Arizona: Tommy Lloyd and company looked hot out of the gates in non-conference, with something to prove, losing three NBA Draft Picks from last year’s team. They were ranked as high as number 4 after winning the Maui invitational and were widely viewed as an elite national title contender. But then came conference play, and with it, struggles. The Wildcats lost three of their first seven in the PAC, all to unranked opponents. After a loss to Oregon, they welcomed the LA schools to Tucson. With a win against USC on Thursday came the highly anticipated matchup with fifth-ranked UCLA. The Cats proved to the country that they are indeed a national title contender, allowing just 52 points, a season-best and winning 58-52.
Kansas St.: Another group of Wildcats came to play this past week. Jerome Tang and his crew looked very impressive early in the week, knocking off previously ranked number 2 Kansas in the Sunflower Showdown. After a big win usually comes a hangover game, but the Cats prevailed against Texas Tech on Saturday, which put them at number 5 in this week’s AP Poll. Marquis Nowell is one of the best guards in the country, and this team should definitely be on people’s radars as we head down the stretch.
Indiana: It’s been a disappointing start to Big 10 play for Hoosiers fans, as they dropped three in a row to start the month of January. Since then, they have strung three wins together and are starting to look like the team that was picked to win the Big 10 in the preseason. After dominating Illinois in Champaign on Thursday night, the Hoosiers returned home and beat Michigan State by 13. The reason for those victories is none other than Trace Jackson-Davis. The preseason first-team All American is playing his best ball of the year, scoring a combined 66 points on 64% from the field in the two wins this past week. When TJD is on, Indiana is as tough as anyone.
Gonzaga: 76. That's how many games the Zags have won in a row at home…until now. Cam Shelton and Loyola Marymount went to Spokane on Thursday and handed Gonzaga their first loss since December 2nd, and the first one in WCC play. Following the loss, Drew Timme and his guys took on Pacific on Saturday, which was no easy task. Although they ended up winning 99-90 it never looked comfortable and they needed a career-high 38 from Timme to escape with the win. This isn’t the Gonzaga team of years past, and it might be time for another team to take the WCC crown (looking at you Saint Mary’s).
Kansas: You’ve already read about the Jayhawks loss on the road to K-State. An understandable loss to a hungry and talented in-state rival, no harm done. But then Saturday happened. The formula for Kansas and their Big 12 dominance has been to win at home. This season they’ve been playing with fire, winning their last three home games by a combined eight points, and on Saturday they got burned. TCU came into Lawrence and embarrassed Bill Self’s squad, rolling to a 83-60 victory. The Big 12 is a league where you can’t keep you head down for too long though. The Jayhawks will make the trip to Baylor on Monday with a chance to get the sour taste out of their mouth with a ranked win.
Xavier: Sean Miller is here, and he is back to his winning ways. Well that may be true, the Musketeers faced a reality check on Wednesday night. DePaul pulled off the upset giving Xavier their first Big East loss and snapping an 11-game win streak. The loss did come with some silver linings though. Stars Souley Boum and Colby Jones shot a combined 4/26 from the field, which not likely to happen again. On top of that, Xavier received the best gift possible…a game against Georgetown, where they were able to get the train back on the tracks ahead of their matchup with UConn this week.
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