50 Things We Learned from Week 5 in College Basketball
It was another informative week in the college basketball world. While the Top 25 didn't see many upsets or surprises, it was not a kind week to many teams who were hoping to enter the ranks of the nation's elite.
There came news both on the court and off this week, as John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats landed another elite recruit (but probably not in the class that you're thinking).
With another seven days in the books comes another 50 lessons we learned about college basketball.
Jamaal Franklin Is a National Player of the Year Contender
Jamaal Franklin may have struggled against a tough Syracuse zone defense outside in the first game of the season, but since then he has picked it up.
Averaging 20.3 points and 10.1 rebounds per game, he is putting up numbers comparable to a power forward as a shooting guard/wing.
Franklin has led San Diego State to seven straight wins, and he has to be in the conversation for National Player of the Year honors.
Michael Cater-Williams Is on the Verge of a Triple-Double
You don't often see point guards get triple-doubles (unless that point guard is Rajon Rondo), but Michael Carter-Williams of Syracuse is going to get one this season.
How do I know?
MCW is a versatile player who is averaging 12.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 9.6 assists per contest. He has three straight double-doubles, during which he was only one assist away from a triple-double against Arkansas and three boards from it against Eastern Michigan.
This kid is electric, and he is bound to get a triple-double soon.
James Southerland Is Human
Entering the week, James Southerland may have been the hottest player in the country.
He was averaging 22.5 points per game in his last four games and shooting 65.3 percent from the field and 56.3 percent from the three.
However, Southerland came back to earth this week, shooting 3-of-14 from the floor and 0-of-8 from three.
Southerland is still a vital part of Syracuse's team off the bench, but he is not as good as he was playing.
Indiana Might Have the Best Offense in the Country
Coming into the season we knew that Indiana had to be considered the best team in the country, but we didn't know just how efficient this offense would be.
The team leads the nation in points per game with 89.1, is fourth in field goal percentage at 51.5 and is 13th in assists with 17.3 per game.
While you can say that the Hoosiers are just playing bad teams, against Georgetown and North Carolina the team scored 82 and 83 points, respectively.
This offense is potent, led by Cody Zeller's 15.4 points per game and Victor Oladipo's 12.7 with both shooting over 62 percent from the field.
This team is tough to stop.
Duke Beats Another Good Opponent
It's neither Kentucky, Louisville nor Ohio State, but Temple who was having a great start to the season, going 6-0 before taking on Duke.
The Owls actually beat the Blue Devils last season, but this year's Duke team beat another quality opponent, winning by 23 behind Seth Curry's 23 points and Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly's double-doubles.
Temple is a frustratingly good team, led Khalif Wyatt, Scootie Randall and Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson, but Duke brushed by the Owls without any problem at all.
Duke's Bench Is Finally Getting Some Playing Time
Duke's bench holds a lot of talent, but beyond sixth man Tyler Thornton, it didn't get much use in the first seven games of the season.
However, in the last two the bench guys have been getting their chances and taking advantage of them.
Amile Jefferson and Alex Murphy lead the bench, with Jefferson averaging 9.5 points in 15.0 minutes per game in the last two contests, and Murphy going for 7.5 points in 13.0 minutes during that span.
These guys are getting into the mix, which could be a huge boost for Duke.
Trey Burke Could Easily Win National Player of the Year Honors
Trey Burke had himself a nice little week, averaging 18.0 points, 7.0 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game, leading Michigan to two more blowout wins.
Burke has done it all this season, and he is still in the National Player of the Year conversation, despite having such a talented team around him taking some of his opportunities.
Burke Passed Cody Zeller in NPoY Standings
Burke's big week has catapulted him over preseason favorite Cody Zeller.
Burke is averaging 16.9 points, 7.1 assists and 3.0 rebounds per game this season. Zeller, however, is averaging just 15.4 points and 8.9 rebounds per game.
