Updated: February 7, 2011, 6:03 PM ET

Player of the week: Ryan Pearson, George Mason

Last week was quite a seven-day stretch for Pearson and the Patriots. Mason started the week by finding out it had received one of the marquee televised games during BracketBusters (at Northern Iowa Feb. 19). It's been five years since GMU made that magical run to the 2006 Final Four, but during that season the Patriots used a BracketBusters road win at Wichita State to help corral an at-large berth. So that was good news -- and the week only got better from there, as the Patriots had two key home games to determine their place in the Colonial Conference pecking order.

Well, they won them both quite easily, in large part because of the way Pearson played. The junior forward had double-doubles in both games, scoring 19 points and 12 boards in a 87-68 win over Hofstra and then 18 and 11 in a 62-45 win over defensive stalwart Old Dominion. Mason has now won nine straight games and is the clear favorite in the Colonial over VCU, ODU and Hofstra. The RPI profile is strong, and the Patriots are in position to possibly earn an at-large berth if they keep up their hot play. Two upcoming games at VCU and at UNI will tell a lot about where this team stands, but if Pearson can deliver another week like the last one Mason will be in good shape.

-- Andy Katz

More performances that wowed us

Kyle O'Quinn, Norfolk State: In his team's thrilling 110-108, double-overtime win at Coppin State, the 6-foot-10 junior forward put up one of the finest stat lines we've seen this season: 37 points on 13-of-18 shooting, 19 rebounds and six blocks. Oh, and he hit the two game-winning free throws with 4.5 seconds left. That's a decent contribution.

Julian Mavunga, Miami (Ohio): The RedHawks easily beat division-leader Ball State, and Mavunga was the main reason why, as he racked up 27 points (9-13 FG, 5-7 from 3-point range) 11 boards and seven assists.

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AP Photo/Rogelio V. SolisOle Miss students had reason to celebrate after Chris Warren's late 3 lifted the Rebels over Kentucky.

Chris Warren, Ole Miss: It seems like Warren has been in Oxford forever, but it's doubtful he's hit a bigger shot than the 25-footer he drained with 2.9 seconds left that brought down Kentucky and gave the Rebels their first win against a top-10 team in nine years. Warren finished with 22 points (9-15 FG, 4-7 from 3) and followed up with 19 in a win at Arkansas.

Jon Leuer, Wisconsin: Leuer and the Badgers were their usual efficient selves this week, as the big man contributed 24 points and 13 rebounds in a 66-59 win over Purdue and 20 more points in a 82-56 laugher over Michigan State. In the latter game, Jordan Taylor's 30 points also deserve mention.

Sean McGonagill, Brown: In his team's first Ivy League win of the season, the freshman guard made a remarkable 15 of 19 shots against Columbia and finished with 39 points and six assists.

Baye Moussa Keita, Syracuse: It got a bit lost in the mix of the analysis of his team's drought-busting win at Connecticut, but the 6-10 freshman reserve sort of came out nowhere to grab 11 rebounds and six steals against the Huskies. He won't provide much offense, but 11 boards and six steals is nothing to scoff at.

Kenneth Faried, Morehead State: Another ho-hum 20-20 effort for the nation's leading rebounder. A week after he delivered his second 20-20 of the season, he posted another one in a win at Jacksonville State with 21 points and 20 rebounds for an Eagles team that's won 11 of their last 13 games.

Marshon Brooks, Providence: Performances in a losing effort don't often get recognized in this space, but we'll make an exception here. When you score the fifth-most points ever in a Big East game (43) and also haul in 10 rebounds -- and very nearly lead your team back from an 18-point deficit at Georgetown -- you get your due in Weekly Watch.

Jeff Allen, Virginia Tech: While we're at it, let's give a shout-out to the always underappreciated Allen for his effort in a two-point loss at BC. The senior forward piled up 25 points and 19 boards and is averaging a double-double (13.2 ppg, 10.0 rpg) for the season.

Orlando Johnson, UC Santa Barbara: Johnson scored eight of his career-high 39 points in overtime, as his Gauchos beat UC Davis 93-86. He also was a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw in the final two minutes of OT.

Alex Young, IUPUI: Someone in the Summit Conference finally beat Oakland. The Jaguars ended the Golden Grizzlies' 20-game conference winning streak behind Young's 31 points and nine boards in a 100-88 victory.

Anthony Hill, Milwaukee: Hill missed one shot en route to 29 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks, as the Panthers beat rival Green Bay 88-75 for their fourth straight win.

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AP Photo/George NikitinBig Mo was on Arizona's side Saturday night as Lamont "MoMo" Jones was clutch throughout.

