By Cory Mccartney
February 11, 2008
Luke Harangody
The New Beast Of The Big East
The current favorite for the Big East Player of the Year wasn't a McDonald's All-American and he didn't appear on the preseason all-conference team. But Notre Dame's Luke Harangody's has surprisingly taken center stage. He leads the conference in scoring (20.3 points per game) and is second in rebounding (10.2 rpg) but what's most impressive is how efficient Harangody has been. Among the Big East's top-10 scorers, the Irish sophomore is the only one with less than 700 minutes played (the second-leading scorer, Seton Hall's Brian Laing has played 289 more minutes). Granted, he didn't have his best games against the Big East's 7-footers, getting outscored 21-13 by Georgetown's Roy Hibbert and scoring 14 vs. UConn's Hasheem Thabeet on 5-of-23 shooting but Harangody has been undeniably consistent with more double-doubles (13) than anyone else in the Big East, including 18 points and 11 rebounds in Saturday's 86-83 win over Marquette. Will he wind up conference Player of the Year? This much is certain: no single player has meant more to his team in the Big East than Harangody.
In The End, Some Things Never Change
At this point, you have to wonder if Clemson will ever win in Chapel Hill. The Tigers had the Tar Heels right where they wanted them. Ty Lawson was still out with an ankle injury and North Carolina was coming off an emotional loss to Duke. But when it was over K.C. Rivers lay on his back with his hands covering his face as Clemson wound up on the wrong side of history in losing for a record 53rd straight time in Chapel Hill. The Tigers let this one slip through their hands but you still have to credit the Tar Heels for fighting back from an 11-point deficit with three minutes remaining to force overtime and especially Tyler Hansbrough, who scored 13 of his 39 points in the two overtimes and carried UNC in a way he couldn't vs. Duke. This was an impressive bounce-back act for the Tar Heels and a sad day for Clemson.
Boilers For Real? Badgers In Trouble?
Two things came out of the Kohl Center on Saturday. One: Purdue's Baby Boilermakers are alone atop the Big Ten standings. Two: Wisconsin's aura of invulnerability at home has been cracked with a 72-67 loss. But what's more believable, that a Purdue squad that leans on a pair of freshman (Robbie Hummel and E'Twaun Moore) will win the Big Ten or that Wisconsin's 16-game conference home winning streak is a sign that the Badgers are in trouble? Wisconsin's vaunted defense -- which entered the game first in the nation in points allowed at 54.1 ppg -- allowed the Boilermakers to shoot 65.4 percent in the first half, and while the Badgers stayed in the game behind rebounding (a 43-21 edge) and free-throw shooting (30-of-33) Wisconsin was dismal outside (3-of-18) and gave up 20 points on turnovers. The verdict is out on Purdue until Tuesday's clash with Michigan State but this wasn't a good sign for the Badgers.
Kentucky Wildcats
Not that anyone in Bluegrass Country will be forgetting but Billy Gillispie has turned that embarrassing loss to Gardner-Webb into ancient history. Saturday's 62-52 win over Alabama was Kentucky's fifth straight and the Wildcats are nipping at Tennessee's heels in the SEC East race.
Illinois Fighting Illini
They booed. They chanted. They said things that would have made Vince Vaughn's character in Old School call for "ear muffs." Illinois fans took it too far in Eric Gordon's first trip to Champaign. Illini fans would be better served focusing on how far the team has fallen since making the title game three years ago.
Louisville Cardinals
Apparently the Tony Manero suit was all that was ailing Louisville in the first half against Georgetown. Once Rick Pitino ditched the "white out" inspired duds at halftime for his typical black suit, the Cardinals were able to lock down Georgetown and make a statement in the Big East race.
San Diego State Aztecs
Not only do the Aztecs lose starting forward Kyle Spain, who was suspended indefinitely for an unspecified violation of team policy, but San Diego State also fell two games behind BYU in the Mountain West race with a 68-62 loss to TCU.
Grambling State Tigers
One of the last Division I teams to score its first win of 2007-08 is suddenly on a tear. The once 0-11 Tigers won their fourth straight and fifth in six games with Saturday's 79-76 overtime victory over Southern, marking their longest winning streak since a seven-game run in '05-06.
Baylor Bears
No disrespect to what Scott Drew has pulled off in Waco but Baylor has fallen off of late. Two weeks ago the Bears were 16-2 and ranked but now they've lost three of four with Saturday's 100-90 loss to Kansas. Granted Curtis Jerrells burned the Jayhawks for 30 points but the Bears are still winless in eight trips to Allen Fieldhouse.
"He wrote 'Now is the time' on the board and walked out. This was one of the first games we actually got ourselves, before the game, a little riled up to play."
--Washington State guard Kyle Weaver on coach Tony Bennett's message to the Cougars before Saturday's 74-50 win over USC, which snapped a three-game losing skid.
"I didn't know who was guarding me, and no one showed up so I drove it down and the shot was there."
--Vanderbilt's Jermaine Beal, who drove the land and hit a short fadeaway with 0.6 seconds left to give the Commodores a 66-65 victory over South Carolina on Saturday.
"If this isn't a quality win, then we may not get any."
--Indiana coach Kelvin Sampson, whose Hoosiers earned their first victory over a team ranked higher than No. 49 in the RPI ratings as they won 59-53 at Ohio State on Sunday.
Kyle SinglerF - Duke
Like so many of his heralded Class of 2007 brethren, Singler isn't disappointing. The freshman followed a double-double in his first meeting with rival North Carolina with 24 points, 10 rebounds and three steals as the Blue Devils beat Boston College, 90-80.
Eric MaynorG - VCU
Maynor nearly had a triple-double as the Rams opened up a two-game lead in the CAA. The junior had 21 points, seven rebounds, 10 assists and no turnovers as the Rams beat Delaware 83-73 For more on Maynor, check out Bill Trocchi's Mid-Major Report.
Charron FisherF - Niagara
There's no doubt Fisher can score. The nation's leader at 26.8 points per game delivered a career-high 45 to go along with nine rebounds in Niagara's 92-87 win over Loyola (Md.) on Sunday. But he has a talent that's near and dear to the Fast Break as a writer, penning a blog for the Niagara Gazette.
Pat Knight lost his first game as Texas Tech coach 80-74 at Baylor. His father Bob, who he succeeded in Lubbock, also lost his debut as a collegiate head coach in as Army fell 70-49 at Princeton in 1965.
Washington's 71-61 upset win over UCLA wasn't necessarily an upset, given the venue. Sunday's victory was UW's fourth straight over the Bruins at home dating back to 2004.
For the first time in Trent Johnson's four seasons at Stanford, the Cardinal has reached 20 wins. Saturday's 71-56 victory over Oregon State put Stanford over the mark for the first time since the 2003-04 squad won 30 games.

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