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Weekly Wrap: Jumping gun on coaches
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The first came after a player revolt of sorts at Dartmouth, where Terry Dunn was forced to resign.
Then DePaul’s Jerry Wainwright, one of the true good guys in college basketball, was let go on Monday morning after the Blue Demons — coming off a winless Big East slate a year ago — had been struggling once again.
It’s become a disturbing trend.
Wainwright became the fourth coach to be replaced since the season began, joining Dunn as well as Fordham’s Dereck Whittenburg and Penn’s Glenn Miller — both fired last month.
I understand if something happens in which a move must be made, but now the tally is up to four coaches let go in the middle of the season and we’ve barely hit the New Year.
It’s just a poor example to set for college kids.
TEAM OF THE WEEK: Initially, I was set to go with a Georgia team that had knocked off Georgia Tech on the road and then nearly beat undefeated Kentucky at Rupp Arena. However, an undermanned Tennessee team changed all that after the Vols pulled an improbable upset in Knoxville against No. 1 Kansas on Sunday night. The Vols, down four players (three suspended and one dismissed), got a huge 3-pointer from walk-on Skylar McBee with 35 seconds left to deliver the Jayhawks their first loss of the season. Tennessee, which played three walk-ons in the win, had also taken care of Charlotte earlier in the week.
STUD (PLAYER OF WEEK): Georgetown junior guard Austin Freeman has always been capable of going for 30-plus, but the Hoyas offense isn’t built for one player to erupt. Well, Freeman went for a career-high 33 points — including 28 in the second half — as Georgetown staged a furious comeback to beat UConn at home Saturday. Freeman also had 20 points and six boards in a loss at Marquette earlier in the week.
BEST PERFORMANCE: Georgia wasn’t the only team that had no business doing what it did this past week. Marquette, a team expected to finish near the cellar of the Big East after losing its guard trio from a year ago, pulled off a win against Georgetown and nearly knocked off Villanova.
DUD: N.C. State losing at home to Virginia. This was likely a battle of the bottom two teams in the ACC, but Cavaliers coach Tony Bennett has a built-in excuse since it’s his first year in Charlottesville. Sidney Lowe, on the other hand, has none as he’s now in his fourth season and has yet to get into the Big Dance.
WEEK TO FORGET: New Mexico — The Lobos were one of the nation’s biggest surprises early in the season, but Steve Alford’s team has came back to earth last week after a road setback at San Diego State and a home loss to UNLV.
MID-MAJOR TEAM OF THE WEEK: College of Charleston — Bobby Cremins’ team pulled the upset against North Carolina in overtime and then took care of business with a victory over The Citadel. Andrew Goudelock hit a huge 3-pointer with 2.1 seconds left to force overtime against the Tar Heels and had 22 points and a career-high 10 rebounds against The Citadel.
WORST LOSS: Oregon State’s humiliating 99-48 loss to Division 1 Independent Seattle University at home. The worst part is that Seattle standout Charles Garcia only played 15 minutes due to foul trouble and Craig Robinson’s team still got smacked by 51 points. The craziest part is that Robinson & Co. came back and beat Oregon in the final Civil War matchup held on McArthur Court.
WELCOME BACK: Last week marked the return of Evan Turner (Ohio State), Courtney Fortson (Arkansas) and Mouph Yarou (Villanova). Turner struggled through foul trouble in his first game back, a win over Indiana, before going for 19 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists in a loss to Minnesota. Fortson nearly led Arkansas to an upset over Texas in his first game back and Yarou, the talented freshman big man who has been out with Hepatitis B, continues to work himself back.
SAYING GOOD-BYE: Tennessee senior Tyler Smith was kicked off the team after the Vols forward was one of four players caught in a rental car with two guns, a bag of marijuana and an open container of alcohol. Smith was booted after taking responsibility for the two guns.
STILL STANDING: Purdue lost on the road to Wisconsin. Add that to Kansas' loss to Tennessee on Sunday and that leaves just two unbeaten teams on the board — which also happen to be FOXSports.com Nos. 2 and 3 in the preseason: Texas and Kentucky. There are also just two teams in the Div. 1 ranks without a victory: Alcorn State and Bryant.
BEST NUMBERS FROM A PLAYER YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF: Providence sophomore Jamine Peterson is averaging a double-double at 17.8 points and 10.6 rebounds per game. The athletic and undersized Peterson went for 29 points and 20 boards in a win over Rutgers on Saturday
WEEK’S TOP MATCHUPS:
1. Syracuse at West Virginia, Saturday at 12 p.m. ET: Two of the top 10 teams in the country go at it in Morgantown.
2. Georgetown at Villanova, Sunday at 12 p.m.: Syracuse and West Virginia play the day before, and the other two top teams in the Big East matchup in Philly.
3. Kentucky at Florida, Tuesday at 9 p.m.: The Gators are struggling, but the young Wildcats will still get arguably their most difficult road test to date.
4. Ohio State at Purdue, Tuesday at 7 p.m.: Evan Turner is back and looking more like himself each game, while the Boilermakers are coming off their first setback of the year.
5. North Carolina at Clemson, Wednesday at 9 p.m.: The Tar Heels already have four losses and go on the road to face the Tigers in Littlejohn.
6. Dayton at Xavier, Saturday at 11 a.m.: This should be a matchup that helps determine A-10 supremacy.
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