During a week highlighted by Cam Reddish going off in the weekend’s blockbuster matchup; the top ten in last week’s AP rankings all went undefeated. As for the rest of the nation; it comes back to everyone’s favorite word…parity.
UP AND DOWN THEY GO
Outside of the top-ten; teams were on a rollercoaster with with Mississippi State falling ten spots all the way down to 24 after back-to-back losses to unranked South Carolina and Ole Miss teams. The Bulldogs may very well find themselves outside of the top-25 this time next week with matchups against Florida and Vanderbilt coming up.
Coincidentally, in-state rival Ole Miss made the highest jump of the week; moving from the land of the unranked (26) up to 18 after wins against the aforementioned Bulldogs and previously 11th-ranked Auburn.
As for other teams re-entering the top-25; the Maryland Terrapins give it their 3rd shot this season among the ranked schools; currently riding a 5-game win streak, with their most recent victory coming against the previously 21st ranked Hoosiers of Indiana.
Everytime the Terps have made it to the top-25 this season, they immediately followed it up with losses and found themselves unranked again. In order to break the trend this time around, (19) Maryland will have to beat Wisconsin and an Ohio State team that finds themselves unranked for the first time since Thanksgiving thanks to their three game losing skid.
CAM’S CLUTCH PERFORMANCE
For any other freshman playing under the greatest coach in college basketball history as the number three recruit out of high school, you’d expect them to easily lead the team in scoring and have their name on the Naismith list.
Call it fortune or misfortune, but when those are your circumstances and you’re on the same team as the only two kids in the nation ranked ahead of you coming out of high school, your numbers take a hit in the box score. That’s the dilemma Cam Reddish has faced thus far this season.
The top-ranked Blue Devils faced their first tough test of the conference season when they traveled to Tallahassee to face the 13th ranked Florida State Seminoles this past Saturday.
Duke controlled the majority of the first half until Zion Williamson left the game with an eye injury in the final minutes of the half. The Seminoles in turn went on a run to take a one-point lead into the locker room.
The number one ranked freshman, RJ Barrett is already leading the team in scoring and filled the box score before and after Williamson’s injury. As for Reddish, he had ridden as the third wheel up to this point in the season and if Duke was going to pull off this win, this was his time to step up.
Stepping up may actually be an understatement for how Reddish came through for his team. After struggling to find any consistency with his shot to this point, the freshman star scored 16 second half points including the game-winning three with 0.8 seconds left.
Just to put some more perspective to how much Reddish’s clutch performance was needed, despite losing Florida State moved up two spots in the rankings this week; that’s how well they played against Duke.
THIS WEEK AHEAD
As always, these are the top games to pay attention this week in college basketball:
Monday January 14 7:00pm: Syracuse at (1) Duke
8:30pm: Wisconsin at (19) Maryland
9:00pm: Texas at (7) Kansas
Tuesday January 15 7:00pm: Florida at (24) Mississippi State
8:00pm: (9) Virginia Tech at (4) Virginia
8:30pm: (15) Marquette at Georgetown
9:00pm: Notre Dame at (13) North Carolina
Friday January 18 6:30pm: (19) Maryland at Ohio State
8:30pm: Xavier at (22) Villanova
Saturday January 19 4:00pm: (12) Kentucky at (14) Auburn
6:00pm: (4) Virginia at (1) Duke
8:00pm: (20) Oklahoma at Texas