2022-2023 Week 9 Teams of the Week
The most important news we received this week was the extremely positive outcome of Damar Hamlin's condition despite the scary events from Monday night, and being in critical condition all week. It truly puts into perspective what is the most important in life, the people you spend time with. We are truly grateful for the engagement and friendships we have made through this work in College Basketball, and we thank for following along. With all that said, we had an incredible week of basketball games, and the ten teams that stood out above the rest are detailed below.
Teams of the Week!
1. Kansas State:
Very few teams are rising faster than Kansas State. The Wildcats have been recognized as one of our teams of the week many times now, and for good reason. This week, K-State won on the road TWICE. In the best conference in basketball, the Big 12, that’s incredibly difficult to do. Kansas State beat Texas in a high scoring affair 116-103, then followed it up with a thrilling 97-95 overtime win against Baylor. That game against Baylor was easily one of the five best games of the week, incredible basketball by both teams. Markquis Nowell continues to impress, as he led all scorers in both contests, 36 against Texas and 32 versus Baylor. Reminder, he is 5 foot 8, 160 pounds. Heart over height! K-State is a threat to win the entire conference this season.
Just one week ago, the Friars found themselves barely in the projected NCAA Tournament field. Now? Providence is very safely in, the only 6-0 team in the Big East, and 14-3 on the season. Over the last seven days, Providence picked up two wins. The Friars defeated St Johns in a tight one on Saturday, but end up here after taking down a Top 5 UConn team earlier in the week. Bryce Hopkins was outstanding once again, scoring 27 points in the win over the Huskies. Providence controlled this one throughout the majority of the game, winning by 12. The Friars are now 21-4 in their last 25 Big East games. That’s quite the stat! It looks like they’ll be near the top of the league again this season.
If this is the first time you are hearing/reading about Florida Atlantic, I ask that you please set aside time to watch this team play. This is also not the first time FAU has appeared as one of our teams of the week. Florida Atlantic is now 14-1 on the year, has won 13 straight games, and is 4-0 in conference play. Three of those four conference wins are against the three teams many thought would finish behind the Owls in the C-USA standings after non-conference play, North Texas, UAB, and Charlotte. This week, FAU defeated aforementioned UAB and Charlotte. We mentioned earlier that Kansas State against Baylor was a top five game this week. Well, so was FAU against UAB. What a battle of premier mid-majors! FAU won the game 88-86, with Johnell Davis dropping a season high 36 points off the bench! Both teams made 10 three pointers a piece as well, fun basketball! As of 1/9, FAU would not even need to win its conference to make the NCAA Tournament. This is a fun group with a very high ceiling.
Northwestern, welcome to our teams of the week, and to the projected NCAA Tourney field! If you find someone who does not have the Wildcats in today, they are likely not paying attention, or live under a rock. This is a NCAA tournament level team. Northwestern certainly earned that praise this week, as they defeated Illinois by thirteen, and followed it up with a tight one point win on the road over Indiana. NW had control for most of the game against Indiana despite the close margin, but Indiana displayed great fight to cut it close at the end. Credit to Northwestern for holding on. Speaking of close games, one factor that certainly helps this group is free throw shooting. All of Northwestern’s top four scorers shoot over 82% from the line, and it’s a good thing they do! NW got to the line a combined 68 times in these two wins alone. A stat to look out for. As of today, Northwestern finds itself in the field, and tied for first atop the Big Ten standings.
5. Iowa State:
One week after featuring in our teams of the week, Iowa State finds themselves here again. Similar to Kansas State listed above, ISU went on the road in the Big 12 twice this week and got two wins. The Cyclones won each by just one possession, defeating Oklahoma by three, and TCU by just two. In the TCU win, cannot say enough good things about the final sequence from Gabe Kalscheur. ISU inbounded the ball, and Kalscheur flashed to the wing. Instead of immediately dribbling, he hesitated and ripped the ball through, something we are taught in early grade school basketball camps but many do not execute. That rip through caused the TCU defender to overstep slightly, giving Gabe enough space to make one dribble and a step back to hit the game winning three pointer. Absolutely loved that play. You can watch it here! Great wins this week for Iowa State, and incredible momentum of late for yet another very good Big 12 team.
