Here are 5 things I saw over the weekend...
TJ Leaf and Bryce Alford are incredible offensive players, but the Wildcats gave Alford the Steph Curry treatment by just going to whomever he was guarding on Saturday. Sean Miller can really coach and to integrate Allonzo Trier in a game like that is impressive. The Pac-12, if (big if) Dillon Brooks is healthy, has three legit Final Four threats with Arizona finally healthier.
2. Don't be surprised if Marquette becomes the Big East's hot team down the stretch
Markus Howard is starting to take over and coach Steve Wojciechowski has found a role for Katin Reinhardt off the bench. Reinhardt, a transfer from USC, and Andrew Rowsey, a transfer from UNC-Ashville, are mature snipers off the bench who can just make shots.
MU has No. 1 ranked Villanova at home Tuesday and after that, the Golden Eagles could continue to build their momentum. They destroyed Creighton who simply could not stop them on Saturday and with Xavier still a little shaky, Butler letting everyone stay close and the rest of the league aside from Nova looking vulnerable, Marquette should be a tourney team.
3. Two AAC teams are starting to build some momentum
Memphis has won six-of-its-last-seven and is merely playing five-or-six guys. After losing starting center Chad Rykhoek, who may return from a dislocated ankle, Tubby Smith has been forced to play Dedric Lawson at center. Lawson is an average-at-best athlete and his shooting numbers from 3-point range aren't great (mostly because he gets few open looks), but somehow with tape, the Tigers are holding it together.
Their lone loss during this stretch is to Tulsa, which has won four in a row and has 10 new players. Tulsa somehow got into he NCAA Tournament last year and is hoping that this run of home games versus the top of the league puts them back into that conversation.
4. What in the heck happened to Colorado?
The bottom fell out a couple years ago when Spencer Dinwiddie got hurt then left for the NBA. Last year the Buffaloes were decent, but this year they are buried with Oregon State (massive injuries and they are Oregon State) at the bottom of the Pac-12.
The Buffs have the Beavs at home this week, which should get them their first Pac-12 win, and their schedule has a lot of home dates left, but man, oh man. CU has three very good offensive players, but the Buffaloes lack of defense and Dominique Collier regressing some has limited them.
5. He's not quite the Shaq of the MAC, but Isaiah Johnson is close
Akron's Isaiah Johnson is 6-foot-10 and weighs 290 pounds, but can really pass.
Akron shoots 38 percent from 3-point range and by season's end will have four - or more players with more than 50 3-pointers on the season. Keep an eye on Akron in your bracket.
Keep an eye on these games
This is a game of massive importance to both teams. NC State came back from a three-game losing streak to beat Pitt last week, but after these back-to-back roadies at Duke and Louisville we can figure out if the Pack are a bad as they looked in recent embarrassing losses.
It is also a great test for Dennis Smith, who has a Steve Francis-type of game. Smith is a freak athlete going to the basket, but his jumper is so-so and his decision-making is that of a scoring guard. NC State has the athletic talent and age at several key positions to play well and win in tough environments, but being smoked by 50 at UNC doesn't bode well.
Duke on the other hand looked lost in the first half until Jeff Capel made smart lineup adjustments at the half. He went with toughness over "talent" and Duke competed at both ends in beating Miami at home. Harry Giles just doesn't look the same and while Amile Jefferson has some limitations, he is tough, smart and experienced.
The Horned Frogs were a putrid 6-of-25 from 3-point range against Baylor on Saturday and lost despite outplaying Baylor much of the game. Now they travel to Stillwater to take on OSU, which is 1-6 in Big 12 coming off their drubbing of Texas Tech. OSU hit everything in Lubbock, TCU couldn't make a shot against Baylor.
OSU's Jeffery Carroll has been carrying the Cowboys. His shooting and offensive rebounding set the tone and with Phil Forte making shots, it was a rout in Lubbock.
What is interesting to me is the evolution in Jamie Dixon's coaching style based upon personnel.
Nonetheless, Dixon's TCU squad has no bad losses, gave KU a run for its money and beat Iowa State at home. This is a big stretch for both teams as TCU could use a road win between this and the upcoming Kansas State game.
Oklahoma State needs to be this year's version of the 2015-16 Texas Tech team. Last year Tech started 1-6 in Big 12 play, and only turned it around when OSU's Jawun Evans hurt his shoulder and the Raiders came back and won. Tech then won six out of its next seven and snuck into the tourney. Tubby Smith parlayed it into landing at Memphis.
Oklahoma State has the talent, but their defense was just over extended against Kansas State, Iowa State and WVU, but it was much improved against a veteran Tech squad on Saturday.
Texas is playing decently, even after a loss at Kansas, but without shot creators and without a dynamic pressuring option, offense is hard to come by.
Oklahoma just turns the ball over too much, which is crazy considering how well the Sooners played to win at West Virginia, to have 25 turnovers at home at Iowa State is insane. OU is very young outside of Jordan Woodard and Khadeem Lattin.
Texas is very young as well and neither team has a point guard. My guess is that this rivalry is a year away from being one with two ranked teams.