Dockery Helps Duke Hold Top Spot
Leon Powe
Leon Powe
National Basketball Columnist
Posted Dec 5, 2005


Duke needed a buzzer-beating 40-footer by Sean Dockery to hold off Virginia Tech's upset bid in Cameron Indoor Stadium Sunday night. The Blue Devils will face another severe challenge to their unbeaten status and No. 1 ranking when they take on Texas Saturday afternoon in East Rutherford, N.J.

The Duke Blue Devils hung onto No. 1 in this week’s Scout.com Top 25 but only thanks to Sean Dockery’s long-range (and last-second) marksmanship against Virginia Tech Sunday night.

 

And that hold on the top spot will get another stern test this Saturday when they face No. 3 Texas in The Meadowlands.

 

Randy Foye’s 32-point performance last Saturday helped Villanova knock off Oklahoma Saturday in a showdown of unbeatens. It also helped land him on the Scout.com’s National Players of the Week list.

 

Here is a look at some of the week’s best matchups, as well as Scout.com’s updated Top 25 and the five Scout.com National Players of the Week:

 

MONDAY
Maryland at George Washington:
After a four-game diet of something less than formidable fare, the Colonials try to take a bite out of some Atlantic Coast Conference competition. They are at full strength now, too, with the return of 6-foot-9 Pops Mensah-Bonsu from a three-game, NCAA-mandated suspension.

 

Richmond at Louisville: The Cardinals attempt to make it three wins in three days after knocking off Prairie View A&M Saturday and Arkansas State Sunday.

 

TUESDAY

Villanova at Bucknell: A year ago who could have conceived of this being one of the most intriguing matchups of the season so far? The Bison have already knocked off a couple of Big East Conference teams (Syracuse and DePaul, on the road).

 

Boston College vs. Michigan State: The headliner of the Jimmy V Classic double-header (Kansas and Saint Joseph’s hook up in the other game in Madison Square Garden) could be the caliber of a NCAA Tournament regional final.

 

Iowa at Northern Iowa: It’s “in-state week” for the Hawkeyes, who also visit Ames Friday night to play Iowa State.

 

WEDNESDAY

Notre Dame at Alabama: With losses to Xavier and Michigan, Notre Dame is going to need some eye-catching non-conference victories pretty soon to enhance its NCAA Tournament at-large resume come March.

 

Colorado State at Kansas State: The respective teams, the Rams (6-0) and the Wildcats (4-1), have made this a game worth checking out based on their surprising early-season performances.

 

THURSDAY

Massachusetts at Connecticut: This is the last remotely interesting matchup for the Huskies until they open Big East play Jan. 3 at Marquette, a game that is expected to include the return to active duty of junior point guard Marcus Williams.

 

Georgetown at Illinois: It’s quite a challenging week (they also play Arkansas-Little Rock, which lost by just five points at Michigan State, and visit Oregon) for the Illini. Center Roy Hibbert is averaging 16 points in only 21 minutes for the Hoyas.

 

 Washington State at Gonzaga: The Cougars have exceeded (at 4-1) preseason expectations but are playing their first game outside of Pullman in this one.

SATURDAY

Duke vs. Texas: The week’s “Must Watch” television. The Blue Devils will have to play their 40 best minutes of basketball this season to leave New Jersey unbeaten and in possession of the top spot in the national ratings.

 

Washington vs. New Mexico/Nevada vs. UCLA (John R. Wooden Classic, Anaheim, Calif.): In Game 1, the Huskies – fresh off their win over Gonzaga Sunday night – play their first game off their Seattle campus. In Game 2, the Wolf Pack have played very well outside of Reno, winning on the home floors of Vermont, UNLV, Kansas and Pacific.

 

Oklahoma State vs. Gonzaga (in Seattle):  Eddie Sutton’s team gets its opportunity to slow down Adam Morrison. Good luck guys.

 

California at Kansas: The Jayhawks play host to the most underrated team (for now) in the West. Coach Bill Self’s team is going to have to start picking up some significant non-conference victories to help its cause on Selection Sunday.

 

Alabama at Temple: Coach Mark Gottfried’s team plays its first game on the road. It’s just another toughie on the always-tough schedule the Owls play.