Lamont Jones, Arizona: In the game of the week, Arizona's 107-105 triple-OT victory at Cal, MoMo Jones converted a tying three-point play with 16 seconds left in regulation, hit the tying 3-pointer with five seconds in the second OT and finished with 27 points. Not to be forgotten, fellow New Yorker Kevin Parrom contributed a career-high 25 points (9-12 FG), six rebounds and six assists.

Ken Horton, Central Connecticut St.: In his team's six-game winning streak, Horton has put up five double-doubles, including a 31-10 performance in the Blue Devils' 80-58 win at Robert Morris on Saturday. On the back of its veteran forward, CCSU has turned itself into a NEC contender.

Reeves Nelson, UCLA: Even before his crucial 3 delivered a dagger to Steve Lavin and St. John's with 34 seconds left, Nelson had pulled down a career-high 17 rebounds for a Bruins team that is quietly putting itself in a position to lock up a tourney bid.

Andrew Goudelock, Charleston: The diminutive guard just keeps plugging along. The Cougars picked up two key SoCon wins with Guodelock scoring 25 against Wofford and 29 against Furman. He's now averaging 23.8 ppg for the season, tied for fourth nationally.

Perry Jones, Baylor: In a win that his team desperately needed, the 6-10 freshman came through. Jones dropped a career-high 27 points and made all nine free throw attempts in the Bears' 76-74 overtime win at Texas A&M. His three-point play with a minute left was crucial.

Jordan Williams, Maryland: On Saturday, Williams posted 27 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks, and before you mention the weak competition (Wake Forest) chew on this: The sophomore big man has 20 double-doubles in 23 games. And there aren't 20 Wake Forests on the schedule.

Kendall Marshall, North Carolina: Larry Who? Two days after Larry Drew II left UNC, all Marshall did was dish out 16 assists against a usually stout Florida State defense. The total broke Phil Ford's Carolina freshman record, was the most by any Tar Heels player in any ACC game and was the most by an ACC freshman since Georgia Tech's Kenny Anderson 21 years ago. Oh, and it was one more than the entire FSU team. Not bad timing, Kendall. Not bad at all.

-- Brett Edgerton

Team of the Week: Florida

Both games were at home, but the Gators showed why they were predicted to be the SEC champ in the preseason. The overtime win over Vanderbilt and the late-possession win over Kentucky gave the Gators a 7-2 mark in conference play. That's a game ahead of Tennessee in the loss column, and the Gators have already won in Knoxville. Florida is two games up on Georgia, and the Gators have already won in Athens in double overtime. So the advantage goes to UF in both of those matchups, since UT and UGA still have to come to Gainesville. The last three games of the SEC season will determine the league champ, with Florida going to Kentucky, hosting Alabama and then traveling to Vanderbilt. But the past week has again proved these Gators can handle adverse situations and get the ball inside when the need arises to establish themselves as the aggressor. Of course, finishing off games is also a huge plus. Florida has learned to do that this season.

More teams that impressed us

UCLA: The Bruins had quite a week at home with wins over rival USC and a Steve Lavin-led St. John's in a nonconference game over the weekend. UCLA is quietly putting together a nice bounce-back season.

Iowa: The Hawkeyes don't have a great record, but they've been more competitive than expected in their first season under Fran McCaffery. Before the season, few would've expected a week in February during which Iowa would beat Michigan State by 20 and complete a season sweep of Indiana.

North Carolina: The Tar Heels crushed Boston College on the road by 32 and then dealt with the odd departure of former starting point guard Drew by posting a relatively easy 20-point win over former second-place challenger Florida State behind Marshall's 16 assists on Sunday.

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Andy Lyons/Getty ImagesIt's been a season to forget for Rick Stansbury and the Mississippi State Bulldogs.

Oregon: Dana Altman was always seen as a high-character, high-quality coach. He's doing plenty with less for the Ducks, as Oregon swept the Washington schools at home to move into a fifth-place tie in the Pac-10.

George Mason: The Patriots might be tied with VCU atop the Colonial standings, but there seems to be little doubt as to the new conference favorites, after Mason blitzed through two fellow CAA contenders, a 19-point win over Hofstra and a 17-point win over Old Dominion.

Arizona: The Wildcats swept the Bay Area in exciting fashion, holding off Stanford and then outlasting Cal in triple overtime minus star Derrick Williams, who wasn't available late because he had fouled out.

Wisconsin: The Badgers had two key home games and won them both to stay in the race to finish second with a chance, still just a chance, to catch Ohio State. Wisconsin beat Purdue by seven and then handed Michigan State another disappointing defeat, 82-56 Sunday in Madison.

Alabama: The defensive-minded Tide are now an SEC-best 7-1 after wins over Mississippi State and at Tennessee.

Syracuse: The Orange stopped a four-game slide by winning at Connecticut and South Florida and once again having the look of a Big East title contender, although it's probably too late with Pitt holding a three-game lead.

