Monday, January 28, 2013

Welcome to Bracketville---Upset Weekend Edition


A half-dozen ranked teams lost to unranked teams on Saturday. . All six ranked teams were on the road. Home, sweet home.
This season has many teams playing like second and third seeds and not top seeds. It’s wide open at the top, with upsets on a regular basis, and March should be as entertaining as ever.
What’s in the water in the City of Brotherly Love? Villanova picked up victories over two ranked teams at home (Louisville and Syracuse). LaSalle hit the ranked-team-double as well with an upset of Butler at home and defeated VCU on the road.
VCU leads the nation in steals with nearly 13 a game.
The AP men's basketball poll should just leave No. 1 vacant for the time being.
Louisville averages a Big East-best 15 second-chance points per game this season, which is third among power six conference schools.
I was way off base when I thought that Louisville’s Peyton Siva couldn’t suck after his no-show with Syracuse…against Georgetown he had four fouls, three turnovers and zero points in his “Invisible Man” act.
In their overtime victory over Syracuse, Villanova became the first unranked team to knock off two top-5 opponents in the same week since Ball State in 2001. Then LaSalle matched them.
Harvard was down ten with a minute and a half to go…forced overtime and won by five over Dartmouth. Harvard’s only other lead in the game was at 2-0.
Even with all their injuries, Virginia is 4-2 in the ACC. Their defense is magnificent.
Clemson’s Milton Jennings went 16-of-18 from the line in a victory over Virginia Tech.
Miami followed up their massacre of Duke by knocking off Florida State by 24 points. FSU shot a season-low 31% from the field.
Good win: Arizona State took down UCLA by 18 points---two nights before, UCLA knocked off #6 Arizona. ASU is 5-2 in the Pac 12. Go figure.
Bad game: Northern Illinois set an all-time shot-clock era record with four first-half points, tied the any-half record with those four points and set the all-time worst field goal percentage record after shooting 8-for-61 for the game (13.1%). Over a stretch of 24:33 over both halves, Northern Illinois missed 36 straight field goal attempts. The Huskies also missed their first 32 three-point attempts. All those things would be difficult to do if you were trying.
This was not unfamiliar territory for NIU---they racked up fives points in a half against Dayton back in December.
Good call: Kentucky and North Carolina are renewing their home-and-home series.
Wisconsin is 5-2 in the Big Ten and has three wins over top-15 teams. It's 28-11 under Bo Ryan at home vs. ranked teams. UW has held 20 consecutive opponents to 60 or fewer points at the Kohl Center.
Tommy Brenton of Stoney Brook put up the second triple-double of the season, as the senior forward had 15 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists in a win over Maine.
Florida is playing as well as any team in the country.
Kansas is on a 17 game winning streak.
Montana has now won 21 straight games against Big Sky opponents.
Seven teams in the Big East are 4-3.
That’s more like it.
Duke made just four turnovers in the entire game (none in the second half) in their 20-point victory over Maryland. 18 assists sure looked good.
Duke’s freshmen, Amile Jefferson and Rasheed Sulaimon scored 43% of the team’s points.
Sulaimon’s 25 tied a Duke freshman record!
Duke shot 52.4% against a Maryland defense that hadn't allowed any team to shoot better than 44 percent.
Maryland’s frontcourt looks more like a football defensive backfield. They outrebounded Duke by eleven. UM has outrebounded every team this season.
The Duke women won two games against weaker ACC teams after being run out of the gym at UConn.
One disturbing stat for the Duke women is the combined records of the ACC teams they have beaten thus far…17-46. Miami, Maryland and UNC await…we shall see what we shall see.
More passing…less dribbling…please!
NC State outscored UNC 20-0 on transition buckets at halftime.
Kentucky had allowed .97 points per possession in SEC play prior to Saturday, seventh-best in a league that most certainly does not house seven good teams.
Iowa State shot 64 percent in the second half, hoisting up 47 points on a good K-State defense.
Butler can really pass the ball.
