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February 16, 2009

Players of the week: Wise finds redemption

Don't blame Arizona guard Nic Wise if he prefers the desert to the surf and sun of Los Angeles.

Wise sure looks much more comfortable in Tucson than he did in L.A.

Wise redeemed himself from a miserable week in Los Angeles against UCLA and USC earlier in the season with 53 points combined against the Bruins and Trojans at the McKale Center last week. Because of Wise's efforts, Arizona is in position to make its 25th consecutive NCAA tournament - and he earned Rivals.com national player of the week honors.

In Los Angeles last month, Wise was 6-for-19 from the field, scoring five points against UCLA and 11 points against USC.

He topped that Thursday against the Trojans, going 8-for-11 from the field and scoring 27 points in an 83-76 victory. He didn't let up against the Bruins, scoring 26 points on 9-for-13 shooting in an 84-72 win Sunday.

Arizona is riding a seven-game winning streak, including six in a row in the Pac-10. The Wildcats' last loss was to Arizona State, and they get a chance for revenge when they play at Arizona State on Sunday.

Also considered:

No player had a more dominant defensive week than Connecticut center Hasheem Thabeet, a 7-foot-3 junior. He had 16 rebounds, seven blocks and eight points in a 63-49 victory over Syracuse. He topped that by coming up one block short of his second triple-double of the season against Seton Hall. Thabeet had 25 points, 20 rebounds and nine blocks in a 62-54 win over the Pirates.

North Carolina took a two-game lead in the ACC, thanks to two excellent performances from guard Ty Lawson on the road. Lawson had 25 points, four assists and four rebounds in a 101-87 win over Duke, then had 21 points and four assists in a 69-65 win over Miami on Sunday.

Oklahoma sophomore forward Blake Griffin continued to make his case for national player of the year honors with a dominating performance against Texas Tech. Griffin set career-highs with 40 points and 23 rebounds in a 95-74 win over the Red Raiders. He also had 18 points and 10 rebounds in a 78-63 win at Baylor on Wednesday.

Kentucky moved into a three-way tie for the SEC East lead, thanks to two huge games from guard Jodie Meeks. He scored 45 points � his third game of the season with more than 40 points � in a 79-63 win at Arkansas on Saturday. He had 23 points and five rebounds and hit the game-winning shot in the final seconds earlier in the week in a 68-65 win over Florida.

The SEC East is a battle, but LSU is starting to run away with the SEC West. Forward Tasmin Mitchell had 41 points, 11 rebounds and five assists in a 97-94 double-overtime win at Mississippi State. He added 20 points and nine rebounds in a 73-66 victory over Ole Miss. The Tigers have won nine consecutive SEC games.

Pittsburgh forward Sam Young prepared for a showdown with Connecticut with 20 points and seven rebounds in a 70-59 win over West Virginia last Monday and 18 points and four rebounds in an 85-69 win over Cincinnati on Saturday.

Luke Harangody led Notre Dame out of its seven-game losing streak, starting with a 32-point, 17-rebound performance in a 90-57 rout of Louisville on Thursday. He added 19 points and 11 rebounds in a 67-57 victory over USF on Sunday.

Forward DeMarre Carroll all but sealed Missouri's return to the NCAA Tournament with 22 points and seven rebounds in a 62-60 victory over Kansas on Monday. He also had 13 points and three rebounds in a 70-47 rout of Nebraska.

NON-BIG SIX PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Chris Wright, Dayton

Xavier has been the Atlantic 10's most visible team, but Dayton is in good shape to win the league's regular-season title.

Thanks to contributions from Wright, a sophomore forward, Dayton is tied with Xavier for the A-10 lead at 9-2. With 19 points, six rebounds and three blocks, Wright led the way in Dayton's 71-58 win over Xavier. The teams meet again at Xavier on March 5.

In a 69-63 victory over Richmond on Saturday, Wright added 17 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks.

Also considered:

Before injuring his knee, Davidson guard Stephen Curry had an excellent week. He scored 39 points in a 78-61 victory at Wofford on Thursday and added 25 points in 29 minutes in a 75-60 victory over Furman. Curry was hurt in the second half of the win over Paladins.

UCF guard Jermaine Taylor continued his torrid scoring pace with 38 points and six rebounds in a 73-68 loss at UTEP and 35 points and seven rebounds in a 74-72 victory over Tulsa.

Coastal Carolina split its games against the Big South's top two teams. Joseph Harris scored 33 points and added 22 rebounds and six assists in a 100-97 win over VMI on Saturday. He added 14 points and 14 rebounds in a 71-67 loss to Radford last Monday.

Drexel guard Scott Rodgers scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half in a come-from-behind 62-58 win over Northeastern. He added 20 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in a 78-65 victory over Towson. Drexel is tied for second place in the Colonial Athletic Association, a game behind co-leaders Northeastern and VCU.

FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK: Sylven Landesberg, Virginia

It's easy to overlook Landesberg in the ACC, though he leads the league's freshmen in scoring by a wide margin.

Clemson couldn't ignore Landesberg on Sunday as he helped the Cavaliers end an eight-game losing streak in an 85-81 upset of the Tigers in overtime. Landesberg played all 45 minutes and scored 23 points, including six in overtime.

He had 13 points and six rebounds in a 68-57 loss to Florida State in Tallahassee on Tuesday.

Also considered:

Loyola-Chicago's Jordan Hicks had only scored in double digits once in his college career before last week, then did it twice. Sunday, he helped the Ramblers shock Butler with 23 points and eight rebounds in a 71-67 victory in Indianapolis. Hicks had 11 points, four rebounds and four assists in a 71-47 loss to Valparaiso on Friday.

In his only game of the week, Michigan State forward Delvon Roe picked up his first career double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds in a 54-42 win at Michigan on Tuesday.

Guard Tyreke Evans and his Memphis teammates continue to overwhelm Conference USA opponents. Evans scored 19 points and added six rebounds and three assists in a 72-47 victory at Southern Miss on Saturday. He also had 13 points in a 63-37 rout of Tulsa on Wednesday.

West Virginia forward Devin Ebanks had 16 points and 10 rebounds in a 93-72 win over Villanova on Friday. He also had 16 points and seven boards in a 70-59 loss at Pittsburgh.

David Fox is a national writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at dfox@rivals.com.



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