Entering the week, Jason King's first NPoY ballot had Zeller at No. 3 and Burke at No. 4, and I would have agreed. However, after this week I'm giving the nod to Michigan's incredible point guard.
Russ Smith Is a Freak
Coming into the season, we knew that Russ Smith would be a good scorer off the bench. Maybe he'd kick in 10 points per game, with 15 being the best-case scenario.
However, over time he went from good to great to starting to just being a plain freak.
Smith went for a whopping 31 points against UMKC on Saturday, being the only starter to reach double-digit points. He also went for seven boards and five assists as well.
Shooting 12-of-18 from the field, Smith absolutely went off and is now up to 20.3 points per game on the season, which puts him at fourth among major conference players.
It Was a Tough Week for Long Beach State
Long Beach State was one of the great Cinderellas from last season, but this season hasn't been as much fun.
The 49ers are 3-6 on the season after an 0-3 week that had to have lowered the team's confidence.
After losing by five to Fresno State, the team went on the road to take on No. 4 Syracuse and No. 7 Ohio State, losing by 31 and 34 points, respectively.
The team was demolished in both games and will finish 0-4 against Top-25 teams this season.
Arizona Remains a Work in Progress
I've said it before and I'll say it again: Arizona is not ready yet.
The Wildcats are ranked No. 8 in the country but are still making a ton of mistakes and are lucky not to have played any good teams yet this season.
This week the team shot 35.5 percent from the field and racked up 11 turnovers and 18 fouls against Clemson. The team still won and remains undefeated but has a lot of work to do before playing Florida on Saturday.
Ben McLemore Might Be Kansas' Best Player
Ben McLemore is only a freshman, but he has been on fire this season, averaging 16.0 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game.
In Kansas' only game of the week he led the team with 24 points, and he went for five boards as well.
The discussion about Kansas' top player has essentially come down to Jeff Withey and McLemore, and this week helped McLemore move closer to taking that honor.
Andre Roberson Has Disappointed Offensively
Andre Roberson was coming off a huge sophomore year, and most people were expecting 15 or 20 points per game for him in his junior campaign.
However, Roberson is averaging just 11.6 points per game, which is the exact same total from last season. He didn't improve at all on offense and ranks fourth on his team in scoring.
While Roberson is still a great player, he is not elite like we expected.
Brandon Paul Is Clutch
Illinois played its toughest game of the season so far this week against No. 10 Gonzaga in a battle between two undefeated teams.
Brandon Paul is the one who stepped up for the Fighting Illini, dropping 35 points on the Bulldogs on 10-of-16 shooting from the floor and 10-of-11 from the stripe.
Przemek Karnowski Should Start by the End of the Season
Gonzaga has worked on the development of 7'1" center Przemek Karnowski to turn him into a good player, and he has been way ahead of schedule.
Karnowski is averaging 9.6 points and 3.6 rebounds per game this season in just 14.1 minutes per game.
Against Illinois he played just nine minutes, but he scored nine points for the 'Zags, providing instant offense. If he continues to play this well we may see him in the starting lineup by the end of the season.
Illinois Is Better Than Gonzaga
Illinois started the season outside of the Top 25 but has worked its way into the mix, going 10-0 and entering the week at No. 13.
The team went on the road to take on a tough Gonzaga team, and it won handily, beating the Bulldogs by 11.
Illinois is going to be tough to beat this season, as Brandon Paul and co. continue to dominate.
Cincinnati Could Win It All
I'm buying-in on Cincinnati this week.
The biggest problem for the Bearcats is that they lack a true big man to complement one of the best backcourts in the country and the No. 4 offense.
The Bearcats are second in the nation in rebounding, proving that they can get it done without a Yancy Gates-type player.
If the team continues to rebound well, it could easily go all the way.
Phil Pressey Is Struggling Offensively
Phil Pressey might be averaging 9.0 points per game in his last three games, but his struggles go beyond just his points.
