Originally Published: January 31, 2011

Player of the week: Tu Holloway, Xavier

Holloway had one of the top lines of the week with a career-high 33 points, seven rebounds, five assists and an amazing 17-of-17 mark at the free throw line in Xavier's impressive 85-62 win at Richmond. During the preseason, Richmond's Kevin Anderson -- the reigning Atlantic 10 Player of the Year -- understandably received more attention than Holloway. But X's 6-foot point guard was the star Saturday, and has been all season.

While Anderson scored 10 points, was just 2-of-9 on 3s and didn't get to the line, Holloway dominated the ball and ultimately laid down a statement that he should be the A-10 player of the year. The junior is having a stellar season, averaging 21.1 points, 4.8 rebounds and 5.3 assists and shooting 45 percent overall and 86 percent at the line. The Musketeers desperately needed it after a multitude of injuries and attrition in the preseason looked like it might set back the team's chances to win the league. But Holloway, who had 22 points earlier in the week against George Washington, hasn't let that happen. Xavier is 7-0 in conference play, and the artist formerly known as Terrell Holloway is a big reason for that.

There were plenty of other contenders this week. North Carolina's Harrison Barnes (a game-winning 3 to beat Miami, career-high 25 points to beat NC State), Louisville Peyton Siva (game-winning bucket to beat West Virginia and then critical shots in a double-OT win at Connecticut) and Georgetown's Austin Freeman (30 points in a win at Villanova) were all worthy candidates. But Holloway's was the most complete performance -- on the road -- in a critical conference showdown.

-- Andy Katz

More performances that wowed us

Jeremy Hazell, Seton Hall: Hazell nailed a 3 on the Pirates' first possession at Syracuse and never looked back, hitting five from deep on his way to 28 points, nine rebounds, four assists and four steals in a stunningly easy 90-68 win at the Carrier Dome.

C.J. Wilkerson, North Carolina Central: Wilkerson started off a 3-0 week for the Eagles with a 41-point (15-15 FT), six-assist performance at North Carolina A&T. He followed up with 25 and 18 in two more wins for NCCU. Wilkerson is averaging 31.3 ppg in his past three road games.

Iman Shumpert, Georgia Tech: No one at Georgia Tech had pulled off a triple-double since Kenny Anderson in 1989. Shumpert did just that in a victory over Virginia Tech, putting up 22 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists -- not to mention seven steals and some stellar defense on Malcolm Delaney.

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AP Photo/John HellerDuquesne hasn't been to the NCAA tournament in 34 years, but Damian Saunders and this season's Dukes are out to end that drought.

Jimmer Fredette, BYU: Unless you orbited to another planet last week, you surely heard about Fredette's 43-point performance in a win over No. 4 San Diego State. He was 14-of-24 from the field, 10-of-11 from the charity stripe and 5-of-8 from 3. The Cougars fell at the Pit a few days later, but The Jimmer still managed 32 points (6-9 from 3), seven assists and three steals. At this juncture, he's the close favorite for national player of the year.

Mike Singletary, Texas Tech: For a suddenly resurgent Red Raiders team, Singletary came off the bench to post 33 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in a 92-83 win at Iowa State. It was the first 30-10-5 performance ever in a Big 12 Conference game. He followed it up with 25 points and seven boards in an OT victory over Oklahoma State. Singletary made 21 of 23 free throws for the week.

Ricky Taylor, Chattanooga: Not only did Taylor score a career-high 41 -- 19 more than the junior's previous best -- but he also sunk the game-winning shot with 15 seconds left in double overtime as the Mocs won a 111-110 classic over UNC-Greensboro. Taylor, who scored a combined 11 points in his previous two games, was 12-of-18 from the field, 13-of-15 from the free throw line and 4-of-7 from 3.

James Johnson, Quinnipiac: Johnson connected on seven 3s en route to a career-high 38 points in the Q's 69-61 home win over Robert Morris. The 6-foot guard also added eight rebounds against the team that cost the Bobcats a first-ever tourney bid in last year's NEC final.

Julian Boyd, Long Island: Speaking of lights-out performances in the Northeast Conference, Boyd was a monster in a win at Fairleigh Dickinson, tallying 34 points and 16 rebounds for the first-place Blackbirds.

Kenneth Faried, Morehead State: Against division co-leader Tennessee State, all Faried did was throw up a 23-23, as in 23 points and 23 rebounds, the latter of which matched the total for the entire TSU team. The senior's 74th double-double tied him with David Robinson and Keith Lee for ninth place all-time.

