Senior Writer

Weekend Look Back: It's MoMo time, not Larry Drew time


Texas won again.

Michigan State lost again.

Lots of other stuff happened, too.

Let's recap it with the Weekend Look Back.

It's safe to say North Carolina does not miss Larry Drew. (AP)  
It's safe to say North Carolina does not miss Larry Drew. (AP)  
Best game of the weekend: I saw the score, recognized the late comeback in regulation, then asked followers on Twitter if they knew whether Arizona-California was on television. They did. I switched. And thank goodness for both of those things, because what came next were three thrilling overtimes that produced an eventual 107-105 victory for the Wildcats. Despite the fact that All-American candidate Derrick Williams fouled out with 21.9 seconds remaining, Arizona won Saturday mostly because MoMo Jones finished with a career-high 27 points highlighted by a game-tying 3-pointer at the end of the second OT. "It's just another day in the life of MoMo Jones," said MoMo Jones, which means the sophomore guard won a huge game and went straight third-person on a group of reporters. In a related development, MoMo Jones is now officially one of my favorite college basketball players.

Worst game of the weekend: "An ACC game, to be up like that is just not going to happen hardly at all," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said Saturday after his Blue Devils jumped to a 30-point first-half lead and cruised to 76-52 win over North Carolina State. The only way this could've been more lopsided is if Kyrie Irving would've been available.

Win to brag about: Oregon was the overwhelming pick to finish last in the Pac-10 because Dana Altman inherited a mess of a program and an even bigger mess of a roster. But the former Creighton coach has led the Ducks to a surprising 5-6 start in the conference, thanks to a stretch that includes four wins in their past five games, the most recent being Saturday's 81-76 victory over Pac-10 favorite Washington. Can a man win Pac-10 Coach of the Year with a losing league record? Probably not if Sean Miller keeps winning. But if Arizona comes back to the pack and Oregon stays around .500, rest assured, I'll be able to make a good case for Altman.

Loss to hide from: Illinois has gone from 13th in the preseason AP poll to unranked in the latest AP poll to 5-5 in the Big Ten thanks to Saturday's 71-70 loss at Northwestern. The Illini have dropped five of seven since beating Northwestern by 25 points early last month, and turning things around doesn't seem likely considering they still have road games at Ohio State, Purdue, Michigan State and Minnesota, although it should be noted that Michigan State (5-6 in the Big Ten) and Minnesota (5-6 in the Big Ten) have problems of their own.

Player who deserves improper benefits: More than one Wisconsin fan emailed to tell me I made a mistake when I left Jordan Taylor off of my list of 30 candidates for the Wooden Award, and some went so far as to tell me that Taylor, not Jon Leuer, is the Badgers' MVP this season. I can't argue after Sunday. Taylor made 9 of 13 shots and finished with 30 points and six assists in Wisconsin's 82-56 win over Michigan State. "He played like one of the best guards in the country," said Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, whose endorsement is enough to make me among the converted.

Player who does not deserve improper benefits: Cleveland State might do an odd thing this season -- win the Horizon League despite losing to Butler twice by double-digits. The first loss came last month. The second came Saturday when Norris Cole did the opposite of Wisconsin's Jordan Taylor and missed 9 of 13 during the 73-61 loss.

Why I'm smarter than you think: I refused to follow the lead of the AP and Coaches polls and rank Cincinnati a few weeks ago because I figured the perfect record said more about the Bearcats' schedule than their ability. Turns out, I was right. The Bearcats have gone from 15-0 to 18-5 in less than a month, and they're 0-5 against teams ranked in this week's Top 25 (and one) after Saturday's 71-59 loss at Pittsburgh. In other words, like I said.

Why I'm dumber than I think: I didn't rank Texas in the preseason Top 25 (and one) even though the Longhorns had the type of roster -- i.e., a roster with multiple future pros -- with which I usually fall in love. I was still too burned by last season, I guess. But Saturday's 76-60 win over Texas Tech pushed the Longhorns to 20-3 overall and 8-0 in the Big 12. They're now third in the Top 25 (and one) and likely headed for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

Three things you should know before you go

1. Duke freshman Kyrie Irving had the cast removed from his right foot Friday and is now rehabbing to see whether he can return this season. Is it possible? Yes. Is it likely? "We still feel he's not going to play," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said.

2. Another freshman guard with a right foot injury is Kansas' Josh Selby. He has a stress reaction and did not play in Saturday's 86-66 win at Nebraska.

3. West Virginia senior Casey Mitchell returned from a three-game suspension and played 13 minutes in Saturday's 66-50 loss at Villanova. When asked why Mitchell's suspension was lifted, Bob Huggins said the following: "Because I'm the coach and I decide who plays and who doesn't."

On tap: On Monday night, Missouri is at Kansas. Tennessee is at Kentucky on Tuesday. North Carolina is at Duke on Wednesday. Alabama is at Vanderbilt on Thursday.

Final thought: Larry Drew became North Carolina's starting point guard by default two years ago. He never seemed worthy of the position, was finally demoted last month, and he quit the team last Friday even though his team was playing better than it had played in two years. In other words, he was fine when things were going OK for him even when the Tar Heels struggled, and not fine when things weren't going OK for him even when the Tar Heels flourished.

That tells me all I need to know about Larry Drew.

It's also why North Carolina is going to be better off without him.

"I think this team chemistry is at an all-time high," North Carolina sophomore Dexter Strickland said after Sunday's 89-69 win over Florida State, and Drew would be wise to read that quote again and again because it's a quote from one of his former teammates saying that things are better now that he's no longer around.

While he's at it, Drew should also understand that the Tar Heels are 5-0 since demoting him, and that his replacement, Kendall Marshall, dropped 16 assists Sunday, which begs the question: Why did Roy Williams take so long to demote Drew in favor of Marshall?

Answer: I have no idea.

But UNC is lucky he finally did.

As for Drew, his legacy is cemented.

He's the UNC point guard who wasn't good enough to play there or tough enough to face adversity.

That's a helluva way to be described or remembered.

But Larry Drew did this to himself.

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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