Player of the Week
This year has seen a number of trends, the latest one being bubble teams constantly losing when they have a chance to make a statement to the committee and potentially improve their resume enough so that it is NCAA Tournament-worthy. It seemingly happens every week, and this week was no different. UAB lost by 48 to Memphis; Illinois State by 30 to Drake; Florida lost two games this week; Virginia Tech gave up two late free throws to fall to Clemson by one; Southern Illinois lost to Northern Iowa – the list is endless.
Despite the fact that Memphis had played one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the country, there were still several lingering questions facing the Tigers. People wanted to know how they would react if they played a good team in a tough environment, or what they would do down the stretch of a tight games. This week was the perfect week for the Tigers to answer all those questions. They faced the two best teams in the Conference-USA (besides Memphis, of course) – Houston at home and UAB on the road.
Sometimes, when it comes to selecting a Player of the Week, there are simply performances that you can’t ignore. Usually, a player that leads his team to two big wins with two outstanding games gets more consideration than a player who is padding his stats in losses. This week was different, however. Tyler Hansbrough of North Carolina was just unbelievable. Yes, the Tar Heels went just 1-1 during the two games they had this week, but Hansbrough did everything he could – and then some – in an attempt to will UNC over the top.
When it comes to doing a Player of the Week, it is often very difficult to find the one player that was truly the best player during that week. Players from smaller conferences get overlooked at times, and players that put up huge numbers in losing efforts don’t even get much of a glance. When choosing one, we like to look at players who put up big numbers in multiple games throughout the week; did it against good competition; and helped their team win. However, with that criterion, it often knocks several deserving players out.