Georgetown is playing some tough defense.
In scoring just 34 points in a road loss to San Diego State, New Mexico made only 0.57 points per possession...4-of-22 in the second half.…remarkably low!
Naadir Tharpe and Perry Ellis give Kansas more depth than most teams out there.
Ole Miss is 6-0 in SEC play…first time ever. They almost gave the game away to 8-11 Auburn by going 4/17 from the line. Saturday {7 PM} Ole Miss takes on Florida…winner will sit atop the SEC. Florida is 6-0 as well and its six SEC opponents have fallen by an average of 26.5 points.
Also at 6-0, Oregon is #1 in the Pac12---but now their point guard, Dominic Artis is out indefinitely with a foot injury. The freshman is averaging 10.2 ppg, 3.8 apg and 1.7 steals per game.
Indiana at Purdue on Wednesday could be your upset special.
Keep an eye on D’Angelo Harrison of St. John’s---averaging 19.6 ppg.
Michigan State has seven front-line players. Watch out for them.
Unbeatens remaining: Zero.
Winless remaining: Grambling.
Conference unbeatens remaining: 20.
Conference winless teams remaining: 13.
Not so fast: Louisville is a six-point favorite tonight over Pitt---Kansas is an eight and a half point favorite at West Virginia.
One more thing: The Big East Tournament is already a sellout.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Welcome to Bracketville--Wither #1? Edition


Eleven ranked teams have lost since the new polls came out Monday.
Every team is beatable…every team has been beaten…every team will continue to be beaten.
Maryland has shot just 36% over the last four games.
Georgetown and Notre Dame are fairly confusing to me.
Texas is 0-5 in the Big 12 for the first time under Rick Barnes. The Longhorns are the youngest team in D1.
When was the last time Louisville and Kentucky (eighth youngest team in D1) lost on the same night? Didn’t see that coming on Tuesday…or Wake getting better of NC State.
Louisville shot just 12-for-24 from the free-throw line. Yikes!
Alabama is now 11-1 when playing at full strength, and their coach is a winner---they will surprise in the SEC if they stay healthy.
Kansas winning at Kansas State…they earned it in a tough place to win for visitors.
First game this season that Jeff Withey failed to get a block. He has 78 blocks on the season…Kansas has retained possession on 72% of them. Wow!
Butler had just two fast-break points and Gonzaga had none. Both teams rank in the top 10 nationally in fewest transition possessions allowed…so that makes some sense.
Creighton’s Ethan Wragge, who takes 93.7(!) percent of his shots from beyond the arc, makes 44.2 percent of them.
On Wednesday LaSalle turned the tables on Butler, scoring the winning basket with 2.7 seconds to go in a one-point victory.
Louisville hasn't beaten Georgetown since 2009. Both teams rank in the top 10 in defensive efficiency. Louisville is most effective in forcing turnovers and getting steals. They're second in the nation in steal percentage and turnovers forced percentage.
Michigan State is now 5-0 in games decided by fewer than four points…they have won six in a row.
Florida has started 5-0 in the league, while winning by an average of 25 points.
Love it when I see the coaches wearing ties with the school colors.
A miserable week for Duke Basketball.
Monday night UConn embarrassed the women, crushing them by 30 points.
UConn did everything right. They were poetry in motion---a real pleasure to watch. UConn Coach Geno Auriemma is one sharp guy. He took advantage every Duke tendency---and his players executed the game plan perfectly.
Ahead by two at the half, UConn followed the plan and outscored Duke by 28 in the second half.
“The last 20 minutes of the game was as much fun as I’ve had in a long, long time,” Auriemma said.
I am certain Miami Coach Jim Larranaga said something similar after Miami spanked Duke by 27 points on Wednesday.
They held Duke to 19 first half points.
Miami got big-man Reggie Johnson back, but could have beaten Duke with four men on the floor. They were that dominant.
Coach Larranaga is a classy guy and has brought honor and dignity back to the basketball program for the Canes.
