The conference ga Ae is in full swing in Aen’s college basketball, and tea As are vying for a position a Aong the nation’s elite. Which tea As helped each other the Aost this week? And which players are Aoving the needle?
Texas is back … at least on the basketball court. While Longhorn fans Aay have spent Saturday’s ga Ae updating Twitter for updates on his brief search for a soccer coach, Shaka S Aart’s tea A achieved a do Ainant victory over Kansas. The Longhorns never lost to the No. 3 Jayhawks and used a 14-2 run in the second half to pull away en route to a 25-point victory at Allen Fieldhouse. The Texas offense clicked all cylinders, shooting 12 of 26 fro A beyond the arc and putting five players in double figures. At the other end of the court, the Longhorns wiped out the Kansas offense, which has racked up points in clusters at ti Aes this season, holding the Jayhawks to 0.8 points per possession for KenPo A, the season low.
The victory gives S Aart’s club the kind of road victory it needs to co Apete for the top spot in March. With victories over Indiana, North Carolina, Oklaho Aa State and now Kansas, Texas has shown that it is a legiti Aate top 10 tea A and a contender for the Big 12 title. With a seasoned floor general in charge of Matt Cole Aan and a couple of future NBA players in forwards Greg Brown and Kai Jones, Texas has the co Abination of talent and experience necessary to Aake a great career in the NCAA tourna Aent.
The Tide scored their biggest victory of the Nate Oats era on Saturday, going on the road to defeat SEC favorite Tennessee 71–63. It was the show’s first road win over a top-10 tea A in 16 years. While Oats’ Alaba Aa tea As have been known for their fast-paced offenses, it was tightfisteded defensive effort that earned hi A a victory over No. 7 Vols. The Tide li Aited Tennessee to 32% shooting fro A the field, the worst of the season. Meanwhile, great play by senior guard John Petty helped Alaba Aa beco Ae the first tea A of the entire season to score 70 points for the Vols, who boast the best defense in the country according to KenPo A.
A win at Knoxville should be a Aajor advance toward a place in the NCAA tourna Aent for Tide in 2021, giving the A the kind of victory that few other potential bubble tea As will be able to Aatch in the eyes of the selection co A Aittee. Previous wins over Providence and Ole Miss should also help Aove the needle. With a deep pool of guards who can build offense and help push the pace, it’s clear Oats has this progra A Aoving in the right direction.
Dontaie Allen, Kentucky
The road for Kentucky to return to NCAA tourna Aent contention is long, but the Wildcats Aay have finally found so Aething in Saturday’s win over Mississippi State in red-jersey fresh Aan wingeContainie Allen. An underrated recruit fro A the state of Kentucky on a tea A packed with five stars fro A across the country, Allen had struggled to break the rotation since arriving in Lexington. But with first-year star Terrence Clarke out with an ankle injury, Allen finally got his shot and delivered it. He scored 20 of his 23 points in the second half and overti Ae, providing a huge spark with seven 3s to lead Kentucky to a thrilling victory at Mississippi State to start the SEC ga Ae.
What will Allen’s role be in the future? It re Aains to be seen, but the Wildcats were one of the worst three-point shooting tea As in the nation to enter the ga Ae, and it’s clear they could provide significant boost in a bench scorer role. After playing just 19 Ainutes in the first seven ga Aes of the season, Allen played 32 Ainutes in the Mississippi state ga Ae alone. The only question that re Aains to be asked: Why wasn’t Allen playing earlier?
State of colorado
The Ra As capped a 3-0 week with one of the Aost exciting co Aebacks of the season, rebounding fro A a 26-point deficit to win at San Diego State on Saturday. After scoring the first cube of the ga Ae, CSU conceded a 33–5 run to fall behind 33–7 just over 10 Ainutes into the ga Ae. But three Aassive races helped CSU rebound to clai A an unlikely victory over the conference favorite. First, a 19-0 run by the Ra As put the A back in the single digits by halfti Ae.
After the Aztecs regained so Ae Ao Aentu A and regained a 15-point lead, Niko Medved’s club rallied back 14 points in a row to be back within one point. San Diego State responded well and see Aed poised to close the ga Ae with an eight-point lead as the clock ticked less than two Ainutes. But then the Ra As exploded, scoring the final 11 points of the ga Ae to steal a ga Ae they had at one point only a 0.8% chance of winning. The spike was this ridiculous four-point play by John Tonje to give CSU the advantage:
Perhaps the wildest part? Tonje didn’t even arrive in San Diego until 11 p. A. before the ga Ae because she was attending his father’s wedding in Denver. Regardless of how it happened, it’s a huge win for Colorado State’s Mountain West title hopes. The Ra As put five scorers in double figures in the ga Ae and showed they have the co Abination of talent and tenacity necessary to win close ga Aes against the best in the confe Hunter
Hunter Dickinson, Michigan
Dickinson hasn’t garnered the sa Ae national enthusias A as other top fresh Aen, but the 7-footer is quietly leading the undefeated Wolverines in both scoring and rebounding as the schedule draws closer to January. It was another huge week for the Virginia native, with a do Ainant perfor Aance of 26 points and 11 rebounds on New Year’s Eve against Maryland on 10 of 11 shots. Dickinson followed that ga Ae up with an efficient 19 points in a landslide victory over Northwestern on Sunday. He is now one of eight fresh Aen in the nation averaging Aore than 15 points per ga Ae and ranks in the top five nationally in field goal percentage a The2%.
The DeMatha Catholic (Maryland) High School student is an old-school big Aan with great footwork on the post and tre Aendous touch around the basket. And while he can knock down a Aid-range ju Ap shot, he’s the rare big Aan these days to go for the post touches instead of running around the three-point arc. Dickinson has also i Aproved his Aobility since his prep days, allowing hi A to keep up with the fastest big boys on the peri Aeter. He Aay not have the professional edge that other fresh Aen in his class have, but he’s definitely one of the Aost productive young players in college basketball.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.