Monday Madness: Best & worst of the weekend

It's the (Thanksgiving) holiday season, which also means it's neutral-site tournament time in college basketball. This past weekend saw some of the nation's top teams and players in tourney action from exotic locales like Puerto Rico, Las Vegas, New York City, St. Thomas, Cancun and ... um, Detroit. Here is the best and worst of the weekend that was:



North Carolina 93, Louisville 84: The early part of the season has had so many star-studded showcases that Sunday's meeting between the defending national champs and college basketball's most recognizable franchise was almost overlooked. UNC point guard Marcus Paige continued his breakout campaign with 32 points to lead the Tar Heels -- who had been upset by Belmont in Chapel Hill just a week ago -- and snap the Cardinals' 21-game win streak. This one was up for grabs midway through the second half, until Louisville star PF Montrezl Harrell had to sit with foul trouble (he'd eventually foul out) and Carolina responded with an 8-0 run to create a cushion. Russ Smith led the Cardinals with 36 points.

UConn 59, Indiana 58: Remember that Nike ad in which Paul Pierce and Jermaine O'Neal are engaged in a 1-on-1 battle during a 5-on-5 pickup game that gets so intense they don't notice when everyone else on the court steps off to watch them go at it? That was kind of like what happened Friday at Madison Square Garden when Huskies senior Shabazz Napier (27 points) and Hoosiers sophomore Yogi Ferrell (19 points) staged a heated duel that felt like an NCAA tournament thriller. Over the last nine minutes of the game, the two point guards might as well have been the only guys on the court; trading jumpers and drives and clutch shots until Napier was the last man standing.

Duke 91, Vermont 90: What started as just another Blue Devils rout in Cameron Indoor Stadium turned into the best game of the weekend. Duke was up by as much as 15 in the first half and still led by double-digits with 14 minutes left before the Catamounts suddenly had a T.J. Sorrentine flashback. Led by versatile forward Hector Harold (24 points), Vermont rallied and took the lead with seven minutes left. Jabari Parker (26 points) and Rodney Hood (22 points) then took over for Duke, scoring the Blue Devils' next 10 points to retake the lead. Vermont was down four with 10 seconds left before Candon Rusin's incredible four-point play tied it up, and Hood responded by going to the rack and drawing a foul. He made one free throw to give Duke the lead with five seconds left, and on the Catamounts' next possession, Rusin passed up a three-pointer to go for a layup ... only he took too long and the clock ran out. "We didn't win this game," Hood told reporters afterward. "We kind of deserved to lose the game, and we got lucky."

Oklahoma 86, Seton Hall 85: The Pirates led by six points with 42 seconds left and had a chance to make it seven with Sterling Gibbs (who had made 14 free throws in a row up to that point in a Durant-like display of getting to the line) at the charity stripe. Then everything fell apart. Gibbs missed the shot, then Seton Hall gave up a basket on an offensive rebound, turned the ball over on an inbounds play, gave up a layup, turned the ball over on an inbounds play again, gave up two more offensive rebounds on the same possession, watched Oklahoma's Buddy Hield make the go-ahead free throws with 9.3 seconds left, missed a three, and lost the game.



Jordan Adams, UCLA: Not everybody at UCLA wanted Ben Howland to get fired. Adams, in fact, has said he was pretty bummed about it, and was likely one of the players new coach Steve Alford had to re-recruit to stick around. And why wouldn't Adams have preferred the old regime? Under Howland, the 6-5 shooter had gone from an underrated recruit -- just another number churned out of the AAU Atlanta Celtics factory -- to arguably the best player on one of college basketball's signature teams. Adams is still thriving with Alford at the helm, scoring 30 and 22 points in UCLA's wins over Morehead State and Chattanooga over the weekend.

Shabazz Napier, UConn: The baby-faced kid who used to back up Kemba Walker is grown up and now drawing Kemba comparisons. Napier's 27-point, clutch-scoring clinic against Indiana showed just how much the 6-1 senior has been carrying the Huskies. He's averaging 16.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and 6.0 assists while shooting 50 percent from the field and 62 percent from three-point range.