Going into Wednesday’s game, Duke and Miami were nearly tied for lowest turnover percentage in the ACC this season (Duke's at 16.2%, Miami 16.6%).
The highest-rated team in the RPI that's not ranked in the AP poll is UNLV (#14 RPI). The highest-rated team at KenPom.com that's not ranked in the AP poll is Pittsburgh (#8 KenPom).
Since taking over the coaching job at Kansas, Bill Self’s teams have lost just seven home games.
VCU had a seven-point lead over Richmond with 37 seconds to go…and lost by a dozen in OT. That ended a 13 game winning streak for VCU.
Boston University and Albany combined to score 39 points in overtime…12-of-15 from the floor and 11-of-13 from the line.
In their win over Morehead State, Belmont led only twice---at 2-0 and 64-63 when the buzzed sounded.
Good win: UCLA over Arizona in Tucson…the Bruins have now won ten in a row. They had 18 assists in the game---they can pass.
Bad loss: Creighton losing to (2-5 Missouri Valley) Drake. At one point, Drake was up 14.
Another bad loss: Minnesota lost its fifth in a row at Northwestern, and is now in seventh place in the Big 10.
Tuesday's 49 points were Michigan State's fewest points in a Big Ten win since it scored 43 on Feb. 17, 1951 in a win over Michigan.
Of the 14 games on Tuesday, only three were decided by double-digits.
How did Memphis get 15 points behind Tulane, before rallying to win? That can’t be good.
NC State is the only team in the nation with six players averaging 12 points per game or more.
Gonzaga’s Kelly Olynyk was 9-9 from the field and 8-8 from the line in the win over BYU. That’s been done exactly twice over the past 15 years with that many attempts of each without a miss.
Southern Miss beat Marshall by 56 points. Ouch!
No games Saturday between ranked teams.
Looking ahead--Saturday: Louisville at Georgetown, Noon, ESPN; Maryland at Duke, 1 PM, CBS; Minnesota at Wisconsin, 2 PM; New Mexico at San Diego State, 4 PM; Oklahoma at Kansas, 4 PM, ESPN; Temple at Butler, 6 PM, espn2; UNC at NC State, 7 PM, ESPN; Florida at Mississippi State, 8 PM, espn2; Florida State at Miami, 6 PM, ESPNU.
Sunday: Michigan State at Indiana
Unbeatens remaining: Zero.
Winless remaining: Gambling.
Conference unbeatens remaining: 28.
Conference winless teams remaining: 18.
Not so fast: Just when you thought things could not get worse for Texas, sophomore forward Jonathan Holmes broke his right hand during the team’s 73-67 loss to Oklahoma…8.1 ppg, 7.4 rpg.
One more thing: ESPN3 is wonderful…without it; I would have missed Kansas at K-State.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Welcome to Bracketville--What a Weekend Edition


Saturday’s games lived up to their hype…and then some. Butler, Michigan State, Kansas, Cincinnati, Wichita State and Syracuse won by a combined 16 points in games in doubt late…most of them on TV…and a number of them simultaneously.
The last team in America you want to be in a close game with is Butler. They always seem to find a way.
Butler improved to 3-0 against top-10 teams this season. Duke is the only other team that has three such wins. There were at least six lead changes in the last two minutes in their victory over the Zags.
Louisville shot 29 percent in the second half.
McLemore provided a consistent scoring punch for the Jayhawks. The freshman is on pace to become to the highest scoring KU freshman.
Florida’s Scottie Wilbekin had another dominant defensive performance. Two days after shutting down Texas A&M’s Elston Turner, Wilbekin blanketed Missouri point guard Phil Pressey, holding him to two points on 1 of 7 shooting.
The Gators scored 34 points off 21 Missouri turnovers in win #400 for Coach Donovan. They scored 48 points in the paint, while Missouri netted 14. 
Florida looked as good as they did prior to the Christmas break. In their past two games, Gator opponents score 99 points---total.
