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Mid-Day Rumble: Denzel Valentine doesn't care about National Player of the Year

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Today in the Mid-Day Rumble, Denzel Valentine is back, John Calipari is pleased his team pulled out a victory without him and Maurice Watson Jr. had a career week.

Valentine put together one of the strongest performances of the college basketball season, 30 points, 13 assists and five rebounds, in a win over the Indiana Hoosiers on Sunday. The position-less senior might have jumped back into the National Player of the Year conversation but following the marvelous outing Valentine said he "doesn't really care" about winning the honor.

While Buddy Hield still would win the award if the season ended today, watch out for Valentine down the stretch as Michigan State is suddenly on a roll.

Kentucky ran South Carolina off their own court on Saturday and that victory was without head coach Calipari, who was ejected less than three minutes into the game.

"I have never been more proud of a team," Calipari posted on Twitter after the win. "They are now empowered. They've proven they don't need me and I love it."

Point guard Tyler Ulis put the Wildcats on his shoulders, as he finished with 27 points and 12 assists.

Watson Jr. had a career high 32 points in Creighton's win over Xavier on Wednesday and followed up that display with an 18 point, 10 assists game in a win on the road against Marquette. Watson was rewarded as the CBS Sports Player of the Week, the NBC Sports Player of the Week and the Big East Player of the Week.

In other Big East news, Georgetown center Bradley Hayes, who is averaging 8.5 points per game and 6.6 rebounds per game, is out indefinitely with a broken hand. The news was revealed before the Hoyas lost to the Providence Friars at the Dunkin' Donuts Center this weekend.

Without Hayes' experience and toughness, freshman Jessie Govan, Marcus Derrickson and stretch four Isaac Copeland will have to crash the glass. Georgetown is currently way off the bubble with losses to UNC Asheville and Radford in non-conference play.

I have never seen this before in my life. Rhode Island point guard Jarvis Garrett played Friday night against Dayton with a Hannibal-style protective mask.

Garrett, who has developed into the table setter for the Rams, scored 13 points on 6-of-13 shooting but Rhody lost by two on their home court to the Flyers.

Freshman big man Diamond Stone pushed Vitto Brown's head into the ground during the Maryland-Wisconsin match-up and was not ejected despite obvious excessive contact. While Wisconsin went on to win by double digits, Greg Gard can't be happy that Stone was able to remain in the game after nearly injuring one of his players.