When the biggest storyline in the sport is a canceled game, you know it's a strange college basketball season. And that's how it was last week, as the most anticipated nonconference game of the season was called off 90 minutes before tipoff. No. 1 Gonzaga and No. 2 Baylor had been a level above the rest of the country during the first week and a half of the season, and that's probably still the case -- but one of the two teams would have laid down a serious marker after Saturday. But it never happened, and now we wait and see if it's rescheduled.
Not to worry, though, the coming week has its fair share of marquee games. The ACC/Big Ten Challenge is highlighted by North Carolina at Iowa, Illinois at Duke and Michigan State at Virginia. Outside of those two leagues, the Big 12-Big East Battle is headlined by Creighton's trip to Kansas. Conference play is starting earlier than usual, too, which means we get treats like Texas at Baylor this week as well.
Team of the Week: Michigan State Spartans
Texas would have been the easy call for this spot had the Longhorns beat Villanova on Sunday, since Shaka Smart's team won the Maui Invitational in impressive fashion. And Villanova going to Austin and coming away with a win is up there with the best wins of the week. But very few teams went 3-0 and also notched a marquee win away from home -- giving Tom Izzo's Spartans the honor for this week. Michigan State went to Duke in the Champions Classic and looked dominant after the opening few minutes, and the six-point margin of victory didn't truly represent how well the Spartans played. Rocket Watts might not be the pure point guard Cassius Winston was, but he's coming into his own as a go-to perimeter scorer, while Izzo might have found a gem in Julius Marble II. This is a deep, balanced team with experience -- and a 5-0 start to the season is better than expected.