It's Sunday, folks, which means it's time for our weekly report card grading some of the best -- and worst -- teams from the week that was in college basketball. Get your pen and paper, because class is officially in session and I've run out of patience for some underachievers.
Yes, Kentucky, that'd be you. I graded you fairly last week after wins over Ole Miss and Florida, but Big Blue Nation must sit with a big "F" for its form this week. It's one thing to lose at home by 15 points to Arkansas -- a team that's surging towards the finish -- but it's quite another to fall by eight to lowly Georgia. Yes, it was on the road, and yes, UK was shorthanded. I get it. But with the season potentially on the line, the Wildcats were a no-show early. The Wildcats should've been clawing for their season, but instead looked lifeless with an 0-2 week now putting their season on the brink.
Oh, but Kentucky fans can take solace in one thing: It is not alone since Clemson also drew out a rare "F." There was a time not long ago when the Tigers looked like the class of the ACC by a mile; however, they took their third consecutive loss this week, falling by 20 points on the road at flailing UNC in their only matchup on the week.
To prove it is capable of earning high marks from me (I'm a nice teacher, I promise!), I handed out twice as many "A" grades as "F's" grades this week thanks to some strong showings from UCLA, Houston and others. Then there's No. 1 Purdue, which fell in a stunner to Northwestern on Sunday. We'll get to you, too, Boilermakers.
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
|UCLA||A+||Road wins over Oregon State and Oregon this week, coupled with a surprising Arizona road loss to Stanford, pushed the Bruins to a 1.5-game lead in the Pac-12. No team has had a more effective and efficient defense over the last month than the Bruins.|
|Houston||A+||Houston had just one game this week, but it was worthy of an A+ as the Cougars dominated Tulsa at home 80-42. The 38-point margin of victory was second-highest this season in conference play behind only Houston's 39-point blowout -- also vs. Tulsa! -- earlier this season.|
|Kansas||A||Following an inexplicable, non-competitive showing at Iowa State, Kansas this week took down Big 12-leading Texas in Lawrence then blasted struggling Oklahoma in Norman to inch within one game of the Big 12 lead. The development of freshman big man Ernest Udeh Jr. has given KU a physical presence inside it has lacked most of the season.|
|Northwestern||A||Bashing a down-bad Ohio State team by six was expected, but winning by the same margin over No. 1 Purdue was surprising, and it might've etched in stone the Wildcats as a tourney team. After five straight losing seasons since Northwestern made the tournament, coach Chris Collins has this team firing on all cylinders at the right time.|
|Oklahoma State||A||Something special is afoot in Stillwater. The Cowboys won their fifth straight game and seventh in their last eight outings with a 64-56 road win Saturday over No. 11 Iowa State. The Cowboys are without leading assist man Avery Anderson indefinitely but finding ways to win with defense and a balanced backcourt cast led by John Michael-Wright and former five-star recruit Bryce Thompson.|
|Alabama||A||Alabama still has not lost a game in SEC play after nice wins this week over Florida and rival Auburn. As Gary Parrish wrote over the weekend, its dominant conference run is from Kentucky when it went 18-0 in league play.|
|Creighton||B+||Creighton has quietly returned to its preseason top-10 form of late with wins over Seton Hall and UConn this week, moving its winning streak to eight games. Its 56-53 win over UConn on Saturday proved it can win in more ways than just a shootout.|
|Purdue||C||Northwestern stunned the world with its first-ever win over a No. 1 team Sunday by downing the Boilermakers inside Welsh-Ryan Arena. It's not a terrible loss for Purdue -- Northwestern appears tourney-bound -- but it's not a great slip-up for the projected No. 1 overall seed, either.|
|Marquette||C-||A win over Georgetown is expected and a loss to UConn on the road isn't terribly surprising, but I've got to be firm with Marquette's grade this week. Coming out completely lethargic vs. UConn on the road was troubling and highlighted its shortcomings defensively.|
|Tennessee||D+||Both of Tennessee's losses this week -- at Vandy and at home vs. Mizzou -- came on buzzer-beaters, so I can't go full "F" here given how close it was. But this Vols team shouldn't have been in those spots to begin with. An 0-2 week, given its talent and defensive chops, should be beneath it.|
|Clemson||F||The top of the ACC is no longer Clemson's to lose after it fell for a third consecutive outing this weekend vs. North Carolina. Two of the three losses in that stretch were to unranked opponents, and the UNC loss is particularly painful given the Tar Heels' form entering the game.|
|Kentucky||F||The NCAA Tournament will not feature Kentucky this season barring a late-season surprise, and we as fans of the sport will be all the better for it. There's not a more frustrating watch this season than the underperforming Wildcats, who play with no real urgency and couldn't mount a respectable defense even if Robert Shapiro was on the UK staff.|