BEST of the WEEK | Jan. 3, 2005
Awards based on games from Monday through Sunday
TEAM OF THE WEEK: West Virginia
Coach John Beilein's team has been one of America's biggest surprises, remaining among the nation's eight unbeatens. The Mountaineers are 10-0 for the first time since 1959-60. Big East powers like Syracuse, Connecticut and Pittsburgh have had their eyes opened by West Virginia's early success.
Anyone who thought an earlier win at LSU was a fluke should just look at the past two games. The Mountaineers beat a pair of ranked teams, George Washington and NC State, the latter coming in Raleigh. Mike Gansey had 15 points and 10 rebounds against the Wolfpack as West Virginia hit 10-of-18 trifectas in the 82-69 victory.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Francisco Garcia, Louisville
One of the nation's most versatile players, Francisco Garcia had a solid week in wins over Morehead State, Eastern Kentucky and Tennessee State. He averaged 25 ppg, hit all 16 of his free-throw attempts and made 11-of-23 from 3-point land. Coach Rick Pitino will continue to rely on Garcia as a key to the Cardinals' success.
CO-SHOCKS OF THE WEEK:
St. John's over NC State and Bucknell over Pittsburgh
The Wolfpack came into the finals of the Holiday Festival at Madison Square Garden as a ranked team. NC State left in shambles, falling apart against a Red Storm team that had struggled itself. Coach Herb Sendek's Wolfpack were held to 10 points in the first half and at one point had missed 31 of 35 shots from the field. The Wolfpack shot 20 percent in a stunning 63-45 loss.
Pittsburgh's home loss to Bucknell was also a stunner. The Bison came in 8-4 and were aided by 18 Pittsburgh turnovers. Free throws were also a key as Bucknell made 14-of-16 while the Panthers were 9-for-20 in a 69-66 shocker.
COACH OF THE WEEK: Jay John, Oregon State
The Beavers swept UCLA and USC to extend their winning streak to six. Oregon State is 2-0 in the Pac-10 for the first time since 1992-93 (and 10-3 overall). Remember, the Beavers haven't made the NCAA Tournament since 1990. But under the leadership of John, the former Arizona assistant, Oregon State is making great strides as a surprise out West.
DIAPER DANDY OF THE WEEK: Randolph Morris, Kentucky
Randolph Morris, the McDonald's All-American, showed why he's one of the premier big men among diaper dandies this season. In just 23 minutes against Campbell, he scored 25 points, hit 11-of-14 shots from the field, had three steals, three assists and two blocked shots in an easy win.
Dick Vitale coached the Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in December 1979. Send him a question for possible use on ESPNEWS.