Louisville’s loss does not diminish my belief that the Cards are the best team at the moment. A questionable call at the end gave Syracuse a major break. Peyton Siva was horrid, and it could be a long time before he plays that lousy again.
Creighton nearly pulled it out in a brutal road environment. Wichita State is a tough venue, and that game was as tense as the Butler/Gonzaga matchup. WSU held the Jays below one point-per-possession for the first time this season.
The only team in the past decade to post at least 1 PPP in every game---2009 UNC.
St. Bonaventure was 0-30 at Temple before their three-point victory over The Owls.
At 4-0, this is best start in SEC play for Ole Miss since…wait for it…1937.
In their 27-point loss to Purdue, West Virginia had as many turnovers and made field goals (17). Ouch! Glad it happened to Huggins.
Georgetown just can’t score…58 points in a loss to South Florida.
The Texas defense is under-rated.
Raise your hand if you had Air Force beating Boise State/Colorado State over UNLV/Wyoming over San Diego State trifecta. 
Don’t look now---Colorado State has the 4th longest home victory streak at 24.
San Diego State (#15) managed just nine points in the first half in Wyoming. Yikes!
Ohio State’s Deshaun Thomas scored 28 points in the loss to Michigan State---no one else had more than six.
Six teams in the Mountain West are ranked in the Pomeroy Top-50. Helluva league.
KenPom.com projects Duke as favorites in every ACC game going forward. I say Miami beats them by double digits on Wednesday.
Michigan State’s Adreian Payne has made 22 of his past 28 field goal attempts over a span of four games.
If it was horse racing, I would take Kansas over the field in the Big 12…ditto for the SEC where I’d bet on Florida over the field.
Duke goes back to #1 in the AP Poll---what are those guys smoking?
Between them, Duke and UNC have more Final Four appearances since 1990 than any entire conference, except the ACC itself.
UNC shot 23.5 percent in the second half -- compared to Maryland's 46.2 percent
after the break. Too little…too late for the Terps.
I love the tradition of playing road games in the hometown of one of the seniors.
Belmont is now 6-0 in Ohio Valley Conference play.
Auburn was 0-15 from three versus Kentucky. The last time UK held an opponent to zero threes was 2/10/2001.
Virginia had lost to Florida State seven games in a row until embarrassing FSU (56-36). The Seminoles managed just 15 first half points. That is the 4th time this season that UVA has held an opponent to fewer than 40 points. Wow!
Never trust Washington or Temple…two most erratic teams out there.
Wisconsin beats Indiana decisively early in the week…then loses to Iowa on the weekend. Iowa committed just six turnovers. Go figure!
George Washington is the only team to start four freshmen this season.
Miami has not allowed an opponent over 60 points since December 1.
The Wake Forest/Georgia Tech game had an interesting sidebar. Tech pretty much is a seven-man team, making foul trouble especially dangerous. Wake has six freshmen.
A No. 1 team had not lost on its home court in four years until the Syracuse upset of #1 Louisville. The last 22 No. 1-ranked teams to lose have done so on the road or at a neutral site.
Gonzaga and Butler are a combined 12-2 this season against teams from Big Six conferences.
Good win: Oregon’s nine-point victory at UCLA…first time since the Pac-8 days that Oregon started 5-0 in conference play. Oregon starts two freshmen guards…and one of them, Danyean Dotson leads the team in scoring---hitting 46% of his shots.
Bad loss: St. Louis losing to Rhode Island.
Another bad loss: Washington’s home loss to Utah, where the Utes shot 60% from the floor.
Going into Saturday’s game, Syracuse was allowing 81.7 points per 100 possessions. Louisville was allowing 81.8.
Looking ahead: Kansas at Kansas State, Tuesday, 8 PM; Michigan State at Wisconsin, Tuesday; Colorado State at New Mexico, Wednesday, 8 PM; Duke at Miami, Wednesday, 7 PM; UCLA at Arizona, Thursday, 9 PM; New Mexico at San Diego State, Saturday, 4 PM; Michigan State at Indiana, Sunday, 1 PM;
Unbeatens remaining: Just the Duke Women. At UConn tonight---so that could change by 9:15 PM.
