Updated: February 14, 2011, 3:44 AM ET

Player of the week: Jordan Taylor, Wisconsin

It's a good thing Cleveland State lost to Detroit earlier in the week or it would be hard not to give Norris Cole this honor after his historic 41-point, 20-rebound, 9-assist performance on Saturday. But alas, the Weekly Watch's player of the week award has rules and we don't deviate. You must win all the games in the week to get the honor.

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AP Photo/Morry GashJordan Taylor was surrouned by a mob of fellow students after UW's upset of No. 1 Ohio State.

And no one else this week had a bigger, more impressive, more important week than Wisconsin's Jordan Taylor.

Taylor was magnificent in the win over undefeated Ohio State on Saturday, scoring 21 of his 27 points in the second half to will the Badgers to an epic win over the top-ranked Buckeyes. Wisconsin was down 15 points to OSU before Taylor went on a run that dismantled the Bucks. In less than nine minutes, Taylor was 6-of-6 from the field, 4-of-4 from 3 and outscored the entire Ohio State team, 18-8. He did all this against a splendid defender in OSU point guard Aaron Craft -- and also forced Craft into a turnover in a key late possession.

Taylor made midrange 3-pointers and buckets when it mattered most. He also helped set up the baskets by Jon Leuer and Mike Bruesewitz at the top of the key as well as from Josh Gasser and Keaton Nankivil. Taylor finished with seven assists and one turnover. Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan raved about the performance and rightfully so. It was one of the top five performances by a lead guard this season.

Earlier in the week, Taylor chipped in with 16 points, 8 assists and 2 turnovers in an overtime win at Iowa that was critical in ensuring the Ohio State game mattered as much as it did Saturday. Taylor played 44 of a possible 45 minutes in the win over the Hawkeyes. Taylor's 18-foot shot tied the game in Iowa City with 28 seconds left in regulation. So, once again, it was Taylor with timely shooting to help save the Badgers.

So much of the attention with Wisconsin was on Leuer at the start of the season -- and it should have been. He's lived up to expectations. But Ryan knew that Taylor was just as important to the Badgers being a Big Ten title contender. Taylor's omission from the list of 10 finalists for the Bob Cousy award, given annually to the best point guard in the country, fueled Ryan and the entire UW fan base this week. If it didn't affect Taylor, it should. He was wronged and he proved that he is not only a top-10 point guard, but the best in the Big Ten and a serious contender for Big Ten Player of the Year, along with Ohio State's Jared Sullinger and Purdue's JaJuan Johnson.

-- Andy Katz

More performances that wowed us

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AP Photo/David RichardScouts already knew how good Norris Cole was ... now all of college basketball knows.
Norris Cole, Cleveland State: We're not sure words can properly describe Cole's performance in Saturday's 86-76 win over Youngstown State, so we'll haul out two names you've surely heard of to put it in some perspective. When Cole totaled 41 points and 20 rebounds (from a 6-2 point guard!), he became just the second Division I player in the past 15 years to put up a 40-20. The other? Blake Griffin. The last player to do so in an NBA game? That would be a fella by the name of Shaquille O'Neal in 2003. Oh, and did we mention he also found time to dish out nine assists and swipe three steals? Or that he posted a double-double in each half? From a statistical standpoint, individual performances don't get a whole lot better than that.

Nolan Smith, Duke: In his last home game versus hated North Carolina, Smith scored 22 of his career-high 34 points in the second half as the Blue Devils turned a 14-point deficit into a six-point win. Then on Sunday, he overcame a scratched eye and scored 16 points in the second half of Duke's 81-71 victory at Miami.

Andrew Goudelock, Charleston: It seems Goudelock could reserve a spot in this section just about every week. His SoCon-leading Cougars actually trailed at the half at Elon, but the 6-2 guard scored 20 in the second half and finished with 34 points, making 8 of 12 from beyond the arc in a 85-67 win.

Dwight Hardy, St. John's: What a week for the Johnnies and what a week for Hardy. The senior guard scored a career-high 33 in a blowout of Connecticut, shooting 10-of-17 overall, 5-of-8 from 3 and a perfect 8-of-8 from the free throw line. He then followed up with a team-leading 18 points in an equally crucial 59-57 win at Cincinnati.

