Francisco Garcia scored a game-high 21 to lead Louisville to Saturday's win at Tulane.
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Is it time to start taking Louisville seriously? The Cardinals have absolutely crushed their last four opponents, including a 105-69 win at Tulane on Saturday, to raise their winning streak to seven. Then again, we've also watched them go undefeated each of the past two Januaries, and all that got us was a pair of opening-weekend tourney exits.
Duke's home loss to Maryland last Wednesday wasn't nearly as humbling as what happened to the Cameron Crazies. The Blue Devils' famed backers got duped into chanting what they thought was a taunt regarding Terrapins forward Nik Caner-Medley but was actually a fabrication -- not to mention a thinly veiled poke at their own team.
I can't begin imagine how frustrating the Salim Stoudamire/Channing Frye/Hassan Adams/Mustafa Shakur era has been for Arizona fans. What these oh-so talented Wildcats giveth their followers (a thrilling win over No. 10 Washington on Thursday), they taketh away just two nights later (a baffling home loss to 8-9 Washington State).
One of these days I'll learn to start doubting Pittsburgh. For the second straight week, the Panthers not only erased a 17-point deficit but won going away, this time against 20-1 Syracuse. Not coincidentally, Carl Krauser was invisible in the first half, awesome in the second of both games.
Only Rick Majerus could get away with the joke he made during last Monday night's Kentucky-Tennessee telecast -- and I for one am glad he can. I can't reprint it here, but it involved a shot of Ashley Judd and it was completely tasteless -- and hilarious.
Player of the Week
Wayne Simien, Kansas. The injury is now ancient history, and so is the Jayhawks' meltdown at Villanova after Saturday's 90-65 beatdown of No. 16 Texas, in which Simien scored 27 points on 11-of-17 shooting, grabbed six rebounds, notched three steals and generally harassed Longhorns big men Brad Buckman and Jason Klotz. Granted, the Longhorns were missing P.J. Tucker, but KU's performance was still an impressive domination, and its senior power forward was the biggest reason. He also had 18 points and seven boards in a 20-point win at Baylor earlier in the week.
Team of the Week
Maryland. The Terrapins turned their season around in a big way last week with Wednesday night's 75-66 road upset of previously undefeated Duke, followed by a hard-fought 79-71 win over Georgia Tech. This was the Maryland team that showed such promise last season with its surprise run through the ACC tournament and only figured to be stronger. Caner-Medley came up huge in both games, scoring 25 against Duke, 19 against the Jackets, and John Gilchrist put his recent troubles behind him to run the show. The Terps were floating on thin ice there for a while, most notably with their embarrassing 85-69 home loss to N.C. State, but with a favorable upcoming schedule (at Clemson, at Miami, vs. Virginia Tech) they could still be hot when Duke comes to College Park for a rematch on Feb. 12.
Games to watch (besides Grinnell)
Illinois at Michigan State, Tuesday. Watching the 21-0 Illini go into some jacked-up opposing Big Ten arena and impressively go about its business is quickly becoming a weekly Tuesday-night viewing appointment.
Cincinnati at Louisville, Wednesday. The last installment of the rivalry, Louisville's come-from-behind 69-66 win on Jan. 15, was sensational, and both teams have been playing even better since then.
Duke at Wake Forest, Wednesday. Wake big man Eric Williams has been taking his game to another level lately, and as Dick Vitale points out nightly, Duke's "Williams," Shelden, may be the best post player in the country (though Utah's Andrew Bogut might disagree).