Ole Miss: Coach Andy Kennedy has never needed a win more than he did this past week against Kentucky. He got that and then followed it up with a win over Arkansas on the road in his best week of the season.

Villanova: The Wildcats knocked off Marquette when they found an inside presence of Mouphtaou Yarou and Antonio Pena and then ran past West Virginia for a home sweep to set up a potential showdown with Pitt Saturday at the Pavilion.

Ohio State: The No. 1 team in the country pushed back rival Michigan at home and then went to Minnesota on Sunday for a supposed showdown. It didn't happen, as the Buckeyes won handily, 82-69.

-- Andy Katz

More scores that caught our eye

Texas 69, Texas A&M 49: The Longhorns destroyed rival Texas A&M for the second time this season, bolting to a 45-20 halftime lead in front of a stunned Reed Arena crowd and rolling to their first victory there in seven years. UT later beat Texas Tech to improve to 8-0 in conference play for the first time since 1978.

North Carolina 106, Boston College 74: The rejuvenated Tar Heels sailed through the final game with Drew and sailed through the first game without him, Sunday's 20-point victory over Florida State. It wasn't long ago that we were wondering who the second-best team in the ACC was -- on Wednesday in Durham, the question might be about the best.

Oklahoma State 76, Missouri 70: A loss would've dropped the Cowboys to 2-6 in the Big 12 and all but eliminated them from at-large consideration. So this one was huge for OSU. Missouri, which lost back-to-back Big 12 games for the first time under Mike Anderson, is in no such danger. But don't Tigers fans have to be a bit alarmed by their team's inability to win on the road?

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AP Photo/Gerry BroomeKendall Marshall's popularity is sky-high among the North Carolina fan base these days.

Iowa 72, Michigan State 52: The Hawkeyes led 30-8 after 12 minutes, shot 58 percent for the game and cruised from start to finish in what Tom Izzo called the worst performance ever by one of his Michigan State teams. That was before Sunday's 82-56 loss at Wisconsin.

Charlotte 66, Xavier 62: The Muskeeters entered 7-0 in the Atlantic 10, while the 49ers had lost four straight and were 1-6 in the league. But when Tu Holloway goes 3-of-17 and 0-of-8 from 3, Xavier isn't going to beat many teams. For an inconsistent Charlotte squad that won at Georgia Tech and beat Tennessee and now Xavier, it was only appropriate that this win was followed by a home loss to George Washington.

Youngstown State 62, Butler 60: Since late November, the Penguins had won three games -- one against 6-18 UIC and two more against Malone College and Wilberforce. So naturally, YSU rallied from a 10-point deficit in the final 5:27 to perhaps put the at-large dagger in the defending national runners-up.

Princeton 65, Harvard 61: Even a Harvard team that had won eight straight couldn't break the school's ancient drought at Jadwin Gym, where the Crimson have now lost 22 in a row. Don't count out Penn, but the March 5 rematch in Cambridge could very well decide the Ivy championship.

Memphis 62, Gonzaga 58: In what certainly felt like an at-large elimination game, the Tigers blew all of a 13-point halftime lead but withstood a deafening crowd in Spokane to pull out the crucial win. The Tigers were led by Antonio Barton, who's proven this season he's more than just "the brother of Will Barton."

Oregon 81, Washington 76: After losing three road games in six days (Wazzu, Oregon State, Oregon), it seems fair to wonder whether the Huskies are a sure thing when it comes to making the NCAA tournament. Is a home win over Arizona and a road win at UCLA really enough? Forget that, though. Hats off to the undermanned Ducks, who continue to remain stunningly competitive. A remarkable first-year coaching job by Altman.

Drake 72, Northern Iowa 69: UNI's at-large margin of error was already pretty thin, and if this wasn't the back-breaker, it certainly didn't help. The loss not ended an eight-game winning streak by the Panthers, and dropped them two games behind Wichita State in the Valley.

St. Bonaventure 64, Duquesne 62: Olean, N.Y., can be a tough place to get to and even tougher place to get a win. The first-place Dukes found that out Saturday, when their perfect start (8-0) in the A-10 came to an end at the hands of the Bonnies.

Arizona 107, California 105 (3 OT): We'll save the best for last. A few sentences won't do this game justice, and that's why it's too bad it wasn't seen by a larger national audience. It was just the third Pac-10 game in the last 15 years to go three OTs and it was the longest game in Berkeley since 1977. Jones and Parrom were clutch throughout for the Wildcats, whose bench outscored Cal's, 52-3. Zona has now won eight of nine and is two games ahead of Washington and a game and a half ahead of UCLA.