Pressey appears to have lost his stroke, shooting 7-of-29 from the floor and 3-of-15 from three in the past three games.
He needs to find his stroke soon, and the team plays Illinois on Saturday.
Minnesota Is Going to Be a Great Team
Minnesota is having a great season so far, going 10-1 with that only loss coming at the hands of the Duke Blue Devils.
The team is solid across the board, having very few weaknesses and many more strengths.
The Gophers have been killing it and have a bright future ahead of them.
Georgetown's Offense Is in Trouble
You'd think that Georgetown would have a good offense behind Otto Porter, Greg Whittington, Markel Starks and Mikael Hopkins, but it has been awful.
After beating Tennessee by a final score of 37-36, the team put up just 46 points against a Towson team that went 1-31 last season.
The team has been in trouble, ranking 27th in the nation in scoring, and needs to find a way to pick it up offensively.
New Mexico Has a Disruptive Defense
New Mexico has started the season 10-0, but it isn't because of a star player or an elite offense.
The Lobos are off to a hot start because of their disruptive defense, which forced 22 turnovers against Valparaiso on Saturday, epitomizing why the team has been so successful.
Gary Harris Can Still Compete for Freshman of the Year
Gary Harris has been on fire this season, scoring double-digit points in every game he's played at least two minutes in.
While an injury held him back earlier in the season, he is still on fire, scoring a career-high 20 points on Saturday with 7-of-11 shooting.
If he keeps scoring like this, he could get back into the conversation for Freshman of the Year honors.
North Carolina's Offense Is Electric
At 7-2, North Carolina has not gotten off to the start it hoped for.
You'd expect the problem to be the team's offense, which centers around sophomore James Michael McAdoo. However, it has been the team's defense that is holding it back.
The team ranks seventh in the nation in points per game, fifth in rebounds and first in assists. In its last two games the team has scored 90.0 points per game, showing just how efficient this team is on offense.
Jack Cooley Is a Man Among Boys
Jack Cooley has been having an incredible season, absolutely dominating for Notre Dame.
His 14.2 points and 11.3 rebounds per game both lead the team. He has seven double-doubles in nine games, including a streak of four straight double-doubles.
Cooley has been incredible, and he is a big reason why Notre Dame is 8-1 and in the Top 25.
Doug McDermott Couldn't Be Much Hotter
Doug McDermott is trying to win National Player of the Year honors, and this week surely helped his chances.
In two games, McDermott averaged 28.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game, shooting 58.8 percent from the field and 66.7 percent from three.
McDermott is sixth in the nation in scoring, but he could potentially surpass C.J. McCollum and the rest of the field for first if he keeps this pace up.
Oklahoma State Can Rely on Its Defense
Oklahoma State didn't put on its best performance against Missouri State this week, scoring just 62 points as Marcus Smart and Le'Bryan Nash combined for just 17 points.
However, the defense stepped it up, holding the Bears to just 33.3 percent shooting from the floor and a paltry 16.7 percent from three.
The team didn't score much, but it's defense proved that it can make this team elite.
Wichita State Will Look to Shock the World This Year
Wichita State put together a good season last year, snagging a No. 5 seed in the NCAA tournament
This year the team will look to do even better, starting off 9-0 and working its way into the Top 25 already.
Other than two games against No. 16 Creighton, the team doesn't have very many difficult games on the schedule, and we could easily see it go undefeated until the new year.
North Carolina State Might Finally Be Putting It Together
North Carolina State was supposed to be one of the nation's top teams this year but struggled early.
However, the team looked good this week, beating a tough UConn team and blowing out Cleveland State.
Freshman Rodney Purvis has worked his way back into the starting five, C.J. Leslie averaged 17.5 points and 10.5 rebounds per game this week, Lorenzo Brown ran the offense well and all is right with the Wolfpack...for now.