Winless remaining: Grambling.
Conference unbeatens remaining: 35
Conference winless teams remaining: 18
Not so fast: Florida has won five straight by 20-plus.
One more thing: Attendance for the Gonzaga/Butler game was 10,228. It won’t be long before over 50,000 claim to have been there…sorta like Woodstock.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Welcome to Bracketville---Five Match-Ups Between Ranked Teams Edition


Saddle Up: Five games on Saturday match ranked teams. Two more involve a ranked team against a dangerous conference foe boasting two or fewer losses.
The Kansas victory over Baylor was the 101st for Kansas in its past 102 games at Allen Fieldhouse.
For the first time since 1984-85 VCU is a member of the Top 25 poll. Remarkable!
In a scheduling quirk, neither the Duke men’s or women’s teams are playing this weekend. The women resume on Monday at UConn (Must-see TV on espn2 at 7 PM). The men carry on at Miami on Wednesday, January 23. Without Ryan Kelly, look for the fans at The U to storm the court at game’s end.
Good win: Wisconsin over Indiana at Indiana. Wisconsin played without regular point guard. The Badgers are the only team in the Big 10 undefeated in conference play (4-0).
Wisconsin ranks No. 1 in the country in turnover rate -- no team in America coughs it up on fewer of its possessions. That’s one reason they are so good at holding a lead. The Badgers are allowing opponents to take just 25 percent of their shots from beyond the arc this season -- the 12th-lowest rate in the nation.
Nerlens Noel ranks in the top 10 in the nation in blocks (fourth) and steals (eighth). No player has done that in at least the past 15 years.
On Sunday, Miami and Maryland combined to go 13-for-31 from the line. Pathetic.
Currently, in college sports, it is easier to make a football field goal that a basketball free throw. 72% versus 69.1%.
Clemson had 11 blocks in its win over Wake Forest. Wake had 11 blocks, steals and assists combined.
Each of the last four meetings between San Diego State and UNLV have been decided by just two points.
Florida and Duke are the most balanced in terms of offensive and defensive quality; they're the only two teams in the country that rank in the Pomeroy top 10 in both.
Marquette is off to a 3-0 start in Big East play…combined margin of victory is 14 points.
Don’t look now, but UCLA has won ten in a row.
Bryant won a mere two games last season. So far they have started off 5-0 in Northeast Conference play.
Saint Joseph turned the ball over three times in the final minute of regulation, blowing a four point lead in the last 15 seconds in their overtime loss to VCU.
VCU has now won a dozen in a row.
Bad loss: Illinois lost by double digits at home to Northwestern. Northwestern had dropped 21 out of its last 22 games versus ranked teams.
Saturday’s TV games will show us a couple of outstanding players who get very little TV time. #12 Creighton at Wichita State (4 PM, espn2) will be an opportunity to see Doug McDermott---70 points in his last two games.
Creighton has scored less than 70 points just once…Wichita State has given up more than 70 only one time.
#8 Gonzaga at #13 Butler (9 PM on ESPN) features Kevin Pangos, Kelly Olynyk and Elias Harris on the Zags---Roosevelt Jones and Andrew Smith from Butler.
Butler’s leading scorer and most minutes guy, Rotnei Clarke is out with an injury.
I love the Zags, but am picking Butler. Gonzaga played a late gate in Portland, Oregon on Thursday night…and has to travel across the USA and be ready for tipoff in less than 48 hours. That’s a lot, even for this well-traveled squad.
#11 Ohio State at #18 Michigan State—6 PM, ESPN. MSU still having problems scoring, but Coach Izzo keeps them winning.
#21 Oregon at #24 UCLA—4 PM CBS. Who would have thought there would be a pair of Pac 12 teams matched up this season?
#17 Missouri at #10 Florida (2 PM, ESPN). Erik Murphy is a warrior and Kenny Boyton is getting his stroke back. Go Gators!
