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Weekend Look Back: SJU's Hardy, 'Zona's Williams come up big


Ohio State lost again but stayed No. 1 in the Top 25 (and one) again. (Explanation below) Dwight Hardy and Derrick Williams made huge plays in huge wins. West Virginia made me look smart, Purdue made me look stupid. And Kenneth Faried grabbed a bunch of rebounds and moved into the NCAA record book.

Let's recap it all with the Weekend Look Back.

Best game of the weekend: Forget the Knicks and Nets. How about Carmelo-to-the-Johnnies as Dwight Hardy's sidekick? Wouldn't that be the better story, at this point, given the way St. John's is playing? Hardy drove and scored with 1.2 seconds left Saturday to give the Red Storm a 60-59 over Pittsburgh and their fourth win over a team ranked in the top 12 of the latest Top 25 (and one). Did Hardy step out of bounds on the drive? Perhaps. But if he did, the referees missed it. So it's a moot point. And suddenly Steve Lavin is a serious candidate for Big East and National Coach of the Year honors.

Worst game of the weekend: "I think us as a team had something to prove," Kansas forward Markieff Morris said after the Jayhawks proved, if nothing else, that they can beat the britches off Colorado pretty much every time they play. All five KU starters scored in double figures Saturday during a 89-63 blowout. It was the Jayhawks' 17th consecutive victory against Colorado, their 28th straight against the Buffaloes at Allen Fieldhouse.

Utah State's Brockeith Pane drives against Mickey McConnel in the Aggies' important win. (AP)  
Utah State's Brockeith Pane drives against Mickey McConnel in the Aggies' important win. (AP)  
Win to brag about: I've refused to acknowledge Utah State as a Top 25 (and one) team because of a lack of quality victories, and I won't change my position now. But it should be noted that the Aggies finally recorded a quality win late Saturday when they won 75-65 at Saint Mary's, otherwise known as a place St. John's lost earlier this season. Good for them. It's a win that should make winning the WAC tournament less necessary than it might otherwise have been in terms of making the NCAA tournament.

Loss to hide from: Memphis won its 20th game last week, which is quite an achievement for a program that lost a McDonald's All-American (Jelan Kendrick) in the preseason, a veteran (Angel Garcia) in the middle of the season and an All C-USA performer (Wesley Witherspoon) for 11 games because of various issues. On the surface, things looked pretty good. But a closer look showed that 12 of those 20 wins were either final-minute wins or overtime wins, point being that the Tigers were never as solid as their record indicated. Proof of this came Saturday when they lost 67-52 to a Rice team that entered with a 3-8 C-USA record. In a span of 40 minutes, Memphis went from the projected top seed in the C-USA tournament to the projected fifth seed in the C-USA tournament.

Player who deserves improper benefits: Much like Hardy's winning play for St. John's, I'm not sure Derrick Williams' winning play for Arizona was legal; it might've been goaltending. But whatever. It was still awesome the way Williams swatted Darnell Gant's shot into the stands in the final seconds to secure Saturday's 87-86 win over Washington. The All-American candidate -- check that, All-American lock -- finished with 26 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks. He's the main reason why the Wildcats -- thanks to California's 76-72 overtime win over UCLA late Sunday -- now hold a two-game lead over UCLA for the Pac-10 lead.

Player who does not deserve improper benefits: Texas sophomore Jordan Hamilton has been tremendous much of the season, but he wasn't Saturday. The 6-foot-7 wing missed 13 of the 16 shots he took (including 8 of 11 3-pointers) in a 70-67 loss at Nebraska. Had he been sharper, the Longhorns might've moved to No. 1 in the Associated Press and Coaches polls.

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Why I'm smarter than you think: I told you in the Weekend Look Ahead that unranked West Virginia would beat No. 8 Notre Dame. On Saturday, unranked West Virginia beat No. 8 Notre Dame by a 72-58 margin, just like I said (and possibly because I said).

Why I'm dumber than I think: I picked Purdue to finish fifth in the Big Ten after Robbie Hummel tore his ACL in the preseason. As I mentioned Sunday after the Boilermakers' 76-63 victory against Ohio State, that's not gonna happen. Purdue is 22-5, 11-3 in the Big Ten. Matt Painter's team could lose their four remaining regular-season games and still finish no worse than fourth in the conference.

Three things you should know before you go

1. Temple's Lavoy Allen grabbed 12 rebounds in Sunday's 66-52 victory against Saint Joseph's to become the school's all-time leading rebounder. Allen now has 1,045 career rebounds. After the game, he explained his philosophy. "I just try to get every rebound that I can," Allen said. Fair enough.

2. A day before Allen smashed Temple's all-time rebounding record, Morehead State's Kenneth Faried broke the NCAA's career-rebounding record (for the modern era). The 6-8 forward got 12 rebounds in Saturday's 71-65 victory at Indiana State. He now has 1,576 for his career -- six more than Tim Duncan grabbed in four years at Wake Forest. "He's a future Hall of Famer and I want to be on his level," Faried told TribStar.com after his record-setting performance. If by "his level" Faried means a relevant NBA player, he'll be on Duncan's level this time next year. Trust me, some NBA team will be glad it picked this dude.

3. Florida's 68-61 victory at LSU on Sunday came despite the absence of Chandler Parsons, who is nursing an injury. Coach Billy Donovan said Monday morning that it's unclear if Parsons will be available for Thursday's game against Georgia -- the first of four games against possible NCAA tournament teams to close the regular season.

On tap: Syracuse is at Villanova on Monday night. On Tuesday, Tennessee is at Vanderbilt. On Wednesday, Temple is at Duke. On Thursday, Gonzaga is at Saint Mary's.

Final thought: I kept Ohio State No. 1 in the Top 25 (and one) for the second successive week despite a loss.

Here's why: OSU (25-2) has seven top 50 wins highlighted by a blowout of Purdue (No. 7 in the RPI) and a road victory against Florida (No. 13 in the RPI), and the Buckeyes are the only team with at least six wins over top-50 schools and zero losses to schools currently outside of the top 25. OSU's only two losses are to Purdue and Wisconsin (No. 18 in the RPI), and both losses came on the road. Purdue and Wisconsin are a combined 29-0 at home this season, by the way.

Meantime, Duke (25-2) doesn't have wins as good as OSU's wins and the losses are worse considering one came at Florida State (No. 50 in the RPI). Texas (23-4) probably has better wins than OSU, but the Longhorns also have losses to Nebraska (No. 63 in the RPI) and USC (No. 86 in the RPI), and four losses total. Pittsburgh? No question, a reasonable person could reasonably put Pittsburgh (24-3) No. 1 because the Panthers have seven top 50 wins, including six wins over teams in the latest Top 25 (and one). But they also have a home loss to Notre Dame and a loss to Tennessee in Pittsburgh. So I think Ohio State's body of work is slightly better.

Yes, the Buckeyes have dropped two of their past three.

(Stop emailing. I'm aware.)

But their past three games have been at Wisconsin, vs. Michigan State and at Purdue.

Question: Who would be better than 1-2 against that schedule?

Answer: Nobody.

And that's why OSU should be No. 1.

Their recent struggles say more about their schedule than their ability.

And their total body of work remains superior to everybody else's total body of work.

Gary Parrish is a senior college basketball columnist for CBSSports.com 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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