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Sidney finally paying off for Stansbury

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Jeff Goodman

Jeff Goodman is a senior college basketball writer for FOXSports.com. Check out his Yardbarker blog. MORE>>
 
   
 

There’s a reason why Rick Stansbury has basically sold his soul for Renardo Sidney.

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Sidney is extremely talented.

For all those questioning the Mississippi State coach’s intelligence after he has continued to give the 6-foot-10, versatile big man repeated second chances, all they had to do was watch the Bulldogs’ win over in-state rival Ole Miss on the road in Oxford.

Sidney went for 24 points. He followed that with 15 in Sunday's victory over Auburn.

The Bulldogs finally have their entire team now that starting point guard Dee Bost has returned from his NCAA and academic suspensions — and it shouldn’t be long before they become the class of the SEC West.

Then again, I might be able to put together a team of my former intramural buddies and compete for the SEC West crown this season.

TEAM OF THE WEEK: I left Tad Boyle’s Colorado Buffaloes for dead when I saw them lose at Harvard earlier in the season. Alec Burks looked nothing like the first-rounder that many NBA scouts believed he could be, Cory Higgins was mediocre and Colorado was dominated in the paint by the Crimson. However, Boyle’s team — with improved intensity and defense — is 3-0 in the Big 12 after a road win over Kansas State and a home victory against Oklahoma State this past week. Levi Knutson had 20 points and was 6 of 8 from deep in the win over the Wildcats and the Buffs improved to 14-4 overall with the win against the Cowboys.

STUD (PLAYER OF WEEK): After seeing just how hard he gets after it on both ends of the court in person, I’m going with San Diego State’s Kawhi Leonard — who added a couple more double-doubles to his resumé in wins against UNLV and on the road at New Mexico. Leonard had 15 points and 17 boards in the Running Rebels game and finished with 19 and 15 to snap the Lobos’ 16-game winning streak at The Pit.

MOST IMPRESSIVE WIN: Duke may not be the same without Kyrie Irving, but Florida State’s home victory over the No. 1 team in the land still was impressive. Derwin Kitchen had 17 of his 22 points after the break, Chris Singleton finished with 18 and the ’Noles knocked off a top-ranked Duke team in Tallahassee for the third time since 2002.

SHOWCASE PERFORMANCE: Holy Jimmer. BYU senior guard Jimmer Fredette tore Utah apart earlier in the week with a 47 spot in the Cougars’ 104-79 road victory. Fredette was 16 of 28 from the field, 9 for 9 from the line and 6 of 9 from beyond the 3-point arc. He also had six assists and just two turnovers in the rout.

More work to do

Donovan won't let Gators rest after win over Kentucky. Jeff Goodman.

WEEK TO FORGET: There were multiple options: USC was swept on its Oregon trip and Oklahoma State was blasted by Texas A&M and then lost at Colorado, but the honor is going to Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy and the Rebels — who blew a lead to in-state rival Mississippi State and then lost another one in Oxford, this time to a Georgia team that hadn’t won an SEC road game in the Mark Fox era.

DUD: Baylor has a couple of NBA first-round picks on its roster in senior guard LaceDarius Dunn and freshman forward Perry Jones III. Iowa State has virtually no depth and not a lot of talent. Yet the Cyclones took care of the Bears 72-57. This is a bad loss for a Baylor team that still lacks a resumé win.

WORST LOSS: Marquette losing to No. 18 Louisville. It wasn’t the loss, but how it went down, that gets Buzz Williams this honor. Marquette was up 18 points with less than six minutes left and couldn’t close it out. Rick Pitino’s team won it on a Kyle Kuric bucket with four seconds left.

MID-MAJOR TEAM OF THE WEEK: Belmont — Rick Byrd’s team is quietly demolishing opponents. This past week, the Bruins improved to 8-0 in Atlantic Sun play and 16-3 overall with an 88-52 win over Lipscomb and a 90-55 rout over Campbell. Ian Clark leads a balanced team in scoring at 12.1 points per game.

FEELING SORRY FOR: Josh Pastner — the Memphis coach had to follow John Calipari, which is no easy task. Then Calipari took everyone of note with him to Kentucky. Pastner did a terrific job recruiting and brought in a talented freshman class, but they haven’t lived up to the expectations that we, the media, placed on them — and the Tigers have struggled. Memphis (13-4) lost this past week to SMU, and Pastner had to suspend Wesley Witherspoon (a Calipari recruit) indefinitely for more shenanigans.

BEAT THE EXPERT

Check out FOXSports.com college basketball writer Reid Forgrave's bracket and see how yours stacks up.

UNBEATENS: Duke’s loss at Florida State means there are four left: Ohio State, Kansas, San Diego State and Syracuse. I’d be shocked if a couple more don’t fall this week. Syracuse travels to Pittsburgh and then plays Villanova at home, while Kansas has to play at Baylor before hosting Texas in Lawrence.

STILL LOOKING: Just one remains. After both SWAC teams — Alcorn State and Arkansas Pine-Bluff — as well as UNC Greensboro all finally got on the board with victories, Centenary is the lone team left without a victory. You’ve got to feel for Centenary first-year head coach Adam Walsh, who lost plenty of players after the program opted to transition out of the Division I ranks after this season.

WEEK’S TOP MATCHUPS:

1) Syracuse at Pittsburgh, Monday at 7:30 p.m. ET — The ’Cuse finally travels outside of New York and New Jersey and faces a Panthers team that is extremely tough at home.

2) Ohio State at Illinois, Saturday at noon ET — The Buckeyes are the new No. 1 team in the nation, but they will have their work cut out for them in Champaign against a talented, yet enigmatic Illini squad.

3) Villanova at UConn, Monday at 3:30 p.m. ET — A matchup of two top-10 teams. ’Nova doesn’t have nearly the resumé of the Huskies, but Jay Wright’s squad has more overall talent and experience.

4) Tennessee at UConn, Saturday at 2 p.m. ET — Bruce Pearl is allowed to return to the court because it’s a nonconference contest. Pearl is serving an eight-game, SEC-imposed suspension, and the Volunteers are 1-2 in the SEC in his absence.

5) Texas A&M at Texas, Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET — The Aggies are for real. That was clear after their overtime win against Missouri, but a victory in Austin would take them to another level.

6) Arizona at Washington, Thursday at 10:30 p.m. ET — A meeting of two teams tied for first place in the Pac-10. This is an opportunity for the Wildcats to prove they are a legitimate NCAA tournament team.

Tagged: Memphis, Duke, Florida State, Mississippi State, Baylor, Colorado, San Diego State, Renardo Sidney

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