Well, well, well, not a bad first full week of college basketball.
In the first week we saw many games worthy of a February/March feel, with late game dramatics, team reaching deep into their depth, and great individual performances
And this is all before Thanksgiving, with preseason tournaments like Maui and Battle 4 Atlantis still to play. This week is going to be great.
So without further ado, the awards for this week of College Basketball:
Game of the Week
Kansas 77, Duke 75 (5 votes)
Really, guys? You’re going to make me, a Duke fan, write about this game?
Oh wait, I voted for this game too. Never mind.
The jet-lagged Jayhawks and short-handed Blue Devils played a fantastic game in Madison Square Garden, both teams leaving nothing in the tank. Both teams had stellar individual performances, with Kansas being led by Frank Mason’s 21 and Duke by Luke Kennard’s 22.
Both teams overcame significant foul trouble to put on excellent displays of basketball, with Duke taking the lead early, Kansas roaring back for their own double digit lead, and Duke rallying back to tie.
As for the ending?
Well, you’ll just have to read on to our Moment of the Week.
Others receiving votes: Xavier 83, Missouri 82 (2 votes), Maryland 76, Georgetown 75 (1 vote)
Team of the Week
Kansas (3 votes)
This week could not have gone much better for Kansas.
After a brutal loss to Indiana in Hawaii, the Jayhawks bounced back and took down the Blue Devils in a thriller in New York. The Jayhawks have established their identity, as there might not be a better backcourt than Frank Mason and Devonte Graham. And after a poor start, Josh Jackson has looked like the stud freshman he is.
But to top it all off, on Friday, Kansas took down Siena 86-65, giving Bill Self a record 207th win at Allen Fieldhouse.
Self’s record at home is 207-9. Wow.
Others receiving votes: Creighton (2 votes), Michigan (2 votes), Duke (1 vote)
Coach of the Week
Greg McDermott, Creighton (7 votes)
Three major conference opponents in one week. One in the Top 10, one with two five star freshmen.
To many, that is a mountain.
For Creighton, it’s a bump on the road.
After three years of struggles following the departure of Greg’s son, national player of the year Doug McDermott, the Blue-jays are back and are ready to challenge the best in college basketball.
Creighton showed its versatility, on Tuesday by beating #9 Wisconsin 79-67 in a defensive showcase, holding Wisconsin to 41% shooting. Then on Sunday they beat NC State 112-94, shooting 61% and having seven players scoring double digits. In between they took down Washington State 103-77 in a game that could have been a trap.
That is a testament to some phenomenal coaching, and Greg McDermott has his guys ready for March.
Others receiving votes: John Beilein, Michigan (1 vote)
Freshman of the Week
Malik Monk, Kentucky (4 votes)
Here’s a name we should all be getting familiar with.
Against Michigan State on Tuesday, Monk shredded the Spartans for 23 points, including 7 threes in the 69-48 win. Considering one of the big concerns for this Wildcat team was three-point shooting, Monk erased a lot of doubts for this team.
Against Duquesne, Monk followed with a respectable 14 points, while still making splash plays throughout the week.
Just imagine how good he will be by March.
Others receiving votes: Markelle Fultz, Washington (2 votes), Frank Jackson, Duke (1 vote), Charlie Moore, California (1 vote)
Point Guard of the Week
Frank Mason III, Kansas (6 votes)
My goodness is this guy good.
21 points against Duke with 5 assists, including the game winning jumper in spite of battling foul trouble. Then 18 points and 3 assists against Siena, in spite of being on three cross country flights within a week and a half.
The best driver in the country, Mason is relentless at the hoop, always finishing while drawing the foul. But simultaneously his jumper has been locked in with good assist numbers too.
Imagine the damage he’ll do once he’s in the same time zone most of the time.
Others receiving votes: Josh Hart, Villanova (1 vote), Charlie Moore, California (1 vote)
Wing Player of the Week
Luke Kennard, Duke (7 votes)
In spite of their much-highlighted injury concerns, Duke is playing like a Top 5 team.
They owe a good chunk of that to Kennard.
Kennard averaged 20.3 points in three games this week, shooting 54.1%, including an absurd 52.9% from three. He’s done so in spite of almost never resting, including playing the entire 80 minutes of the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic.