Mickey McConnell, Saint Mary's: The senior took over late and hit one of the most memorable shots in school history, a 10-footer in traffic with 1.2 seconds left that handed the Gaels a 73-71 win at Gonzaga, their first in Spokane in 16 years. McConnell scored 10 of the team's final 11 points and finished with 27.

Steven Pledger, Oklahoma: The Sooners snapped a 19-game losing streak away from home by riding the back of Pledger, who scored 12 of his 38 points in overtime of a 82-76 win at Iowa State. The sophomore was 12-of-20 from the field and 7-of-13 from beyond the arc.

Noah Dahlman, Wofford: The Terriers have won six of seven in the heated SoCon race, aided primarily by their red-hot senior forward. In a 75-66 win over Western Carolina this weekend, Dahlman barely missed, hitting 15 of 17 shots for 34 points.

Austin Freeman, Georgetown: The Hoyas are back on track and are being led by Freeman, the senior guard who poured in 30 points and dished out six assists in his team's 69-66 win at Villanova. Of the team's final 12 points, Freeman scored 10 of them and had the assist on the other two.

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AP Photo/Keith SrakocicBen Hansbrough scored 19, leading the Irish to an upset at No. 2 Pitt.

Thomas Robinson, Kansas: In the most inspiring performance of the season, a grieving young man returned with his team from his mother's funeral -- his third immediate family member to pass away in the past month -- and scored 17 points and grabbed nine rebounds in a 90-66 win over Kansas State. The roaring crowd at an emotional Phog Allen made it all the more special.

Rotnei Clarke, Arkansas: The streaky shooter was on the right side of streaky in the Razorbacks' shockingly easy win at Vanderbilt on Saturday. Clarke made all but four of his 16 shots and all but two of his eight 3-pointers en route to a 36-point outburst.

C.J. McCollum, Lehigh: How does a 6-3 guard keep getting so many rebounds? McCollum notched his third straight double-digit game on the boards with 14 in a win against Holy Cross. He added 29 points (and six assists) and is now averaging 22.2 ppg for the season.

Justin Brownlee, St. John's: Like the rest of his team, Brownlee was abysmal during the three-game losing streak that led into Sunday's game against Duke. He was anything but against the third-ranked Blue Devils, contributing 20 points, nine rebounds and six assists, while teammate Dwight Hardy added 26 points (9-13 FG, 6-6 FT) in the Red Storm's 93-78 victory.

Darius Morris, Michigan: In a win over Iowa on Sunday, Morris had just the third triple-double in school history -- and the first-ever in a Big Ten game. The sophomore from L.A. recorded 12 points, 11 assists and a career-high 10 rebounds for the Wolverines.

-- Brett Edgerton

Team of the Week: Louisville

The Cardinals had their best week of the season and as a result are in the thick of the race for the Big East title. At home Wednesday, Louisville was down 11 points in the second half to West Virginia, but as they've consistently found a way to do this season, the Cards stormed back at the KFC Yum! Center. The UL pressure turns up, key plays are made and suddenly the game turns. It happened against Marquette and then again versus the Mountaineers as the Cardinals won by one on a Peyton Siva drive to the bucket in the closing seconds.

The Cardinals then came back from nine down in the second half against No. 5 Connecticut in Storrs, winning in double overtime as Siva once again was the aggressor. He converted a number of key drives to the basket, not backing down while finishing the plays at the rim. Louisville, which has won four of its past five to gain sole possession of second place (6-2) in the Big East, now gets suddenly red-hot Georgetown on the road Monday and still has to travel to Notre Dame and West Virginia. But the Cards also have five more home games, including first-place Pitt, making a top-two finish a reasonable goal -- something that would have been unthinkable in the preseason.

More teams that impressed us

Texas: The Longhorns continue to look like the second-best team in the country after they won at Oklahoma State in convincing fashion and then pulled away from Missouri by 13 on Saturday night. The Longhorns' defense in both games, especially in the second half, was impressive as Mizzou's fastest 40 minutes in basketball was slowed to 58 points in Austin.

Georgetown: The Hoyas started the week with a crushing 25-point win over St. John's. But to perhaps prove they have figured out what ailed them earlier this month, the Hoyas went on the road and beat Villanova by three in Philadelphia. Winners of four in a row, Georgetown is right back in the thick of things in the Big East.

Xavier: The Musketeers assumed their normal spot atop the Atlantic 10 standings with a win over George Washington at home and a crushing 23-point defeat of Richmond on the road. The Musketeers have four of the next five on the road, including a nonconference game at Georgia that could have March implications.

