Feast Week Highlights

Feast Week is probably the greatest 10 day span in college basketball, outside of the postseason. There were a total of 16 games that featured two ranked teams, including three top 10 matchups. Here are some of the biggest highlights from the biggest regular season week of the season.

Virginia Gets Two Massive Wins After Tragedy

The entire Virginia community is going through a lot right now. Nobody would have batted an eye if the Cavaliers came into this week and didn’t perform up to their standards. However, they far exceeded even their own expectations.

After trailing by three at halftime to Baylor, they proceeded to outscore the Bears by 10 in the second half to get the win. They took a 13 point lead with less than three minutes to play and coasted the rest of the way. Armaan Franklin and Kadin Shedrick led the way, scoring half of the team’s 86 points.

Just two days later, they overcame another halftime deficit to knock off a second ranked opponent. This time, Illinois held a two point advantage at the break. Virginia took control in the second half, just like they did against the Bears. An 11 point advantage in the second half led to a nine point win over the Illini. Unlike the first game, Shedrick and Franklin took a backseat to the rest of starters, as Kihei Clark, Jayden Gardner, and Reece Beekman scored 51 of the Cavaliers’ 70 points. After two of the four teams ahead of them lost this week, UVA now sits at number three in the country.

UCLA Goes Winless In Main Event Tournament

In defense of the Bruins, there had to be a ranked team go 0-2 in this tournament. However, Feast Week was not kind to Mick Cronin’s group. They lost both of their Main Event games, first to Illinois and then to Baylor. I’m not all that concerned with them moving forward, as they lost the two games by a combined 14 points.

They are a veteran led group and they will make the needed adjustments to find success. The combination of Cronin on the sideline with Tyger Campbell and Jaime Jaquez on the floor should be enough to quickly make necessary changes. I’m going to chalk this week up as a learning experience for the Bruins.

Gonzaga Drops Second Game In Less Than 10 Days

The Bulldogs are having a November to forget, at least for their standards. They have lost two regular season games in the same calendar month for the first time since 2018. The first loss, at the hands of Texas, was their worst since 2012. The Longhorns dominated from start to finish, draining 13 threes en route to a 19 point win.

The second loss came against Purdue, who came up just one point shy of matching the level of dominance that Texas displayed. A five point halftime deficit jumped to 19 just seven minutes into the second half, and the Boilermakers would coast to an 18 point win. Zach Edey went toe to toe with Drew Timme, and Purdue was able to win in just about every facet of the game.

While the Zags did lose two marquee matchups, they also beat a very underrated Michigan State team and a Xavier team that hung with Indiana and Duke. Like UCLA, I’m not worried about Gonzaga in the long term. They lost to a scorching hot Texas team and had a bad matchup against Purdue. They still have one of the best players in college basketball and one of the best supporting casts around him.

Arizona and Creighton Show Out In Maui

This year’s Maui Invitational was loaded with talent. The field featured five ranked teams and another that has received votes in all three weekly polls to start the season. The second round featured two ranked matchups and the championship was one of the best games of the week.

Arizona, who came in as the 14th ranked team in the country, was just the third highest ranked team in the tournament. They got past a gritty Cincinnati team in the first round and dominated a tough San Diego State team in the semifinal. On the other side, Creighton took care of Texas Tech and survived a stout Arkansas team to advance to the final.

In the championship game, Arizona took a nine point lead into the half. It got as high as 13 before the Blue Jays would begin to chip away. It would get down to four with just under two minutes to play. Ryan Kalkbrenner would then split a pair of free throws to make it a one possession game with 46 seconds left. After a miss on the other end, Arizona would foul Ryan Nembhard with two seconds left, before he could get off a tying three point attempt. He made the first free throw, but Arizona was able to grab the rebound on the intentionally missed second attempt to secure the championship.

With two ranked wins in what was a crazy week of basketball, Arizona jumped all the way up to number four in the country. Creighton, even after a loss, jumped three spots to number seven.

UNC Gets Clipped Twice

The preseason number one team in the country had been playing with fire in nearly all of their games so far this season. In their first five games, all against mid or low major teams, they won by an average of just 11.8 points. In their first two games against Power 5 programs, they got burned.

Iowa State was picked to finish as a bottom three team in the Big 12, but has gotten off to a tremendous start. Prior to this game, they won their three low major games by an average of 33.6 points and beat Villanova in the first round of the PK Invitational. Against the Tar Heels, Jaren Holmes and Caleb Grill combined to score 53 of the teams 70 points en route to a huge resume boosting win.

The second loss would come just two days later, this time at the hands of Alabama. These teams must have loved playing against each other, because they decided to go to quadruple overtime before the Crimson Tide was able to close it out. Caleb Love and Armando Bacot combined for 54 points and 19 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough to avoid a second straight loss. A trip to Bloomington looms on the horizon, as 6-0 Indiana looks to make it three straight losses for the Tar Heels.

Purdue Makes Huge Statement

Purdue came into Feast Week 3-0, with their only notable win coming against Marquette. They come out of Feast Week 6-0, with wins over West Virginia, Gonzaga, and Duke. I’ll focus on the latter two, as they will be two of the bigger resume boosters of any team in the country. I mentioned earlier how Purdue was able to handle Gonzaga in just about every way possible. Well, they did the same thing to Duke just two days later en route to a PK Legacy Championship.

Zach Edey is making his case for not only most improved, but also a bid for All-American. He is no longer able to be played off the floor by mobile bigs and up tempo offenses. His minutes are up from last year by 10 minutes per game, while his scoring has jumped nearly eight points. They have solid role players around him, with multiple players capable of scoring at a high level on any given night.

This team could really do some damage, which is saying something for a team that lost their lottery pick point guard from last year. They were unranked at the start of the season. They were 24th in the country coming into the week. They now sit at fifth. What a week it was for the Boilermakers.

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