by Ken Pomeroy on Friday, December 21, 2012
The 3 most appealing games (according to FanMatchTM):
1) Texas 85, North Carolina 67 . (Wednesday) As usual, a high point total draws attention to UNC’s defense. Giving up 85 points to Texas is nothing to be proud of, but the game did have 81 possessions. Let’s give a jersey pop to the Texas defense. The Longhorns got some help from UNC’s occasional sloppiness early in the game, but their D has been very consistent this season, not allowing a point per possession to a D-I team yet.
2) N.C. State 88, Stanford 79 . (Tuesday) The final margin wasn’t impressive, but the Wolfpack had control of this game throughout. If you had to make an all-ACC team right now - which would be weird because they haven’t played any conference games – State would be represented by Richard Howell. Howell scored 17 and rebounded 12 in this one, continuing a very productive start to the season.
3) Illinois State 74, Dayton 73 . (Wednesday) The Redbirds continued their incredible two-point shooting, hitting 21-of-32 against the Flyers to stay atop the national leaderboard in that category. Dayton had two shots to win it on their last possession, but couldn’t make it happen.
The 3 biggest upsets:
1) #212 Holy Cross (18%) 73, #113 San Francisco 63 . (Tuesday) It was slow-going in the upset department this week. USF has lured three East Coast teams to its home building this season which is a nice strategy to get wins. But the Crusaders’ Dave Dudzinski shook off the jet lag to score a career-high 31 points and shock the Dons.
2) #131 Canisius (19%) 72, #66 Temple 62 . (Wednesday) Canisius has two players playing for their third D-I program. Freddy Asprilla (FIU and Kansas State) is one, and Billy Baron (Virginia and Rhode Island) is the other. Baron (120 ORtg / 26% usage) has been a huge reason why Canisius has overcome pessimistic pre-season projections. The MAAC pre-season poll had them eighth out of ten. Among the computers, Dan Hanner’s was the most optimistic with an 8-10 conference record. I’ve got the Griffs projected for 13-5 after the win in Philly.
3) #248 Coastal Carolina (20%) 69, #67 Clemson 46 . (Wednesday) For the second straight season, Clemson loses to its former coach, Cliff Ellis. This one was at Coastal Carolina’s brand new HTC Center, but given the margin here, it’s still a pretty embarrassing performance by the Tigers.
The 3 craziest comebacks:
1) Austin Peay (0.5%) over Lipscomb. (Tuesday) Lipscomb was down 84-72 with 3:09 to go. Fortunately for them, the Governors whiffed on their last nine possessions while the Bison went 3, 2, 2, 0, 2, 2, 2, 0, 2 to close the game with a 15-0 run. Final: 87-84 .
2) North Carolina A&T (4.6%) over Eastern Kentucky. (Wednesday) The Colonels held a 37-20 lead with 3:36 remaining in the first half, but a 26-7 run gave the Aggies the lead by the 11-minute mark of the second half. The run would continue to 37-9 at one point and A&T would go on to an easy 78-67  win.
3) Canisius (4.8%) over Temple. (Wednesday) Covered above. Canisius fell behind 28-16 with 6:13 to go in the first half before owning the Owls the rest of the way.
Unbeatens remaining: 8. (Unchanged since Monday.)
Winless teams remaining: 4. (Two fewer since Monday.)
This weekend’s 3 most appealing games (according to FanMatchTM):
1) #7 Kansas at #9 Ohio State (Saturday, 4 PM ET, CBS). The Jayhawks have spent the last two weeks whipping reasonably decent teams at home. Kansas takes good care of the ball…except at the point guard spot. Ohio State has a backcourt that forces turnovers in bunches. Let’s see what happens.
2) #30 Illinois vs. #24 Missouri (Saturday, 6 PM ET, ESPN2). This one’s for all the braggin’ rights. Last we saw Mizzou they were looking respectable while battling for a mythical underwater city and they’ve added Jabari Brown to the rotation since then. The Illini, as you may have heard, love to shoot the three. The Tigers kind of like to let opponents take them, although their schedule has been weak enough that it’s hard to say how that applies to this game.
3) #12 Arizona vs. #20 Miami FL (Sunday, 11:30 PM ET, ESPN2). This would be in the semis of the Diamond Head Classic so it’s not completely guaranteed to happen. To be precise, there’s about a one-in-six chance of it not happening. Miami has to get by Hawaii first, and while the Warriors aren’t that good, it’s on their home floor where they’re actually a threat. Plus, Christian Standhardinger and all. And Arizona has to beat East Tennessee State, a team they’ve struggled with in tournament play in the past (OK, really distant past). Anyway, Reggie Johnson vs. Kaleb Tarczewski should be fun.