Week three of college basketball featured Feast Week, in which popular early-season tournaments such as the Maui Invitational and Battle 4 Atlantis have concluded. Thanksgiving week gave basketball fans some close games, buzzer-beater moments, and just an overall great seven days of basketball. There were some definite surprises with teams winning and losing over the week. Here are your week three Big and Bust nominations.
Wisconsin Badgers- Wins: Texas A&M, #12 Houston, St Mary’s
Week 3 Record: 3-0
Greg Gard has done an impressive job to start the year with a super-young roster in Madison. The Badgers start their 2021-22 campaign 5-1 and won the Maui Invitational last week. Wisconsin went from one of the oldest teams in the country to one of the youngest in the span of a season. Starting five seniors a year ago, to having three underclassmen starting this season, the Maui Invitational championship is super impressive.
After the looks of the beginning of the game in their first matchup with Texas A&M, the Badgers looked like a one-game and out of contention. The fight that this young Badger team shows is what this team is all about. Led by sophomore sensation Johnny Davis, Wisconsin makes their opponents work for 40 minutes on the offensive end. Adding to their stout defense, the young squad doesn’t turn the ball over all that much. In two of their three wins in Vegas, they held their turnover number to under 10. This team is growing up quickly.
Dayton Flyers- Wins: Miami, #4 Kansas, Belmont
Week 3 Record: 3-0
Dayton had a ton of questions coming into the season as to where the production would come from after losing Jalen Crutcher to the NBA. To start the season, the Flyers went 1-3 in their first four games. Their losses came to UMass Lowell, Lipscomb, and Austin Peay. Coming out of Feast Week, Dayton sits at 4-3 with a marquee win over Kansas in the ESPN Events Invitational. And to top things off, Anthony Grant and his team go back to Ohio with an early-season tournament championship. This is one of many great surprises from week three of college basketball.
Dayton’s Malachi Smith was named the ESPN Events Invitational MVP. The freshman averaged 11.3 points in the three-game stretch, which led to a championship.
Iowa State Cyclones- Wins: #25 Xavier, #9 Memphis
Week 3 Record: 2-0
Iowa State was picked dead last in the Big 12 Preseason rankings for the Big 12, and now the Cyclones sit at 6-0 going into December with two wins over top-25 teams. Izaiah Brockingtonis the leading scorer for Iowa State, tallying 39 points in their two wins. Another player to watch as the season progresses is freshman Tyrese Hunter. The Cyclones dominated both games in the Barclay’s Center, winning both of their games by double-digits.
Their most impressive performance came on Friday evening, where they ran Memphis off of the floor. The Cyclones defense forced 22 Memphis turnovers in their 19 point championship victory.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights- Wins: None
Week 3 Record: 0-2
The Scarlet Knights had a rough third week, losing two close buy games to Lafayette and UMass. Losing both Jacob Young and Myles Johnson to Pac-12 teams, there is only a limited amount of production coming from this team. As it looks now, Ron Harper Jr, Geo Baker, and Cliff Omoruyi are the three consistent scoring threats for Rutgers going into December. It’s just an overall tough week for this team sitting at 3-3.
Washington Huskies- Wins: None
Week 3 Record: 0-3
As it stands, the Huskies sit with a record of 4-4 after losing three straight games to South Dakota St, Nevada, and Winthrop. Outside of Terrell Brown Jr, this offense drops off a lot. Brown Jr has scored 175 points this season in their eight games. Washington has three players averaging double figures outside of Brown; it just doesn’t happen consistently.
Washington will probably not be too competitive in conference play, but the Huskies have a rough week three of non-conference play going 0-3.
Memphis Tigers- Wins: Virginia Tech
Week 3 Record: 1-1
Memphis is a weird team to get a handle on. They have the talent to compete at a very high level, but the system they play in seems too “high school” for me. Even with Memphis being 5-1 on the season, offensively they have struggled taking care of the ball. In all but one of their games, they have had 15 turnovers or more on the offensive end. In the one game that they didn’t exceed 15 turnovers, they had 14. Their season-high turnover number is 26 against Western Kentucky. Even though they won that game, sloppy play isn’t going to win you games come March.
One other big thing for Penny Hardway is finding the right point guard to start. I believe that Alex Lomax’s role is going to come from the bench for the majority of the season after struggling in the starting role early on. He had a quick spark off of the bench early against Iowa St on Friday and sort of fizzled off, committing three turnovers.
Even with the record showing only one loss, I was not super impressed with Memphis this past week.
That will wrap up this third edition of Big and Bust for the 2021-22 season here at Overtime Heroics. A ton of surprising performances from some teams that were not looked at as “contenders” in their conferences. Feast Week is always a fun time during Thanksgiving week, and it certainly did not disappoint again this year.
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