teams that can certainly make noise, Lowell looks to be the favorites in the America East Conference as of December 12th.
10. The Mountain West Big 3:
Our final section is dedicated to three of the final seven remaining undefeated teams in the country. All three of these programs also happen to reside in the Mountain West conference, the only conference still hailing multiple undefeated teams. UNLV is 10-0 on the season, it’s best start since the 1990-1991 year! The Runnin Rebels defeated Hawaii, and Washington State to keep the undefeated season alive! Next up is 9-0 New Mexico, who coming off a great road win over Saint Mary’s, won its two games by a combined 28.5 points this week. Finally, Utah State moved to 8-0 on the season, taking down a good Loyola Marymount side 79-67 late Saturday night to stay unbeaten. The Mountain West looks deep once again this year, led by these three unbeaten squads.
Thanks for reading hoops fans!