Originally Published: February 7, 2010

A&M's Big 12 revival, Willis' scoring honored

Katz By Andy Katz
Donald SloanAaron M. Sprecher/Getty ImagesDonald Sloan has helped Texas A&M rally after the injury to his close friend Derrick Roland.

Editor's note: This edition is for games played from Monday, Feb. 1, through Sunday, Feb. 7.

Team Of The Week: Texas A&M

Last week: Won at Missouri 77-74; beat No. 24 Baylor 78-71

The Aggies appeared to be heading toward mediocrity in the Big 12 after Derrick Roland suffered a horrific broken leg in a loss at Washington. Roland was the Aggies' best defender, the second-leading scorer and quite an inspirational locker room presence.

But the Aggies have found their identity in the Big 12, ensuring that they're one of the toughest outs in the conference. They put together an impressive week with a 77-74 road win at Missouri and a 78-71 home win over Baylor, as Donald Sloan, Roland's best friend, continues to lead this squad. He's getting help from B.J. Holmes on the perimeter, and David Loubeau and Bryan Davis are doing a solid job up front.

The Aggies are 8-3 since Roland was injured Dec. 22. At home, A&M has won 16 consecutive games and is 29-2 since the start of the 2008-09 campaign.

The Aggies (6-3) are in second place, tied with Kansas State and ahead of Texas and Missouri in the Big 12 standings. The overall 17-6 record is pointing toward a solid NCAA seed yet again. And I wouldn't be shocked if the Aggies were to give Kansas and Texas losses in College Station.

Other Contenders

Gonzaga: The Zags re-established themselves as the supreme entities in the WCC with an easy win over Portland, and less than 48 hours later outlasted Memphis on the road.

[+] EnlargeJason Bohannon
AP Photo/Tony DingJason Bohannon scored 19 against Michigan State and 18 vs. Michigan to lead Wisconsin to two wins.

Wisconsin: The Badgers swept through the state of Michigan with a home win over Michigan State, in a game in which Kalin Lucas got hurt, and then won rather handily at Michigan.

UNLV: BYU has been the team to beat for weeks in the MWC, but the Runnin' Rebels were the only team to manhandle the Cougars this season. The win places UNLV squarely in the title race. Earlier in the week, a victory at Wyoming was a necessity to continue to stay with BYU and New Mexico.

Virginia Tech: The Hokies won two home games, which in itself shouldn't be that significant, but beating North Carolina and Clemson put the Hokies (18-4, 5-3) closer to being an NCAA team than either one of them.

Duke: The Blue Devils beat Georgia Tech at home, which has become the norm in the ACC, but followed it up with a significant true road win at Boston College on Saturday. Duke had to prove it can win away from Cameron. The Blue Devils did it against Clemson, and the win over BC was something Mike Krzyzewski said was a needed victory. The numbers back up the home-road disparity for Duke. That didn't change much Saturday, but the W did.

Wake Forest: Beating Miami and winning at Virginia wouldn't normally be cause for celebration and praise. But the Demon Deacons were able to win on the road, in overtime at UVa, to creep within a game of first-place Duke. In the preseason, the Demon Deacons kept telling me that Ish Smith was as much if not more of a leader than Jeff Teague last season. He's proving that to be true.

Maryland: Won at Florida State, came home to "Snowmageddon" and blitzed North Carolina on Sunday at the Comcast Center. Maryland and Duke atop the ACC. Is this the early 2000s again? Where are Juan Dixon and Jay Williams on the court for these two?

Player Of The Week: Tre'Von Willis

Tre'Von Willis, the Runnin' Rebels' leading scorer (18 ppg), served notice that the race for the Mountain West Conference Player of the Year is not over yet.

While Jimmer Fredette is the overwhelming favorite to earn the honor, Willis was the star of Saturday's game against the Cougars. Fredette scored 21 points but was 2-of-7 on 3s, and the Cougars lost by 14. Willis scored 33 points, making 11 of 20 shots and 4 of 7 3s. It was his second 30-plus-point game of the season. Earlier in the week, he scored 15 in a win at Wyoming.

The Runnin' Rebels have won five straight and seven of eight with the only loss an odd home defeat to erratic Utah. Willis' play pushed the Rebels to 19-4 overall, 7-2 in the MWC, tied with BYU and UNM as the three teams start to separate from the rest of the league, making it clearer that all three should be in the field of 65.

The Rest Of The Rotation

Da'Sean Butler, West Virginia: It's hard to ignore Butler's week. The senior hit seven 3s in seven attempts, scoring 33 points in a comeback win at St. John's, and also added a solid 18 against Pitt. Butler is making it hard to ignore him for All-American status.

Denis Clemente, Kansas State: The Wildcats continue to prove they are hardly a fluke and that Clemente isn't a subordinate to Jacob Pullen. Clemente scored 30 against Iowa State and 23 in a win at Nebraska.

