What’s Trending: A Week of Statement Like Performances — Both Good and Bad

Posted by Matt Eisenberg on February 17th, 2020

What’s Trending is a column examining the week that was in college basketball social media. Matthew Eisenberg (@matteise) is your weekly host.

After beginning conference play 3-3, many were ready to dismiss Maryland’s chances of contending in the Big Ten this season. Since then, the Terrapins had completely turned things around, winning seven straight games including three straight on the road. Over the weekend, Maryland built a 39-24 lead with 2:57 to go in the first half, but the Spartans seemed to take control of the game as Michigan State led 60-53 with just 3:24 to go. That’s when Maryland’s Anthony Cowan took over…

Over Cowan’s last six games, he is averaging 20.5 points per game on 42 percent three-point shooting. Over that period, he has also tallied 31 assists to just 15 turnovers. He has attacked the paint relentlessly, having made eight or more free throws in four of the six games during this stretch.

Note to future Maryland opponents, slapping the floor late would not be advised…

As far as Michigan State goes, they began the week on a three-game losing streak. After blowing a 20-point second-half lead at Illinois, they found themselves down a point against Illinois, but Xavier Tillman’s 11th rebound of the game proved to be the difference…

For Michigan State — a team that started the year 13-3 and 5-0 in league play — this past week and the college basketball season as a whole can best be summed up like this…

As far as the unpredictability of college basketball goes, last week will either serve as a wake-up call or a reference point for Louisville. Chris Mack’s squad began the week in the top-5, beginning with a record of 21-3 and leading the ACC with just a single conference loss. Then came Wednesday night’s game against Georgia Tech…


In Louisville’s surprising loss Wednesday at Georgia Tech, the Cardinals’ starting five combined for just 18 points, with All-American Jordan Nwora logging a season-low two points while committing four turnovers. On the bright side for Louisville, the weekend provided an opportunity to get back on the right track with a game against a Clemson team that was just 12-12 and 6-8 in league play.

Well, things didn’t exactly get any better. Louisville scored just 14 first-half points on 5-of-32 shooting from the field — of those 14 points, eight came from Dwayne Sutton. Jordan Nwora logged 12 minutes of action in the firs half, but did not score. He finished the game with just five points.

Staying in the ACC, Virginia began the week 15-7 (7-5 ACC) with a test against fellow bubble team Notre Dame. The defending national champions led the Irish 45-40 with 6:47 to go before a 7-0 stretch put Virginia behind by a pair in the final minute. Virginia ultimately forced overtime where three points was good enough for victory.


After managing to escape with the victory over Notre Dame, Virginia was seconds away from having its resume hit with a loss at struggling North Carolina. Down just one with under 10 seconds to go, Virginia’s Kihei Clark found Tomas Woldetensae in the corner for the game-winner. And for North Carolina, it’s the second straight weekend where the final seconds were not kind to the Tar Heels.

Out west, the Pac-12 continued to be hectic. On Thursday night, both Oregon and UCLA rallied from double-figure deficits at home. The Ducks outscored Colorado by 17 points in the second half while UCLA outscored Washington State by 12 points in the final 13:44 to force overtime. Mick Cronin’s squad was not done with the theatrics either, as they overcame another 12-point second half deficit against Washington over the weekend. The “Conference of Champions” has turned into the “Conference of the Comeback.”

Iowa State was delivered a blow when it learned star guard Tyrese Haliburton would miss the remainder of the season. Without Haliburton, the Cyclones lose their leader in scoring, rebounds, and assists.

Without Haliburton on the floor, Iowa State suffered a miserable 29-point loss at the hands of Oklahoma. Just days later, though, the shorthanded Cyclones found a way to dismantle Texas by the score of 81-52. As for Texas, it was the Longhorns fourth straight loss, dropping their Big 12 record to 4-8.

Dayton’s Obi Toppin is having an All-American kind of season for the 23-2 Flyers. Toppin took the team’s nickname to a new level with this dunk against Rhode Island. To make the “and-one” windmill jam even better, the continuation came after being fouled by his brother Jacob Toppin.

Matthew Eisenberg (140 Posts)

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