He’s also averaged 5.3 rebounds and played often as the point guard during the week, providing Duke with a much needed consistent offensive threat while Grayson Allen plays hurt and Jayson Tatum is out.
And this guy was supposed to be the 7th or 8th man for Duke.
Be afraid, college basketball.
Others receiving votes: Derrick Walton Jr., Michigan (1 vote)
Post Player of the Week
Hassan Martin, Rhode Island (3 votes)
Something about the name Hassan produces good post players.
The senior posted excellent numbers throughout the week, averaging 13 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 4.3 blocks per game, while shooting 70%. He’s done so while frequently playing as Rhode Island’s lone true post player and being in foul trouble.
Against Duke, Martin went for 15, 6, and 5 in helping to weaken Duke’s driving game. Against Cincinnati he took on the bigger frontline and went 5-6.
Most stunning of all, he went 14-14 from the free throw line.
For a big man, this can only be a sign of good things to come.
Others receiving votes: Miles Bridges, Michigan State (2 votes), Kyle Washington, Cincinnati (1 vote), Michael Young, Pittsburgh (1 vote), Eric Mika, BYU (1 vote)
Best Decision of the Week
JP Macura calling time out in the last seconds (3 votes)
#11 Xavier found themselves in quite the dogfight with Missouri in the Tire Pros Invitational quarterfinal.
With the game tied at 82 in overtime, Xavier rebounded a Missouri missed three with four seconds left. Although initially it looked like Xavier would push the ball up the court, forward JP Macura alertly signaled for time out with 1.7 seconds remaining, giving the Musketeers time to set up a play.
How did that play work out? Well…
Others receiving votes: Frank Mason attacking the basket (2 votes), Duke feeding Amile Jefferson (1 vote), St. Mary’s giving the ball to Emmett Narr for free throws (1 vote), Georgetown(?) (1 vote)
“Goat” of the Week
Terrence Phillips, Missouri (5 votes)
For the first 44 minutes and 58.3 seconds of Xavier vs Missouri, Phillips was Missouri’s best player. But what happened at the end will almost certainly define his season.
With Xavier inbounding from midcourt and the game tied, Phillips put himself in position to intercept the pass. Instead, Philips missed the ball and fouled Edmond Sumner with 1.3 seconds remaining.
Sumner would split the free throws and Xavier would escape 83-82.
Brutal end to a great game for Phillips.
Others receiving votes: Georgetown (3 votes)
Moment of the Week
Frank Mason’s jumper to beat Duke (6 votes)
Here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZ0ZPfcaTmA
It was a beautiful jumper. It looked pure the moment it left his hand.
Now excuse me while I go scream in anguish outdoors.
Others receiving votes: Jalen Brunson’s free throws vs Purdue (1 vote), The end of Xavier Missouri (1 vote)
Player of the Week
Tie between JP Macura, Xavier and Luke Kennard, Duke (2 votes)
Normally I try to avoid ties because they’re un-American and I have to write more.
But both of these players were the leading scorers of their teams this week during preseason tournaments against stiff competition.
Macura averaged 18.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 3.3 assists for Xavier, leading them to the Tire Pros Invitational Championship. He also provided excellence on court awareness, calling the key timeout and keeping Xavier focused against stiffer than expected competition.
Kennard willed his team to victory by leading his team in scoring and lessening the load of his injured teammates.
Both of these names will be heard quite often this year, as both teams should go far.
Especially if these two names have any say about it.
Others receiving votes: Frank Jackson, Duke (1 vote), Markelle Fultz, Washington (1 vote), Frank Mason III, Kansas (1 vote), Josh Hart, Villanova (1 vote)
Performance of the Week
J.P. Macura, Xavier vs Clemson (5 votes)
Against a surprisingly tough Clemson team, Macura provided the scoring load that the Musketeers needed.
Macura scored 28 points on 10-18 shooting, including 6-11 behind the arc, adding 4 rebounds and 5 assists. He played 38 minutes of the game and never seemed to tire, willing Xavier to an 83-77 win over the Tigers in the Tire Pros Invitational semi-finals.
People are learning quickly. Trevon Blueitt may still be the Musketeer’s best player, but he’s far from a one man show.
With Macura, they form one of the deadliest backcourts in the country.
Others receiving votes: Charlie Moore, California vs UC Irvine (2 votes), Josh Hart, Villanova vs Purdue (1 vote)