A review of the week that was in college basketball focusing on the best (and worst) performances. Check in every Monday morning for our weekly awards.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Doug McDermott, Creighton Sophomore: McDermott continued his All-American-type sophomore season with stellar performances in back-to-back wins this week.
First, he led the Blue Jays to an 83-64 win at Tulsa with a 35-point, 7-rebound performance on Monday. In the triumph, McDermott made 16 of his 23 field goal attempts and both of his 3-pointer.
On Thursday, he came back with 27 points, five rebounds and five assists in an 87-79 win over Northwestern.
“He’s difficult to stop in that he scores a lot of different ways,” McDermott’s father and coach, Greg McDermott said. “It’s not just on the block, it’s not just from the 3-point line. He can slash and score, as well. He’s difficult to guard because of his versatility, and he has a lot of people scratching their heads trying to stop him.”
For the season, McDermott is averaging 25.4 points, while hitting 63 percent of his field goals, 58 percent of his 3s and grabbing 8.3 rebounds per contest.
MID-MAJOR PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Wendell McKines, New Mexico State Senior Forward: In wins on Monday and Wednesday, McKines scored a combined 43 points and totaled 33 boards.
In Monday’s victory over Southern, the senior forward had 20 points and 16 boards. On Wednesday, he was even better with 23 points – on 9-of-13 shooting and 4-of-5 3s – and another 17 rebounds in an 82-62 win over McNeese State.
For the season, McKines is averaging 17.5 points and 10.1 rebounds per contest. He’s also shooting 42.6 percent from beyond the 3-point arc. He ranks third all-time in rebounds for the Aggies with 882, behind only Sam Lacy’s 1,265 and Slab Jones’ 951.
TEAM OF THE WEEK
Kansas State: The 10-1 Wildcats followed last week’s upset of Alabama with three more wins and the championship of the Diamondhead Classic in Honolulu this week.
After beating Southern Illinois (83-58) and UTEP (78-70), Kansas State wore out Long Beach State, 77-60 on Christmas Day for the title.
Rodney McGruder led the Wildcats to the championship game victory with a 28-point, 6-rebound performance, going 10 for 11 from the field and 6 of 7 from the foul line.
Kansas State is 10-1 start is the best in school history. The Wildcats have won five straight since an 85-80 double-overtime loss to West Virginia on Dec. 8.
UPSET OF THE WEEK
Davidson 80, Kansas 74: Before the season, with Kansas losing a ton of talent from last year, this would not have been considered much of an upset. The way 11th-ranked Kansas had been playing, it certainly was.
The Wildcats avenged a heartbreaking defeat from the 2008 Elite 8 with the victory and improved to 7-3 with Monday’s upset.
“It (was) a statement about a team that has shown some resiliency, when you play a storied program – and (Kansas) is one of the storied programs in America – this was as pure as it gets,” Davidson coach Bob McKillop said. “To win in this environment is very special.”
Nik Cochran led the Wildcats, who lost later in the week to UMass, with 21 points in the victory.
WIN OF THE WEEK
LSU 67, Marquette 59: LSU had shown exceptional improvement during its 7-3 start, but the Tigers had yet to notch a marquee win until Monday’s victory over previously-unbeaten Marquette.
The Bayou Bengals trailed 13-0 at the start until Storm Warren, Malcolm White and Chris Bass brought them back, and sophomore Ralston Turner hit a pair of clutch 3-pointers late to help seal the win. Turner finished with a team-best 22 points, including 4 of 5 from beyond the 3-point line.
“This game shows us that the work we put in and our dedication and commitment that we have to each other and our defense pays off,” Warren told the Associated Press. “Our confidence has been up. Even in certain situations, we held our heads high and competed.”
Later in the week, LSU beat North Texas 67-58 to improve to 8-3.
LOSS OF THE WEEK
Hawaii 84, Xavier 82 (OT): After the suspensions that followed its fight with inter-city rival Cincinnati, Xavier’s losses to Oral Roberts and Long Beach State were understandable – maybe even expected.
Friday’s Diamondhead Classic overtime loss to Hawaii is a different story. The Rainbow Warriors are better than most people think, but at nearly full strength, the Musketeers should have handle 7-5 Hawaii with relative ease.
Instead, Xavier dropped its third straight contest and dropped to the seventh-place game, where it defeated 3-8 Southern Illinois, 87-77.
THE COLLEGE BASKETBALL LIST
Players who dominate the paint on both ends of the floor with their toughness:
1. Bernard James, Florida State (Sr.): The 27-year-old former Air Force military policeman is the toughest player on the nation’s toughest defense. At 10.2 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.5 blocks and 57.8 percent field goals, James owns the paint like no one else in college basketball.
2. Thomas Robinson, Kansas (Jr.): Robinson was expected to have a breakout season, and he’s easily surpassed expectations at 17.4 points and 11.8 rebounds per contest. He’s shooting 50.3 percent from the field and has blocked 13 shots in 11 games.
3. Arsalan Kazemi, Rice (Jr.): For the second straight season, the Iranian is averaging a double-double. This year, he’s leading the nation in rebounding at 12.3 boards per game while scoring 14 points per night. He has connected on 61.4 percent of his field goal attempts and blocks 1.4 shots per night.
4. C.J. Aiken, St. Jospeh’s (So.): Aiken is the nation’s best shot blocker, swatting away 4.5 shots every game. He can also score (12 points per game, 60 percent field goals) and rebound (5.6) for the 9-3 Hawks.
5. Samme Givens, Drexel (Sr.): At just 6-foot-5, Givens is college basketball’s pound-for-pound beast. At 11.5 points and 6.8 rebounds, his production is down a bit from an exceptional junior season when he averaged a double-double at nearly 13 points and just over 10 rebounds per game last season. He is shooting 53 percent from the field as a senior.