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January 8, 2007

Week in review: Top 25 visits Upset City

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The College Basketball Wire

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When it comes to delivering big-time upsets, last week's games could have given just about any NCAA Tournament some stiff competition.

Four top-10 teams were beaten: No. 1 UCLA, No. 5 Duke, No. 7 Arizona and No. 8 Alabama. Five other top 25 teams also went down, No. 15 Marquette, No. 16 Oregon, No. 17 Notre Dame, No. 18 Connecticut and No. 24 Washington.

Washington State was responsible for the Wildcats' downfall. The unranked and upstart Cougars won 77-73 in overtime in Pullman, Wash.

Georgetown stopped the Irish's 12-game winning streak with relative ease, rolling to a 66-48 thrashing in Washington, D.C.

We take an in-depth look at Washington State and Georgetown's victories and what they mean, along with Clemson's dramatic 68-66 and 75-74 wins over Florida State and Georgia Tech in A Look Back at the major developments of last week. The Tigers remain the only undefeated team in the nation.

All Eyes On ...
Washington State (14-2, 3-1 Pac-10)
The Good: The shocking upset of Arizona puts the Cougars back on the college basketball map. It also gives first-year coach Tony Bennett a signature win to show future recruits. There is also plenty of hope for future upsets and an NCAA Tournament bid. The Cougars didn't even play at their best against the Wildcats. Leading scorer Derrick Low (14.4 ppg) was held to a season-low four points. However, guard Daven Harmeling played the best game of his life. Harmeling made seven 3-pointers and scored a career-high 28 points. Harmeling, who missed nearly all of last season with a shoulder injury, has given the Cougars a new weapon. The Cougars also rolled to a 75-55 win over lowly Arizona State (6-9, 0-4), outscoring the Sun Devils 38-22 in the second half.
The Bad: Guard Chris Mathews was the only player to come off the bench and score against the Wildcats, adding eight points. The Cougars must find more depth if they are going to remain in the upper echelon of the Pac-10 standings. The Cougars also suffered a series of blunders in crunch time, blowing a seven-point lead in the final minute of regulation against the Wildcats.
The Ugly: The Cougars' momentum could be halted soon. They visit California (10-5, 2-1) and Stanford (9-4, 1-2) on Thursday and Saturday, and then play host to rival and No. 24-ranked Washington (11-4, 1-3).
Clemson (16-0, 2-0 ACC)
The Good: The Tigers are finding ways to win close games down the stretch, something they haven't done consistently since the Rick Barnes era. A pair of players took turns hitting game-winning baskets in the final seconds of the Tigers' first two ACC games, both off set plays. Cliff Hammonds laid a jumper high off the glass to beat the Seminoles, and James Mays drove the length of the court for a layup to edge the Jackets. But that doesn't necessarily mean Hammonds and Mays are their go-to guys. A handful of other Tigers five of which are averaging double figures in scoring are just as capable of pulling off similar heroics. That includes sixth man KC Rivers, who scored 20 points against the Jackets.
The Bad: The Tigers could have easily lost to the Seminoles and the Jackets if they didn't get a key break or two. If they want to be considered one of the elite teams and garner more respect from the national media, they must start pulling off convincing victories.
The Ugly: The Tigers are approaching one of the toughest parts of their schedule with road trips to N.C. State (10-5, 0-2) and Maryland (14-2, 0-1). A visit from No. 2 North Carolina (13-1, 0-0) follows.
Georgetown (11-3, 1-0 Big East)
The Good: The Hoyas made one of the nation's hottest teams look like one of the coldest and reminded us all why they were ranked in the preseason top 10 in the process. They dominated the Irish from the tip. Georgetown's starters scored more than twice as many points as Notre Dame's starters, 61-29. The Irish were bothered by the Hoyas' size advantage and shot a season-low 31 percent (16-of-52) from the field. Center Roy Hibbert scored on a series of low-post moves and finished with a game-high 18 points. Three other Hoyas also finished in double figures. But, the most promising stat for coach John Thompson III might have been seeing his team hit 50 percent (10-of-20) of their 3-point attempts. Outside shooting had been one of their weak spots earlier in the season.
The Bad: The bench combined for just five points. Freshmen reserves Vernon Macklin and Jeremiah Rivers, who combined for two points and three rebounds in 29 minutes, must start contributing more if the Hoyas are going to make a run at the Big East title.
The Ugly: Marc Egerson left school last week for personal reasons and it remains unclear if or when the forward might return. Egerson only averaged 7.5 points and 4.0 rebounds a game, but he was a valuable role player who can play a number of positions.
Individual Spotlight
  • LSU star Glen Davis was involved in a car accident after the No. 14 Tigers' 66-49 thrashing of No. 18 Connecticut on Saturday night. Davis did not suffer any serious injures and is expected to play at No. 8 Alabama in the Tigers' SEC opener.
  • Clemson junior James Mays has not lost a college game over the last two seasons, winning all 27 of the contests he was involved in. Mays was part of the Tigers' 11-0 start in 2005-06, but missed the rest of the season after becoming academically ineligible.
  • Georgia Tech lost one of its third-leading scorer and one of the ACC's top 3-point shooters when sophomore Lewis Clinch was suspended for the rest of the season for "violating institute policy."
  • Mississippi State's Jamont Gordon and Florida's Corey Brewer came close to having triple-doubles. Brewer scored 19 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, racked up seven assists and made four steals in the Gators' 67-51 win over Georgia. Gordon may have been more impressive in the Bulldogs' 92-84 loss to Tennessee, scoring a game-high 25 points, pulling down 11 rebounds, dishing out nine assists and adding two steals.
  • Freshmen Spotlight
  • Texas' Kevin Durant put together the best statistical game of any freshman this season, scoring a career-high 37 points and grabbing 16 rebounds in the Longhorns' 102-78 rout of Colorado. It was the eight double-double for Durant.
  • Andrew Skwara is the national college basketball writer for Rivals.com. Click here to send him a question or comment for his Mailbag.

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