by Ken Pomeroy on Friday, February 27, 2015
Programming note: This is the final Week in Review for the season. Conference tournaments start next week and probabilistic coverage of those events will take precedence until Selection Sunday arrives. Thanks to all for reading this season.
Here are the most extreme things to happen in college basketball between Friday, February 20th and Thursday, February 26th…Biggest upsets
3) #202 Northern Illinois 84, #68 Toledo 82 (12%), Wednesday. I wasn’t one that necessarily liked the idea of 96-team tournament, but I didn’t hate it, either. It’s games like this that would suddenly matter. With a 96-team field you could conceivably reward things like regular-season titles and Toledo really jeopardized its chances of having the MAC’s best record by giving away this home decision to also-ran Northern Illinois. In the real world, this loss hurts the Rockets’ chances of winning the West Division and getting a triple bye in the MAC tourney.
2) #304 Niagara 82, #152 Canisius 71 (12%), Tuesday.
1) #312 Niagara 65, #140 Rider 61 (9%), Saturday. I don’t think one team has ever earned the top two upsets of the week, but the Purple Eagles, a species indigenous to the Niagara campus, did just that. The MAAC is a weird place where home court has meant less than nothing this season. Home teams are 49-52 in conference play heading into the league’s final weekend. And with these two road wins, Niagara is now 6-13 in the MAAC while getting four of those victories away from the Gallagher Center.
by Ken Pomeroy on Thursday, February 26, 2015
Welcome to Play-by-Play Theater, the very irregular feature where I mine play-by-play data from the past five-plus seasons to discover the wacky things that happen in darkest corners of the college basketball universe.
It was another epic night for #TeamBadLuck on Tuesday night. At one point, Florida missed seven consecutive free throws in the second half while seeing a six-point lead over Missouri turn into a six-point deficit. But was that really a big deal? The record for consecutive made free throws by one team is documented in the NCAA Basketball Record Book. I even wrote about it when it happened. Ah, those were the days when explaining the binomial distribution sufficed for insightful basketball analytics.
Nobody knows the record for consecutive missed free throws by a team, though. And because people were worse free-throw shooters in the ‘50s and ‘60s, it’s a safe bet that the true record occurred a long time ago, before people were producing play-by-play data. But we can check the play-by-play data that exists since the 2009-10 season, which includes over 31,000 games, to get a feel for what an exceptional streak of misses looks like.
by Ken Pomeroy on Friday, February 20, 2015
Here are the most extreme things to happen in college basketball between Friday, February 13th and Thursday, February 19th…Biggest upsets
3) #239 Miami OH 67, #59 Bowling Green (8%), Wednesday. The regular season in the MAC features high stakes because the winner of each division gets a triple bye to the conference tournament semifinals. This year the chase for that honor is particularly interesting since the top of the MAC is stronger than it’s been in a while. There are five teams ranked in the top 100, but no clear leader of the MAC pack. Bowling Green, under first-year head coach Chris Jans, was in the driver’s seat for the East division before being stunned at home by Miami. The Falcons are now in a tie with Kent State and one game clear of Akron with five games left in the regular season. MACtion!
2) #294 Delaware 73, #89 William & Mary 70 (7%), Saturday. A Delaware win makes the list for the second straight week. The Blue Hens went to Williamsburg and handed the Tribe its first home loss of the season for the very unlikely season sweep. Colonel Ebirt sad face! This was the Tribe’s fourth conference loss and oddly, all of them were to teams in the bottom four of the CAA standings.
1) #344 Jacksonville 89, #131 USC Upstate 70 (3%), Saturday. This was the third-biggest upset of the season, behind NJIT over Michigan and Texas Southern over Michigan State, but look at that margin. This was a 16-over-1 level win that wasn’t close. Marcel White led the way with 30 points, which was unexpected considering White’s season-high to that point was 10. He didn’t even get on the floor in the previous game, and in the four games prior to that, he didn’t score at all. This was one of the most unlikely outcomes this season and it was driven by one of the most unlikely individual performances as well.
by Ken Pomeroy on Tuesday, February 17, 2015
I recently added an MVP feature to the box scores on the site, whereby the best player in each game is chosen using John Hollinger’s Game Score with a three-point bonus for being on the winning team. You could probably just choose the MVP yourself, but it means more when a computer does it.
One way to get a feel for which player is most valuable to his team is to look at who has earned the most MVP honors so far. Two players have earned 15 MVP’s each: Drexel’s Damion Lee and Northern Iowa’s Seth Tuttle. Drexel is 10-15, so Lee’s story is not going to be told here. But you should take a minute to visit Drexel’s page and check out the player stats, because Lee is having nice season without much help from his teammates.
by Ken Pomeroy on Friday, February 13, 2015
Here are the most extreme things to happen in college basketball between Friday, February 6th and Thursday, February 12th…Biggest upsets
3) #297 Delaware 73, #127 Northeastern 68 (10%), Saturday. It hasn’t been a great year for the Blue Hens. Outside of senior two-guard Kyle Anderson—who has been around so long that I seriously thought he was drafted by the Spurs last June—the Delaware depth chart is littered with freshmen and sophomores. This was Delaware’s sixth win all season, but give them credit: They are feisty in close games. They are 6-18 overall, but 6-7 in games decided by six or less.
