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.
by Ken Pomeroy on Wednesday, January 28, 2015
The debate over which conference is the nation’s best is fairly low on my list of priorities this time of year, mainly because there’s no accepted way of measuring conference strength. At least when comparing teams, one might agree on a method of comparison. Or the teams in question might actually play each other, providing some evidence to guide the discussion. Conferences don’t actually play each other and figuring out how to compare one group of teams to another is a challenge.
Typically, when someone asserts that this conference is the best or that conference is overrated, there is no interest in discussing the details of how that conclusion is reached. But the details are important because there are many ways to determine conference strength. Let’s look at a few of these methods and determine which conference can plausibly be considered the best in the land to this point.
by Ken Pomeroy on Friday, January 23, 2015
Here are the most extreme things to happen in college basketball between Friday, January 16th and Thursday, January 22nd…Biggest upsets
3) #272 Rice 73, #118 Charlotte 68 (OT) (10%), Saturday. The last time Rice won a conference road game was February 29, 2012. They ended the 17 game losing streak by taking 34 of their 52 shots from beyond the arc. Under first-year head coach Mike Rhoades, the Owls have now taken 410 3-pointers and 410 2-pointers against D-I foes. Rice is not in a position to contend for the Conference USA title, but they are probably fun to watch. They overcame a six-point deficit with three minutes left in regulation to upset the 49ers.
2) #299 South Alabama 89, #131 Louisiana Lafayette 82 (10%), Saturday. This is purely anecdotal, but one formula for an upset is to let the favorite build some false confidence early in the game. The Jaguars spotted the Ragin’ Cajuns a 25-10 lead and one might have thought that the game was over. USA had just two wins over D-I teams to this point, but they hung around and used 54 second-half points to pull away for a comfortable win.
1) #331 South Carolina State 73, #174 Maryland Eastern Shore 72 (OT) (7%), Monday. Clearly, the Hawks let my praise of head coach Bobby Collins go to their head. That is the only way to explain blowing a late 11-point lead at home to South Carolina State. I hope it’s not the beginning of the end for the Cinderella story that is UMES. We’ll continue to monitor.
by Ken Pomeroy on Thursday, January 22, 2015
The MinutesMatrixTM posted on the expanded player page can tell a story about a team over the season. Some programs are blessed with good health and overall stability while others suffer through injuries, suspensions, transfers, and unsteady play which requires the coach to constantly reevaluate how he doles out playing time. In looking over some of this data, it is striking how rare it is for a team to stick with one starting lineup through the entire season.
According to my information, a total of seven teams made it through last season with just one starting lineup: Cincinnati, Oklahoma, Providence, Sam Houston State, Stephen F. Austin, Utah Valley, and Wisconsin. Collectively, these teams went 93-31 in conference play which is part of the equation for lineup for lineup stability.
by Ken Pomeroy on Friday, January 16, 2015
Here are the most extreme things to happen in college basketball between Friday, January 9th and Thursday, January 15th…Biggest upsets
3) #173 Rutgers 73, #4 Wisconsin 62 (7%), Sunday. Wisconsin was missing Frank Kaminsky in this one, so maybe Rutgers’ true chances were more like, I don’t know, 10 percent? The Badgers blew an early 14-point lead and witnessed Rutgers uncharacteristically hit 57 percent of its 2’s. The Scarlet Knights now rank 302nd in 2-point accuracy.
2) #74 Miami FL 90, #4 Duke 74 (7%), Tuesday. Duke posted back-to-back defensive performances that were vintage 2014. The Blue Devils allowed 1.24 points per possession to N.C. State and 1.21 to Miami. It’s possible both figures will hold up as the best offensive game for both teams in ACC play.
1) #104 Kansas State 66, #7 Oklahoma 63 (OT) (6%), Saturday. Sure, maybe the laptop got a little too excited about the Sooners after a 21-point win at Texas on January 5th. And maybe it was a little harsh on Kansas State after close non-conference losses to Pitt, Tennessee, and Texas Southern. Buddy Hield scored 31 for the Sooners and players not named Buddy Hield went 12-for-32 on 2’s and 0-for-6 on 3’s to go with 12 turnovers.
by Ken Pomeroy on Wednesday, January 14, 2015
When Oregon State knocked off Arizona late Sunday night, it put Wayne Tinkle on the map for the job he’s done in his first season in Corvallis. Tinkle has taken a roster that lost its top five minutes-earners from last season—without much to replace them—and has built a squad capable of beating really good teams at home. That’s high praise at a program that hasn’t had a winning conference record since 1990. However, he’s not doing the best job of any first-year head coach.
It’s true that it’s easier to improve a bad program than a good one, but Maryland-Eastern Shore is a special case. Many people have tried and failed to build the Hawks into a winner over the past 40 years. Their last winning season in the MEAC was in 2001. Their last winning season overall was in 1993. Their last winning season before that was 1980. If we were compiling a list of worst programs in the nation, UMES would get serious consideration. But under first-year head coach Bobby Collins, that is changing.
by Ken Pomeroy on Friday, January 9, 2015
This is the Week in Review, where the previous week of unusual occurrences in college basketball is reviewed.Biggest upsets
3. Thursday: #139 Pepperdine 67, #27 BYU 61 (10%). The WCC has long been a conference where the home-court doesn’t provide much advantage. But in the first two weeks of conference play, that idea is being taken to the extreme with home teams posting an 8-14 record so far. Coming off consecutive 30+ point road wins, BYU fell at home in a game it never led. Pepperdine got 23 and a whole lot of other things (eight boards, two assists, two blocks, and two steals) from junior wing Stacy Davis and is now 2-0 on the road in league play.
2. Saturday: #307 Navy 69, #125 Lafayette 65 (9%). Before DePaul was doing its thing in the Big East, lowly Navy was getting off to a 2-0 start in the Patriot League. They have since lost to Boston U., but at this moment in time they were on top of the league, with all 19 players on its roster dreaming of an improbable perfect season after a non-conference slate that included losses to The Citadel and Maryland-Eastern Shore.
1. Wednesday: #279 Ball State 60, #104 Eastern Michigan 59 (OT) (9%). The MAC has surged this season, with four teams currently ranked inside the top 100. Eastern Michigan, with its stingy zone defense, was on the doorstep of that club before its conference opener against the Cardinals, but the Eagles’ offense once again let them down.