50 Things We Learned from Week 7 in College Basketball
It was another informative week in college basketball, as we near the end of nonconference play. The New Year is nearly upon us and the college hoops season starts to really heat up.
This week was highlighted by yet another Top-10 matchup, an NCAA scandal, huge recruiting news and one historic win for one of college basketball's best coaches.
These are the top 50 lessons we learned from Week 7 of the 2012-13 college basketball season.
Cody Zeller Uses His Size Well Against Small Opponents
Cody Zeller feasted on the smaller opponents of Mount St. Mary's and Florida Atlantic this week.
Facing two players taller than 6'9" this week, Zeller went for 20.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game by shooting 13-of-18 from the floor and 14-of-15 from the line.
The seven-footer used his body well and dominated in the paint for Indiana.
Indiana Can Still Beat Up on Bad Opponents
Last week I was pretty harsh on Indiana since the Hoosiers had played only three decent teams and were pushed to overtime twice. I stand by those comments, but this week we saw that the team still destroys lesser opponents.
Beating Mount St. Mary's 93-54 on 70.6 percent shooting from the floor and Florida Atlantic 88-52 on 50.9 percent shooting, the team was impressive. However, we have to bear in mind that these are not the type of teams Indiana will play down the stretch.
Jack Cooley Just Keeps Getting Better
Jack Cooley is having the best season of his life, which he continued this week by averaging 17.3 points and 12.0 rebounds per game in three games on 19-of-24 shooting from the floor.
Cooley is averaging 14.5 points and 11.0 rebounds per game and is now up to nine double-doubles on the season, which leads the nation.
He has been a monster and this week was no different.
Eric Atkins Is Among the Best Point Guards in the Nation
Eric Atkins had a bad week compared to what he has been doing, but his 8.7 points and 7.7 assists per game were still pretty impressive. Atkins has been a monster all season, but this week his "poor" play showed just how good he is.
Atkins is averaging 7.5 assists per game compared to just 1.8 turnovers and his 4.3 assist-to-turnover ratio puts him in the top 15 in the country. Compared to other point guards he is among the best in the country.
Isaiah Austin Could Have Been a Freshman of the Year Contender
Isaiah Austin has been great this season but he is not really a freshman of the year contender because Anthony Bennett is running away with that honor.
Austin's 13.9 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game are great numbers. This week he improved upon those with a pair of double-doubles.
Austin could have competed for the top freshman honors if Bennett wasn't so darn good.
Ryan Boatright Is Hotter Than Hot
UConn's Ryan Boatright is hotter than hot: He's on fire.
Boatright had an exceptional week, averaging 23.5 points, 5.5 assists and 2.5 steals per game on 17-of-24 shooting as he helped lead the Huskies to a pair of blowout victories.
In his last five games he has scored at least 16 points in each contest and is averaging exactly 20.0 points per game.
Omar Calhoun Is Hitting His Stride
Omar Calhoun looked like the preseason favorite for freshman of the year after tearing it up in exhibition play with UConn, but after a slow start he looked to be out of the conversation.
This week he averaged 19.5 points per game on 14-of-21 shooting from the floor, absolutely lighting it up as he set two new career highs in points.
Maryland Is One of the Most Underrated Teams in the Country
Maryland has to be the most underrated team in the country. At 10-1 the team's only loss came to Kentucky by three in the first game of the season.
Led by seven-footer Alex Len, electric Xavier transfer Dez Wells and a deep roster, the team has rattled off 10 straight victories by an average of 17.9 points per game. However, the team was still ranked No. 36 in last week's AP Top 25 and is not getting the respect it deserves.
Cleanthony Early Is the Key for Wichita State
Cleanthony Early has been instrumental for Wichita State this season and this week we learned that he is the key for the Shockers' success.
Early is a JUCO transfer who has been on fire for the team, leading the Shockers to big wins over VCU and Iowa.
Last week his two-point effort against Tennessee led to the team's first loss. However, this week he went for 20 points in a huge victory, proving that he is the core of this team.
Mitch McGary Is Starting to Improve
Mitch McGary had his best game of the season this week against Eastern Michigan. Coming off the bench, McGary went for his first double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds in 18 minutes.
McGary has been playing much better recently after starting the season off slowly and it looks like he might still become a big contributor for the team in due time.
Michigan's Backcourt Is Spectacular Even When It Struggles
Michigan has the best backcourt in the country with Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. being simply unstoppable.
Both guys had off nights against Eastern Michigan, but they still combined to go for 28 points, 15 assists and seven boards. They played poorly but still had a major impact on the outcome of the game.
Przemek Karnowski Is Earning a Starting Spot
Przemek Karnowski made his first start of his Gonzaga career this week, entering the starting lineup against Campbell.
