Updated: February 21, 2011, 11:33 AM ET

Player of the Week: Derrick Williams, Arizona

Williams should be a first-team All-American and the Pac-10 Player of the Year after his performance this past week. He also should start looking at some dates in June because if he keeps up this play, he's going to be one of the first three names called at the NBA draft.

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Chris Morrison/US PresswireDerrick Williams took over down the stretch in Arizona's 87-86 win over Washington.

Williams essentially had a walk-off block and then broke up Washington's attempted tip-in with a fraction of a second left to seal Arizona's 87-86 home win over the Huskies on Saturday. He finished with 26 points and 11 boards, making 8 of 9 free throws. The sophomore forward scored 10 points in the frantic final six minutes, including a 3 with 2:24 remaining that gave the Wildcats the lead.

In a win over Washington State two days earlier, he also scored 26, was a perfect 12-of-12 at the free throw line, added eight boards and once again was a defensive presence. Remember, he's doing all of this while still battling a nagging pinky injury.

Williams is averaging 19.7 points and 8.1 rebounds, making 63 percent of his shots, an amazing 67.5 percent of his 3s (has made 27, up from four a season ago) and 75.4 percent of his free throws. The Wildcats may not have that marquee nonconference win everyone talks about, but I'm not sure anyone is going to want to face this team in March, nor will they be too excited to try to defend Williams or score against him inside.

-- Andy Katz

More performances that wowed us

E'Twaun Moore, Purdue: Moore scored exactly half of his team's points in a 76-63 win over second-ranked Ohio State, pouring in a career-high 38 on 13-of-18 shooting (7-of-10 from beyond the arc). He also dished out five assists and become just the fifth Boilermaker to ever reach 2,000 career points -- 19 of which came in a win over Wisconsin earlier in the week.

Jacob Pullen, Kansas State: Moore wasn't the only player to post 38 against a marquee opponent this week. K-State's senior guard also achieved the feat in a win over No. 1 Kansas, a win the Wildcats desperately needed. He followed it up with 27 points in a victory over Oklahoma. Those are Pullen's two highest-scoring performances of the season and they couldn't have come at a better time. He totaled eight assists and seven steals and was 8-of-12 from 3.

Denzel Bowles, James Madison: In a 72-61 win at Towson, the 6-10 senior forward scored a career-high 40 points on 14-of-20 shooting. In each half, he scored 20 and was 7-of-10 from the field.

Adrian Oliver, San Jose State: You might not know it, but Oliver is the nation's third-leading scorer (23.9 ppg). In a victory over Montana State, the senior guard posted his second straight 30-point game -- scoring 35 and grabbing 10 boards.

Austin Kenon, VMI: In a win over second-place Liberty, Kenon connected on 8-of-16 3-pointers, scoring a career-high 39 points and adding eight rebounds and four steals.

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AP Photo/Mary AltafferDwight Hardy scored the winning basket in the closing seconds against No. 4 Pittsburgh.
Dwight Hardy, St. John's: Red Storm coach Steve Lavin said Hardy is the Big East Player of the Year and "it's not even close." Not sure we'll go that far, but there's no denying Hardy's torrid run through the Big East lately, including this past week when he put up 28 points, six boards and five steals in a win at Marquette and then had a team-leading 19 points and the game-winning basket in the closing seconds of a victory over fourth-ranked Pitt.

Kemba Walker, Connecticut: Then there's this guy, who put up a stinker at Louisville, but just two days earlier carried his team to a win over red-hot Georgetown with the sort of line that has made Walker a national storyline throughout the season: 31 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds.

Nick Winbush, Miami (Ohio): In an OT victory that propelled his RedHawks to the overall lead in the MAC, Winbush made 9 of 14 shots and finished with 26 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks.

Nate Wolters, South Dakota State: Wolters is putting up quite a sophomore season and continued it this past week with 30 points, nine boards and seven assists in a win at IPFW and then 29 points and six assists in a narrow road loss at Summit League leader Oakland.

Diego Kapelan, McNeese State: The senior from Canada did it all for the Cowboys on Saturday, scoring a career-high 39 points on a school-record nine 3s (13 attempts) as McNeese State beat in-state rival Northwestern State to take the outright lead in the East division of the Southland.

Tim Hardaway Jr., Michigan: The Wolverines are quietly trying to creep onto the bubble, and Hardaway's 30-point performance in an OT win at Iowa on Saturday kept them in the conversation. He scored 22 in the second half and hit two key free throws with 15 seconds left in overtime.

Randy Culpepper, UTEP: After struggling mightily in a loss at Southern Miss earlier in the week, Culpepper bounced back with 33 points (9-13 FG, 12-12 FT) in a 76-64 victory over Houston that lifted the Miners back into first in a wild Conference USA race.

Josh Slater, Lipscomb: The senior guard put together a nontraditional triple-double, compiling 10 points, 12 assists and 10 steals (along with seven rebounds) in a 71-52 win over USC Upstate.

