A review of the week that was in college basketball focusing on the best (and worst) performances. Check in every Monday morning for our weekly awards.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Happy Thanksgiving! And while football tends to take center stage on this day there are also four in-season tournaments playing games, with action spreading from the Bahamas to Alaska. There really isn't a marquee matchup so to speak but there are games that could become important once March arrives, with New Mexico's game against Santa Clara in the 76 Classic being one. The Lobos were the preseason pick to win the Mountain West, and with players such as Drew Gordon and Kendall Williams there's no doubt that they can win this event.
Much has been made of Long Beach State playing five non-conference opponents who were ranked in the Top 15 of the major preseason polls. Many wondered how Dan Monson's team would navigate such a slate in spite of the fact that this experienced group went through a similar schedule last season. If Wednesday night showed anything about the 49ers it's that they're ready for the challenge, as they handed Pittsburgh its' first loss in November or December at the Petersen Events Center in the history of the arena.
Overall Rank: #45
New Mexico State Aggies
Western Athletic Conference (22-11)
It's the worry of nearly every team on the bubble this time of the year: the bid thief. The team that had little or no chance of getting into the NCAA Tournament makes a run in its conference tournament, grabbing the automatic bid and possibly snatching a chair at the table from another team in college basketball's answer to "musical chairs". Houston (Conference USA) and New Mexico State (WAC) were the two teams to do that on Saturday, and the question now is which at-large candidates will be headed to the NIT as a result of these outcomes.