#6 Syracuse at #1 Louisville…4 PM, ESPN. The #1 in points-allowed-per-possession (Louisville) and the second best in papp.
Unbeatens remaining: Just the Duke Women.
Winless remaining: 2.
Conference unbeatens remaining: 53. Miami is the last unbeaten in ACC play.
Conference winless teams remaining: 49.
Not so fast: Six Big Ten teams are in the Top 25. The school at the top of the conference, Wisconsin (4-0) remains outside the Top 25.
One more thing: In the Maryland victory over NC State, the Terps had zero double digit scorers until Alex Len’s basket with 0.9 seconds remaining.



Monday, January 14, 2013

Welcome to Bracketville---And Then There Were None Edition.


On November 14th I made the following remarks:
My under-rateds are making me look good.
I still think Missouri and NC State will finish well below their preseason expectations.
I thought Duke was over-rated due to Seth Curry’s mystery injury…and to a lesser extent, Marshall Plumlee’s stress fracture. Plumlee’s injury leaves (left) them with a short bench. Curry’s possible loss of playing time was my big fear. Duke is a team that needs all three senior leaders playing their best to be a title contender. Without the full trio, bad things happen.
Texas A&M’s win over Kentucky was UK’s first home conference loss in Coach Calipari’s four year tenure.
In the loss, Nerlens Noel had his best game yet---15 points, 11 boards, seven blocks, six assists and four steals. This kid is great!
Illinois is a combined 5-for-38 from three in their two losses this week past---the victors, Wisconsin and Minnesota went 19-for-38 combined.
Go Figure: How does beating UNC, and then going out and losing to Wake Forest and Clemson make any sense. Ask UVA.
Louisville has handled injuries as well as any team this season.
If you can predict what Georgetown or Pitt will do from game to game, let me know.
OK, raise your hand if you had Texas A&M, Auburn and Mississippi State 2-0 in the SEC
Notre Dame is 46-2 in their last four-dozen home games---both losses were to UConn.
Louisville ranks third in the country in forced turnovers with 20.3 per game.
UCLA is starting to play some serious defense.
BYU has scored 80-plus points in five of the past six games.
Duke’s Coach K has coached the #1 team in the nation for 216 games…coached an unranked team 141 times.
Look again: How do you shoot 34.9% overall, 25% from three and 38.5% from the line and win? You’re Miami and play Maryland who shot 31.6%, 20% from 3 and were 8-18 from the line on their home court.
It seems at least somewhat inconsistent that the Big East won’t allow UConn in their tournament for poor APR scores…but the teams splitting from the league will be playing.
Belmont’s Ian Clark scored 62 points in two victories last week…in the pair of games, Belmont scored 197 points. (Not a typo). Belmont has won its first four conference games by a combined 114 points, if you’re scoring at home.
Coach Donovan’s son interned for Homeland Security and Florida Senator Marco Rubio.
Stetson has outscored its Atlantic Sun opponents by just a single point over six games, but has won four of them.
Good win: UCLA over Colorado at Colorado.
If there is any justice, the Mountain West should have more teams in the NCAA Tournament than either the SEC or the ACC.
Mississippi’s ambushed Missouri, winning by 15. The Rebels have lost just two games this season…by a combined five points. Ole Miss pressured Missouri into 19 turnovers and limited them to a 2-for-18 night from three.
This week past created more questions than answers for me. So---at this moment, my Final Four is: Kansas, Louisville, Gonzaga and someone from the Big 10 (probably Michigan).
Louisville had my vote for #1 this week.
Lots of wonderful matchups this week: Louisville at UConn tonight, Baylor at Kansas later tonight. 
Creighton at Wichita State, Saturday, 4 PM, espn2, 4 PM. Gonzaga at Butler, Saturday, 9PM, ESPN. 
Thursday’s Michigan at Minnesota will feature a terrific guard matchup---Michigan’s Trey Burke vs. Andre Hollins---7 PM on ESPN. 