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AP Photo/Dave WeaverThe Nebraska court turned into a sea of red after the Cornhuskers' defeat of No. 11 Texas A&M.

Duquesne: Xavier isn't alone atop the A-10. The Dukes are right there with them at 7-0. Duquesne is no longer a nice little story about a team that will eventually fade away. After blowout wins over Temple and this past weekend against Dayton, the Dukes appear to be here to stay.

Ohio State: The Buckeyes crushed Purdue in what was billed as a matchup of Big Ten title contenders. It was never a game as freshman Aaron Craft was the catalyst at the point for the Bucks, who later in the week escaped with a one-point win at Northwestern. Ohio State (22-0) remains the nation's only unbeaten.

North Carolina: The Tar Heels may have emerged as the second-best team in the ACC with a survival three-point win at Miami and then a crushing win over NC State at home as Harrison Barnes emerged as a leader and go-to scorer.

Texas Tech: Red Raiders coach Pat Knight deserves credit for rescuing the season as Tech won at Iowa State and then took down Oklahoma State to move ahead of the Cowboys by a game in the Big 12 standings. A home game against Kansas is next, and Texas Tech has made itself at least somewhat relevant for the second half of the Big 12 season.

Penn State: The Nittany Lions beat Iowa at home and then took out Wisconsin to complete the home sweep and move to 5-4 in conference play. They are in the mix for an NCAA bid and were within one possession of road wins at Ohio State and Purdue. The key will be whether PSU can find a way to steal a win on the road at Illinois, Michigan State, Wisconsin or Minnesota. If it can, the Lions will position themselves well come Selection Sunday.

VCU: The Rams have emerged as the premier Colonial team once again as they knocked off Towson, Hofstra and UNC-Wilmington to improve to 10-1 in league play. VCU's Jamie Skeen won't be the league's player of the year (Hofstra's Charles Jenkins will be), but he's made himself into a first-team all-league player.

Arizona: The Wildcats swept through the LA schools at home behind Derrick Williams once again. Williams was his usual effective self and had several dazzling dunks in the win over UCLA. Arizona is in position to earn a bid, but the Pac-10 title is also well within reach with a showdown against Washington still to come Feb. 19.

Arkansas: The Razorbacks had quite a week for a team that looked like it was sinking. Arkansas beat Auburn at home and then stunningly won at Vanderbilt by 11 as Rotnei Clarke scored 36.

Utah State: Being the team that everyone wants to beat can't be easy every road game. And the expectation is that the Aggies must win every game in the WAC. So far they have at 9-0 and survived a late-night double-overtime win at Hawaii after winning earlier in the week at San Jose State.

-- Andy Katz

More scores that caught our eye

Lipscomb 73, Belmont 64: You might not know much about this Nashville rivalry, but trust us when we say Lipscomb loved nothing more than putting an end to the Bruins' record-setting battering of the Atlantic Sun. The fact that the Bisons rallied from 18 down at home to pull it off made it even sweeter.

Notre Dame 56, Pittsburgh 51: There were a total of 96 possessions in what was the slowest-paced game of the season. No one on the Irish side of things seemed to mind as Mike Brey's "burn" offense worked to perfection and Notre Dame handed Pitt an ultra-rare loss at the Petersen Events Center.

Florida Gulf Coast 111, Stetson 103 (3 OT): Stetson was whistled for 40 fouls and FGCU attempted a remarkable 60 free throws, 24 of which were attempted by Anthony Banks (he made 14). The Hatters had five players foul out, including three starters.

Indiana 52, Illinois 49: It was a wild scene in Bloomington as an injury-riddled Hoosiers team ended a 19-game losing streak against ranked teams and gave Tom Crean his first such win as IU coach. In the meantime, an Illini season that began with high hopes is now mired in a 1-4 stretch.

Michigan 61, Michigan State 57: Speaking of disappointing Big Ten teams, Michigan State booted Korie Lucious and then lost to its hated rival at home for the first time since 1997. It was also the first time since November 2007 that an MSU team lost to a Michigan team in football or men's basketball. Oucher.

Arizona 85, UCLA 74: If there was any doubt as to the second-best team in the Pac-10, it was put to rest Thursday night in Tucson. Derrick Williams put on a show and was his usual efficient self as the Wildcats shot 52 percent as a team and sure made it seem like a two-team conference race.

Oregon 67, Stanford 59: One of the strangest droughts in college basketball was Oregon's 25-game losing streak at Stanford. Well, it was strange, and now it's extinct. By snagging the program's first win at Maples Pavilion since 1986, the undermanned Ducks continue to remain respectable under first-year coach Dana Altman.