2) #338 Presbyterian 69, #208 UNC Asheville 65 (8%), Thursday. The Blue Hose started the season with a 69-point loss to Duke and while things have improved since then, it’s still been a tough season. Presbyterian is 9-17 with four of those wins coming over hapless non D-I competition. So that’s 5-17 against real competition. But the Hose, like the Hens of a similar color, are solid in close games, going 4-3 in contests decided by four points or less. The moral of the story is don’t let a weaker team hang around. Clutch can show up when you least expect it.
by Ken Pomeroy on Sunday, February 8, 2015
There has been recent discussion over at ESPN.com regarding the decline in home court advantage in the NBA. First, there was this piece by Tom Haberstroh, inspired by Steve Ilardi, and then additional analysis by Haberstroh and Kevin Pelton.
It turns out the same effect exists at the college level. Here’s the evolution of home winning percentage (conference games only) since the 2000 season:
by Ken Pomeroy on Friday, February 6, 2015
Here are the most extreme things to happen in college basketball between Friday, January 30th and Thursday, February 5th…Biggest upsets
3) #342 Chicago State 56, #255 Grand Canyon 55 (9%), Saturday. I don’t talk much about the WAC around here for obvious reasons. But it’s important to remember that the conference used to be an integral part of Big Monday. Chicago State is mildly interesting because Tracy Dildy trots out a different starting lineup every other game. The one that suited up against Grand Canyon was his 17th of the season, and you’d think based on the result that this one might stick. But no, Dildy changed it up for Thursday night’s game against New Mexico State (probably due to an injury and/or suspension) which resulted in an eight-point loss.
2) #125 Creighton 79, #20 Xavier 72 (OT) (9%), Wednesday. Teams like Creighton and Georgia Tech are a curse to their conference brethren. Both are at the bottom of their respective league tables and yet both have been competitive in most of their losses. So even the top teams in the league can’t take the game for granted. Don’t get me wrong, this is still a bad loss for Xavier, especially coming at home, but the Bluejays were eventually going to get a decent win or two.
1) #324 Marist 75, #135 Canisius 67 (6%), Sunday. Marist started the season 1-18 but have now won three in a row. They did lose two starters in their first two games of the season, and those two guys have recently returned, so Marist probably is a better team than their rating shows. Continuing to do things like winning at Canisius will make me research the best conference records after starting 0-9.
by Ken Pomeroy on Tuesday, February 3, 2015
The worst thing to happen on #SuperHoopsSaturday was VCU’s Briante Weber suffering a season-ending ACL tear in the Rams’ 64-55 loss to Richmond. Weber was on track to become college basketball’s steals king, as measured by total steals in one’s career. Providence’s John Linehan owns the record of 385, while Weber will finish his career with 374.
The obsession with counting stats is understandable. They’re easy because that’s what we see on the stat sheet. But counting stats do Weber an injustice. He’s led the nation in steal rate (the percentage of possessions where he recorded a steal) in each of his four collegiate seasons. Based on the dominance of his era, Weber is truly the king of steals.
While Linehan’s accomplishment is amazing as well, he did his work in a time where it was easier to pile up steals. Linehan played from 1998-2002, an era where games featured considerably more possessions and a higher percentage of them ended in turnovers. For example, the 2002 Providence team played to a pace of 72.8 possessions per 40 minutes, which ranked 57th in the nation. That same figure would rank fourth in 2015.
by Ken Pomeroy on Saturday, January 31, 2015
There are 151 games of D-I action today, the most of any day this season. I will chronicle some of them in an old-school live blog.
by Ken Pomeroy on Friday, January 30, 2015
Here are the most extreme things to happen in college basketball between Friday, January 23rd and Thursday, January 29th…Biggest upsets
3) #308 Austin Peay 56, #168 Eastern Illinois 52 (12%), Sunday. It wasn’t a big week for upsets across the country. Peay overcame a 13-point halftime deficit to stun EIU in Charleston. Eastern Illinois was off to a 6-0 start in OVC play but has since lost three in a row, following up this defeat with a 30-point catastrophe at Tennessee Martin (who is having a great season under first-year head coach Heath Schroyer).
2) #180 Dartmouth 70, #58 Harvard 61 (12%), Saturday. The Ivy League starts its season later than any other league, but Dartmouth’s win at Harvard officially make the league race interesting, even though we’re only two games into the schedule. This was Harvard’s third home loss in league play in the past five seasons. A 41-15 run by the Big Green in the second half was decisive. Dartmouth’s best ranking since 2002 was last season’s finish at #236. Currently, they’re #151.