Ian Miller, Florida State: If you've played the NBA 2K series in recent years, you'll recognize this name. A perennial Lottery-level prospect on seemingly everybody's downloadable draft class, Miller is finally living up to his video-game potential in real life. The 6-3 senior guard scored 19 points in the Seminoles' overtime loss to Michigan on Friday, then had six steals in Sunday's win over Northeastern.

Joe Jackson, Memphis: You know Jackson as the defining player of Memphis' post-Calipari era, a high school All-American whose college career has mirrored the Tigers' ups and downs under Josh Pastner. Sometimes he's been great, but more often he leaves you wanting more. Can Jackson put it all together in his senior season? The 6-1 point guard had 18 points in Saturday's win over Nicholls State, going 14-of-15 from the free-throw line.



Deonte Burton, Nevada: The 6-1 senior guard went off in Las Vegas over the weekend, dropping 28 points against Chattanooga on Friday and 19 against Morehead State on Sunday. It's good that he feels comfortable in Sin City, because that's probably how Burton will have to make it to the NBA; showing out at the Vegas Summer League and forcing a team to sign him.

Jordan Bachynski, Arizona State: Surely you've heard of the formerly-underrated Jahii Carson by now, but the Sun Devils have another NBA prospect who can literally cast a shadow over Carson. At 7-2, Bachynski already owns ASU's single-season record for blocked shots, and he's on his way to breaking it again as a senior. In Friday's win over Bradley, he posted 15 points, 10 boards and five blocks. Bachynski is averaging 4.4 rejections per game, a full block more than his record-setting junior year. And this year his scoring, rebounding and shooting percentages are way up. At this point, the giant Bachynski may even get drafted before the 5-11 Carson.

Johnny O'Bryant III, LSU: The junior power forward, who put up 18 points (10-12 FT) and 10 rebounds in Friday's win over SE Louisiana, will get a shot at the NBA due to his size (6-9, 260), talent and potential. But sooner or later he'll be facing a career crossroads. Either he's the next Chris Wilcox, a tantalizingly talented big man intriguing enough to continually get jobs in the league but ultimately be mediocre. Or he's the next Udonis Haslem, committing himself to being the hardest worker on the roster and playing a valuable role on a championship team.

D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Georgetown: It's amazing how much more smoothly the Hoyas' offense flows when they have a perimeter scorer who can consistently knock down threes. In Georgetown's three wins this season, the 6-3 sophomore Smith-Rivera -- who scored 25 points with four threes in Friday's win over Kansas State and 26 points with five treys in Sunday's win over VCU -- has connected on 80 percent of his threes. In their two losses he's hit only 10 percent beyond the arc.



Demetrius Jackson, Notre Dame: Had he decided to sign almost anywhere else in the country, Jackson would be some team's starting point guard right now. But because he chose Notre Dame, the 6-1 freshman is waiting his turn behind senior PG Eric Atkins. In the meantime, the pass-first playmaker is showing flashes of brilliance off the bench. He put up 13 points and eight assists in Friday's win over Santa Clara, and 11 points and four assists in Sunday's win over Army.

Andrew Wiggins, Kansas: We're starting to get a good idea of what Wiggins is. And just as important, what he is not. The Jayhawks' star is a finisher, not necessarily a facilitator. He's less of a LeBron or Kobe and more of a Vince Carter or Rudy Gay. (Or, as I've said for a while now, Paul George.) Wiggins chipped in 16 points and seven rebounds when Kansas routed Towson on Friday.

Peter Jok, Iowa: If you missed it, you should read Reid Forgrave's piece on FOX Sports telling the story of Peter Jok and his brother, Dau Jok, a senior at Penn. When the two siblings met on the court Friday, Peter scored eight points off the bench. The 6-6 freshman guard has scored in double figures in three of Iowa's five games.

