College Basketball's Top 5 Players from Week 12
College basketball fans got a fantastic first glimpse of what this season’s March Madness might look like.
With the last week of buzzer beaters and great individual performances that are characteristic of the greatest month in basketball, it was hard not to be excited.
Last week featured a plethora of upsets, including several within the top ten.
America got to see its favorite Cinderella squads take each other on, and they did not disappoint.
The top team in the nation fell (again) behind a great overall performance by Syracuse.
This week even saw a series of fantastic defensive performances.
Without further ado, here are this week’s top five players from the week that was.
5. Michael Carter-Williams
Michael Carter-Williams scored 16 points, dished out seven assists and had four steals against the top-ranked Louisville Cardinals.
While Brandon Triche will likely get most of the credit for his 23-point performance, it goes without saying that the turning point in this game was Carter-Williams’ steal and subsequent dunk.
The point guard had arguably the toughest matchup of the day against the defensive pressure of Louisville.
Still, the sophomore point guard played 38 minutes and did not fold against what many consider the best defense in the nation.
If not for Carter-Williams’ tough play, Louisville would likely still be ranked first in the nation.
4. Scottie Wilbekin
Scottie Wilbekin makes this list for his defense.
Wilbekin drew arguably the two toughest defensive matchups in the SEC last week, and he effectively shut down both scorers.
First, Wilbekin held Elston Turner to just four points in 30 minutes of play. This is the same Elston Turner who made this very list last week for his 40-point performance at Kentucky. Forcing a scorer to go from 40 points to just four says a lot about the intense defensive pressure of Wilbekin.
As if that was not enough, though, Wilbekin held Phil Pressey to just two points in 35 minutes. Shutting down Phil Pressey effectively shut down the entire Missouri offense.
For those of you keeping score at home, Wilbekin held two of the SEC’s top scorers to a combined six points in 65 minutes.
Florida likely had the talent to win against these two teams, but it was Wilbekin's defense that allowed them to throttle both challengers.
Florida is arguably the hottest team in the nation right now, and with a shutdown defender like Wilbekin, they could be very dangerous in March.
3. Trey Burke
Trey Burke and Michigan recovered nicely from a disappointing loss at Ohio State by defeating the surging Minnesota Golden Gophers.
Burke had a particularly great performance in the very important Big 10 showdown.
With 18 points and nine assists, Burke lead the way for the Wolverines in what many considered a barometer game for both teams.
After watching this game, it is clear that Burke is the catalyst of this offense.
While he is surrounded by talented players such as Tim Hardaway Jr. and Nik Stauskas, without Burke, this team would not be ranked in the top 10.
Trey Burke’s performances in the loss against Ohio State and the win against Minnesota were as different as night and day.
Michigan goes as Burke goes, and if his performance against Minnesota is any indication, Burke is certainly trending up.
2. Matthew Dellavedova
Lost amidst the grandeur that was the Butler buzzer beater was the amazing running three-point shot taken by Matthew Dellavedova.
Tyler Haws of BYU hit a clutch two-point runner to take a two-point lead over the Gaels with just 2.5 seconds remaining.
Dellavedova took the inbounds and ran to just over the half-court line where he fired an improbable double-clutch three-pointer that would snatch victory from the Cougars.
The storyline heading into the matchup between WCC foes was the impending duel between Haws and Dellavedova.
While Haws scored 23 points, it was the last three of Dellavedova’s 18 points that helped win the game and the matchup between the two.
In two games last week, Dellavedova also dealt out 14 assists in route to two WCC victories.
Look for Dellavedova to keep stepping up for the Gaels as they chase Gonzaga for the WCC title.
1. Roosevelt Jones
How could anyone else be this week's top player.
Butler fans will be high-fiving Roosevelt Jones for the next month after his heroics against Gonzaga on Saturday.
Just when it looked like Gonzaga was going to leave Hinkle with a victory, Jones snatched an errant inbound pass and drove into the key where he was able to put up a floater in just four seconds.
Jones almost did not play in the last several minutes of the game, though. While he was on the bench with what appeared to be a rather severe shoulder injury, Gonzaga began to pull closer, and Butler did not have an answer.
Most of Jones’ 20 points came in the final stretch, but no two points were more important than his final two.
This game between the two elite mid-majors will go down as the game of the season, and Roosevelt Jones will go down as the man who decided it.
In case you are the one person in the country who hasn't seen Jones' amazing buzzer beater, you can see it here.