College basketball: Weekly honors led by Kansas, Dylan Windler’s monster numbers and more
If it’s Monday, then it’s time for the college basketball Weekly Honors:
Team of the Week
Kansas: The Jayhawks are the favorite yet again to win the Big 12, which would be their 14th straight title. The home loss to Texas Tech sent everyone into a frenzy that the league title was suddenly wide open. Well, it was not. The rest of the league beat each other up as expected. West Virginia appears to be the second-best team in the league, but the Mountaineers have a road loss at Texas Tech.
The Jayhawks won at West Virginia to start last week and then outlasted Baylor at home. West Virginia has become one of the toughest home courts in the country. Kansas won by five, snapping a four-game losing streak in Morgantown. The games will continue to intensify with road games at Oklahoma and at Kansas State sandwiched around the Big 12/SEC Challenge game at home against Texas A&M.
Player of the week
Dylan Windler, 6-7, Jr., Belmont
The Bruins had a monster week in the Ohio Valley with home games against Murray State and Austin Peay. Belmont won both and Windler was one of the main reasons. Windler scored 31, made 11 of 16 shots and seven of nine 3s in the 83-59 rout of the Governors. Windler started the week of games by scoring 21 points and making five of eight 3s in the 79-72 win over Murray State. Windler, who is from Indianapolis, is averaging 17.4 points a game this season, up from 9.2 a year ago. He’s also shooting over 45 percent on 3s and 56 percent overall. His numbers are a great example of how Rick Byrd continues to shepherd along talent from freshman to sophomore to junior to senior year.
The backup five
Jeffrey Carroll, 6-6, Sr., Oklahoma State: Carroll scored 23 points, grabbed 13 boards, made five of eight free throws and eight of 22 shots overall in an 83-81 overtime victory against Oklahoma in Stillwater.
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J.P. Macura, 6-5, Sr., Xavier: Macura stepped up and delivered in perhaps the most significant road win of the weekend when the Musketeers won at Seton Hall. Macura scored 27 points, making eight of 10 free throws, three of five 3s and eight of 14 overall. He wasn’t too shabby in the home win over St. John’s earlier in the week, scoring 16 points and making three 3s.
Bryce Brown, 6-3, Jr., Auburn: Brown scored 28 points, including five 3s, in a phenomenal comeback victory over Georgia at home. The Tigers were down 40-26 at the half but then went on an 18-2 run to start the second half.
Dusan Ristic, 7-0, Sr., Arizona: The Wildcats showed their title worth with a road sweep in the Bay Area, knocking off surging and surprising Stanford. And the Wildcats got a huge lift out of a new star. Ristic has been a role player, but he took a larger role in Palo Alto, scoring 18 points and grabbing nine boards. He was a highly efficient nine of 13 from the field. Ristic is averaging 10.5 points and 6.6 rebounds a game this season.
The American may be over ...
Wichita State lost two in a row last week, at home to SMU and at Houston. Cincinnati still has to play the Shockers twice, but the Bearcats don’t have the look of a team that is going to lose three or four more league games and the Shockers are hardly playing the role of running the table the rest of the season.
Duke’s confidence boost ...
may have come in the second half at Miami. The win over the Hurricanes on the road was a season-changer within the ACC. Duke had lost its last two on the road against decent teams, and easily could have folded late against Miami. But that wasn’t the case. Duke continues to have the toughest frontcourt to defend.
The best thing for the A-10 would be if ...
URI runs the table to get a high seed but then loses in the A-10 final in Washington D.C. The league is better than being a one-bid conference, but the Bonnies' 2-4 start doesn’t help. The Rams are 7-0 after a road win at Dayton.
The beauty of the Big 12 ...
is there are always games to help your profile. Kansas State is the latest example with two wins over Oklahoma and TCU at home. Oklahoma State got one over Oklahoma. And there are no givens as Texas Tech found out at Iowa State. If the Cyclones are the worst team in the Big 12 then this is as tough a league as there has been top to bottom.
The Big Sky runs through Montana ...
as it should since it’s the state’s motto. The Grizzlies blitzed rival Montana State in the second half in Bozeman to complete a three-game road swing.
Let’s say it right now ...
the Big East has seven teams that could be in the tournament. Providence is now 5-2 after a home sweep of Butler and Creighton. Butler has the win over No. 1 Villanova. Marquette has a win over Seton Hall.
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but Nebraska must get another road win outside of Northwestern. If there is one team among the muddled middle that could emerge as an NCAA team to join the top four, it could be Nebraska.
If you haven’t noticed ...
Eran Ganot has done a phenomenal job with Hawaii. The Rainbow Warriors are atop the Big West standings yet again after beating UC Davis. Hawaii had to deal with sanctions and a complete overhaul. The Rainbow Warriors were in the NCAA tournament in 2016. They’re my pick to get back again two seasons later in March.
The best underrated conference race may be in ...
Conference USA. Old Dominion, Middle Tennessee and Western Kentucky are all 6-1. ODU hosts Middle and plays at WKU. Middle and Western Kentucky play one more time at MTSU.
If you watched Nevada-Boise State late Saturday night …
then you should want both in the NCAA tournament. These two teams have the goods and are an entertaining watch. Boise State’s resume may be better than you think at 34 in the RPI, 4-1 in quadrant 2 (0-3 in quadrant 1). Nevada is smoking at 13 in the RPI, 1-2 in quadrant 1 and 4-0 in quadrant 2.
Highlights! The Wolf Pack pushed the home win streak to 15, are now 18-3 and 7-0 in the Mountain West as they topped Boise State 74-68 tonight! pic.twitter.com/2Rw8NGAnOl— Nevada Basketball (@NevadaHoops) January 21, 2018
How will the Pac-12 shake out in the second half ...
is an unknown. USC has suddenly surged at 6-2 after sweeping the Oregon schools (meanwhile UCLA got swept). But the Trojans were erratic in the non-conference. Arizona State is down at 3-4 but has the best non-conference wins. Washington still has the Kansas win in Kansas City, which is aging well. Stanford, UCLA and Colorado all have mountains to climb based on the resumes.
The SEC had some significant wins this week ...
For Florida at Kentucky.
For Alabama over Auburn and Mississippi State without Collin Sexton.
For South Carolina over Kentucky.
For Tennessee at South Carolina.
Kentucky had ...
the most frustrating week by losing at South Carolina and at home to Florida.
Saint Mary’s had ...
the best week by winning at Gonzaga and then at Pacific to move to 8-0 in the WCC and reassert itself into the at-large pool.
East Tennessee State had ...
a statement win in the Southern Conference by beating Furman on the road by one.
And say hello to ...
Louisiana senior guard Frank Bartley IV. The 6-3 guard is leading the Ragin’ Cajuns to the top of the Sun Belt (7-0). He scored 14 in the win at Texas State and 26 in the win at UT-Arlington. Bartley started his career at BYU and he has seen his numbers skyrocket from 2.5 points a game at BYU as a sophomore to 16.5 as a senior. He’s also made 84 out of 100 free throws. He was just 32 of 62 at the line as a freshman.
Louisiana now one of 20 teams that is currently undefeated in conference play this season - one of five teams at 7-0 (Rhode Island, Montana, East Tennessee State, St. Mary’s) … only 8-0 Ohio State and Purdue are better. #GeauxCajuns— Ragin' Cajuns MBB (@RaginCajunsMBB) January 21, 2018