Johnathan Williams III, Missouri: As a 6-9 lanky left-hander slotted at power forward but with the skills to play almost anywhere on the floor, Williams has been compared to Lamar Odom. The good Lamar Odom. Williams grabbed 17 rebounds (eight offensive) and blocked three shots to go with seven points in Saturday's win over Gardner-Webb.



UCLA: If Jordan Adams scores 30 and Kyle Anderson posts a triple-double -- just like they did in Friday's win over Morehead State and nearly did again in Sunday's win over Chattanooga -- the Bruins can beat any team in the country. Freshman guard Zach LaVine and senior forward Travis Wear are coming off the bench, but they could start for almost every other team in the Pac-12.

Michigan State: The Spartans survived a post-Kentucky letdown when they were almost knocked off by Columbia, but this weekend -- with Tom Izzo's screams probably still ringing in their ears -- MSU got it together and looked like the No. 1 team in the country. On Friday they routed Virginia Tech at the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic in Brooklyn, and the next day beat Oklahoma convincingly. No, it wasn't the same as taking down North Carolina and Kansas, but back-to-back decisive wins over ACC and Big 12 opponents is something worth noting. And in the next-man-up fashion that will pull this Spartans team through a rough Big Ten schedule, star senior Adreian Payne had 29 points and 10 boards against the Hokies, then managed just four points against the Sooners while his team didn't miss a beat.

Creighton: Contrary to what you may have been led to believe, the Bluejays are not a one-man team. Doug McDermott (27.5 ppg) could end up leading the country in scoring and might be national Player of the Year, but he's not all Creighton has. Junior point guard Austin Chatman chipped in 19 points and nine assists in Saturday's win over Tulsa, in which McDermott dropped a season-high 33 points and pulled down 15 rebounds. We'll learn more about Creighton (4-0) when they play Arizona State on Thursday.

Oregon: And to think, this is the Ducks' offense without their starting point guard. Undefeated Oregon cracked the 100-point barrier for the second time in four games during Sunday's rout of San Francisco, getting six players in double figures. Junior SG Joseph Young is averaging 23 points a night, helping pick up the slack while sophomore PG Dominic Artis sits out a nine-game suspension.



New Mexico: The Lobos bounced back to beat Davidson on Sunday, but Friday's loss to UMass was ugly enough for coach Craig Neal to overlook the win. New Mexico, who went into the weekend ranked No. 19 in the country, shot just 39 percent from the field against the Minutemen, turned the ball over 18 times, and gave up a 14-0 run in the second half. You might say the Lobos had a good excuse to wear down against UMass, as they'd won a double-overtime game against UAB the night before, but to a coach that just means his guys need more conditioning.

Virginia Commonwealth: The Rams arrived in Puerto Rico unbeaten and ranked No. 10 in the country. They'll leave with two losses and no ranking. Shaka Smart's team was thoroughly outplayed in Thursday's loss to Florida State, then lost to Georgetown on Sunday.

Duke: Coach K said after his team's one-point win over Vermont on Sunday that the Blue Devils were "awful" and "played like a team that thought we would just show up and win." Sounds like it'll be a long two days before Duke's MSG matchup with Alabama on Wednesday.

Tulsa: Coach Danny Manning's team is 0-4, and while two of those losses were to ranked opponents (Wichita State and Creighton), the Golden Hurricane is still the only winless team in Conference USA and is one of the worst rebounding teams in the country.



When will Michigan coach John Beilein realize he should be handing the keys to the Wolverines' offense to dynamic sophomore Caris LeVert?

What is up with Charlotte coach Alan Major's hairline?

Where will P.J. Hairston and Leslie McDonald fit into North Carolina's game plan when (if?) they're allowed to play again?

Xavier McDaniel, who was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame on Sunday, became the first player to lead the nation in scoring and rebounding in the same season when he did it for Wichita State in 1984-85. Is there a current college basketball player capable of repeating X-Man's feat?



Shaquille Duncan, Morgan State

ShunQuez Stephens, USC Upstate

Cade Peeper, Ole Miss

Four McGlynn, Towson


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