It's the penultimate week of our grades post for the regular season in college basketball -- wherein I hand out grades for various teams based on how they performed this week -- and I've come to the conclusion that I've made a gigantic mistake as your teacher and guide.
I've been far too kind.
Thus far I have been way too liberal in handing out "A" grades and far too shy to hand out "F" grades to teams who likely deserved it. I'm an optimist at heart and always believe in my pupils, even if the effort isn't always there. Sue me for being kind!
But no more Mr. Nice Guy this week. I'm happy to still deliver some "As" to those who deserved it, and believe me there are still plenty who fit the bill, but I'm equally as thrilled to share that multiple teams earned "Fs." I've run out of patience, people. I was willing to offer a long leash for a long time, but if I can't be honest as a teacher then I am nothing. And sometimes the truth hurts. So, sorry in advance.
Let's dive into the report card for this week. As always, keep in mind the cycle runs Monday-Sunday.
College basketball grades: This week's report card
|Kentucky||A+||Two straight A+ weeks for Kentucky as it extended its winning streak to four games with a road win over Florida and a dismantling of Auburn at home by 32 (!) points. UK is playing its best basketball as the postseason approaches and has not only locked up a tourney spot, but looks like it could make real noise when it gets there.|
|Marquette||A+||No. 10 Marquette locked up at least a share of the Big East crown this week with close wins over Creighton and DePaul , punctuating what has been a dream season for the Golden Eagles. Behind a coach in Shaka Smart who once built a reputation around defense, Marquette has one of the most lethal offensive attacks in the country.|
|Gonzaga||A||No. 12 Gonzaga denied No. 15 Saint Mary's bid to win the WCC regular season title outright with a resounding 77-68 win over the Gaels over the weekend. SMC will be the No. 1 seed in the WCC tourney, but the Zags are strutting into March with confidence.|
|UConn||A||If you're a UConn fan you've got to be thrilled with how the week went. The No. 18 Huskies dominated Providence in Gampel then took its show on the road and handled business with a comfy win over St. John's . UConn's defense still leaves a lot to be desired at times, but it is finding ways to overcome that, and that's all you can ask.|
|Houston||A||It'd be easy for No. 1 Houston to get caught looking ahead to the postseason with its prospects as a legit title contender, but Kelvin Sampson has kept this Cougars team dialed in, as evidenced by a 30-point win over Tulane and a 19-point win over East Carolina this week.|
|San Diego State||A||A buzzer-beater from Lamont Butler lifted No. 22 San Diego State to a massive road win at The Pit on Saturday night over New Mexico . It gave SDSU at least a share of the MWC regular-season crown for the third time in the last four seasons.|
|Maryland||A-||Kevin Willard helped Maryland secure a 20-win season with a 75-59 home win Sunday over No. 21 Northwestern . The Terps haven't lost at home in league play and have very quietly won eight of their last 10.|
|Duke||B+||There's something to be said for handling business as it is expected to handle business, so Duke lands a B+ this week for doing exactly that in double-digit home wins over Louisville and Virginia Tech . Mark Mitchell has emerged of late as another diaper dandy next to Kyle Filipowski , Dariq Whitehead and Derrick Lively.|
|Kansas||B+||After all the fuss we made about No. 3 Kansas while it slumped earlier this season, KU, surprise surprise, has managed to find its way back to the top of the Big 12 standings where it belongs. KU won a big one on the road vs. TCU this week and held off a pesky WVU team inside Allen Fieldhouse.|
|Pitt||B+||Two wins over Syracuse and Georgia Tech for Pitt aren't terribly impressive but it was enough for the Panthers -- combined with Virginia and Miami losses -- to vault them to the top of the ACC standings. Good on ya, Panthers.|
|Michigan||B+||Style points were deducted here after needing Hunter Dickinson's buzzer-beating 3-pointer in regulation to force OT vs. Wisconsin on Sunday. The Wolverines went on to survive 87-79 vs. the Badgers to cap a perfect week and in the process solidify its standing on the bubble and possibly will be in the field of 68 in the next Bracketology update.|
|Baylor||B||No. 14 Kansas State overpowered No. 9 Baylor inside Bramlage early in the week but the Bears responded with a nice home win over Texas to potentially play spoiler for Texas' Big 12 title hopes. The status of Keyonte George , who left the Texas game with an ankle injury, immediately vaults to the most-watched injury in all of college hoops.|
|UCLA||B||Arizona falling at the buzzer to Arizona State pushed UCLA's lead in the Pac-12 to 2.5 games -- and the Bruins kicked the door down with a Sunday road win over Colorado to clinch the Pac-12 regular-season title outright.|
|Indiana||B-||Impressed with the resolve of this Indiana team this week. After falling on the road at Michigan State , No. 17 IU went to Mackey Arena and controlled the Boilermakers for much of the game. Jalen Hood-Schifino scored a career-high 35 vs. Purdue and may be the NCAA Tournament's biggest X-factor.|
|Tennessee||C||Poor South Carolina suffered a 40-point defeat at the hands of No. 11 Tennessee after the Vols lost a close one on the road at Texas A&M . This team remains an enigma that can lock teams down defensively but doesn't have the consistent offensive weaponry to be a legit tourney threat.|
|Purdue||C-||The final 79-71 score in its loss to Indiana doesn't do service to just how thoroughly Purdue got its booty kicked inside Mackey Arena. The Boilermakers, who clinched a share of the Big Ten title when Northwestern lost at Maryland on Sunday, have inexplicably been awful in the second half the last few months -- and that continued with IU outscoring Purdue 45-33 in the second half.|
|Creighton||D||There's no shame in losing at home to likely Big East champ Marquette, but there is plenty of shame to go around for losing by double digits to this Villanova team. Sure, the Wildcats have looked better of late, but coming out flat and not being competitive isn't a great sign for the Bluejays.|
|Illinois||D||A 2-1 week overall on its face isn't too concerning, but Illinois needed a big second half comeback to take down Northwestern then laid a stinker on the road to an Ohio State team that had lost nine straight. The Illini have been one of college hoops' most consistently inconsistent teams all season, and they're increasingly looking like frauds who managed to build a reputation off some good nonconference wins in November and December.|
|Oklahoma State||F||Two weeks ago, OSU was riding a five-game winning streak and primed to jump into the NCAA Tournament. The wheels have since wobbled right off, with four straight losses culminating this week with an 18 point road loss to West Virginia and a close home loss to Kansas State. Insult to injury: TCU fans had Gallagher-Iba lit up with chants overshadowing the Orange faithful. Yikes.|
|Virginia||F||No. 6 Virginia played with fire and finally got burned this week with losses to North Carolina (yuck) and Boston College (double yuck). Cavaliers have the creds to get into the Big Dance but are the worst 20-plus win team in college basketball.|
|Iowa State||F||Things have gone from bad to worse to horrific in Ames with No. 23 Iowa State falling twice this week to OU and to Texas by a combined 29 points. The Cyclones are still comfortably in the NCAA Tournament field but look destined to go one-and-done with the way they're playing of late.|