Thomas Robinson Propels Kansas – This Week in College Basketball
Top-ranked Kentucky and No. 2 Syracuse enter the final week of the regular season on extended win streaks and with just one loss each. Both teams figure to be in position for No. 1 regional seeds for the upcoming NCAA tournament. Here’s what’s happening in college basketball:
Team on the Rise: No. 19 Wichita State Shockers
Victories against Illinois St. on Wednesday and Drake on Saturday gave Wichita State (26-4, 16-2 MVC) an eight-game winning streak heading into the Missouri Valley Conference tournament in St. Louis this week. Though it was playing without guard Joe Ragland, the team’s second-leading scorer, coach Gregg Marshall’s team still demolished Drake by 23 points. A conference championship this weekend might mean a No. 4 seed for the Shockers in the NCAA tournament.
Team on the Decline: No. 3 Missouri Tigers
After playing so well for most of the season, No. 3 Missouri (25-4, 12-4 Big 12) stumbled last week with a 78-68 home loss to unranked Kansas State and a 87-86 overtime defeat at No. 4 Kansas. Coach Frank Haith’s team gave up a 19-point lead in the loss to Kansas. Seniors Kim English and Ricardo Ratliffe must provide leadership for the Tigers to see that this losing streak doesn’t carry into March.
Player on the Rise: Thomas Robinson, Kansas Jayhawks
Thomas Robinson further established himself as a national player of the year candidate in leading No. 4 Kansas (24-5, 14-2 Big 12) to wins over Texas Tech, Texas A&M and Missouri in an eight-day stretch. Robinson averaged 18 points and 11 rebounds during the three games, with 28 points and 12 rebounds coming in the Missouri game alone.
Player on the Decline: Jared Sullinger, Ohio State Buckeyes
After scoring in double figures in 24 of his first 25 games, Jared Sullinger was held to nine and eight points respectively as No. 8 Ohio State (23-6, 11-5 Big 10) defeated Illinois on Tuesday and lost to No. 16 Wisconsin on Sunday. A sophomore forward, Sullinger must produce numbers closer to his seasonal per game averages of 16.8 points and 8.9 rebounds if the Buckeyes are going to advance deep into the NCAA tournament.
Coach on the Hot Seat: Bill Carmody, Northwestern Wildcats
Northwestern (17-11, 7-9 Big Ten) is often mentioned as the only school from the “Big Six” conferences never to play in the NCAA tournament. No one knows that fact better than coach Bill Carmody, whose Wildcats seemed certain to land a bid this year. The Wildcats ‘ narrow 67-66 win over Penn State on Saturday might have the selection committee examining Northwestern more closely. Northwestern finishes its season with No. 8 Ohio State on Wednesday and Iowa on Saturday. They may need a split to lock up a bid.
Bizarre Stat of the Week: Anthony Davis, Kentucky Wildcats
Forward Anthony Davis has blocked at least five shots in a game 14 times this season for No. 1 Kentucky (28-1, 14-0 SEC), including six during the Wildcats’ 83-74 victory over Vanderbilt on Saturday.