Isaiah Thomas, Washington: The Huskies had slumped badly in a three-game losing streak, and no player exemplified those struggles more than Thomas. But both team and player bounced back in a big way in a 109-77 destruction of Cal. Thomas connected on 6 of 8 from deep and finished with 23 points and nine assists, and most importantly, just two turnovers.

Joe Zeglinski, Hartford: In a 74-65 upset of Maine, the older brother of Virginia guard Sammy Zeglinski poured in 33 points on the back of seven 3-pointers. He added nine rebounds and four steals for good measure.

Draymond Green, Michigan State: Doing something only Earvin Johnson and Charlie Bell have done as Spartans certainly gets you a spot in this category. With his team essentially in must-win mode, Green came through with a triple-double (15 points, 14 rebounds, 10 assists). He also added three blocks and was 9-of-9 from the charity stripe.

Jamarr Sanders, UAB: The Blazers are quietly hanging around the C-USA title chase (who isn't?) and their latest win was led by Sanders, who torched Rice with eight 3-pointers that led to 37 points for the senior guard.

Reggie Jackson, Boston College: Jackson had 27 points earlier in the week, but his team lost at Clemson. The Eagles desperately needed a win over Maryland on Saturday to prop up their at-large hopes -- and Jackson made sure that's just what they got, scoring a career-high 31 points and missing just four of his 16 shots. He made 5 of 7 from 3 and added eight boards.

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Grant Halverson/Getty ImagesJohn Jenkins scored a career-high 32 as Vandy added to Kentucky's road woes.

John Jenkins, Vanderbilt: Does anyone in college basketball have a sweeter shooting stroke than this guy? Two days after scoring 20 in a narrow win over Alabama, the sophomore scored a career-high 32 (11-17 FG, 6-10 from 3) in a narrow win over Kentucky. And he picked apart the Cats with a sprained right shoulder.

Kyle Kuric, Louisville: No UL fan will ever forget Kuric coming out of nowhere to close out Freedom Hall with a career performance against No. 1 Syracuse. Well, the stage wasn't quite as dramatic this time around, but Kuric did in the Orange once more, making all but two of his seven 3s and finishing with 23 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists in the Cards' 73-69 victory.

George Beamon, Manhattan: Siena is clearly suffering through a down season, but it was still surprising to see a 4-21 Manhattan team take down the Saints on Sunday. But that's what happens when a guy like Beamon goes off for a career-high 35 points (12-19 FG, 10-10 FT).

Malcolm Delaney, Virginia Tech: Delaney had an absolute nightmare of a game in the season's first meeting with Georgia Tech, finishing with eight points and eight turnovers in a costly loss. In Sunday's 102-77 revenge win, the senior guard finished with a season-high 33 points (9-14 FG, 12-14 FT), 6 boards, 5 assists and 3 steals. And not to be forgotten is yet another double-double by teammate Jeff Allen (25 points, 14 rebounds).

Kyle Fogg, Arizona: Even in a down season for ASU, it's never easy to shoot against Herb Sendek's teams -- and most of the Wildcats found that out again Sunday night. But not Fogg. He figured it out fine, connecting on 6 of 9 3s and matching a career high with 26 points in Arizona's 67-52 road win over its rival.

-- Brett Edgerton

Team of the Week: Pittsburgh

The Panthers had every excuse to drop at least one game, perhaps two, in a daunting road swing through West Virginia and Villanova. Ashton Gibbs, the team's top scorer and lead guard, was out this week with an MCL injury. Pitt was going against two teams that have strong guards.

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Howard Smith/US PresswirePitt made its case for No. 1 by snapping Villanova's 46-game win streak at the Pavilion.

Instead, the Panthers proved why they are the best team in the Big East and a likely No. 1 seed for the second time in three years with a sweep of the Mountaineers and Wildcats. And it didn't matter that the Wildcats moved their high-profile game to the cozier on-campus Pavilion, where they'd won 46 games in a row. It didn't matter that WVU Coliseum was filled to the brim with rowdy West Virginia fans revved up for their rival.

Pitt trailed at the half of both games, outscored both opponents by seven in the second half and won both games despite struggling from the 3-point range in each (1-of-6 against WVU and 1-of-10 against Nova). Gibbs' replacement, Travon Woodall, had three assists and one turnover and scored 12 points against the Mountaineers. And the guards did a fine job of defending the 3-point line as West Virginia was just 4-of-17. The Panthers dominated West Virginia on the boards, 39-25.

