NCAA Basketball: Creighton at St. John

March is officially bearing down on us, people. Has that hit you just yet? In just four short days, we'll be breathing the air of the best month of the season and gearing up for the best tournament in all of sports. Prepare your body!

The sport certainly has been preparing for the madness to come this week, and in unusual ways. There was (another) court-storming controversy (this time with an injury), some high-flying dunks from a little bit of everywhere, and more Rick Pitino news to consume after he went nuclear on his team a week ago. You know tourney time is right around the corner when Pitino is making headlines.

So let's run it back and relive the last seven days as we do each week in this space with a look back at the best the sport had to offer in headlines that may have flickered but didn't quite get the pub they deserved. 

Player of the Week: Sallis leads Wake Forest to big win

Former five-star recruit Hunter Sallis didn't quite break into stardom after signing with Gonzaga out of high school, but now at Wake, Sallis has blossomed in a system run by Steve Forbes. Sallis has the Demon Deacons on the precipice of their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2017 while playing late in the season like a potential All-American.

Sallis' latest big boom came Saturday as he had 29 points to help Wake to a 2-0 week and a resounding 83-79 win over top-10 Duke. The court-storming that followed the game swallowed headlines, but Sallis -- who is third in the ACC in scoring -- deserves the shine from a star-studded performance and a great week overall. 

Dunk of the Week: FAU's Martin throws down

Fitting that FAU's mascot is the owl, because FAU wing Alijah Martin soared this week in the best dunk of the last seven days. (Dad joke? Yes, dad joke!) Martin marched down the lane in an 80-70 win vs. SMU and let down the hammer in a posterizing jam over a poor, unsuspecting SMU defender, and the result was delightful:

Assist of the Week: McNeese State's Wells goes unselfish

McNeese State can play. Will Wade's team, leaders of the Southland, put together their 19th win in the last 20 games this week, and the Cowboys did it in style -- with a rare Dunk of the Week AND Assist of the Week candidate all in the same play. The props here go to Shahada Wells for dishing it to his teammate, but Christian Shumate deserves some love for trailing the play and banging it home in a 87-71 win vs. Incarnate Word.

Quote of the Week: Indiana's Woodson lets loose

I'm unsure if you are aware of this, but, uh, the Indiana Hoosiers are in a bad place right now. Losers of eight of their last 10 and four in a row, Mike Woodson's job security is clearly in peril as they barrel towards a missed NCAA Tournament and an epic collapse down the stretch. It's not all on Woodson, though -- at least not according to Woodson himself in some eye-opening quotes from Monday morning.

"You know, sometimes coaches don't want to take the blame and want to put all on the players. I'm not that type of coach," said Woodson, before grabbing a 100x100 piece of shade and pitching it in the general direction of his players .... "Even though I don't miss jump shots, wide open shots, and don't miss free throws, I'm still a big part of it and I take a lot of responsibility."

Shots fired! OK, maybe not explicitly fired. But if I went on social media and told everyone my wife was amazing and then listed all the things she does wrong in the comments section, I'm not entirely sure that'd go over well at the house. I'm not sure Woodson's players won't take notice to a subtle shot here from their man, though I'm also not so sure they'll have to be under his watch too much longer, either.

Best of the rest

Pitino's pouting gives Johnnies boost

Whoever said pouting and complaining isn't effective clearly hasn't studied enough Rick Pitino film. The Johnnies coach this week, shortly after calling out several players for being unathletic and weak, reportedly helped St. John's lock down a seven-figure donation for the NIL program from billionaire alum Mike Repole. Here's the NY Post:

WASHINGTON — Mike Repole, the billionaire St. John's alum who has gotten involved again over the past year helping his former school, was following the coverage of Rick Pitino's comments like everyone else.

And he chose Wednesday afternoon as the time to divert from all the negativity that had enveloped the fan base, breaking his own news on X that he planned to donate seven figures for the Johnnies' Name, Image & Likeness (NIL) deals for next season.

Pitino then turned around Sunday dressed to the nines with one of the best damn suits a college hoops coach has worn all season. 

Happy anniversary to a great moment

One year ago on Sunday, Iowa coach Fran McCaffery delivered what might have been the most confusing -- and hilarious -- viral moment of the modern era in college basketball.

A staredown of epic proportions in Iowa City.

This happened on Feb. 25, 2023. It must be remembered every year henceforth and studied by future generations. What a moment. 

Wake's court-storm causes chaos

Wake Forest's storming of the court Saturday led to a knee sprain for Duke star Kyle Filipowski, prompting once again calls for an end to the practice or at the very least a modified way of unleashing the chaos. 

Everyone has their own opinions on the subject -- ranging from arresting court-stormers to fining schools to forcing teams to forfeit -- but I thought Gary Parrish on the latest Eye on College Basketball Podcast brought up a reasonable solution when presenting the thoughts of Wake Forest coach Steve Forbes: let the fans storm the court, but let them do so in a more controlled way. (After the handshake lines are done, and maybe when a countdown clock expires.)

I don't think storming the court should be banned and I certainly don't think people should be arrested -- I've done it before, it's great, and I feel like it's uniquely college basketball -- but some modification to the practice to improve player safety seems necessary.