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Monday, November 28, 2011
A look back at the week that was

By Andy Katz
ESPN.com

It was a week that began with a loaded field at the Maui Invitational and ended with two of the top four teams in the country being upset by unranked foes. Let's take a look back at the week that was in college basketball.

Team of the Week

Duke: The Blue Devils had the best wins of the week in claiming the Maui Invitational title in thrilling fashion. Duke outlasted Kansas in the championship game last Wednesday, using two Tyler Thornton 3-pointers that weren't exactly drawn up in the huddle.

Ryan Kelly
Ryan Kelly earned MVP honors at the Maui Invitational, helping Duke claim a championship game win over Kansas.

Ryan Kelly has turned into more than a rotation player for Duke, claiming MVP honors in Maui. The victory over gritty Tennessee (which will be more of a factor in the SEC than originally projected), a win over Michigan (a team that should chase for a top-two spot in the Big Ten) and Kansas completed quite the week. Duke is getting production from a variety of options, especially in the backcourt as Seth Curry and Austin Rivers have had their moments. The road doesn't get any easier with Tuesday's trip to No. 2 Ohio State, but the week in Maui will do wonders for this team's confidence and believing it can compete for a championship.

Player of the Week

Mike Moser, sophomore, UNLV: North Carolina had the size advantage, the length, the experience and the overall talent in the frontcourt. Yet the star on the backboards on Saturday night was the castoff UCLA transfer. Moser had 18 boards, 13 of which came on the defensive end and prevented multiple shots from Carolina in the 90-80 upset victory over the Tar Heels. Moser had more boards than Harrison Barnes (five), Tyler Zeller (seven) and James Michael McAdoo (four) combined. John Henson led North Carolina with eight rebounds. Moser had 13 boards in the previous day's victory over USC, and he's scored a combined 26 points in the two games.

"What he did was fabulous," UNLV coach Dave Rice said. "Look at that front line at North Carolina, and then they bring in McAdoo. It is an imposing front line and Mike got 18 rebounds. It was phenomenal. He's done everything for us. He's such a great energy guy for us. We knew he'd be a special player for us, but we didn't know he'd do it so soon after a redshirt year. It speaks to his work ethic."

10 other impressive teams (from Monday to Sunday)

UNLV: The Rebels knocked off the No. 1 team in the country in North Carolina to win the Las Vegas Invitational at Orleans Arena. UNLV is off to a 7-0 start and is clearly the favorite over New Mexico right now in the Mountain West.

Missouri: The Tigers crushed Notre Dame and Cal in winning the CBE Classic in Kansas City. Mizzou looks like the best team in the Big 12 early in the season.

Marcus Denmon
Marcus Denmon and Missouri dominated Notre Dame and Cal to win the CBE Classic.

Harvard: The Crimson won the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament after knocking off Utah, Florida State and UCF, which had just knocked off UConn. Only one of those teams was ranked, but it shouldn't matter. This was an impressive run, and it's not every day an Ivy wins an early-season tourney.

Murray State: The Great Alaska Shootout has lost some of its luster but that doesn't mean winning it should be dismissed. With a 7-0 start, Murray State hasn't missed a step in transitioning from coach Billy Kennedy to Steve Prohm.

Vanderbilt: The Commodores, sans Festus Ezeli, were able to close out Oregon State in the final possessions for the Legends Classic title. The victory proved that Vandy can play defense when it has to in order to win.

Syracuse: The Orange trailed Virginia Tech and Stanford at the half but were able to flip a switch late in each game to win the NIT Season Tip-Off. Syracuse learned how to use Dion Waiters as a second-unit game-changer.

Marshall: The Thundering Herd were a trendy pick to challenge Memphis in Conference USA. Marshall backed up the hype with a significant win at Cincinnati in overtime for a 5-0 start.

Marquette: The Golden Eagles had to hold off a furious rally from Norfolk State to win the Paradise Jam, but a tournament title is a tournament title. They're a legit Big East title contender.

Saint Louis: The Billikens are living up to their preseason buzz. SLU dominated Boston College, Villanova and Oklahoma in winning the 76 Classic title in Anaheim. Rick Majerus has a stingy defensive team that can score in a variety of ways. The Billikens are no fluke. SLU is going to be hanging around the top 25 all season long.

Dayton: The Flyers won the Old Spice Classic in Orlando on Sunday night. Dayton beat a Minnesota team playing without Trevor Mbakwe, who was sidelined in the second half with a right knee injury. Still, it's important to note UD was leading at the time. The Flyers have come a long way rather quickly under first-year coach Archie Miller. The A-10 just got deeper, folks.

Three observations for the week

1. Even though Oregon State, Stanford, Indiana State and NC State didn't win any of the tournaments they participated in last week, all of those teams showed great promise. The Beavers have a Pac-12 player-of-the-year candidate in Jared Cunningham, and they have great length with Eric Moreland and Devon Collier. Stanford has a stud in Josh Owens and players who clearly understand their roles. This should be Johnny Dawkins' best team, and it will come during a season when the Pac-12 is struggling. Indiana State coach Greg Lansing was frustrated by a meltdown against Minnesota in the second half at the Old Spice Classic semifinals, but the Sycamores have the shooters and the experience to make a run for the Valley title. NC State is finding itself under Mark Gottfried and has a significant talent in star C.J. Leslie. This is a team that can compete for a top-four finish in a watered-down ACC.

2. It looked like San Diego State coach Steve Fisher was headed for a transition season after losing four of five starters to exhausted eligibility or the NBA draft. But the Aztecs gave Baylor a fight on Nov. 15, and they've proven that they are more than ready to stay in the Mountain West Conference race with their recent play. SDSU is off to a 7-1 start, and snapped Arizona's 22-game homecourt winning streak last Wednesday. It also beat UC Santa Barbara on the road and defeated Long Beach State after the 49ers won at Pitt. The trio of Chase Tapley, Washington State transfer Xavier Thames and Jamaal Franklin have been solid for Fisher. UNLV is the favorite in the league, but SDSU -- along with New Mexico -- will be right on the Rebels' heels.

3. I saw Ryan Boatright in a pickup game at Connecticut in September. I knew then that he would help the Huskies at the point. He is an uptempo point guard who doesn't mind pushing the basketball. He also can hit the midrange shot and will complement Shabazz Napier quite well. Boatright was suspended for the first six games of the season for accepting a plane ticket. He was eligible for the Huskies' last game in the Bahamas against Florida State, and scored 14 points off the bench with three assists and no turnovers. He will help give the Huskies a different look when he spells Napier.

Andy Katz is a senior writer for ESPN.com.