Karnowski seemed like a four-year project, but he has become one of the fastest-developing big men in the country. He has finally started a game, going for 14 points in 20 minutes.
He has an incredible amount of potential and he could become a very valuable player for the Bulldogs.
Avery Dingman Might Become an Asset for Creighton
Creighton only played once this week, but Avery Dingman really impressed against Tulsa. He led the team with 21 points and could become valuable down the road.
Dingman looks like he could become a role player after scoring eight or more points five times this week, and is now averaging 5.8 points per game.
Oregon Suffered One of the Toughest Losses All Season
Oregon was on the verge of cracking the Top 25 for the last three weeks, but UTEP dashed all hopes of finally doing so this week.
The Ducks suffered their second loss of the season in triple overtime against the Miners. The team shot a paltry 31-of-81 from the floor and suffered a very tough loss that has to leave a bitter feeling in the team's mouth.
Wyoming's Quadruple Threat Will Take the Team Far
Wyoming is off to an incredible 12-0 start and its quadruple-threat offense has been a big reason why.
Leonard Washington, Luke Martinez, Larry Nance Jr. and Derrious Gilmore have been on fire for the team, averaging 53.5 points and 20.8 rebounds per game.
These four guys are leading the team to an incredible season and will be crucial for the team down the stretch.
Troy Daniels Can Be an Asset for VCU
Troy Daniels is a very streaky player, but as of late he has been a very valuable asset to the team and could bring the Rams to the top of the A-10.
In his last four games he has scored at least 24 points twice, averaging 17.8 points per game. He set a career high with 25 points on Friday and is proving that he could work well for the team.
Cincinnati's Rebounding Is a Group Effort
Cincinnati's battle with Xavier didn't turn into a brawl this year, but we did learn something about the nation's top rebounding team.
The Bearcats had six players grab at least five boards in the game—including all five starters—proving that the reason why this team leads the country in rebounds per game is because everyone contributes.
Georgetown Aced Its Nonconference Tests
Georgetown finished its nonconference schedule this week and it couldn't have gone much better for the Hoyas.
Other than an overtime loss to No. 1 Indiana, the team went undefeated and is ranked No. 15 in the country because of it.
Nate Wolters Is Still Dangerous
Nate Wolters is as dangerous as ever. Averaging 19.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game for South Dakota State, he is always a threat.
This week, Wolters turned it on against No. 16 New Mexico. On Saturday he went for an incredible 28 points on 9-of-15 shooting from the floor and 9-of-11 shooting from the line. He also dished out seven assists.
Wolters carried the Jackrabbits to arguably the biggest upset of the week and he will be dangerous in March.
Butler Has All Kinds of Weapons
Butler entered the week ranked in the Top 25 for the first time all season after knocking off No. 1 Indiana last week. This week the Bulldogs impressed once again.
Against Evansville the team proved that it has many weapons, as five players scored in double figures for the team. Rotnei Clarke and Andrew Smith led the team, both scoring 20 points.
Look for Butler to make a deep run in March if it can utilize its many assets.
Derrick Nix Is a Beast Inside
Derrick Nix killed it this week, posting the best performance of his career against Texas. He led the team to a big win with his 25 points and 11 boards, dominating inside.
His presence in the paint combined with an outstanding perimeter game could be enough to lift Michigan State to another Final Four appearance in March.
North Carolina Is Not Top 25-Worthy
Texas? Are you kidding?
North Carolina lost its third game of the season this week. A team that was supposed to be Top-10 caliber this season has already lost three games, including one against an overrated team that is missing its starting point guard.
UNC has yet to beat a quality opponent, losing to Butler, No. 1 Indiana and now Texas by an average of 17.7 points. Ouch.
Oklahoma State Plays Stifling Defense
We know that Oklahoma State has a talented offense behind Marcus Smart and Le'Bryan Nash. This week we saw just how good the team's defense can be.
The team forced 30 turnovers against Texas-Arlington, including 20 in the first half. It also forced 20 against Tennessee Tech. While neither team is exactly an offensive powerhouse, that kind of disruption is incredible.
C.J. Leslie Is Finally Playing to His Potential
C.J. Leslie is the best player North Carolina State has, but he didn't play like it for the first month-and-a-half of the season.
However, this week he averaged 24.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game for the Wolfpack, including a career-high 33 against St. Bonaventure on Saturday.
If Leslie stays hot you can expect NC State to be a Top 15 team before long.
Florida Is Overrated
Two weeks ago I called Florida a national title contender. Last week I said the Gators merely hit a bump in the road.
I still think Florida is a great team, but after losing to Kansas State I have to say that the team is a bit overrated. The team has now lost twice in two weeks and needs to close out the nonconference portion of its schedule with a couple of easy wins.
