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Saturday stock watch: Indiana reminds everyone that its best is awfully good

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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Indiana survived Minnesota's second-half comeback bid to stay unbeaten in the Big Ten (USA Today Sports Images …

The highlight of Saturday's college basketball slate so far has been NC State establishing itself as an ACC title threat and knocking top-ranked Duke from the ranks of the unbeaten.

Here's a look at some of the other teams who's stock has risen or fallen Saturday:

Stock up: Indiana

The 88-81 final score doesn't tell the story. Even though Indiana allowed Minnesota to make it respectable with a strong second half, the takeaway from Saturday's top 10 Big Ten showdown was how formidable the Hoosiers looked in rolling to a 52-29 halftime lead. They defended effectively. They turned stops into transition opportunities. And they shot the lights out. Boy, did they shoot the lights out. Indiana made 21 of 32 first-half shots, sank 7 of 11 3-point attempts and had all five starters reach double figures by the 12-minute mark of the second half. It was a spectacular reminder that even though the Hoosiers have fallen off the radar a bit since their loss to Butler, they still have as much chance as anyone of cutting down the nets in Atlanta.

Stock down: Texas

Looks like Myck Kabongo's return from suspension next month is going to be too little, too late for Texas. The Longhorns suffered a third straight loss Saturday to drop to 8-8 this season, this time struggling uncharacteristically on defense in an 82-62 loss to Iowa State. Maybe the most interesting part of Saturday's loss was Rick Barnes' decision to play leading scorer Sheldon McClellan only one minute. McClellan, who had been dealing with a lingering ankle injury, checked into the game midway through the first half, then was yanked almost as soon as he entered. "He didn't practice yesterday. He went in, first play of the game, gave up an offensive rebound," Barnes told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "We're not going to continue to talk about coaching effort."

Stock up: UCLA

UCLA's November struggles are starting to feel very, very far away. A Bruins team ripped to shreds by critics after a November loss to Cal Poly and a handful of other lethargic efforts has responded with an impressive month-long surge. They continued their strong play on Saturday, staving off a late Colorado rally and picking up a 78-75 road win to improve to 4-0 in Pac-12 play and 14-3 overall. Freshmen Shabazz Muhammad, Jordan Adams and Kyle Anderson combined for an efficient 44 points, but the star of this game was veteran Travis Wear. The junior forward lit up Colorado with his mid-range game, scoring 23 points on 11 of 17 shooting to lead the Bruins to a victory that should have them back in the AP Top 25 on Monday.

Stock down: Illinois

Illinois didn't do anything Saturday to quiet those who question its legitimacy as an upper-echelon Big Ten team. A Wisconsin team that has been erratic in its own right this season shredded the visiting Illini, scoring the game's first 14 points, extending that lead to 34-9 late in the first half and coasting to a 74-51 rout. Granted the Kohl Center is a difficult place to win for visitors, but Illinois' struggles were still eye-opening. Wisconsin had scored just 47 in the previous game against Nebraska, but the Badgers easily sent the Illini to a fourth loss in six games. Most concerning for Illinois is that star Brandon Paul appears to be regressing to last year's erratic form. He managed just eight points on Saturday and sank only 1 of 11 shots.

Other performances of note:

Stock up: Marquette

Since a Dec. 19 loss to Green Bay that called into question Marquette's ability to replace Jae Crowder and Darius Johnson-Odom, the Golden Eagles have responded with five straight victories. They improved to 3-0 in Big East play Saturday, overcoming a dramatic game-tying 3-pointer by Pittsburgh's Lamar Patterson at the end of regulation to win 74-67 in overtime over the Panthers.

Stock down: Notre Dame

I've touted the Irish as a Big East contender since the preseason, but they suffered a pretty surprising loss Saturday. They surrendered the final seven points of a home game against UConn and fell 65-58, their first loss since November. The biggest surprise was the contributions from Huskies big man Tyler Olander, who scored 12 of his 16 points in the second half and added seven rebounds.

Stock up: Alex Kirk

With New Mexico's leading scorer Kendall Williams suspended for the game for repeatedly showing up late to team functions, Kirk picked up the slack. The sweet-shooting 7-footer followed up a 23-point outburst against UNLV by tallying 19 points and a career-high 14 rebounds against Fresno State to lead the Lobos to a 72-45 victory.

Stock down: Rasheed Sulaimon

The Duke freshman has been praised repeatedly this season for showing poise beyond his years, but in his first true road game, Sulaimon looked like, well, a freshman. He missed all 10 of his field goal attempts in Duke's loss at NC State including a transition dunk attempt he probably ought to have laid up instead.

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