Zane Johnson, Hawaii: In an 83-69 BracketBusters win at UC Davis, Johnson hit nine 3s (six in the second half) for a career-high 32 points.

Gary Flowers, Southern Miss: Flowers scored 21 in the first half and finished with a career-high 32 points and 11 boards as the Golden Eagles stayed in the C-USA title hunt with a win over East Carolina.

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AP Photo/Charles CherneyCorey Fisher's 3 in the closing moments of regulation saved Villanova from a stunning loss.
Corey Fisher, Villanova: A Nova loss to DePaul would've been, well, embarrassing. Fisher didn't let it happen. The senior scored a career-high 34 points, including a 3 with six seconds left that forced overtime. He also added five boards and three steals as the Wildcats pulled out a 77-75 win.

Kenneth Faried, Morehead State: It wasn't just that Faried produced another pair of double-doubles -- that seems almost routine for him at this point, and he did it again with a 23/15 line at Eastern Kentucky and a 17/12 line at Indiana State. On top of that, in the latter game he surpassed a guy by the name of Tim Duncan for the modern-day (since 1973) record for career rebounds in Division I. Oh, and Faried's Eagles have won nine in a row.

Markieff Morris, Kansas: Twin brother Marcus usually gets more headlines, but in Saturday's blowout of Colorado, Markieff recovered from an awful game at K-State by posting a career-high 26 points and tying a career-high with 15 rebounds in an 89-63 win. His eight offensive boards were the most by a KU player in a Big 12 game in seven years.

Norris Cole, Cleveland State: Generally this section is reserved for performances that take place in victory, but exceptions can be made. Cole single-handedly kept his Vikings in the game Sunday at Old Dominion by making 8-of-15 from beyond the arc and scoring a BracketBusters-record 35 points against a tough ODU defense.

Jorge Gutierrez, California: Gutierrez is one of those unsung players who does a little bit of everything -- and he did just that Sunday night as the Bears snapped a four-game losing streak with a 76-72 OT victory over UCLA. The junior guard was coming off a horrid shooting effort versus USC, but he lit up the Bruins for 34 points, made 11 of 12 free throws and threw in six assists and three steals.

-- Brett Edgerton

Team of the Week: Purdue

Two wins over top-10 teams? Yeah, that'll get you Team of the Week. The Boilermakers have a legitimate shot to win the Big Ten regular-season title after knocking off Ohio State on Sunday. Let that sink in for a moment.

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AP Photo/Michael ConroyThe final count was seven 3-pointers for Purdue's E'Twaun Moore on Sunday.
I was not alone in thinking that Robbie Hummel's season-ending ACL injury on the first practice day in October would mean the Boilermakers would struggle to finish in the top three. But Purdue has shown a tremendous ability to deal with adversity, including within the course of the season.

Purdue got pummeled the last time the two teams met in Columbus. The Boilers also got nipped at Minnesota and Wisconsin. Yet here they are, just one game behind OSU with four games remaining. The Boilermakers need a little bit of help, but it's plausible.

Ohio State finishes with a much more favorable schedule (Illinois, Indiana, at Penn State and Wisconsin) than Purdue (at Indiana, at Michigan State, Illinois, at Iowa). But a title is not out of the question. At the very least, Purdue has put itself in play for a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament -- another major accomplishment for this squad.

E'Twaun Moore's 38 points on Sunday were another example of the high-profile depth of this team. JaJaun Johnson had carried the Boilermakers for much of the Big Ten schedule, but he couldn't beat Ohio State without Moore's help. Lewis Jackson was the difference in the win earlier in the week against No. 10 Wisconsin with 18 points, five assists and a solid defensive job on Jordan Taylor. This week was a tremendous breakthrough for Purdue at home, proving the depth, experience and perseverance of this team. No more doubting the Boilermakers.

--Andy Katz

More teams that impressed us

Kansas State: Beat its rival, No. 1 Kansas, behind Jacob Pullen's 38 points, and then knocked down Oklahoma with Pullen leading the way (27 points). The two wins showed the Wildcats are squarely back in the picture for an NCAA tournament spot.

St. John's: The Red Storm plucked off two big-time Big East wins by taking down Marquette in Milwaukee and then beating No. 4 Pitt in Madison Square Garden on Dwight Hardy's last-second layup. The Red Storm are no longer playing for a bid, but rather a high seed.

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AP Photo/Nati HarnikNebraska fans had reason to celebrate Saturday after handing No. 2 Texas its first Big 12 defeat.

Nebraska: With a win over No. 2 Texas at home Saturday, the Cornhuskers made sure any future bubble discussions include them. The loss was the Longhorns' first in the Big 12 this season. Earlier in the week, Nebraska picked up its first Big 12 road win of the season at Oklahoma.

George Mason: The Patriots had two crucial games on the road and won them both -- at VCU in Colonial play and at Northern Iowa in BracketBusters. Mason has a solid at-large profile and this week did nothing but solidify it.