-- Brett Edgerton

Observations from the week that was

Andy Katz

• Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury justified reinstating Renardo Sidney after the fight with Elgin Bailey in Hawaii by saying that Sidney tried to walk away and that his teammates backed him in the decision. Bailey transferred with a nudge from the coaching staff. But the Twitter incident this past week was another example of poor management and enabling of Sidney while in Starkville. Stansbury suspended guard Ravern Johnson for his tweet that was critical of the coaching staff and fans after the loss to Alabama. Fine. That's justified. Sidney didn't just retweet the Johnson message, he also added his own line of "It's a Shame how our fans turn they back on us when we need them the most&.#sad."

Sidney should be fortunate that any fans are still in his corner after two suspensions and an embarrassing nationally televised fight in which he literally could have put some innocent fan in the hospital with his wild swings and this latest debacle. Sidney played in a win over LSU on Saturday. He at times looked dominating inside, scoring 16 points and grabbing 11 rebounds in 31 minutes in the 58-57 win. Great. But if Johnson didn't play, why exactly did Sidney? Stansbury's decision was worse than the one that reinstated Sidney after the fight. If Johnson was out of line for tweeting critical comments, then so was Sidney. The double-standard here lessens Stansbury's credibility with the fan base, the rest of his colleagues in the league and, one would think, the players in the locker room. Stansbury has had a tremendous run at Mississippi State, especially given the limitations of the school, but this wasn't one of his finest hours. This season can't end soon enough for the Bulldogs.

• When Arizona was looking for a coach two years ago, the Wildcats were staring at a decimated roster and what could have turned into an Indiana-like implosion. But then Tim Floyd resigned at USC and the Trojans' recruiting class migrated to Tucson. The addition of Xavier's Sean Miller ended up being the perfect marriage. What looked like a five- to seven-year reclamation project has turned into a two-year turnaround. The quick fix has Arizona atop the Pac-10 and almost certainly back into the NCAA tournament. The Wildcats are 9-2 in conference play after the weekend sweep in the Bay Area, including a triple-overtime thriller at Cal. Arizona couldn't rely on Williams, since he fouled out toward the end of regulation, but the play of Jones and Parrom ended up being the difference for the Cats, who were poised throughout every run by Cal. Arizona still has to go to UCLA, but the schedule is favorable from this point forward. The Wildcats have four home games, including a visit from Washington. Even though Zona has only a one-game lead on UCLA in the loss column, anything less than a Pac-10 title at this juncture would be deemed a disappointment by the passionate UA fan base. That's how high Miller has raised the bar in such a short amount of time. And don't expect Arizona to slide back one bit in the future, either.

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

Eamonn Brennan

• North Carolina doesn't seem to miss Drew. Drew's surprising decision to leave UNC -- smack-dab in the middle of North Carolina's impressive February resurgence -- caused no small amount of intrigue this week. Would his departure cost UNC a valuable bench contributor and perimeter defender? Or would the transfer be addition by subtraction? How would Williams handle the team going forward? And why would Drew quit on his team now?

It's far too early to draw major conclusions, but if Sunday's 89-69 win over Florida State is any indication the Tar Heels are going to be just fine without Drew in the fold. Carolina continued its remarkable offensive improvement Sunday. When a team scores 89 points against Florida State's vaunted defense, it deserves a gold star. The sudden offensive awesomeness is, in large part, a function of Marshall, Drew's midseason starting replacement at point guard. He had a mere 16 assists in Sunday's win. Marshall doesn't deserve all of the credit for UNC's improved play any more than Drew deserved all the blame. (Harrison Barnes has found his shot recently, and that certainly helps.) But there's no question Marshall is a more capable facilitator than Drew ever was, and while UNC might miss Drew's defense off the bench in the coming weeks it probably won't miss him too much.

• Ohio State just keeps on rolling. That's the easiest observation of the day. On Sunday, the Buckeyes easily handled a hobbled Minnesota team in the Barn and moved to 24-0 overall and 11-0 in the Big Ten. What's interesting about this team -- beyond its ongoing and comprehensive brilliance, of course -- is that even at 24-0, most people aren't wondering whether it could maybe, just maybe, go undefeated. There are a few arguments to be made here. One is that no one should be talking about an undefeated season, because undefeated seasons never happen. The other is that this team specifically doesn't warrant that kind of talk, because a) the Buckeyes have nearly lost a handful of close games, and it's only a matter of time until one of those late finishes goes the opposite way, and b) Ohio State will play the meat of its conference schedule in the coming weeks.

All fair points. Still, though, this team is 24-0. In a season that saw college hoops observers far and wide casually consider the possibility that Duke could go unbeaten, you'd think we'd be having a similar conversation about Ohio State. Let's just say this: If OSU manages to win at Wisconsin next Saturday, expect the "Could they really do it?" talk to dial up in a major way.

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


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