Malcolm Delaney, Virginia Tech: Delaney had a bit of a statistically strange week. He put up significant numbers with a total of 51 points and was a stellar 27-of-30 at the free throw line. But he hoisted a lot of shots, going a combined 11-of-31. The only thing that matters is that Virginia Tech beat North Carolina and Clemson at home.

Wayne Chism, Tennessee: Chism scored a career-high 30 in a win over South Carolina and tossed in 20 in a win over LSU. He was pretty efficient, going 20-of-32 from the field. The Vols' win over the Gamecocks served notice that they're still the team of record behind Kentucky.

Hellos And Goodbyes

OU revival: The Sooners aren't going to make the NCAAs, but Jeff Capel finally has his arms around this crew. OU beat Texas with limited time from Willie Warren (16 minutes with sprained ankle).

Michigan gone? Hard to see the Wolverines making the NCAAs after losing at home to Wisconsin, barring a run in the Big Ten tournament. Who would have thought the Badgers would win eight straight over Michigan and three straight in Ann Arbor? An even stranger stat was Michigan shooting 2-of-11 on 3s and Wisconsin hitting 11-of-21.

Six A-10 teams dancing? That's what Dayton coach Brian Gregory told me after the Flyers rocked Xavier on Saturday and Richmond took out Temple. It's hard to argue at this point with the SEC West a mess, the Pac-10 in flux and the ACC hardly living up to its original hype.

Off the bandwagon: For me it's probably Clemson and Oklahoma State, as the Tigers slid to under .500 in the ACC and Oklahoma State lost three straight games after that win over Texas A&M.

Your new SEC West leader: Arkansas. The Hogs have won four straight games, and a big reason for that is point guard Courtney Fortson. Fortson scored 27 points in the win at Georgia and made 12 of 16 free throws and put in a solid 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the win over Auburn.

Devan Downey is human: He was 5-of-20 against Tennessee. Come on, did you think he could do everything for South Carolina? At some point the run was going to come to a close.

Places To Be This Week

Austin, Texas, Monday: Well, this was supposed to be the game of the year. But Texas has lowered the expectations by losing yet again, this time to Oklahoma. Kansas probably only has three more chances to lose in the regular season. This is one of them, with the other two being at Texas A&M and at Missouri. So that's something to see.

[+] Enlarge
AP Photo/Don WrightDa'Sean Butler had his way with Nova last season, scoring 43 in a home rout.

Morgantown, W.Va., Monday: Villanova got rocked by Georgetown on Saturday while West Virginia rolled St. John's in the second half. It's quite simple. If the Mountaineers want to be serious players for the Big East title, they must beat Nova at home.

East Lansing, Mich., Tuesday: Suddenly, the Spartans aren't dominating the Big Ten. The reason is Kalin Lucas got hurt at Wisconsin and didn't play at Illinois. If he's not able to go against Purdue, the Boilermakers have a real shot at climbing back into the race.

Nashville, Tenn., Tuesday: Vandy won at Tennessee but has slumped since, with losses at Kentucky and at Georgia. Tennessee has righted itself with a win over South Carolina. Winner can stay on Kentucky's heels.

Madison, Wis., Tuesday: Wisconsin has been on a mini-roll with wins over Michigan State and at Michigan, while Illinois feels good about itself again after the win over Sparty. That could end quickly if the Badgers get their way again.

Chapel Hill, N.C., Wednesday: I don't care what the records are for either side. This is Duke at North Carolina. This will be a highly competitive, intense, decided-by-a-late-game-possession contest. Book it.

Las Vegas, Wednesday: UNLV played its best game of the season against BYU on Saturday to even the standings. New Mexico squeaked out a home win in OT over San Diego State. There is revenge on the Lobos' minds after losing at home to the Rebels earlier this season.

Spokane, Wash., Thursday: Saint Mary's has one blip on its résumé since New Year's, against Gonzaga at home. The Zags are coming off an impressive road win at Memphis, but San Francisco proved the Zags aren't unbeatable in the WCC this season. SMC will have to play its best game to win, making perimeter shots and keeping Omar Samhan out of foul trouble. But it's doable.

Berkeley, Calif., Thursday: The last time the perceived two best teams in the Pac-10 met in Seattle it wasn't close. Washington is hot again after a midseason dip, while the Bears survived L.A. with a split.

Pittsburgh, Friday: The last time Pitt played West Virginia the game got chippy, the fans got ugly and the Mountaineers ran away with the game late. Let's see what the sequel provides.

Lexington, Ky., Saturday: The Bruce Pearl-John Calipari rivalry was good theater when Cal was at Memphis. This should be even more entertaining in the SEC as Kentucky hosts Tennessee with GameDay in town.

Winston-Salem, N.C., Saturday: Georgia Tech ran away from Wake the most recent time the two teams met, but the Demon Deacons are playing at a much crispier clip and are in the chase for the ACC title too.

Princeton, N.J., Saturday: I thought Cornell at Harvard was supposed to be the game of the year in the Ivy? Oops. I didn't anticipate Princeton still being undefeated as it prepared to host Cornell.


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