Best game of the weekend: It wasn't a great win over a great Gonzaga team. But it was a good win over a decent Gonzaga team, and that it came in a rowdy road environment and in dramatic fashion eliminated the theory Memphis doesn't know how to handle a pressure situation, the supposed cost of coasting through an inferior league.
When the Tigers needed a stop at the end of regulation, they got a turnover. When they needed big shots in overtime, they got two 3-pointers from Jeremy Hunt. And when they needed someone to make a winning play, they got a ridiculous runner from Chris Douglas-Roberts with 5.6 seconds remaining that served as the final points in Saturday's 78-77 OT victory.
"We needed that," said coach John Calipari. "We needed to find out who could make plays in these situations."
Now the Tigers know, although with the current state of Conference USA, it will probably be the NCAA Tournament before they need to know again.
Worst game of the weekend: It seemed unlikely Saturday's Kansas -Nebraska tilt would be worse than the one last month when the Jayhawks cruised to a 76-56 win after jumping to a 43-16 halftime lead. But it was. This time Kansas cruised 92-39 win after outscoring the Huskers 56-17 in the final 20 minutes, prompting Doc Sadler to offer the following explanation: "Kansas is better than us in so many ways. From the coach on down, probably."
Win to brag about: Just a few weeks ago Derrick Caracter's career was in jeopardy and it was fair to wonder where Rick Pitino's was heading. Now, Caracter is a valuable member of the Louisville Cardinals and Pitino the coach of a team surging into the NCAA Tournament thanks to Jerry Smith's last-second 3-pointer that secured a 61-59 win at Marquette.
That means Smith -- a former prep standout in Wisconsin -- led Louisville to a win over Marquette with a game-winning 3-pointer Saturday just like Reece Gaines -- a former prep standout in Wisconsin -- led Louisville to a win over Marquette with a game-winning 3-pointer four years ago. So Tom Crean really should do something about Wisconsin players going to Louisville, even if it means them going to Wisconsin. Anywhere but Louisville would be an improvement for the Golden Eagles, who have dropped three consecutive games.
Loss to hide from: Tim Floyd spent the past week preaching to his players time and again the importance of not overlooking Arizona State. Perhaps they didn't believe him, but they certainly should now having returned to Southern California losers of a 68-58 game that provided Herb Sendek his first Pac-10 victory before a nice and lively crowd Sunday night.
"A lot lesser group of fans could have been at home watching Desperate Housewives," Sendek said. "And so it was heartening to see such a great crowd out here."
Heartening, yet still hard to explain. I mean, Jeff Pendergraph over Eva Longoria? Fifteen rebounds is nice and all, but have you seen Eva Longoria?
Player who deserves improper benefits: Arizona barely recruited Darren Collison out of high school despite him wanting to be Lute Olson's next great point guard. So Collison signed elsewhere -- elsewhere being UCLA -- and, naturally, made the Wildcats pay in a big way Saturday, finishing with 17 points and 15 assists in the Bruins' 81-66 victory.
"I don't think there is a better point guard in America than Collison," Olson said afterward, which is a little like picking Wednesday's lottery numbers on Thursday.
Player who should lose his scholarship: A.J. Graves is a great player, but he wasn't great Saturday. Why? Because the Butler star was matched against Southern Illinois, which managed a 68-64 victory while holding Graves to five points on 1-of-8 shooting, by far his worst performance of the season.
Why I'm smarter than you think: They were ranked in the AP and coaches polls, but I didn't pay attention. They had a high RPI, but I didn't pay attention. Their fans kept e-mailing, but I didn't pay attention. And now I look like a freaking genius for never falling into the trap that was Kentucky -- which dropped its third consecutive game Saturday, a 72-61 loss at Alabama.
All along, it was clear the Wildcats hadn't beaten anybody except Indiana and Tennessee (sans Chris Lofton), and that was my reason for skepticism. Meanwhile, UK fans kept trying to explain that four of their losses were to top 10 opponents UCLA, Memphis, North Carolina and Florida, to which I routinely replied: "Bragging about your great losses only proves my point that you don't have any great wins."
Turns out, I was correct, and UK still doesn't have any great wins. But the losses are piling up fast.
Why I'm dumber than I think: A few weeks ago I labeled seven teams elite, one of which was the Oregon Ducks. But they so clearly shouldn't have been on that list, particularly now that they have lost three consecutive games, including Saturday's 88-69 decision at Stanford. So if it's all the same, I'd like to replace Oregon on that list with Texas A&M. Or Washington State. Or Georgetown. I don't really care. I just want the Ducks off the list because they aren't elite. They're still better than Kentucky. Just not elite.
Three things you should know before you go:
1. Gotta hand it to Minnesota for choosing to honor its 1982 Big Ten title team during the NBA's All-Star weekend. The timing made it possible for Pistons coach Flip Saunders, an assistant on that 1982 squad, to attend Sunday's ceremony, during which he was showered with cheers and a chant of "We want Flip" as the Gophers were in the process of losing to Ohio State. Minnesota, of course, is looking for a new coach after firing Dan Monson earlier this season. It's unclear whether the school can lure Saunders from the NBA (it's a big pay cut, presumably), but he didn't defuse the speculation when approached by reporters, instead simply declining to address the issue.
2. Mike Krzyzewski earned his 700th victory at Duke on Sunday with a 71-62 win over Georgia Tech. That the Duke coach went down the bench enthusiastically slapping-five with his players in the closing seconds showed he still has whatever it is a person needs to coach at a high level, meaning Krzyzewski should have no problem some day passing Bob Knight on the career wins list, if he so chooses.
3. Jared Dudley might still be the ACC Player of the Year, but he squandered a huge opportunity in his quest toward that honor Saturday. The Boston College senior failed on two attempts to tie North Carolina in the final 89 seconds -- first missing three free throws with 89 seconds remaining and then a 3-pointer with 11 seconds left. Consequently, BC dropped a 77-72 decision and moved to third in the ACC standings.
On tap: On Monday night, Marquette tries to snap its three-game losing streak when it hosts Villanova. On Tuesday night, Knight gets another chance to slow Kevin Durant when Texas Tech visits Texas. On Wednesday night, Dudley can erase any lingering bad thoughts from the weekend when Boston College plays at Virginia Tech. On Thursday night, Oregon tries to get its season back on track when Washington State enters McArthur Court.
Final thoughts: What you already know is that Derrick Byars played like a star Saturday, getting 24 points, eight assists and five steals in Vanderbilt's 83-70 win over Florida. What you probably don't know is that he dressed like a star, too.
Byars returned to the court at Memorial Gym about 45 minutes after the game to sign autographs for fans. By then he had showered and changed into a pin-striped suit and had even thrown on some designer sunglasses.
You always dress like this after games, Derrick?
"Just for big games," Byars answered with a smile. "I have to have a little pizzazz."