Can we just put last week on repeat?
Can we see more standout individual performances such as the Sooners’ Buddy Hield putting up 46 points against the Jayhawks and Brice Johnson’s monster 39-point, 23-rebound outing in UNC's win at Florida State?
Can we also agree that the college game is better now that Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim is back on the sideline?
Your weekly campus tour into what is and what was in college hoops begins now:
Number to know
13. Maryland’s Melo Trimble closed out the Terrapins’ 63-60 win at Wisconsin by scoring 13 of his game-high 21 points in the final nine minutes of the game. The total number of points scored by the Badgers during that span was also 13.
Trimble entered Saturday's contest having gone without a field goal in a game for the first time this season against Rutgers. He coasted through the first 31 minutes -- shooting 4-for-9 from the field and 0-for-1 from 3-point range -- and didn’t have much of an offensive impact. That changed when Maryland needed him most.
The Terps never trailed again after his 3-pointer at the nine-minute mark. He went 5-for-8 during the final stretch. And once Wisconsin did tie the game at 60 with 23 seconds left, Trimble again made a case to be considered the best big-shot-maker in college basketball. His third and final 3-pointer in the game’s final nine minutes came from the farthest distance with 1.2 seconds left to lift the Terps to victory.
Coach of the Week
Road games haven’t been so kind to Baylor and coach Scott Drew this season. All three of the Bears’ losses have come when they ventured away from Waco, Texas, and two of the games weren’t even close. Baylor lost soundly at Texas A&M 80-61, then was pummeled at Kansas 102-74. Needless to say, the prospects of entering the Hilton Coliseum to face Iowa State and leaving with a win looked bleak. The Cyclones had won 30 of their past 31 games at home before Saturday's game. And when they held an 11-point lead about midway through the second half, it looked as if the Bears were headed to a third straight double-digit road loss.
That’s when Drew got unconventional.
Not only did Drew dust off a triangle-and-2 defense, he used freshman guard Jake Lindsey (a freshman!) on Iowa State’s Georges Niang. The senior torched the Bears with 18 points with 14:50 left in the game. The Cyclones didn’t know what to do against Lindsey and that defense, and fell totally out of rhythm offensively. Niang had pretty much gotten all the shots he wanted until that point but then had just two more baskets the remainder of the game; one at 7:46 and another with 50 seconds left.
The place to be
Breslin Center. East Lansing, Michigan. It’s the rematch Michigan State has been waiting to play ever since Iowa ended its reign atop the polls and its undefeated start with an 83-70 setback on Dec. 29. That loss, you recall, came with the Spartans’ all-everything forward Denzel Valentine sidelined with a left knee injury. Valentine missed four games, including Thursday’s 79-54 rout of Illinois. He was medically cleared to play and could have against the Illini, but when his walk-through didn’t go as cleanly as expected, he sat out as a precaution. Valentine likely will make his 2016 debut Sunday at Penn State and be ready when the Hawkeyes roll into East Lansing on Thursday.
Iowa used its win over the Spartans followed by a 70-63 upset at Purdue to catapult into the Top 25 polls. It was the first time since 1987 the Hawkeyes beat two ranked Big Ten opponents in the same week. They’ll need that confidence in what is sure to be a charged atmosphere as Valentine is welcomed home.
Player of the week
Normally this space is reserved for a player on the winning team in a game. Hield caused an exception to the rule. He followed his career high against Kansas with a 31-point performance in an 86-76 win over Kansas State. He shot a combined 64 percent from the field in both games and 60 percent (14-of-23) from the 3-point line.
Hield has played at a high level all season. In the opener at Memphis, his 30 points and game-clinching free throws helped the Sooners avoid a road upset. He was at it again in wins over Hawaii and Harvard in the Diamond Head Classic, scoring 27 and 34 points, respectively, when the Sooners -- as a team -- weren't playing at their best.
But it was Hield’s performance at Kansas that captured the nation’s attention. Doing what he did in Allen Fieldhouse brought validation for Hield in a way that none of Oklahoma’s other opponents had. His will be one of the first names mentioned when national player of the year conversations heat up over the coming weeks.