Kentucky Is Looking to Bounce Back
John Calipari had never lost at home with Kentucky before last week, and after losing two games his Wildcats look to bounce back.
The team picked up a pair of blowout victories at home behind Archie Goodwin and Alex Poythress, who combined for 64 points in the two games.
The team has a few weeks before it plays its next good opponent, with No. 5 Louisville on the slate for Dec. 29. If this is going to be another good year for Kentucky, the team can't afford a fourth loss before conference play begins.
Maryland Is Worthy of the Top 25
Maryland started the season off with a narrow loss to Kentucky, but since then has gone 8-0.
What's even better for the team is that seven-footer Alex Len has dominated, and Xavier transfer Dezmine Wells became eligible and played well all season.
The team is playing well and fully deserves a Top 25 bid this week, and I'll be sure to put the Terps in my Top 25.
Kenny Boynton Is Among the Nation's Best Scorers
Kenny Boynton is a stud. He's been key to Florida's dominance this season and showed why against Florida State.
Boynton started out slowly, not making a field goal in the first half. However, like all great scorers do, he found a way to help his team, finishing with 14 points and tying for the lead of all scorers.
Only elite guys can come back from slow starts like Boynton did, scoring from the field, behind the arc and at the stripe.
Florida's Defense Is Historically Good
Well this is something I never thought I'd say.
After Florida's defense was so bad last season, I didn't expect much from the Gators on that end this year either. However, after ranking No. 315 in the nation in points allowed last season, the team now ranks second in the country in points allowed per game with 48.3.
The team played against rival Florida State this week and held the Seminoles to just 47 points, which is the lowest the team has ever scored in the Donald L. Tucker Center.
Florida Could Win It All
It's still early in the season, but if the NCAA tournament started today we could see the Florida Gators win it all.
Among the best teams in the country, Florida has one of the best defenses to back up it's high-powered offense.
The new-found balance the Gators boast has made them unstoppable, winning by almost 29 points per game against good teams like Florida State, Marquette and Wisconsin.
Murray State Is Going to Make Some Noise This Season
The Racers of Murray State had an incredible season last year but were out of the Top 25 to start the year and have been consistently underrated.
However, behind National Player of the Year candidate Isaiah Canaan, Murray State is now 7-1, with that only loss coming to a Colorado team that was hot at the time.
Murray State would easily win out this season, and you can bet that the Racers will make some serious noise behind their sensational point guard.
Erick Green Should Be in the NPoY Conversation
Erick Green has been on fire this season, averaging 24.6 points, 5.1 assists and 4.6 rebounds per game for Virginia Tech.
He is the reason why the Hokies have to be considered for the Top 25 despite a close loss to West Virginia, and he should also be given a chance to win college basketball's most prestigious award.
Green ranks second in the nation in scoring, and his importance for this team cannot be understated.
Virginia Is Hot
Virginia had a rough start to the season, losing against George Mason and Delaware in the first three games of the year. It has been doing well since then though, winning seven straight games, including contests against North Texas, Tennessee and at Wisconsin.
Virginia is playing extremely well and will look to stay hot for the beginning of the ACC schedule.
UCLA's Freshmen Are Starting to Mesh
UCLA had an interesting matchup with Texas on Saturday, featuring two teams who have underperformed all season.
The Bruins looked good thanks to their freshmen. Jordan Adams, Shabazz Muhammad and Kyle Anderson combined for 45 points and 15 rebounds and were clutch down the stretch.
These three guys scored the final 10 points for the team, enabling a 12-2 run as the Bruins won a close game.
Steven Adams Is Beginning to Make a Splash
Pittsburgh's highly touted freshman from New Zealand seems to be adjusting to college ball.
Steven Adams had a good week. The seven-footer averaged 7.0 points, 10.5 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game, finally scratching his potential.
This kid is going to be huge, but he has had a tough time adjusting. Luckily for the Panthers, he might soon be ready to become a good player.
