NCAA Basketball: Utah at Southern California

Last week could've been a preview of future chaos in the NCAA Tournament. It all started with Kentucky freshman Reed Sheppard converting a floater at the buzzer to help his team knock off Mississippi State, 91-89. Sheppard scored a career-high 32 points, marking the latest dramatic victory for a young Kentucky roster.

One of the more spectacular performances of the week also came by a first-year player. USC star guard Isaiah Collier scored a career-high 31 points on the road against Washington in an 82-75 win. Collier scored eight straight points down the stretch to seal USC's second road victory in conference play.

Coming into the season, USC was expected to compete for the Pac-12 crown with Arizona, but injuries and bad losses derailed those hopes. The bright spot over last few weeks has been Collier, who elected to return this season after suffering a hand injury in January. He could've elected to sit out the remainder of the season to prepare for the 2024 NBA Draft, but the former No. 2 overall player in the 2023 recruiting cycle by 247Sports can improve his draft stock by playing out the rest of the season. 

"I feel like if we do what we supposed to do, we gonna make March Madness,"  Collier told reporters on Monday. "But if that's the case, I'm just going to have a discussion with my team."

Let's jump into our rankings and get to our CBS Sports/USBWA Freshman of the Week for the the 2023-24 college basketball season

Freshman of the Week: Isaiah Collier, USC

Welcome back to the Frosh Watch, our weekly ranking of the ten most impressive freshmen in college basketball. CBS Sports has once again teamed up with the United States Basketball Writers Association and its Wayman Tisdale Freshman of the Year Award to present this every-Tuesday feature. Each week we'll start by announcing the national Freshman of the Week honoree. The cycle for FOTW runs Tuesday-Monday.

In our first Frosh of the Week rankings, Collier earned the top spot in these rankings and the first Freshman of the Week award. Just over three months later, Collier is the second player (joining Duke's Jared McCain) to win this award twice. 

Collier has been on a tear since returning from a hand injury that sidelined him for nearly a month. Collier has scored in double figures in all seven games since his return and recorded 20 or more points in four. The former blue-chip recruit dropped 24 points in a close loss to Washington State days before scoring 31 against Washington.

Frosh Watch: Top 10 freshman rankings

1. Reed Sheppard, Kentucky

Stats: 12.4 PPG | 4.2 RPG | 4.3 APG | 51.7 % 3FG

Only four players have graced the top of these rankings this season. Sheppard is one of them. After sitting at No. 4 for the last month, Sheppard gets a nice boost to assume the top spot. Sheppard has a case as the best freshman in the country because of his impact on the game. His stats from a scoring perspective aren't eye-popping, but his efficiency stands out. Sheppard's shooting splits (53.5% FG/51.7% 3FG/83.6% FT) are ridiculous. He's averaging 2.6 steals per game and has a real chance to break the single-season Kentucky steals record held by Rajon Rondo. Sheppard is soaring up draft boards as of late, and there's a real possibility he'll be the first college player off the board this summer at the 2024 NBA Draft. Last week: 4

2. PJ HaggertyTulsa

Stats: 20.6 PPG | 5.4 RPG | 3.6 APG

Haggerty recorded his second double-double of the season by posting 29 points and 10 rebounds in a loss to UTSA. Last weekend against Temple, he scored 21 points and dished out five assists. The TCU transfer remains the leading scorer among all freshmen heading into the final week of the regular season. Last week: 2

3. Jared McCain, Duke

Stats: 13.3 PPG | 4.9 RPG | 41% 3FG

McCain scored 14 of his 16 total points in the second half on Monday during a 79-64 win over NC State. Coming into the game, McCain was connecting on 61% of his transition 3-pointers. For context, McCain is shooting 41% on the season from distance and 36.7% on spot-ups. Duke has a chance to clinch at least a share of the ACC title with a win over UNC this weekend. McCain will be an X-factor. Last week: 1

4. Isaiah Collier, USC

Stats: 17.0 PPG | 4.1 APG  | 2.7 RPG

The former top-ranked player on this list has been hoovering around the 5-7 range over the last two months because of his injury and the players in front of him simply playing better. Collier gets a nice bump to the No. 4 spot this week because of how he performed last week. Collier struggled early in the season with turnovers, but it appears the USC star has cleaned up that issue. It's hard to project where he may go in the draft this summer (if he declares), but if he closes the season strong, it's hard to see him falling out of the lottery. Last week: 7

5. Myles Rice, Washington State

Stats: 15.5 PPG | 3.8 APG | 3.1 RPG

After having the worst scoring performance of his young career against Arizona, Rice responded by recording 16 points and eight assists in a 75-72 win over USC. Days later, Rice scored 18 points and dished out four assists in a win over UCLA. Washington State can clinch a share of the Pac-12 title with a win over Washington later this week. WSU's dramatic turnaround wouldn't be possible without him. Last week: 5

6. Ja'Kobe WalterBaylor

Stats: 14.7 PPG | 4.6 RPG | 1.1 SPG

Walter didn't have his best shooting performance in a win over Kansas. The Baylor star freshman shot 2 of 9 from distance and finished with 11 points. On Monday against Texas, Walter scored 15 points and connected on two of his three attempts in a 93-85 win. Last week: 3

7. Rob Dillingham, Kentucky

Stats: 14.8 PPG | 3.8 APG | 2.8 RPG

As CBS Sports' Kyle Boone pointed out last week, it's confusing how Kentucky continues to bring Dillingham and Sheppard off the bench, but this isn't a new thing for coach John Calipari. Most notably, former UK star Devin Booker came off the bench in his freshman season before becoming one of the best players in the NBA. While Antonio Reeves is a potential All-American candidate, Sheppard and Dillingham might be the two best players on the roster. Dillingham logged 16 minutes against Mississippi State and 24 in his most recent outing against Arkansas, but he hasn't played more than 25 minutes in his last seven games. That can't happen in the NCAA Tournament if Kentucky wants to make a run at a title. Last week: 6

8. Josh Hubbard, Mississippi State

Stats: 16.2 PPG | 2.3 RPG | 1.8 APG

Hubbard went nuclear against Kentucky. The Mississippi State freshman scored a career-high 34 points days after scoring 32 against LSU. Hubbard scored 23 points in a loss to Auburn in his most recent outing. Hubbard is the fourth-leading scorer amongst all first-year players this season, trailing Harvard's Malik Mack, Notre Dame's Markus Burton and Collier. Last week: 9

9. Cody Williams, Colorado

Stats: 13.7 PPG | 3.3 RPG | 1.8 APG

Williams missed Colorado's games against Cal and Stanford last week because of an ankle injury, and it remains unclear when the Colorado star will return to action. Williams could be one of the top picks in the 2024 NBA Draft this summer. Last week: 8

10. Stephon Castle, UConn

Stats: 11.3 PPG | 4.3 RPG | 3.0 APG

Castle is the odds-on favorite to win Big East Freshman of the Year. The UConn star is the best basketball of his career at the perfect time. Castle scored 21 points on 9 of 12 shooting against Seton Hall. If the reigning national champions want to repeat, Castle could be the guy who takes the next step to get them there. Last week: NR

Others considered: Harvard's Malik Mack, UCLA's Sebastian Mack, Iowa's Owen Freeman, Pitt's Carlton Carrington, Kentucky's D.J. Wagner, Iowa State's Milan Momcilovic, Oregon's Jackson Shelstad, North Carolina's Elliot Cadeau and Notre Dame's Markus Burton, New Mexico's JT Toppin, Baylor's Yves Missi and Kansas' Johnny Furphy.