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Olivier Nkamhoua and Vols had a strong week with a dominant win over Texas. // Photo Courtesy of Tennesee Volunteer Athletics
Olivier Nkamhoua and Vols had a strong week with a dominant win over Texas. // Photo Courtesy of Tennesee Volunteer Athletics

Men's College Basketball Winners and Losers: Week of 1/23-1/29

Queue the Jay Rock, there's a whole lot of winning going on

Welcome to another week of my winners and losers. I’m going to be honest, this week was hard. There were a lot of winners but not that many losers. The teams that lost, still won at some point throughout the week (i.e. Kansas, Xavier, Texas), so I had a tough time giving them the title of “loser”. And on the winners side there were a lot. Indiana, Providence, and Saint Mary’s, your performances have been noticed. Keep up the good work and someday you can be a winner on this prestigious list.


  • Tennessee: Is this team really a contender? After Saturday it appears so. The Vols beat number 10 Texas 82-71 and looked dominant in doing so. The big question with this team is offense and whether or not they have enough guys who can just go and get them a bucket. The way it looks, the answer to that will depend on the night. Rick Barnes has a group that stays balanced on offense and feeds the hot hand. On Saturday that happened to be Olivier Nkamhoua who put up a career-high 27 points to go along with Zakai Zeigler’s 22. With already having the number one ranked defense according to KenPom, if this team can get offensive production like that, the sky's the limit.

  • Baylor: The Bears week started on Monday when they welcomed Kansas to town. The veteran duo of LJ Cryer and Adam Flagler took matters into their own hands, combining for 39 points in the 75-69 victory. At 5-3 in Big 12 play, that win puts them firmly in place to make a run at the conference title being one game back of the lead. Then on Saturday they hosted Arkansas, a team desperately needing a win. It was the definition of a trap game with it being sandwiched between a couple of Monday tilts with KU and Texas. The script flipped from the veterans to the young buck as Keyonte George led the way with 24 points in a 67-64 win. The pair of wins vaulted Baylor to number 11 in the latest AP Poll and gives them a real shot to go on a run for a potential 1 or 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

  • Creighton: Here’s a team with some high expectations at the start of the season that they haven’t lived up to. I have some good news for Creighton fans though, your team can still accomplish everything they set out to do. The Bluejays put themselves back into the conversation of winning both the Big East and possibly the National Championship on Saturday. They ran Xavier off the floor winning 84-67 and the story of the game was the offense. All five starters were in double figures and they shot over 50% as a team. Don’t look now but Creighton is only a game and a half out of first place in the Big East and the schedule gets very favorable down the stretch.


  • Auburn: No Jabari Smith, no Walker Kessler, no problem. At least that’s the way the Tigers made it look until this week. For the first time this season they lost back-to-back games, one to Texas A&M on Wednesday and the other to West Virginia on Saturday. Just as we learned last year, the backcourt of K.D. Johnson and Wendell Green Jr. can be a double-edged sword. When they’re good, they’re really good. But when they’re off like they were this week, it’s really hard to win games.

  • Alabama: The Tide didn’t just lose on Saturday to Oklahoma, they got embarrassed. They allowed OU to shoot over 55% from the field and nearly 70% from three. The Sooners got whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted, and that defensive performance has to be a concern for Nate Oats. Now, this loss doesn’t kill Alabama though. They can still win the SEC, be a number 1 seed and possibly win the National Title. However, with Arizona and Virginia playing in weaker conferences, they are going to be hot on the heels of the Tide, and the race for a number 1 seed will greatly heat up come late February.

    Be sure to tune in to Heat Check and follow @HeatCheck_Show for more analysis.

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