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.
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.