by Ken Pomeroy on Friday, December 28, 2012
There were only 15 games played this week, thus there’s limited action to review…
1) Arizona 68, San Diego State 67 . (Tuesday) The Wildcats got a game-saving block from Nick Johnson on Chase Tapley’s lay-up with three second to go to seal the win. Jamaal Franklin took just six shots, equaling the lowest number over the past two seasons, but the Aztecs still found a way to have a productive offensive game. They made their free throws (15-of-18) and their twos (20-of-38). Still, it wasn’t quite enough against an Arizona team that got to the line more (19-of-27) and committed just eight turnovers.
2) New Mexico 55, Cincinnati 54 . (Thursday) The Bearcats went five-for-26 on two-pointers in the first half, and led. Then they went four-for-12 on two in the second half and the Lobos just had enough offense to beat Cincinnati by one. The teams combined to go a mind-boggling 23-of-73 on shots inside the arc.
1) #117 Indiana St. (20%) 57, #26 Miami FL 55  OT. (Thursday) The Hurricanes have struggled with injuries, but if you can’t beat Florida Gulf Coast without Durand Scott and you can’t beat Indiana State without Reggie Johnson, you have a two-man team. In fact, losses to Florida Gulf Coast (on the road) and Indiana State (neutral) are not huge upsets and the effect of the absent players is a bit overstated. The Sycamores made 27 percent of their field goals (29 percent of their twos) but still won on a Jake Odum buzzer-beater in OT. It helped that Miami didn’t make a three in 15 attempts.
1) Indiana State (2.0%) over Miami FL. (Tuesday) The Sycamores trailed 47-40 with 3:19 to go in regulation but scored on their last four possessions to force overtime at 49-49. The only time Indiana State led in regulation was at 2-0.
Unbeatens remaining: 4. (One fewer since Monday.)
Winless teams remaining: 4. (Unchanged since Monday.)
This week’s 3 most appealing games (according to FanMatchTM):
1) #21 UNLV at #27 North Carolina (Saturday, 2 PM ET, ESPN2). Apparently this has the potential to be a “shocking outcome”, but only if you think there’s no disadvantage in having to travel three time zones and play in front of 21,000 hostile fans. The Tar Heels’ reputation is at a season-low after being demolished by Texas, but it’s safe to say they aren’t as bad as they looked against Texas. UNC doesn’t have much of an inside game, but perhaps that’s for the best in this one. Anthony Bennett and Khem Birch are going to get the bigs in foul trouble anyways.
2) #20 Missouri at #30 UCLA (Friday, 10 PM ET, ESPN2). More potential for a “shocking” outcome here. UCLA’s likely the favorite in this one, yet public perception is on the Tigers’ side. This should be a fairly high-scoring game with both teams exhibiting up-tempo tendencies thus far and a complete lack of turnovers being a possibility. Shabazz Muhammad is dominating the ball more with each passing game, something not that difficult to do with a timid Larry Drew and a Wear brother on the court most of the time.
3) #13 Kentucky at #2 Louisville (Saturday, 4 PM ET, CBS). It’s two decent offenses against two excellent defenses. Gorgui Dieng will see his first action since injuring his wrist in November further bolstering the Cardinals’ depth. Meanwhile, we get our first look at Ryan Harrow against quality competition since a December 1 game against Baylor. Have the recent games against lesser foes allowed him to build some confidence?