by Ken Pomeroy on Wednesday, November 21, 2012
[Programming note: The Day After will be observing Thanksgiving break and return Monday. At which point this feature will be posted on Mondays and Fridays only. There are actually interesting basketball-related things to write about now, and the other days will be filled in with such content.]
Most appealing game (according to FanMatchTM): Saint Louis vs. Kansas.
The Billikens are playing the first few weeks of the season without their best offensive player, Kwamain Mitchell, and in this game they got all of nine minutes from their starting point guard, Jordair Jett, himself the victim of a first half injury. Not surprisingly, Kansas won fairly easily (73-59 [66 poss]), getting a variety of awkward-looking dunks from Jeff Withey, who scored 25 and blocked seven.
Major upsets (<15% win probability): Technically, USC (11%) over Texas qualifies (59-53  in OT), though the ratings are quite a bit off on both teams right now. Kevin O’Neill got very close to achieving his dream of coaching a completely unwatchable game. In other action, Army (14%) took down St. Francis (NY) 67-59 .
Crazy comebacks (<3% win probability): After almost pulling off a similar comeback the previous day against Duquesne, James Madison came back from a 66-60 deficit to Youngstown State with 1:14 left (2.6%) to win 69-68 . They got assistance from a botched fast break by the Penguins with 18 seconds left that led to a game-winning run-out for the Dukes.
Unbeatens remaining: 63 (9 fewer than yesterday). Wichita State, you’re 5-0 after beating DePaul in Mexico, and you have yet to embarrass me and the shockingly high preseason rating I gave you. To show my gratitude, I’m at the ready to start the campaign for Carl Hall as MVC POY.
Winless teams remaining: 29 (7 fewer than yesterday). West Virginia has played one game, and as you might remember they lost it decidely to Gonzaga during the ESPN marathon. They’ll finally play game number two on Thanksgiving, but sadly that means Juwan Staten’s offensive rating of 6 has to exist as a thing for one more day.
Other notable events: IPFW beat something called Judson 92-22 . Headline on Judson’s home page at this hour says “Cold Shooting Plagues Judson”. Sure Judson made just 7 of 25 2’s and 2 of 26 3’s, but I would have preferred the half-full “Judson falls despite hot free-throw shooting”, because they did make both of their attempts from the line.
Today’s top game: It’s #14 Pitt vs. #8 Michigan in Preseason NIT semifinal action (ESPN, 9:30 ET). Are the Panthers as bad as they looked against Oakland (and for that matter, all of last season) or as good as they looked against Lehigh? Tune in! One team is awesome at offensive rebounding and the other is pretty good at preventing them. Oh, the drama.