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This Week in College Hoops: Virginia’s Test

Virginia was given a big task this week facing off against Duke and UNC

Photo from NewsOK

The college basketball rankings have been anything but constant this year. Powerhouses have been tested, and upsets have taken place. This week, it was Virginia’s turn to enter the gauntlet. The Cavaliers had two top-10 match-ups against the Blue Bloods of North Carolina: Duke and UNC. But they weren’t the only team to be tested, so here’s what happened this week in college hoops.

Illinois: 79 vs #9 Michigan State: 74

Despite Cassius Winston falling one assist shy of a double-double, nothing went well for the Spartans. They took a trip down to Champagne, Illinois, looking to cruise past the Fighting Illini, but that didn’t happen. Illinois shot an impressive 38 percent from three and managed to force 24 turnovers defensively. The Fighting Illini have essentially been eliminated for months now, but this is still a nice win.

St. John’s: 70 vs #10 Marquette:69

Marquette’s Markus Howard and St. John’s Shamorie Ponds have been the two most exciting players in the Big East this year. Both players can light up a stat-sheet but this time it was all Ponds. Howard and Ponds sat out for a combined one minute and they also combined for 45 points. Unfortunately, Howard only shot 1-for-9 from inside the arc and the Hauser brothers struggled, causing St. John’s to pull off a huge upset on the road.

Kansas State: 74 vs #13 Kansas: 67

This upset should be no surprise. Kansas plays like Rutgers away from Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas State sits at 8-2 in Big-12 play, leading Kansas (8-4) by a game.

#2 Duke: 81 vs #3 Virginia: 71

This was the worst case scenario for the Cavaliers. Duke embarrassed Virginia on their own court. Zion Williamson went full Zion, making probably the most athletic block of the year.

Duke’s R.J. Barrett had his best game in college, dropping 26 points and a career-high six three-pointers.

#7 Michigan: 61 vs #19 Wisconsin: 52

Wisconsin has been playing their best basketball recently, and Michigan has been playing some of their worst. However, the Wolverines were not going to let the Badgers best them twice in a year. Jon Teske had his best game wearing maize and blue, hauling in a double-double and limiting Ethan Happ’s presence in the paint.

#10 Marquette: 66 vs #14 Villanova: 65

Markus Howard let his team down earlier this week against St. John’s, but he wasn’t going to let that happen against Villanova. Howard went off for 38 points, including five three-pointers. The Golden Eagles now only sit a game behind the Wildcats and will hold the tiebreaker if they win their next matchup.

#12 Houston: 65 vs #25 Cincinnati: 58

The Cougars might be the real deal. They should’ve made the Sweet Sixteen last year if it wasn’t for a Jordan Poole fadeaway three at the buzzer. I believe Cincy is wildly overrated and shouldn’t have been ranked anyways. To bad this is the best win Houston can get while playing in the AAC.

#4 Virginia: 69 vs #8 UNC: 61

This was a ginormous win for the Cavaliers. Their defense stifled one of the best offenses in the ACC. Just one game prior, the Tarheels scored 116 against their rivals in NC State. If Virginia can hold their opponents to under 65 points, they become impossible to beat. Their offense plays efficiently and scores at a very high clip. This win keeps the Cavaliers in the hunt for a regular-season ACC title.

Top-10 (Last Week’s Rankings)

  1. Duke (21-2) (-)
  2. Tennessee (22-1) (-)
  3. Virginia (21-2) (-)
  4. Kentucky (20-3) (+1)
  5. Michigan (22-2) (-1)
  6. Gonzaga (23-2) (+1)
  7. Nevada (23-1) (+3)
  8. UNC (19-5) (-)
  9. Marquette (20-4) (-)
  10. Houston (23-1) (Unranked)

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