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Weekend Look Back: Upsets abound, yet Buckeyes above fray


Ohio State won.

Seems like pretty much everybody else lost.

Let's do the Weekend Look Back, shall we?

Best game of the weekend: All you can ever ask from a Saturday -- besides a decent host and musical guest on SNL -- is that it provides a nice early game to get the weekend off to a great start. A double-overtime thriller between Hall of Fame coaches and Big East powers certainly meets that standard, especially since it featured a Kemba Walker 3-pointer at the final buzzer that, if good, would've given Connecticut a win. "I was open," Walker said. "I just missed." So Louisville just won, 79-78. And now it's time to call Rick Pitino a serious National Coach of the Year candidate because he has a roster of relatively average talent all alone in second place in the Big East.

Worst game of the weekend: I figured San Diego State would bounce back from that loss at BYU with a convincing win over Wyoming on Saturday. I was right as long as you agree that starting on a 14-0 run, leading by 31 points at halftime and winning 96-57 is convincing. "It was kind of embarrassing," said Wyoming's JayDee Luster. Because what's convincing for one team is usually embarrassing for the other.

Georgetown's Austin Freeman gets a shot off over Villanova's Maurice Sutton. (AP)  
Georgetown's Austin Freeman gets a shot off over Villanova's Maurice Sutton. (AP)  
Win to brag about: Remember when Georgetown dropped four games in five outings and lots of people wondered if the Hoyas were headed for a collapse similar to 2008-09? That feels like ages ago because the Hoyas have now won four straight games -- the most recent victory being Saturday's 69-66 win at Villanova in which Austin Freeman scored 30 points -- and moved to No. 11 in the latest Top 25 (and one).

Loss to hide from: It's true that St. John's is in the top 30 of the updated RPI, but that doesn't mean getting pounded by the Red Storm like Duke got pounded by the Red Storm is any less ridiculous. The Blue Devils were down 21 at the half and by as many as 25 in the second half before losing 93-78 on Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden. The game was so lopsided that by Sunday night folks watching the Pro Bowl were calling Philip Rivers' team the AFC Blue Devils.

Player who deserves improper benefits: Jacob Pullen, much like Kansas State in general, is having a disappointing season that everybody in Manhattan would rather forget. But the senior guard had a nice moment in Saturday's 90-66 loss at Kansas when he took a moment to embrace KU's Thomas Robinson, and that shouldn't go unnoticed. "Regardless of this rivalry or whatever, the things that he is going through right now are things you wouldn't wish upon your worst enemy," Pullen said. "I just told him that he has to use basketball as a tool for other things in life and to keep his head up at all times and things will get better."

Player who does not deserve improper benefits: The headline on Missouri's official athletics page summarized things nicely. "Shooting woes plague No. 11 Missouri in 71-58 loss to No. 7 Texas," is how it read. Nobody knows this better than Justin Safford, a 6-foot-9 senior who missed more shots (nine) than anybody else on his team even attempted. Safford finished 1 of 10 from the field and 0 of 3 from 3-point range against the Longhorns. Shooting woes, indeed.

Why I'm smarter than you think: I told you in the Look Ahead that Washington State would upset Washington late Sunday, and then Washington State upset Washington late Sunday. So on my to-do list for this week is to try to figure out whether I'm a psychic or a genius. Or both.

Why I'm dumber than I think: Readers are constantly asking questions on Twitter, and I usually answer them if they're intelligent, funny or from a blonde. I tell you that to tell you that a blonde Kentucky fan was busting me up about Georgia after I watched the Bulldogs lose at Vanderbilt on Jan. 12. I responded with this: "You know how many No. 1 teams I've personally seen lose in this building? Prediction: Vandy won't lose here this season." (Vanderbilt lost 89-78 to Arkansas at Memorial Gym on Saturday. Shame on you, Commodores, for making me look silly in front of a blonde.)

Three things you should know before you go

1. Jimmer Fredette finished with 32 points, seven assists and five rebounds in BYU's 86-77 loss at New Mexico on Saturday. The senior guard is averaging 37.0 points and 4.4 assists in his past five outings. That's why he's now widely considered the favorite for National Player of the Year.

2. Tu Holloway scored a Jimmer-like 33 points in Xavier's 85-62 win at Richmond on Saturday and joined the school's 1,000-point club. The junior guard was an amazing 17 of 17 from the free throw line. Even more amazing -- and by amazing I mean impressive -- is that Xavier has gone from a limited team with an 8-5 record to a limited team with a 15-5 record thanks to a 7-0 start in the Atlantic 10. The Musketeers are tied with Duquesne atop the A-10 standings.

3. Jared Sullinger's free throw with 3.5 seconds remaining Saturday gave Ohio State a 58-57 win at Northwestern and ensured the Buckeyes will take a perfect record into February. What's wild is that they're doing it despite the fact that they've been in one-possession games in the final minute of six of their past eight contests. Each time, they've escaped. But at some point they'll get caught, won't they?

On tap: Texas is at Texas A&M on Monday night. On Tuesday, Purdue is at Wisconsin. On Wednesday, Syracuse is at Connecticut. On Thursday, Ohio State hosts Michigan.

Final thought: Washington became the 13th ranked team to lose this weekend late Sunday, meaning 18 teams ranked in last week's AP poll took at least one loss at some point throughout the week. All but three of those 18 teams -- everybody except Missouri, Purdue and Minnesota -- lost to schools ranked lower or completely unranked, which suggests everybody is vulnerable, even the schools that are supposedly good.

Is it parity or mediocrity?

That depends on your point of view, I suppose.

All I know is that it's wacky to watch and difficult to predict.

It's March Madness in January and a likely precursor of what's to come.

Gary Parrish is a senior college basketball columnist for and frequent contributor to the CBS Sports Network. The Mississippi native also hosts the highest-rated sports talk radio show -- The Gary Parrish Show -- in the history of Memphis. He lives in that area with his wife, two children and a dog.

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