2022-2023 Week 8 Teams of the Week
Updated: Jan 3
Happy New Year Hoops fans! The calendar flipped to 2023, but the basketball remained incredible with numerous exciting contests happening over the last seven days. Check out which teams stood out above the rest below!
Teams of the Week!
No one had a better week than Xavier. The Musketeers started the week strong, defeating St Johns on the road 84-79 on Wednesday. What Xavier did on Saturday though, is what gets them here. In front of a great crowd at the Cintas Center, Xavier gave UConn its first loss of the season, winning 83-73 Saturday morning. This was a highly entertaining game! Five players scored in double figures for the Musketeers, and they forces 16 UConn turnovers to get its best win on the season. This remarkable victory is now Xavier’s eighth in a row. Was this potentially a Big East title game preview? Look out for this group to compete near the top of the Big East all season.
2. Big Wins in the SEC:
Last week we had a section dedicated to a few huge upsets of mid-majors over SEC foes. This week, however, three SEC teams started off conference play in an impressive way. LSU got far and away it’s best win on the season, defeating Arkansas 60-57 in an exciting game. Both teams got hot in the second half, and the flow was awesome. The Tigers are now 12-1 on the year. Another SEC Tiger, Missouri, continued its recent hot stretch handling Kentucky at home. Kobe Brown was incredible, scoring 30 points for Mizzou. Finally, Alabama picked up an underrated road win over Mississippi State, winning 78-67. Miss State has been one of the better defensive teams all year, so scoring 78 is quite impressive for the now 11-2, Top 10 Tide.
3. Iowa State:
Iowa State only played one game this week, but they sure made a statement. The Cyclones dominated a Top 15 team in Baylor Saturday afternoon at home in Ames, Iowa, winning 77-62. ISU led by as much as 18 in this one, and both Gabe Kalscheur and Caleb Grill made five threes a piece to lead the way offensively. On the defensive side, Iowa State forced 19 Baylor turnovers and held the Bears to just 37% shooting from the field, 22% from three. Outstanding win from another quality Big 12 team. The best conference in college basketball continues to be exciting folks!
4. San Jose State:
San Jose State has only been above .500 overall once since 1994, and never in conference play in the last 29 seasons. SJSU has only been above .500 twice since 1987. Well, I think we are seeing one of the great program turn arounds I can remember folks! San Jose State is now 11-4 on the season, and 2-0 in Mountain West play. Both wins this week to open up conference play could be categorized as significant upsets. On Wednesday, San Jose State defeated UNLV in overtime, 75-72. Then, on Saturday, SJSU went into Fort Collins and beat Colorado State, 78-70. Omari Moore led the Spartans in scoring in both wins, and has now scored in double figures 11 times this season. The level this program is playing at so far this season is admirable. Rooting for San Jose State to continue turning it around! This dream season has been something special!
5. Central Michigan:
Nothing like some weekday MACtion right? Normally that phrase is reserved for college football, but not this week! Central Michigan went on the road and upset Michigan, 63-61! Reggie Bass hit a game winning three pointer with 11 seconds left that secured the stunner for the Chips. One stat that jumps off the page in this one is rebounding. CMU out-rebounded the Big Ten’s Michigan by 12 (44-32). Not too often do you see rebounding numbers like that in a mid major vs Power 6 matchup. Brings back memories of the iconic “how does Yale, out-rebound Baylor” press conference a few years back in the NCAA Tournament. Incredible momentum for Central Michigan after this win with MAC play beginning this upcoming week.
6. Kansas State:
Six minutes into its contest Saturday night on New Years Eve, Kansas State trailed West Virginia 13-1. K-State did not fold in front of its home crowd, instead the Wildcats were able to take the lead and force overtime against WVU, winning by six in the extra frame. Late in the broadcast, after another high effort play, it was mentioned that KSU guard Markquis Nowell’s motto is “Heart over Height”. Could not think of a better way to describe the young man. Nowell is 5’8”, yet registered 23 points, 10 assists and 7!!! steals in this game. Nothing new for the Kansas State star and leader. This is an exciting group that is now 12-1 after this solid win for the resume. The best start in 13 years for K-State. Look out for the Wildcats!
On the outside looking in of the majority of projected NCAA Tournament fields on 12/30, Pittsburgh needed a big win. It got that and more Friday afternoon, as the Panthers upset North Carolina 76-74 at home! Jamarius Burton went crazy in this one, dropping 31 points to lead all scorers. Burton is having a career year for Pitt, averaging 16 points a game. Both of his seasons at Pitt have been his best, after three years split at Wichita State and Texas Tech. A positive example of the transfer portal impact. In the UNC win Pitt also took care of the ball like pros, only turning it over eight times. That’s a good recipe to get a win. Great momentum for the Panthers that moves them one step close to the field of 68.
8. James Madison:
Historically speaking, two of the teams that have had the most March Madness success recently, that are currently in the Sun Belt, are Georgia State and Marshall. Georgia State is off to an up and down start, while Marshall is 12-3. What else do Georgia State and Marshall have in common? They were both defeated at home this week, by James Madison. In JMU’s first season in the Sun Belt, the Dukes started off conference play with a bang! James Madison defeated GSU 63-47 on Thursday, and won 72-66 over Marshall on Saturday. Underrated, yet impressive start to the conference season. The Dukes have a variety of ways to beat you, as seven players average 9 or more points on the season. That balance of scoring has helped JMU currently lead the nation in points per game, averaging an astounding 89.7 points over its first 15 games. This group is now 11-4 on the year, and a team to look out for at the top of the SBC.
The Wolfpack are starting to build a NCAA Tournament resume. Nevada has won four straight games, including two this week to open up Mountain West play 2-0. Nevada defeated Air Force 75-69 Saturday evening, but what it did Wednesday gets it on the list. In a battle of two teams squarely on the bubble, the Wolfpack defeated Boise State in a thrilling 74-72 victory. Kenan Blackshear hit a clutch bucket with 3.8 seconds left to give him 20 points on the night and Nevada the win. Nevada also connected on 10 threes on a 44% clip as five different players made a triple. This recent stretch is great momentum continuing on in the MWC with very few easy nights.
10. WAC Madness in Utah:
The WAC is FUN this year. A ton of capable teams that could win the league this season. Sam Houston has had plenty of worthy headlines thus far, but two others stood out from this conference over the last seven days. Both from the state of Utah! Up first, Utah Valley, who beat the aforementioned Sam Houston Bearkats this week handedly, 80-64 on Thursday night. The Wolverines connected on 11 threes and assisted on 24/30 made FGs. UVU followed it up with a home victory over Utah Tech on Saturday. Southern Utah, in its first season in the WAC coming from the Big Sky, went on the road and defeated New Mexico State. NMSU has dominated this league most years for a long time now, and especially at home. No issue for SUU though. The Thunderbirds picked up the 79-75 win thanks to 20 points from Tevian Jones. Southern Utah ended the week with an overtime win over UTRGV on Saturday. Nice week for these WAC programs!
Thanks for reading hoops fans!