UNLV @ San Diego State on Wednesday at 10 PM.
Unbeatens remaining: The Duke Women are D1’s last undefeated standing.
Winless remaining: 2.
Not so fast: NC State had13 assists in the victory over Duke---all from Lorenzo Brown.
One more thing: Indiana missed 13 foul shots in the second half in their seven-point win over Minnesota. Danger Will Robinson.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Welcome to Bracketville--At the Halfway Mark Edition


Good win: Pitt’s road win over Georgetown…a blowout, holding the Hoyas to 45 points.
Bad loss: Virginia losing to Wake Forest.
UNLV only took five foul shots in their five-point loss at New Mexico on Wednesday.
Boise State was without its leading scorer, Derrick Marks, when they knocked Wyoming from the unbeaten ranks in Laramie. BSU sank two threes in the final 25 seconds to get the upset.
BC had a 29-0 points-off-turnovers advantage in their victory over Virginia Tech.
Lost in Butler’s good season…the team dismissed Chrishawn Hopkins in preseason. He averaged 9.1 ppg and 23 minutes last season.
How often does a team shoot 29% in the first half and enter the locker room with a comfortable lead? That’s the way it was Tuesday in Duke’s 28-point win over Clemson. Clemson is now 4-57 at Duke.
Ryan Kelly’s injury will turn Duke’s season around. Without Kelly, Duke will get pushed around in road games in the next two weeks at NC State and Miami.
New Mexico averages over one free-throw attempt for every two field goal attempt they take, the second-highest free throw rate in the nation.
Joanne McCallie (head coach-Duke Women’s Basketball) has often said that Duke’s “Chelsea Gray is the best passer in the game, male or female.” Having watched Chelsea from her freshman debut, I cannot disagree with the coach. As good as I know Gray is, in every game I watch, at least a couple of times I say, “That was just incredible. On January 21st Duke travels to UConn. For the first time in a long, long time, I think they will give the Huskies a run for their money---even in Storrs. Tipoff is 7PM on espn2. Tune in and check out #12…it will change your mind about who is the finest point guard in D1 basketball.
Ole Miss guard, Marshall Henderson has taken 150 threes in 14 games so far this season.
UNC’s Dexter Strickland’s line in the loss to Miami: 26 minutes, no points, no assists, no rebounds, no steals---no polls, no pets---he took just one shot.
Both Ian Clark and Trevor Noack of Belmont scored 30 points last night in a 35 point win over Southeast Missouri State.
West Virginia won a game in which they had scored only 37 points with 3:41 to play.
After going 1-28 last season, Towson is leading the CAA with a 3-0 record so far.
Go Figure: UVA won at Wisconsin, and took UNC to the woodshed…but lost to Wake Forest, Old Dominion, George Mason and Delaware.
Miami’s big men, Julian Gamble and Kenny Kadji, manhandled UNC’s frontcourt. With no Ryan Kelly, Gamble and Kadji will eat Duke alive when they play in Miami on January 23rd…7 PM on ESPN.
Duke needs Kelly to be a title contender. If they can go .500 without Kelly, I’ll be happy.
There has been lots of griping this season about low scoring games (and halves). Doesn’t bother me a bit. Just as I prefer a pitchers duel in baseball; enjoying an excellent defense on the court can be a pleasant experience as well.
Louisville is #1 in defensive efficiency, 2nd in steal percentage.
I have never liked the baseline setup at Vandy. Speaking of Vandy, it felt strange watching Kentucky play at Vandy, with neither team ranked.
Wichita State is 15-1…still without three injured starters.
Illinois is #323 in assists-to-made-field goals. That can’t be good.
Love it when coaches come out of a timeout playing a different defense then the one before the timeout.
No matter what their record, Kentucky still has three lottery picks…rest on them at your peril.
Unbeatens remaining: 2. One after Duke leaves NC State.
Winless remaining: 2.