Arizona: The Wildcats were at home, but who cares. Arizona still had to sweep the two Washington schools and did so in thrilling fashion. The win over Washington on Saturday was one of the best games of the season and gave Zona a three-game lead over the Huskies in the Pac-10, with a showdown at second-place UCLA coming up this weekend.

Vanderbilt: The race to see which team will be the second-best in the SEC East behind Florida is starting to thin out now that Vandy swept the road last week. The Commodores won at Georgia with a huge rally and then took care of business at Auburn. Next week's game versus Kentucky at Rupp Arena looms large.

Cincinnati: The Bearcats were in a desperate situation, searching for key Big East wins in order to get off the bubble. They nabbed two of them last week, against Louisville at home and then in a road survival game in overtime at Providence.

Utah State: The Aggies had to win their BracketBusters game after losing on the road at Idaho. Utah State had to defeat Saint Mary's on the road -- the at-large profile was just too thin. Well, USU did just that with a second-half comeback on Saturday, and now that 25-3 record looks stronger.

NJIT: Yes, the New Jersey Institute of Technology. On Saturday, Jheryl Wilson's game-winning buzzer-beater at Texas-Pan American gave the Highlanders their sixth straight win and 11th in their past 13 games. NJIT is now 7-1 in the Great West and has a winning overall record. Why is this significant? It's significant because we're only two years removed from NJIT's snapping a 51-game losing streak, part of a three-year stretch that produced a 6-83 record. Now that's a turnaround.

-- Andy Katz

Observations from the week that was

Andy Katz

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AP Photo/Brian RayTim Hardaway's son scored a career-best 30 in Michigan's win at Iowa over the weekend.

• If you're looking for a team that could find a way to contend for a possible at-large berth, check out Michigan. The Wolverines have top-50 wins over Harvard (yes, the Crimson are No. 43) and at Michigan State, and they won road games at Clemson, Penn State and Iowa (Michigan State couldn't beat either of the latter two on the road). The Wolverines have one bad loss, by 17 at Indiana. But they have a favorable schedule down the stretch after beating Iowa on the road Saturday. Michigan hosts Wisconsin, goes to struggling Minnesota and finishes at home with a chance to sweep Michigan State. At the very least, Michigan could go into the Big Ten tournament needing one more quality win to secure a possible bid if it wins its two remaining home games.

• We debated coach of the year on the site a few weeks ago, and I pushed for Connecticut's Jim Calhoun as the selection for taking a team picked 10th in the Big East that won all 12 nonconference games with an All-American candidate in guard Kemba Walker and a cast of freshmen. One thing hasn't changed a few weeks later -- the national coach of the year probably should come from the Big East. Any list of finalists should include Calhoun, Steve Lavin (St. John's), Mike Brey (Notre Dame) and Rick Pitino (Louisville). I still see tremendous value in looking at Texas' Rick Barnes for the honor, and I understand any and all love bestowed upon San Diego State's Steve Fisher, BYU's Dave Rose and Duke's Mike Krzyzewski. But all were expected to be near the top of their respective conferences. And none are having to deal with a gauntlet that is the Big East.

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

Eamonn Brennan

• Let's call the whole No. 1 debate off. Thanks to Purdue's collective toughness and E'Twaun Moore's singular brilliance, Ohio State lost for the second time in eight days Sunday. But the Buckeyes weren't the only likely No. 1 seed to lose this week, or even this weekend. On Saturday, Texas fell at Nebraska and Pittsburgh fell at St. John's ... all of which was preceded by Kansas' loss at Kansas State on Big Monday. In other words, the best four teams in the nation -- or what we thought were the best four teams in the nation -- all lost this week.

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Peter G. Aiken/Kansas State/Getty Images"Doom" could pretty well describe the fate of each of the top four teams in the polls this past week.
Naturally, this is likely to spark some discussion both before and after the polls are released Monday afternoon. Last week, yours truly spent too much time debating the various merits of the AP and coaches' polls, but that's because those polls deserved to be debated. (I didn't think Kansas was a clear No. 1 over Ohio State and Texas, and I hate the fact that pollsters just automatically move a team up or down based on who lost most recently. Ugh.)

This week? Try as you might, it's pretty tough to argue that any of the top six teams in the nation -- OSU, Kansas, Texas, Duke, Pittsburgh, San Diego State -- are obviously better or more deserving of the current No. 1 ranking than any of the others. Pick your cliché: "parity," "no great teams," whatever you prefer. Whatever overriding theme you think produces this top-tier equality, let's just all agree that we're not going to know which team is best -- or whether a "great team" does in fact exist this season -- until the Final Four is done and decided. In the meantime, we can probably find other stuff to argue about, yes?

• The Missouri Valley Conference is a one-bid league. We learned this Friday and Saturday, when the MVC went 3-7 in some crucial (and some not-so-crucial) BracketBusters matchups. Losers included the MVC's top six teams -- one-time at-large hopefuls such as Wichita State, Missouri State and Northern Iowa were all among the losers. Those losses at the top -- especially for the Shockers and Bears -- will almost certainly doom the Missouri Valley to one-bid status when the committee sits down to select and seed the field in March.

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


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