BARKLEY’S BACKBOARD BLOG

COLLEGE ROUNDUP

This was one of the craziest weeks in one of the craziest college hoops seasons we have seen in years. Here’s the best and worst of the week that was, and a primer on who’s rising and who’s sinking. See if you can follow the bouncing ball:

Game of the week: Notre Dame 104, Louisville 101 (5 OT). Is it even close? This game was a snoozer for 39 minutes – until Notre Dame guard Jerian Grant decided to score 12 points in the last 45 seconds to send it into overtime. The unlikely hero for Notre Dame was 6-10 center Garrick Sherman, a transfer from Michigan State who did not play a minute of regulation, but who had 17 points and six rebounds in the five extra sessions to give the Irish the win.

Shot of the week: Ben Brust, Wisconsin. The Badgers’ 6-1 junior guard sank a 40-foot desperation shot at the end of regulation to send Wisconsin into overtime against Michigan. The Badgers prevailed, 65-62. They also notched a double-overtime win over Iowa last Wednesday.

Player of the week: Nate Wolters, South Dakota State. The 6-4 senior guard was a scoring machine, going for 53 points on 9 for 14 three-point shooting in a win over IPFW and then 36 points in a loss at Oakland. If his first name were Jimmer, Wolters would be a household name by now.

Upset of the week: TCU 62, Kansas 55. This is the most shocking regular season upset in college basketball since Chaminade knocked off Ralph Sampson-led Virginia in 1982. The Horned Frogs were 0-8 in the Big 12 coming into this game, and most of those losses were by huge margins.

RISING

Miami. The Hurricanes remain undefeated in the ACC with a 10-0 record. They beat Boston College and North Carolina by a combined 48 points.

Syracuse. It’s nice that the Orange beat Notre Dame and St. John’s last week to improve to 8-2 in the Big East, but the big news was that senior forward James Southerland, who missed the last four weeks because of an eligibility issue, returned to the team. Southerland is Syracuse’s best three-point shooter.

Illinois. The Illini had an NCAA tournament bid-clinching week. They beat Indiana at home on a buzzer-beating layup off an inbounds play, and they won a tough road game at Minnesota on Sunday night. Illinois is still three games under .500 in conference play, but the Big Ten is so strong, that won’t hurt them too badly.

FALLING

Kansas. The Jayhawks have plummeted with three straight losses, including that shocking loss at TCU. Their main problem is at point guard, where Elijah Johnson is struggling to replace the graduated Tyshawn Taylor. They need to bounce back Monday night at home against Kansas State.

Creighton. The Bluejays dropped two games last week, including at home to Illinois State, to fall into a three-way tie for first in the Missouri Valley Conference.

Ole Miss. The Rebels were everybody’s favorite new flavor two weeks ago when they entered the rankings, but injuries and inconsistency have contributed to three losses in their last four games, including a 19-point pasting at Missouri last Saturday. This team has a lot of work to do if it is going to get back to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2002.

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