Marshall 85, Memphis 70: Just when it looked like Memphis was reasserting itself as the favorite in Conference USA, the Tigers went and laid an egg against the Thundering Herd, a team they had dominated two weeks ago. This vexing team is now in a three-way tie atop C-USA, with another four teams just one game back in the loss column.

New Mexico 86, BYU 77: The ol' Pit was rocking Saturday (maybe a little too much) as the desperate-for-a-win Lobos sent the Cougars a nice parting gift in their final conference outing in Albuquerque. At one point in the second half, New Mexico scored on 14 straight possessions. Even the offensive exploits of The Jimmer can't overcome that.

Clemson 62, Florida State 44: The Seminoles obviously had no interest in being considered the second-best team in the ACC. FSU turned it over 22 times, shot 33 percent and were run over from start to finish at Littlejohn. Through 35 minutes, Chris Singleton had two points against the Tigers, who have quietly gone 10-2 since a three-game losing streak in December.

Auburn 79, South Carolina 64: The worst team in the SEC won a game. It was that kind of Saturday in college basketball.

Wake Forest 76, Virginia 71: The worst team in the ACC won a game. It was that kind of Saturday in college basketball.

Nebraska 57, Texas A&M 48: Don't look now, but the Huskers are 15-5 after snapping an 11-game losing streak to top-25 teams. Nebraska held the Aggies to just two baskets in the final 10 minutes and took down its highest-ranked opponent in Doc Sadler's five seasons.

Valparaiso 85, Butler 79 (OT): After blowing a nine-point second-half lead, it's becoming pretty clear that the Bulldogs will need to win the Horizon tournament to make it back to the NCAA tourney. Butler is now looking up at Valpo, Wright State and Cleveland State in the standings.

UAB 74, UCF 69: We're not sure if a team has ever lost six straight after starting 14-0, but we're sure there's at least one now. And the misery might not be over. The Knights have road games at UTEP and East Carolina next, followed by a second game against Memphis.

Weber State 72, Northern Colorado 71: After Northern Colorado took the lead at the free throw line with 2.4 seconds to go, Weber's Scott Bamforth, who is battling a shoulder injury, hit a contested buzzer-beater from just inside the half-court line to beat a Bears team that was previously unbeaten (7-0) in the Big Sky.

UC Davis 108, UC Irvine 107: These teams aren't very good, but this game sure was. Led by Mark Payne's 32 points, the Aggies rallied from a 17-point halftime deficit and won it on Payne's last-second layup in double OT after UC Irvine had taken the lead with five seconds left.

Northern Iowa 60, Missouri State 59: Uh-oh, Valley, here come the Panthers again. Johnny Moran sunk two free throws with five seconds left as UNI won its seventh in a row and ended Missouri State's 19-game home winning streak in the process. Northern Iowa was 1-3 in league play after a demoralizing 70-45 loss at Indiana State but now finds itself just one game back of Wichita State and the Bears.

Washington State 87, Washington 80: The Huskies aren't going to win many games turning it over 24 times, especially not against a revved-up rival playing in front of a revved-up home crowd. While Isaiah Thomas missed his first nine shots and finished 3-of-14 with seven turnovers, Klay Thompson racked up 25 points and five steals.

-- Brett Edgerton

Observations from the week that was

Andy Katz

• Harrison Barnes has arrived. We're so quick to judge in today's society. We want everything now. We're all guilty of lacking patience. Barnes just took time to adjust to the college game and the role he was handed as an elite freshman, expected to come in and lead North Carolina. Barnes still isn't shooting lights-out overall (especially from 3), but he is now making timely shots. He beat Miami on a 3-pointer in the final possession. Sure the Hurricanes fell down defensively, but Barnes still had the confidence to take and make the shot. Then he led the Tar Heels with a career-high 25 points in a blowout win over NC State. Barnes continues to be a difficult matchup and should only get better as the season progresses.

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

Eamonn Brennan

• Michigan State just might be a bubble team. How far have the Spartans fallen? After suspending veteran guard Korie Lucious for the season, Tom Izzo's team lost to Michigan and barely survived in overtime to Indiana in back-to-back games in East Lansing. The Spartans had already plummeted from their lofty preseason perch, when they were ranked the No. 2 team in the nation after their injury-riddled run to the Final Four in April. But after their first home loss to the Wolverines in 14 years, MSU isn't just "worse than expected." The 13-8 Spartans are -- say it ain't so! -- in danger of losing out on the NCAA tournament for the first time since Izzo's second season at the school (1997). "Disappointing" doesn't begin to describe this team.

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


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