 

Players of the Week

(Games Nov. 27-Dec. 3)

*Randy Foye (6-3, Sr., Villanova): In three games, he averaged 20.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.3 steals and only 1.0 turnovers. He helped knock off unbeaten Oklahoma Saturday, 85-74, with a 32-point effort.

 

*Nick Fazekas (6-10, Jr., Nevada): The Wolf Pack won a couple of tight road games (against Kansas and Pacific), in large part due to the 29.0 points and 9.5 rebounds he averaged against the Jayhawks and Tigers.

 

*James Augustine (6-9, Sr., Illinois):  How did the Illini hold off two unbeaten teams (North Carolina, on the road, and Xavier at home – the latter while overcoming a 15-point deficit)? He’s a big reason. He scored 13 points to go with 13 rebounds, three assists and three steals against the Tar Heels, then followed up that effort four days later with 23 points, seven rebounds and a couple of steals against the Musketeers.

 

*Oliver Lafayette (6-2, Jr., Houston): The community college transfer has made an immediate impact on the Cougars, as evidenced by 32- and 28-point efforts that helped his team edge LSU and Arizona last week. He was 13 of 20 on 3-pointers in those games.

 

*Leon Powe (6-8, So., California): His first two games in two seasons (he was sidelined a year ago because of knee surgery, and missed the Bears’ first four outings because of a stress reaction in a foot) weren’t too shabby: 53 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and four steals in victories over San Jose State and Akron.

 

Scout.com Updated Top 25

(with previous rating; records include games through Dec. 4)

1. (1) Duke (7-0)

Next game: vs. Penn (Wednesday)

2. (2) Connecticut (6-0)

Next game: vs. Massachusetts (Thursday)

3. (3) Texas (7-0)

Next game: vs. Rice (Monday)

4. (6) Louisville (3-0)

Next game: vs. Richmond (Monday)

5. (7) Boston College (6-0)

Next game: vs. Michigan State (Tuesday, Jimmy V Classic)

6. (9) Villanova (4-0)

Next game: at Bucknell (Tuesday)

7. (11) Ohio State (3-0)

Next game: at Saint Joseph’s (Saturday)

8. (12) Iowa (7-1)

Next game: at Northern Iowa (Tuesday)

9. (10) Nevada (5-0)

Next game: vs. UC Davis (Wednesday)

10. (15) Illinois (7-0)

Next game: vs. Arkansas-Little Rock (Monday)

11. (16) Washington (7-0)

Next game: vs. New Mexico (Saturday, John R. Wooden Classic)

12. (4) Gonzaga (4-2)

Next game: vs. Washington State (Thursday)

13. (17) Memphis (6-1)

Next game: at Providence (Saturday)

14. (5) Oklahoma (4-1)

Next game: vs. Coppin State (Saturday)

15. (18) Florida (7-0)

Next game: at Providence (Tuesday)

16. (8) Wisconsin (5-1)

Next game: vs. Wisconsin-Green Bay (Wednesday)

17. (10) North Carolina State (5-1)

Next game: vs. Appalachian State (Saturday)

18. (19) Michigan State (5-2)

Next game: vs. Boston College (Tuesday, Jimmy V Classic)

19. (21) Old Dominion (5-1)

Next game: vs. George Mason (Wednesday)

20. (22) Alabama (4-1)

Next game: vs. Notre Dame (Wednesday)

21. (23) Indiana (5-1)

Next game: at Indiana State (Tuesday)

22. (24) Vanderbilt (5-0)

Next game: vs. Cincinnati (Saturday)

23. (ur) North Carolina (4-1)

Next game: vs. Saint Louis (Wednesday)

24. (ur) Wake Forest (7-1)

Next game: vs. DePaul (Dec. 13).

25. (ur) Bucknell (5-0)

Next game: vs. Villanova (Tuesday)

Dropped out: Kentucky (13), Arizona (20) and Creighton (25)

 

An April inductee into the USBWA Hall of Fame, Frank Burlison is Scout.com’s national basketball expert and is also a columnist for the Long Beach (Calif.) Press-Telegram. He can be reached at frank.burlison@presstelegram.com. Read more of Burlison’s pieces at www.FrankHoops.com



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