Pittsburgh Has Earned a Place in the Top 25
Pittsburgh lost a five-point game to Michigan in a nail-biter, but other than a close loss to one of college basketball's best teams, the Panthers are undefeated.
At 9-1 on the season, Pittsburgh has been flirting with the Top 25 for some time, and now the team has finally earned its place among the nation's best.
LaDontae Henton Is Going to Be Huge
Providence wing LaDontae Henton is only a sophomore, but he has already become one of the best players in the nation.
He is averaging 16.9 points and 8.1 rebounds per game this season, and he went for 21 points and 17 boards against Rhode Island this week.
Henton still has two-and-a-half years with the Friars, and he is going to be one of the nation's best players if he decides to stay and continues to develop.
Matthew Dellavedova Is Inconsistent
Matthew Dellavedova is in his senior season, but he is failing to show any form of consistency.
Dellavedova went from scoring 32 against Drexel to dropping just five points against Georgia Tech two games later to hopping right back up to 31 against Drake this week, two games later.
He is averaging 18.4 points and 5.6 assists per game this season, but he can't find a way to string a few good games together.
Oregon Has to Be in the Top 25
The Oregon Ducks have been killing it this season, going 8-1.
The team's only loss came against an elite Cincinnati team, but it already beat Vanderbilt, No. 18 UNLV and six other teams.
The team has been on fire and needs to be in the Top 25 this week.
Baylor's Rebounding Is Atrocious
Baylor was supposed to have one of the top frontcourts in the nation, led by freshmen Isaiah Austin and Ricardo Gathers in addition to big man Cory Jefferson.
However, the team was out-rebounded 36-23 by a Northwestern team that should have struggled for every board, but instead owned the Bears.
This appears to be one of the reasons behind Baylor's 5-3 start.
Miami Could Sneak into the Top 25
Miami may have suffered a bad loss to Florida Gulf Coast, but since then has been on fire.
The team has won four straight, including against No. 13 Michigan State.
Led by Reggie Johnson, Shane Larkin and Durand Scott, Miami could find itself in the Top 25 soon.
Temple Shouldn't Be Judged by Its Loss to Duke
Temple started the season off 6-0 before losing to Duke this week, but we shouldn't judge the Owls on this one loss.
The team lost the game by a big margin because Duke was lights out from three, shooting 60 percent from three.
Temple is still a good team, but Duke is simply unbelievable this season.
Sean Kilpatrick Continues to Impress
Sean Kilpatrick had another good week, averaging 20.5 points and 5.0 rebounds per game in his two games.
This season he is up to 20.0 points per game, leading Cincinnati to a 9-0 record and potentially a spot in the Top 10.
Johnny Jones Is on Fire at LSU
Johnny Jones is in his first year at LSU, but he is absolutely killing it.
After the team lost five of their eight top scorers from last season, the team has gone 5-0 and has allowed the fewest points in the country.
The Tigers are on fire right now, and it's all thanks to Jones.
Larry Brown Is Still One of the Best
Larry Brown's first year at SMU is going swimmingly.
SMU has started the season 8-1 and has been very successful under Brown.
He's still one of the top coaches in the game, and he has brought SMU to one of the best starts in years.
Anthony Bennett Has to Be the Early Favorite for Freshman of the Year
Anthony Bennett is a monster. Ever since his first collegiate game he has been working hard, and it's paid off.
Bennett averages over 19 points and 7.5 rebounds per game, and he built on that this week, averaging 21.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game.
Bennett led his team to a close victory over California with 25 points and 13 rebounds and has to be considered the favorite to win freshman of the year honors.
Karl Towns Jr. Will Be a Wildcat
Karl Towns Jr. pledged to Kentucky this week, giving the Wildcats yet another elite recruit.
He is a 6'11" center with incredible range, and he is going to help Kentucky stay among the top teams in the country for years to come.
Look for Towns Jr. to have an incredible impact in Lexington.