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Missouri Finally Falls, Gonzaga on the Move — This Week in College Basketball

Ricardo Ratliffe
Jamie Squire, Getty Images

After suffering a 78-73 defeat to Temple in Philadelphia last Wednesday, Duke was the only team in the Associated Press poll’s Top 5 to lose this week.

Meanwhile, formerly unbeaten No. 7 Missouri dropped its first game of the season to No. 23 Kansas State. Here’s what’s going on in college basketball:

Team on the Rise : No. 25 Gonzaga Bulldogs

Gonzaga (13-2, 3-0 WCC) has won nine straight games since suffering back-to-back losses in early December. Coach Mark Few’s team has, as usual, turned into the type of squad that major conference teams don’t want to play in the NCAA Tournament. Talented freshman guard Kevin Pangos is averaging 14.2 points and 3.5 assists per game for the Bulldogs.

Team on the Decline: No. 18 Wisconsin Badgers

After starting the season 12-2, Bo Ryan’s Badgers (12-5, 1-3 Big Ten) have lost three straight games in the past nine days, including conference defeats at No. 10 Michigan State and No. 16 Michigan. The schedule doesn’t get any easier as Wisconsin must travel to Purdue (13-4, 3-1) on Thursday.

Player on the Rise: Travis Releford, Kansas

Travis Releford was key in the Jayhawks wins over No. 23 Kansas State on Wednesday and Oklahoma on Saturday. Releford recorded back-to-back career highs in points scored, tallying 16  against K-State and 28 against OU as Kansas (12-3, 2-0 Big 12) marched into its Big 12 conference schedule firmly in first place in the league.

Player on the Decline: Ricardo Ratliffe, Missouri

For a player who is capable of a double-double on most nights, Ricardo Ratliffe (above) was a non-factor in the No. 7 Tigers’ 75-59 loss to No. 23 Kansas State on Saturday. Early foul trouble took away his aggressiveness, and Ratliffe wound up scoring just two points and grabbing one rebound. If he can’t contain the fouls, Ratliffe may be in for more nights with less than 20 minutes of playing time for Mizzouri (14-1, 1-1).

Coach on the Hot Seat: Jim Calhoun, University of Connecticut

No. 8 Connecticut (12-3, 2-2 Big East) dropped two games this week: a 75-63 loss to Seton Hall on Tuesday and a 67-60 defeat to Rutgers on Saturday. And while veteran coach Jim Calhoun has zero reason to worry about job security, he must get his team to run a more consistent offense. The Huskies have games against two rising Big East teams this week: West Virginia on Monday and Notre Dame on Saturday.

This Week’s Bizarre Stat: Isaiah Canaan, Murray State

Guard Isaiah Canaan made all seven of his three-point shots in the first half for No. 19 Murray State (16-0, 4-0 Ohio Valley) in its victory over Austin Peay on Saturday. He missed the only three-point attempt he took in the second half on his way to a 35-point night.

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