World Cup 2014 coverage:

The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

Whose stock rose or fell on a busy Saturday in college basketball?

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

View photo

.

Will Spradling (Getty Images)

From Temple knocking Syracuse from the ranks of the unbeaten, to Kansas going on the road to topple Ohio State, to Missouri earning 'Bragging Rights' over Illinois, we've already covered some of Saturday's most impressive victories.

Here's a look at some other players and teams whose stock either rose or fell during a busy Saturday in college basketball.

Stock rising: Kansas State

The Wildcats looked overmatched in their previous two shots against top 15 opponents this season, falling to Gonzaga and Michigan by double digits. That's why it was a surprise to see them topple Florida in Kansas City on Saturday night to deliver new coach Bruce Weber his first signature win of his tenure. Will Spradling scored a team-high 17 points and Montavious Irving sank a key second-half 3-pointer after Florida cut what had been an 11-point deficit to three, enabling Kansas State to survive modest 41.7 percent shooting against the Gators' stout defense. The victory was Kansas State’s first since 1981 against a non-league foe ranked in the top 10, meaning Weber has now accomplished something neither Frank Martin nor any of his predecessors did the past 31 years.

Stock falling: Ole Miss

On a day when Texas A&M lost to Southern, Alabama fell to Mercer and Auburn failed to beat Winthrop, Ole Miss somehow, someway may have suffered the SEC's most damaging defeat. The Rebels fell to Valley also-ran Indiana State in the opening round of the Diamond Head Classic, relegating them to the loser's bracket and robbing them of RPI-boosting opportunities to face San Diego State and either Arizona or Miami the next two days. Ole Miss should now begin SEC play 11-2 barring a bad loss — but it would be as empty an 11-2 start as humanly possible. The Rebels' best win? At home against Rutgers. As a result, they'll need to not only finish near the top of the SEC to make the NCAA tournament but also notch some marquee wins over Florida, Kentucky or Missouri in the process.

Stock rising: Sherrod Wright

Any doubt who would replace Ryan Pearson as George Mason's go-to scorer this season has vanished over the past couple weeks. Guard Sherrod Wright has taken ownership of that role, averaging 20.5 points per game in George Mason's past four games to increase his season average to 16.9 points. Wright's biggest basket came against Richmond on Saturday with the score tied at 64 all in the closing seconds of regulation. Wright buried a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give George Mason the win, a fitting conclusion to a game in which the Patriots shot 61.5 percent from behind the arc. The win further established George Mason as the leading threat to win the weakest CAA in years. Struggling Drexel has the most talent and Delaware and Northeastern can't be discounted, but the Patriots (7-4) are the only team besides William & Mary over .500 in non-league play.

Stock falling: Virginia

Virginia rode an eight-game winning streak entering the weekend. Old Dominion had won only once in 11 games. No doubt Saturday's matchup was a lopsided triumph for the ACC, right? Well, not quite. Any momentum Virginia built during a 9-2 start came to a crashing halt Saturday when Old Dominion upset the Cavaliers 63-61 in the Holiday Hoops Classic at Richmond Coliseum. Old Dominion’s Dimitri Batten sank four three-pointers during a 21-4 run that put Monarchs up 45-38 with less than eight minutes left.Virginia is now 0-3 against the CAA, amazing considering how weak that league is this season. The Cavs previously lost to George Mason and Delaware.

Stock rising: Ryan Harrow's job security

Even though Marshall was a mediocre opponent made worse by the absence of its best player, Ryan Harrow's performance against the Thundering Herd was a significant one for the trajectory of Kentucky's season. The oft-maligned point guard scored 23 points, dished out four assists and committed only two turnovers, a confidence builder for a kid who at times doesn't seem to have faith in his own abilities. It's critical for Kentucky that Harrow seizes the starting point guard job because the Wildcats do not have another viable option. When John Calipari benched Harrow and played shooting guard Archie Goodwin out of position at point guard, the team struggled. Harrow won't remind anyone of John Wall -- or even Marquis Teague -- but the Wildcats need to stick with him.

Stock falling: Kevin O'Neill's job security

When injury-ravaged USC lost 26 games and finished last in a woeful Pac-12 last season, the absence of many of the Trojans' top players gave coach Kevin O'Neill a built-in excuse for his team's struggles. This year, O'Neill has nowhere to hide. Two nights after a brutal home loss to UC Irvine, USC fell Saturday at struggling Georgia 64-56. It's the Trojans sixth loss in seven games and it drops their record to 4-8, one game worse than last year at the same point. Part of the reason for USC's struggles is it has played a needlessly difficult non-conference schedule, but the Trojans aren't getting consistent production from anyone besides Rice transfer Omar Oraby and forward Eric Wise. That doesn't bode well for O'Neill, who desperately needed a bounce-back season to feel secure about his future.

Stock rising: Erick Green as an All-American contender

Quick, who's the nation's leading scorer? Creighton's Doug McDermott? Lehigh's C.J. McCollum? Murray State's Isaiah Canaan? All good guesses, but they each trail Virginia Tech guard Erick Green, who is averaging an impressive 25.4 points per game so far this season and is shooting 52.1 percent from the floor. What has been most impressive about Green this season is his consistency: He has scored at least 20 points in all 11 of Virginia Tech's games so far this season. Green had a season-high 31 points on Saturday against Bradley and Virginia Tech (9-2) needed every one of them to escape with a 66-65 victory over the Braves in Las Vegas.

Stock falling: Saint Joseph's as an Atlantic 10 contender

If Saint Joseph's is going to live up to its status as preseason favorites in the Atlantic 10, the Hawks are going to have to get much better in a hurry. Saturday's ugly 60-57 home loss to Fairfield dropped Saint Joseph's to 5-4 this season and reinforced the idea that the Hawks are more likely to fall to the middle of the pack than challenge the likes of VCU, Butler and Temple for the league title. Whereas the previous three losses Saint Joseph's has suffered at least came against Florida State, Creighton and Villanova, this one was far less excusable. Playing without suspended Halil Kanacevic, the Hawks got zero points and only 11 minutes out of their bench. They also allowed Fairfield's Derek Needham to erupt for 24 points and got only three points on 0-for-6 shooting from leading scorer Carl Jones.

Other performances of note:

Stock rising: Dayton's bounce-back win over Murray State erased the disappointment of a one-point home loss to Illinois State earlier in the week. Vee Sanford scored a game-high 23 points but Kevin Dillard's 18 points and 10 assists were most impressive since he wasn't even expected to play as a result of back spasms.

Stock falling: UIC's 9-1 start is starting to feel like a distant memory. Back-to-back bad losses to Western Illinois and Miami-Ohio suggest the Flames may not be ready to challenge Valparaiso and Detroit in the Horizon League.

Stock falling: Not only was Xavier's 56-55 loss to Wofford ugly, the way the Musketeers lost was especially agonizing. After Brad Redford tied the score at 55 with his second 3-pointer of the final 20 seconds, Jeff Robinson lost track of the score and fouled, enabling Lee Skinner to sink the game-winning free throw with seven seconds remaining.

Stock falling: Ole Miss' loss may have been the most damaging, but Texas A&M cannot escape mention here for losing 53-51 to Southern to fall to 8-3. Southern's best win prior to Saturday? Either South Dakota or Louisiana-Monroe.

View Comments