The Villanova win was more of the same as the Wildcats played chippy instead of smart. Nova did outrebound the Panthers, but shot 3-of-15 on 3s. Woodall wasn't special, but did a solid job in Gibbs' absence. Pitt took a punch from the Cats and answered right back -- not with a fist, but with a game-clinching run.

Pitt still has to go to St. John's and Louisville on the Big East road, but there's no reason to believe the Panthers can't win those games too. If you're picking against Pittsburgh in the Big East at this point, I wish you luck.

--Andy Katz

More teams that impressed us

Wisconsin: The Badgers had one of the best regular-season weeks under Bo Ryan by winning at improved Iowa in overtime in a classic trap game before overcoming a 15-point deficit in the second half to beat top-ranked Ohio State at a rollicking Kohl Center on Saturday.

Georgetown: The Hoyas won at Syracuse for the first time in nearly a decade and then took out Marquette at home Sunday for their eighth straight win after a 1-4 start in Big East play, positioning themselves for a run at second place and a double-bye in the conference tournament.

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AP Photo/David TulisWill Mark Lyons' ability to score be on display at Xavier next season?

Xavier: The Musketeers continued to show who is boss in the A-10, winning at Duquesne in a first-place showdown on Sunday. That followed a nonconference win earlier in the week at Georgia. What an impressive week for X.

Purdue: The Boilermakers beat back Indiana at home and then won by 11 at Illinois on Sunday to keep pace with Wisconsin in the chase to catch Ohio State. JaJuan Johnson was once again a stud, scoring 24 points and pulling down nine boards in the win over the erratic Illini.

St. John's: The Red Storm dismantled Connecticut at home earlier in the week and then beat Cincinnati on the road despite going the final 8:58 without scoring a bucket. St. John's now shoots up into the top six with a 7-5 Big East record.

San Diego State: As expected, the Aztecs crushed Utah at home. But SDSU also found a way to hold off UNLV in Las Vegas as D.J. Gay logged 40 minutes and led the Aztecs to the win. San Diego State is now 25-1. Let that one sink in for a bit.

Colorado State: It's beginning to look like the Rams might have a better at-large case than UNLV, which they've already beaten on the road this season. CSU sits alone in third at 7-3 after beating Wyoming on the road and New Mexico at home this past week.

Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish continue to look like the second-best team in the Big East after an impressive week of beating Louisville at home by 10 and obliterating South Florida in Tampa.

Kansas: The Jayhawks have one loss and that was to Texas. Not much else has been close of late in the Big 12. Kansas scored 103 points and dominated rival Missouri and then crushed Iowa State at home heading into a rivalry game Monday at Kansas State.

Texas A&M: The Aggies survived twice, barely. But that's all the Aggies need at this point -- wins. Texas A&M won at Colorado by three in overtime and squeaked out a win at Texas Tech by the same margin to move into third place by itself in the Big 12.

Coastal Carolina: The Chanticleers took advantage of Ohio State's loss to take over the nation's longest win streak in the country, now at 22 after sweeping Presbyterian and Winthrop on the road. The 24-2 Chanticleers are 15-0 in the Big South under veteran coach Cliff Ellis.

Michigan: Do we dare say the Wolverines are making a late push for a bid? Michigan is 16-10 overall and now 6-7 in the Big Ten after sweeping Northwestern and Indiana at home. What if the Wolverines win out and finish 11-7? Go at least 4-1 and we might have something to talk about.

Old Dominion: The Monarchs are back in play for an at-large bid again after sweeping road games in conference against William & Mary and VCU. The Norris Cole Show comes to town this weekend.

Memphis: The Tigers got a season sweep of Southern Miss by beating the Golden Eagles at home. That came after a late-possession win at Central Florida. Memphis pulled within a half-game of first-place UTEP and UAB.

Florida: The Gators beat South Carolina by 19 and then took out Tennessee at home on an Erving Walker layup to win by one and take a commanding two-game lead in the SEC East (or it at least it sure feels commanding with the rest of the group so jammed together).

Vanderbilt: The Commodores don't like to do anything easy. In a span of three days, Vandy clipped Alabama and Kentucky at home, both coming down to the final possessions. Alabama coach Anthony Grant and Kentucky coach John Calipari looked exasperated at one point -- and that's what Memorial Magic will do to coaches.

