Player of the Week
Trae Golden - Tennessee
In what was a slow week for SEC hoops, Tennessee's Trae Golden led the way with big performances with his 25 point and 5 assist night against then undefeated Wichita State. Golden led the way for the Vols and helped spark an offense that had been struggling of late. He got to the rim at will and shot a season high 16 free throws. It was Golden's highest output of the season and couldn't have come at a better time as the team was coming off back to back losses to Georgetown and Virginia and was desperate for a quality win to put on their resume.
Kyle Wiltjer - Kentucky
For Kentucky fans, performances like the one Wiltjer had against Lipscomb make you realize why he was such a highly rated prospect coming out of high school. He connected on 7 of 9 from distance on his way to scoring a team high 23 points. The seven three's tied a season best for Wiltjer but what should really get 'Cat fans excited was the fact that he pulled down a game high 12 rebounds to go along with those 23 points. The 6'10 sophomore has never really been known for his rebounding and if he can keep turning in performances like that then this team will be a force come March.
Alabama Crimson Tide
It seems like forever ago that the Tide took down Oregon State and Villanova on their way to winning the 2k Sports Classic. The team has gone 2-3 since then and are riding a three game losing streak. To make matters worse, Alabama now has to deal with injuries to key players. Junior Center Carl Engstrom has been lost for the season due to an ACL tear and with the news that Senior Guard Andrew Steele will be out 4-6 weeks after surgery to repair a sports hernia, things aren't looking good for the Tide. They have a big game coming up against Texas Tech this week in what will be their final opportunity for another quality non-conference win. Lose this one and fans in Tuscaloosa might hit the panic button.
Top 5 Upcoming Games
Illinois vs. Missouri 12/22
In a battle of top 15 squads, the game between the Tigers and Illini figures to be one of the best remaining non-conference games of the season. Led by Guard Brandon Paul, Illinois comes into this game undefeated and ranked in the top 10. Missouri on the other hand has only one loss at the hands of Louisville and will be coming into this game with new off weapon Jabari Brown who is eligible to play after sitting out the first half of this season.
Florida vs. Kansas State 12/22
In a match up that has lost some of its luster since the Gators lost at Arizona Saturday night, this game still has the makings of being one of the better games of the weekend. The key for Florida against Kansas State will be containing Rodney McGruder. The Gators have one of the best defensive units in all of college basketball and you can bet they will be locked in on stopping McGruder. For Kansas State it will be a matter of controlling the glass and not allowing the Gators any offensive rebounds.
LSU vs. Marquette 12/22
No one would have pegged this game between the Tigers and Golden Eagles as a key game back in early November but with the solid play of both teams so far this season, Saturday's game will be a fun one. The tigers had been undefeated until a loss to Boise State last week and you can bet they will want to turn the heads of the selection committee with this win against a team picked to finish in the top half of the Big East.
Alabama vs. Texas Tech 12/19
Alabama needs this game for multiple reasons. They have lost three straight against quality competition and are in need of another win against a BCS opponent. Beating Texas Tech wouldn't be a marquee win by any stretch but it could go a long way towards RPI come season's end. The Tide did a good job of getting Devonta Pollard going in the game against VCU so expect to see more of that against the Red Raiders.
Southern Cal vs. Georgia 12/22
The Bulldogs are toast after their latest loss at home against Iona. Nothing has gone right for Head Coach Mark Fox this season as the team has struggled mightily out of the gate. Saturday's game against Southern Cal could be a big step in the right direction as this team looks to salvage a season that was somewhat promising just over a month ago.