As usual, the 2012 college basketball off-season features a never-ending parade of coaching changes. Some moves make sense, others are questionable, while others are simply head-scratchers. Thanks to collegesportsinfo.com, where a lot of this info was gleaned from. Also, apologies if all the colors give you a headache!
A review of the week that was in college basketball focusing on the best (and worst) performances. Check in every Monday morning for CollegeHoops.net's weekly awards.
Outside of Xavier it's difficult to think of many two-game losing streaks this season that have sparked as much concern nationally as the one Pittsburgh is currently going through. A team that looked preoccupied with their Christmas break plans on Friday in a 59-54 home loss to Wagner dropped another game on Tuesday, 72-59 at Notre Dame. The second half was a serious departure from what the Panthers do on both ends of the court, with Notre Dame being able to accomplish just about whatever they wanted to offensively.
Friday marks the final day of games before Christmas Day, and while the schedule is light there are some good games to keep an eye on. Atop the list is a game at the Las Vegas Classic matching West Virginia (8-2) and #7 Baylor (10-0), with the Bears boasting one of the deepest frontcourt rotations in the country. But to be fair this is their most strenuous back-to-back stretch of the season as they beat Saint Mary's on Thursday night.
Going into Sunday's game at Wichita State, the UNLV Runnin' Rebels were on the tail end of an eight-day stretch that began with a win over then-#1 North Carolina followed by a double-overtime win at UCSB. To say the least this wasn't the easiest way to end that stretch, and Joe Ragland and the Shockers made sure that was the case. Ragland made eight of nine from beyond the arc in scoring a game-high 31 points, and as a team Wichita State shot 12-for-23 from distance in the 89-70 win.
There was one big question for North Carolina going into their game with Wisconsin in the final night of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge: would they be able to play effectively in a tempo nowhere near what they look to establish on a nightly basis? Thanks to a second half run from Harrison Barnes and the excellent defense of Dexter Strickland, the Tar Heels passed said test with a 60-57 win over the Badgers in Chapel Hill.
Sunday set up to be a big day for the Atlantic 10 with Dayton (Old Spice Classic) and Saint Louis (76 Classic) playing in the title game of their respective in-season tournaments. And even better for the conference is that both picked up wins, displaying the depth of a league thought by many to be Xavier, Temple and 12 other teams before the season began.
There's just one game on Saturday matching ranked teams and surprisingly it comes in the SEC, where #11 Kentucky (16-5, 4-3) heads south to take on #23 Florida (17-5, 6-2). And while the SEC East has shown itself to be somewhat wide-open, John Calipari's young Wildcats would be well-served to win this one and avoid falling behind the Gators by two games in the loss column. But Kentucky also has just one road win in conference play (South Carolina) and they'll have their hands full with a talented group of Gators.