Minnesota Is Deep
Minnesota proved its depth this week against Lafayette. Not only did six players score off the bench, but they combined for an incredible 42 points out of the team's 75.
The team showed that it has more than just a talented starting five and that it's depth will be key down the stretch.
Chase Tapley Is Officially Living Up to His Potential
Last week I talked about how Chase Tapley was playing well and was making San Diego State even tougher to beat. This week I'm saying that he is definitively reaching his potential.
Two more games, 48 more points. He was on fire this week, dropping a career-high 33 points on San Francisco on 13-of-19 shooting as San Diego State rolled to a 80-58 victory.
Tapley and Jamaal Franklin are making the Aztecs a very difficult team to beat.
Khem Birch Is Going to Make a Big Impact at UNLV
Khem Birch made his UNLV debut this week, playing in all three games for the Rebels.
Birch slowly went from scoring just four points in limited time to dropping 20 points against Canisius off the bench.
Birch is dominating, shooting 12-of-18 from the floor and averaging 11.7 points per game. He will start for the team soon and should make a huge impact in doing so.
Ryan Harrow Still Has Potential
Ryan Harrow had a ton of potential when he came to Kentucky, but he didn't do much at first, totaling just two points in the month of November.
However, this week he dropped an incredible 23 points on Marshall. He has set new career highs in points in each of his last four games and is finally starting to play the way we expected him to.
Kyle Anderson Will Be Good in Due Course
Kyle Anderson had easily the best game of his collegiate career this week against Fresno State, going for 20 points, 17 rebounds and seven assists.
Anderson proved that he is still an elite player who will play like it eventually, but he must be given time to adjust to the college game before that happens.
Jim Boeheim's 2-3 Zone Can't Be Broken
Jim Boeheim reached 900 wins this week. That's 900 times that his 2-3 zone has been enough to win the game.
Boeheim's legendary zone defense has made him one of the best coaches in the history of the game. Career win No. 900 solidifies his place among his peers.
Syracuse Is Too Dependent on Michael Carter-Williams
Michael Carter-Williams is Syracuse's everything. The star point guard has been playing well, but struggled against Temple on Saturday as the team suffered its first loss of the season.
Despite C.J. Fair scoring 25 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the floor and Brandon Triche dropping 17 on 7-of-12 shooting, MCW led the team with 17 shots despite making just three. He also shot a pathetic 7-of-15 from the free throw line.
MCW did too much for the team and he should have just let Fair and Triche lead the way in this one. However, he forced everything and struggled because of it.
Temple Is Dangerous
Temple pulled off a huge upset this week, taking down No. 3 Syracuse. This marks the fifth consecutive season that the team has beaten a Top-10 opponent.
Led by Khalif Wyatt's 33 points and Anthony Lee's 21, the team won by four and shocked the Orange. This inside-outside combination and experience of taking down big schools proves that Temple is going to be dangerous this season and could make a deep run in March.
Illinois Needs Big Men
No. 10 Illinois suffered its first loss of the season on Saturday, falling to No. 12 Missouri. The biggest reason for the loss was the fact that the Illini were out-rebounded 51-29 in the game, as Missouri big men Alex Oriakhi and Laurence Bowers both went for double-doubles.
Illinois simply did not have the big men to compete on the glass, as Missouri racked up 20 offensive rebounds.
The Illini are going to need bigger contributions from their bigs if they are going to make a deep run in March.
Laurence Bowers Is a Beast
Laurence Bowers had a huge game against No. 10 Illinois, as Missouri picked up a huge win on Saturday.
Bowers led the way with 23 points and 10 rebounds on 10-of-20 shooting from the floor. This marks the fourth time in five games that he has scored at least 18 points, during which time he is averaging 20.2 points per game.
Bowers is hot right now and he is dominating the game.
Missouri Is Legit
I wasn't completely sold on Missouri entering the season, but the Tigers proved just how good they are on Saturday by handing No. 10 Illinois its first loss of the season.
Despite a horrible 3-of-19 shooting performance by Phil Pressey, the team beat Illinois by nine, proving that its other weapons are dangerous and that the Tigers will be tough to beat.
Ohio State Needs to Run
Ohio State lost again this week, falling to No. 9 Kansas. In that game we learned that the Buckeyes don't have what it takes to win games in the half court, as Kansas dominated when the game was not in transition.
The Buckeyes don't have the big men to compete inside, as the team does not start a single player taller than 6'8". This lack of height could really hurt Ohio State in March.
Ben McLemore Is a Man
Ben McLemore had a huge game against Ohio State and he is the main reason why Kansas knocked off the Buckeyes on the road.
