by Ken Pomeroy on Friday, January 11, 2013
The 3 most appealing games (according to FanMatchTM):
1) Oregon 70, Arizona 66  (Thursday) Oregon as Pac-12 champs? It’s now a realistic statement. (My simulator says they have a 33% chance now.) The Ducks spotted Arizona the first eleven points, but eventually built a 14-point of their own early in the second half. And a late Wildcat charge came up a possession short.
2) Minnesota 84, Illinois 67  (Wednesday) Minnesota was only able to rebound a season-low 26% of their missed shots, and they still managed to score 1.20 points per possession. On the road. That’s scary. It’s also probably not a sustainable approach for the Gophers, or at least that's what the rest of the Big Ten has to hope. Joe Coleman getting 29 points isn’t sustainable either, but that’s what he did as Minnesota opened up a cushion mid-way through the second half and won easily.
3) Miami 68, North Carolina 59  (Thursday) Miami as ACC champs? It’s not all that realistic (11%), but I'm giving the ‘Canes the distinction of being the second-best team in the ACC, for whatever that’s worth. This game was broken open by an 8-0 Miami run over three possessions late in the second half. It game the Hurricanes a nine-point lead with three minutes to go. Much of the twitter buzz revolved around Dexter Strickland’s line. He played 26 minutes and did nothing statistically but shoot an airball. That's good for a zero offensive rating on 2% usage.
The 3 biggest upsets:
1) #312 Samford (7%) 62, #135 College of Charleston 57  (Thursday) Samford’s not nearly as interesting without Jimmy Tillette coaching them. They no longer take more threes than twos, for example. But they pulled off a SoCon shocker last night. And they overcame a 53-44 deficit with 4:30 to go to do so.
2) #327 East Tennessee State (13%) 49, #236 Northern Kentucky 44  (Monday) The Bucs got their second D-I win of the season in a game that was also notable for being the low-possession game of the year (tying with Savannah State vs. Western Illinois on January 2).
3) #260 Missouri State (14%) 62, #59 Illinois State 55  (Tuesday) Welcome back to this section, Missouri State. After a spellbindingly-awful non-conference performance, the Bears are now 3-1 in the Valley, but projected for 6-12. They would probably take upset of the weekend honors with a win over Creighton tonight. Good luck!
Random awkward action photo.
The 3 craziest comebacks:
1) Samford (1.0%) over College of Charleston. (Thursday) Detailed above.
2) Towson (1.1%) over William & Mary. (Wednesday) Towson, leader of the CAA at 3-0 after going 1-28 last season, is officially a story. (Thank you, Jerrelle Benimon.) They were actually a slight favorite at the outset to win this one, but a huge underdog when the Tribe had the ball, up 66-57 with 2:06 to go. The Tigers forced OT when they got their heart broken by William & Mary’s Marcus Thornton, who hit a three with less than two seconds left to force double OT. But that’s where Towson is at their best, and they outscored the Tribe 21-8 for a 99-86  win.
3) West Virginia (1.5%) over Texas. (Wednesday). The Mountaineers won a basketball game in which they had scored 37 points with 3:41 to go. You could probably guess it had to come against either Georgetown, Tennessee, or Texas. Indeed, it was the Longhorns that were up ten at that point. Somehow, WVU put together four consecutive scoring possessions to end regulation, and blitzed Texas 7-3 in OT to get its first Big 12 win, 57-53 .
Unbeatens remaining: Duke and Michigan. (Two fewer since Monday.)
Winless teams remaining: Maryland-Eastern Shore and Grambling. (Unchanged since Monday.)
This weekend’s 3 most appealing games (according to FanMatchTM):
1) #7 Michigan at #10 Ohio State (Sunday, 1:30 PM ET, CBS). The perception of the Buckeyes seems to fall quite a bit short of their numbers. After all, they’ve had 80 minutes against Final Four contenders Duke and Kansas, and while the results were mixed, they were mixed and not all bad. In fact, they had the second-best offensive game against Duke to date. So while the Buckeyes may not be on the level of the Big Ten’s top three, they may not be that far off, either. We'll know more after this one.
2) #8 Minnesota at #3 Indiana (Saturday, Noon ET, Big Ten Network). If you like offensive rebounds, then this game will appeal to you. A made shot will be good offense for these teams, of course, but a missed shot won’t be a bad second alternative, either, especially if you’re Indiana. (Minnesota is a rather shaky 270th in defensive rebounding.)
3) #23 Missouri at #25 Ole Miss (Saturday, 8 PM ET, Fox Sports Net). I like the fact that the three big games this weekend are not competing with each other. There's no need to pick favorites and there are breath-catching breaks after each. And yes, this is a big game, and one that won’t be lacking for points. The viewer will also get to catch up with Rebel shooting