Saint Mary's: The Gaels won where Gonzaga could not earlier this season. Saint Mary's beat Santa Clara and San Francisco on the road to maintain a two-game lead on the Zags and Dons atop the WCC standings, with three conference games remaining.

-- Andy Katz

Observations from the week that was

Andy Katz

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AP Photo/David GoldmanChris Singleton's foot injury is a severe blow to both Florida State's offense and defense.

• College coaches who have been tossed aside or chose to leave at a higher level have resurfaced quite well this season and are proving that they can check their egos at the door and be successful at a lower level. Cliff Ellis, who had his share of success at Clemson and Auburn, is leading quite a run at Coastal Carolina with the Chanticleers atop the Big South with a 15-0 mark and the longest win streak in the country at 22.

Dan Monson was pushed out of Minnesota midseason and resurfaced at Long Beach State, where he has the 49ers at the top of the Big West with a 10-2 record and on their way to a No. 1 seed in the conference tournament. Bobby Cremins, who left Georgia Tech and who has the court named after him in Atlanta, has led a resurgence at the College of Charleston with a 12-2 mark atop the South Division in the Southern Conference and in position to get to the NCAA tournament. And in the Sun Belt, the home of so many second and third chances, the two division leaders are led by former big-time coaches in Mike Jarvis (St. John's) at Florida Atlantic in the East and John Brady (LSU) with Arkansas State in the West.

• I'm guilty every season of overreacting to early-season losses. UCLA and Florida are the two latest examples. The Bruins lost at home to Montana and didn't look good in New York in November. Now the Bruins are in position to possibly win the Pac-10 with a 9-3 league record and nonconference wins over BYU and St. John's that may make them an at-large lock fairly soon. Meanwhile, Florida has assumed its place atop the SEC East with a two-game lead, finishing off close games at home and on the road because of its experienced perimeter and inspired play from Chandler Parsons, who played 37 minutes with a bruised hip/thigh that will likely keep him out of practice all week (Florida doesn't play again until Sunday at LSU). How Florida lost at home to Jacksonville and South Carolina is still hard to fathom. But it happened and the Gators are hardly worse off for it now that they're 20-5 overall and 9-2 in the SEC. When will I and others learn to chill over odd losses in November and December? (Remember St. John's losing to Fordham and St. Bonaventure in back-to-back games?) Well, probably never.

For more of Katz's observations, see the complete post in the Nation blog.

Eamonn Brennan

• Florida State will have to circle the wagons. If the tournament were seeded today, the Seminoles (18-7, 8-3 ACC) would be in. But the tournament isn't being seeded today. It's being seeded in a month, right around the time FSU's best player -- forward Chris Singleton -- could be returning from the fracture he suffered in his foot in Florida State's win over Virginia Saturday. It almost seems certain FSU will take a couple of extra losses in the next month. The question is whether the Noles can avoid a late-season collapse and, if they don't, how the committee -- which does consider injuries, team makeup, and relative results when selecting and seeding teams -- will treat a team that may or may not be getting its best player back in time for the tournament.

• Kentucky still hasn't solved the road. Here's a fun fact about the Wildcats, courtesy of A Sea Of Blue's Glenn Logan: Kentucky's five SEC losses -- all of which have come on the road, the most recent of which was Saturday's 81-77 loss at Vanderbilt -- have come by a total of 17 points. With a few breaks here and there, a few late buckets down the stretch, a few conversions instead of turnovers and, yes, a little luck, Kentucky could just as easily be 10-0 in the SEC. But we're not talking horseshoes or hand grenades. We're talking hoops. In college hoops, you're judged based on how many of those close road games you win. For a variety of reasons -- "lack of experience" is the most frequently cited analysis regarding this freshman-heavy team -- Kentucky hasn't gotten the job done.

There are positive and negative conclusions to draw. You could argue that this doesn't matter; after all, there are no true road games in the NCAA tournament. On the other hand, you could argue that playing on the road is a pressure situation, and so are games in the tourney, and if you melt in one you're likely to melt in the other. Plus, UK has done some pretty serious damage to its chances of landing a seed higher than No. 4 or 5. In other words, Kentucky is not nearly as bad as its record implies. But there are reasons to be concerned all the same.

For more of Brennan's observations, see the complete post in the Nation blog.


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