The redshirt freshman went for 22 points and six boards in addition to making a few crucial stops on defense in transition. He had an incredible game, getting the better of National Player of the Year contender DeShaun Thomas.
Kansas Doesn't Need a Go-to Guy
One of the biggest problems I've had with Kansas all season is that the team lacks a true star to lead it when it matters most.
Turns out, the Jayhawks don't need one.
The combination of McLemore, Jeff Withey, Elijah Johnson and Travis Releford gives Kansas four guys who could always step up and it looks like that is going to work out for the Jayhawks.
The Big Ten Might Be Overrated
It's been a rough couple of weeks for the Big Ten, and now the question asks itself: Is the Big Ten a bit overrated?
It all started when Indiana lost to Butler. Then the conference lost both big games this week, as Ohio State fell to Kansas and Illinois lost to Missouri.
The Big Ten has not been as good as advertised. We have to start thinking that the conference might be just a little bit overrated.
It Was Not an Easy Week for Unbeatens
A few unbeatens all suffered their first losses of the season this week. No. 3 Syracuse, No. 10 Illinois and No. 16 New Mexico all lost for the first time this year.
We're getting into the nitty gritty part of the season where we have to be impressed with all of the last few remaining unbeatens, no matter how easy their schedule.
Texas Is Learning How to Score the Ball
The biggest reason why Texas struggled in the early goings of this season was that the Longhorns simply couldn't score the ball, ranking No. 246 in the country in points per game.
This week the team set a new season high with 85 points as it upset No. 23 North Carolina, proving that it can actually score now.
The Longhorns Are Still Vulnerable to Big Men
Derrick Nix tore Texas apart inside. His 25 points and 11 rebounds carried Michigan State to a victory over the Longhorns, proving once again that Texas fails to stop talented big men.
The Longhorns have a lot of problems right now, but one is about to be fixed.
Myck Kabongo Is Coming Back
Star point guard Myck Kabongo will play for Texas this season, as his ban was reduced this week from all season to 23 games.
This is huge news for a team that ranks No. 246 in assists per game this season. The Longhorns' struggles on offense correlate with the loss of Kabongo. Now that he will return the Longhorns have a new outlook on the season.
The NCAA Screwed Up...Again
The NCAA mishandled another case this week.
After botching the Shabazz Muhammad case, the organization then remained shady about its investigation of Kabongo before suspending him for the season and then reducing the suspension less than a week later.
It's getting tougher and tougher to defend the NCAA, but hopefully this will be the last time I have to write about something like this this season.
Duke Can Make Some Incredible Runs
Duke won twice in two days this week, beating Cornell and Elon by an average of 31.5 points.
During those games we saw that Duke still relies on making big runs throughout the game. They can also make some truly spectacular runs.
The Blue Devils went on a 23-0 run against Cornell in their game and started the second half on a 32-2 run. That sealed the deal for the Blue Devils.
Duke Doesn't Need a Bench
Duke is the best team in the country, but the Blue Devils are essentially playing without a bench.
While the team has talent, it relies almost entirely on its starters and that showed once again this week, as the bench scored just 21 of the team's 164 points in two games.
Four of the team's five starters scored as many points as the entire bench for the week, with the only exception being point guard Quinn Cook, who averaged 8.0 points, 7.5 assists and 6.0 rebounds per game.
The Blue Devils apparently don't even need their bench to win.
Marshall Plumlee Has the Worst Luck
The youngest of the three Plumlee brothers might have the worst luck in college basketball.
Marshall returned from an injury that sidelined him all season this week. However, he played just two minutes in his collegiate debut before rolling his ankle and being forced to miss time once again.
This is his second year in Durham, and so far he has played a total of two minutes. Just...wow.
Jabari Parker Really Likes Coach K
Jabari Parker committed to Duke this week, pledging his allegiance to Mike Krzyzewski's Blue Devils.
It turns out that Coach K was the major reason he committed, as Sports Illustrated documents a conversation he had with his older brother.
"If there was one coach you could play for, who would it be?" [Parker's older brother, Christian] said.
"Coach Wooden," Jabari said.
"Well he's no longer here. So who is your second choice?"
"There is only person now that is close to him. Coach K."
Not only did he give Krzyzewski that high praise, but one of his five major categories was "coach," and he selected Coach K over Tom Izzo and Billy Donovan.
Duke Is Going to Be Great for Years to Come
Jabari Parker's commitment to Duke gives Duke a huge boost in the 2013 recruiting class. He is an elite player who is arguably the best in the country and will help the Blue Devils excel next season as well.
While Duke still needs to figure out its big man situation for next season, if Marshall Plumlee can stay healthy and Josh Hairston plays well, the team could be almost as good as this year's team again next year.