Not so fast: Minnesota is 270th in defensive rebounding.
One more thing: No video review on shot-clock violations is just plain stupid.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Welcome to Bracketville--Conference Play Is Underway Edition


Duke is the final unbeaten team in D1 Women’s Basketball.
I believe Kansas is best team in D1.

There were tons of exciting games this past week…none better than Notre Dame’s women edging UConn. That was electrifying from the opening tip.
By the way the best looking women in college basketball are Geno Auriema’s assistant coaches.
And, it’s a tie for best-looking cheerleaders between Florida and University of Miami.
Conventional wisdom would tell you that Duke’s series with UNC would show the most meeting in the ACC. Turns out Carolina comes in third with 234 encounters. NC State (290 games) is first, with Wake Forest second with 237.
Wisconsin has made the NCAA tournament in each of Bo Ryan's 11 seasons thus far in Madison.
Gonzaga made 25 of 29 free throw attempts and shot 56 percent in the second half in their Thursday victory at Pepperdine.
Virginia’s opponents have made just 39% of their shots inside the arc. Amazing!  
UVA outscored Carolina 33-16 in the final 16 minutes last night…erased an eight-point deficit and went on to win.
UNC is a collection of role players…skilled role players, but role players, nonetheless.
Kansas State is pretty much all role players as well, but Bruce Weber has done a nifty job of putting the pieces together.
Duke really plays just seven players. Many say that’s all they need. I am not among them.
Gonzaga’s Kevin Pangos has that special shooting touch that can carry a team into and in the NCAA Tournament.
With super-post-man, Mike Muscala, no team can afford to nap on Bucknell. He had 25 points and 14 boards in a two-point loss at Missouri.
Notre Dame just may be the best-kept secret in D1 basketball. The Irish lead the universe in returning minutes (88.6%)...returning scoring (88.7%)…returning rebounding (92.8%).
On the flip side, Kentucky returns the least in minutes (7.0%), scoring (6.6%) and rebounds (5.9%).
I am still mystified at Pittsburgh’s loss to Rutgers.
In their 18 point victory over Wake Forest, Duke’s first seven baskets were three-pointers…their initial two came at 9:06. All 12 of Duke’s first half baskets were assisted. Quinn Cook had seven assists in each half.
Clemson was down three points late, and had to burn three timeouts on one inbounds play…FSU still stole the ball. Ouch!
Ohio’s point guard, D.J. Cooper scored 12 and dealt out 17 assists Saturday. Oh yeah, he grabbed six rebounds as well.
NC State escaped an upset at Boston College, winning by a deuce…six NCSU players were in double figures.
Creighton’s Doug McDermott & Company scored 52 points in the second half against Indiana State. Sure do wish Creighton were on TV more.
Delaware’s Jarvis Threatt scored 19 points in a 12-point win over Old Dominion…all from the free throw line.
Gonzaga is 5-0 versus the Big 12…total margin of victory is plus-73 points. The Zags outrebounded Oklahoma State33-18.
Just three teams reside in both the RPI and KenPom Top-10…Duke, Louisville and Kansas.
Last Thursday Belmont made all 17 of their foul shots…same day Southeastern Louisiana was 15 of 15 from the line. Seventh time this season a team has been perfect from the line (minimum 15 attempts).
Watching UConn play hard for 40 minutes every time, you would never know they were not eligible for post-season play. Credit Kevin Ollie.
TV Timeout: Pitt at Georgetown and Ohio State at Purdue on Tuesday. Butler at St. Joe, Minnesota at Illinois and UNLV at New Mexico on Wednesday.
I am even more convinced that Kansas is the best team in college basketball.
Unbeatens remaining: 4.
Winless remaining: 2.
Not so fast: Notoriously slow-paced Virginia out-scored UNC 5-4 on fast break points on Sunday night.
One more thing: Through 13 games last season; Anthony Davis had 58 blocks and 29 fouls. Through 13 games this season, Kansas center Jeff Withey has 68 blocks and only 16 fouls.