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NCAAM Breakdown: Volunteers Makes Their Move

Plenty of Huge Games This Week

While the 10 games between the SEC and Big 12 last Saturday dominated the headlines, what was the depth of the Big 12 wasn’t the whole story last week.

Eleven ranked teams lost games, resulting in a reconfiguration of the polls. However, not all the chaos involved the Power-5 conferences, as Hofstra stunned the College of Charleston. There was some wild action in the Big East as well.

Zach Edey #15 of the Purdue Boilermakers reacts during the first half against the Florida A&M Rattlers
Zach Edey #15 of the Purdue Boilermakers / Michael Hickey - Getty Images - AFP

While the Purdue Boilermakers remained No. 1 in the Associated Press poll (a second week in a row), Tennessee jumped to No. 2.

Just the sheer volume of showdowns between ranked teams could make this the best week of the 2022-23 season. Games that feature two top 25 teams include Baylor-Texas, Kansas St.-Kansas, Providence-Xavier, Kansas-Iowa St., Auburn-Tennessee, Miami-Clemson, Purdue-Indiana, Texas-Kansas St. and Gonzaga-Saint Mary’s. Monday, it begins with Texas favored against Baylor, according to the sportsbook.

Looking at the Las Vegas NCAAB odds, top-ranked Houston (+650) is favored to win the national title, then Alabama and Purdue (each +1000), Kansas (+1200), Tennessee and UCLA (each +1400).

Let’s check the latest college basketball news, stats, injury reports and college basketball lines. We’ve got plenty of NCAA basketball picks for you to consider.

Rising Rocky Top

There’s an SEC team sitting at No. 2 in the Associated Press Top 25. Tennessee trails only Purdue in the rankings.

The Volunteers had three straight wins over unranked teams after their loss to Kentucky, average margin of victory 20.3 points. However, it was the subsequent 82-71 win over No. 10 Texas which really caught the attention of the voters.

Olivier Nkamhoua, who only two seasons ago averaged just 7.2 minutes per game, led with 27 points (after five straight games scoring in single digits). Zakai Zeigler had 22 points and 10 assists in the win. It was the third time in the last eight games that Zeigler had 10 assists (65 assists, 18 turnovers during that stretch).

16.5 PPG
8.5 APG
3.0 SPG@Realzakaiz is your #SECMBB Player of the Week

— Tennessee Basketball (@Vol_Hoops) January 30, 2023

Alabama, still sitting atop the SEC with an 8-0 record, did drop (No. 2 to No. 4) after a 93-69 loss at unranked Oklahoma.

The Crimson Tide allowed the Sooners to make 9-of-q3 3-pointers while shooting 58% overall. Freshman Brandon Miller (11 points) extended his run of double-digit scoring games to a dozen.

Strength in Numbers

The Big 12 might not have a Top 5 team any longer after Kansas St. lost to Iowa St. last week. However, the conference is well-represented in the latest poll.

Kansas St. dropped two spots (to No. 7), Kansas went ninth-to-eighth, Texas remained No. 10, then it’s No. 11 Baylor, No. 13 Iowa St. and No. 15 Texas Christian.

Baylor was the big mover among the Big 12 teams, 17th to 11th. That’s tied (with Providence) as the largest leapers in the rankings.

The SEC/Big 12 Challenge wasn’t competitive, as the Big 12 went 8-2 in 10 Saturday games.

Oklahoma’s two-dozen-point destruction of then-No. 2 Alabama was certainly the biggest surprise of the week. Defending national champ Kansas took down a red-hot Kentucky team, doing so in Rupp Arena. Jalen Wilson led four starters in double figures with 22 points.

Another intriguing storyline was Kansas St.’s Keyontae Johnson and his 13 points in a win over Florida, his former school. Johnson was thought to be done playing after he collapsed while with the Gators. He was diagnosed with a heart inflammation, playing in just five games during the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons in Gainesville. He now leads a Top-10 Wildcat team (18 points, 7.7 rebounds per game). Among Power-5 conference teams, Kansas St. has the best mark (16-5) against the college basketball betting lines.

All 10 Big 12 teams have winning records this season, buoyed by a 99-22 log in non-conference play. Imagine this league when No. 3 Houston joins in 2023-24 (along with Cincinnati and UCF). Iowa St., Kansas St. and Texas are currently tied atop the standings at 6-2.

Crowded at the Top

Perhaps not a more interesting conference race than what’s transpiring in the Big East. Marquette, Providence and Xavier are all tied with 9-2 records, the trio a combined 34-2 at home this season.

Creighton has the longest active win streak (four) among Big East teams. As the Blue Jays are just a game back in the loss column.

UConn is the only team currently in the Associated Press Top 25 poll with a losing conference record at 5-6, Villanova fell to 4-6 in league play, as the perennial contender lost to Providence. Xavier leads the conference with a 15-6-1 record against the college basketball betting lines.

Georgetown buried a 29-game Big East losing streak with a five-point win over visiting DePaul Primo Spears led with 21 points. G’town lost a late lead, eventually falling, 75-73, at St. John’s.

In other games, Creighton was 17 points better than Xavier, Providence beat Villanova, 70-65.

Wednesday evening, Providence is at Xavier while Villanova travels to Milwaukee (Marquette).

Into the Win Column

Georgetown wasn’t the only team to earn its first conference win of the season.

Long Island went to Sacred Heart, and returned home with a win by a final of 74-70. Freshman C.J. Delancy led with 18 points.

In the Colonial Athletic Association, Monmouth and Elon were still winless in league play before Monmouth won, 79-64, at North Carolina A&T, and Elon topped visiting Drexel.

Team of the Week

Purdue Boilermakers

While some other top teams were stumbling somewhat, it was business as usual with the top- ranked Boilermakers.

Purdue was a narrow winner at Michigan last Thursday. In the next game, Player of the Year front-runner Zach Edey made sure Michigan St. didn’t have a chance Sunday. Edey had 38 points and 13 rebounds in a 77-61 victory.

Purdue has won eight games in a row since a Jan. 2nd one-point home loss to Rutgers.

Player of the Week

Boogie Ellis, Southern California

USC’s lone game of the week saw the Trojans hand rival UCLA a first Pac12 loss of the season

Ellis had a season-high 31 points on 9-of-17 shooting. He also made all 10 free throws to go with four rebounds, six assists, one steal, one blocked shot and no turnovers in 37 minutes of play. The 13-points (77-64) victory tightened the race in the Pac-12. He’s now scored in double figures in 11 games in a row.

Game of the Week

Kansas St. vs Kansas

  • Date, time (TV): Tuesday, Jan. 31st, 8:00 p.m. ET (Big 12 Now)

Either this rematch, or the between Kansas and Iowa State as well as the showdown between Texas and Kansas St. could have made the cut. The latter two or Saturday games.

However, this Top-10 intrastate clash between the Wildcats and Jayhawks is fun. When the teams met a couple of weeks ago, overtime was needed to determine the winner.Keyontae Johnson and Desi Sills each had 24 points as K-St. won by a final of 83-82. Jalen Wilson led KU with 38 points.

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