6. Boise State:
Boise State still finds itself on the outside looking in to the NCAA Tournament. But, the Broncos are much closer now, thanks to how they performed this week. Boise State defeated San Jose State by three on Tuesday in a super fun contest. SJSU came into this game hot, and were one of our teams of the week last week, so this was a good result. However, the win on Saturday for BSU really catapults them into the bubble conversation. Boise State not just defeated Utah State, they dominated them. Leading by as much as 24, Boise State beat USU 82-59. Many had Utah State in the projected field coming in to this game, so this is a heck of a win. Boise knocked down 11 threes at a 58% clip to help control this game from the tip. Like we mentioned above, still some work to do, but great momentum heading into another big week of Mountain West basketball.
The only undefeated, and 5-0 team in the ACC? That would be the Clemson Tigers! Clemson won two road games this week to get to 5-0 in conference, defeating Virginia Tech 68-65, and Pittsburgh 75-74. In both of those contests, each team had leads at different moments in the game, but Clemson was able to find a way to win both. Close wins like these can make all the difference for a team come Selection Sunday on whether they are in or out of the big dance. On the year Clemson is 12-3, undefeated in conference play as we mentioned, and on a five game win streak. On its own, that looks like a team that is very safe from the “bubble”. However, pealing back the losses sees two against Loyola Chicago and South Carolina, both of which have underperformed and find themselves as Q4 losses. Unfortunately, that means Clemson has more work to do to feel safe. But, this was one special week, and the recent stretch has the Tigers trending in the right direction.
8. NC State:
We stay in the ACC for our next team, the Wolfpack of NC State. While not undefeated on the year in conference play, NC State is 13-4, and just had a 2-0 week. The Wolfpack, similar to Clemson, picked up a nice road win over Virginia Tech this weekend. What gets NC State here though is what the group did Wednesday night. NC State did not just beat Duke, they crushed them, winning by 24 and holding the Blue Devils to just 60 points. Along with great defense, Terquavion Smith was spectacular, leading all scorers with 24 points. The Wolfpack also forced 21 Duke turnovers while only committing six themselves. This recent run of games finds NC State safely into the field of 68 today, as the team also has zero bad losses on the season. A fun group to watch play, NC State will have plenty more “resume boosting” opportunities to come in conference play.
The number one overall seed, across many Bracketologists including us, is the Kansas Jayhawks. KU has also been featured a few times now in our teams of the week column. The reigning National Champions have just one loss on the season, and have won eight straight. Two of those wins came this week, and similar to conference mates Kansas State and Iowa State listed above, both came on the road. Kansas held on despite a valiant effort from the Red Raiders to defeat Texas Tech 75-72 earlier in the week. Then, on Saturday evening, the Jayhawks led West Virginia for the majority of the contest, winning comfortably 76-62. Jalen Wilson is the household name at this point, rightfully so as he averages over 20 points and almost 9 rebounds on the year. But he did not lead KU in scoring in either win this week. Kansas has a variety of ways to beat you, has multiple capable shooters, and can defend. We asked a question on Twitter midweek about who the best team in the country is, and were surprised to get a limited number of responses for Kansas. Well, let us tell you, the ceiling on this team is a back to back champion. Watch out.
Our final team of the week gets here thanks to what it accomplished Saturday afternoon. Quinnipiac is on a three game win streak, and won on the road against Rider on Friday. However, the 81-58 thrashing of heavy heavy MAAC favorites Iona, is what gets the Bobcats here. Dezi Jones was all over the stat sheet in this one, scoring 23 for Quinnipiac on extremely efficient free throw numbers, while also adding six assists and nine rebounds. He was off shooting from the field, but found a variety of ways to still impact the game, and end up with over 20 point scored. The Bobcats are now 12-5 on the season, and should be feeling extremely confident about how they performed against the MAAC favorites in Iona. Remember folks, a non-favorite from this league who got hot late made a lot of noise last March. Could Quinnipiac do the same? Time will tell!
Thanks for reading hoops fans!