by Ken Pomeroy on Friday, December 14, 2012
The 3 most appealing games (according to FanMatchTM):
1) Tennessee 69, Wichita State 60 . (Thursday) The Shockers suffered their first loss of the season as Cleanthony Early had the most miserable game of his D-I tenure, missing all five field goal attempts and disqualifying himself in 17 minutes.
2) Belmont 64, Middle Tennessee 49 . (Thursday) Whatever you want, think Belmont! In this case, Belmont wanted to make 61% of its twos and simultaneously showcase its defense, which will be desperately needed when they play Kansas on Saturday. Nary a Blue Raider managed to score in double-figures.
3) Villanova 65, Saint Joseph’s 61 . (Tuesday) This game became famous for Halil Kanacevic flipping off the crowd and earning a two-game suspension from his school. The game itself was pretty good, too, as neither team could build more than a six-point lead. ‘Nova scored the last nine to earn a four-point win.
The 3 biggest upsets:
With the light schedule of finals week, there were only nine upsets in the last four days, the biggest of which was #276 McNeese State at home over #90 Louisiana Tech. At 23% this was hardly the kind of thing that represents the spirit of this section, so I’m moving on…
The 3 craziest comebacks:
1) NJIT (0.5%) over Army. (Tuesday) NJIT trailed Army by double-digits most of the second half, but it’s worst situation was trailing 63-51 with 3:06 to go. But the Highlanders made eight of their last ten field goals, including a tie-breaking layup by Chris Flores with a second left. NJIT scored five points in the first ten minutes, and 35 in the last ten to win 69-67 .
2) Duquesne (4.4%) over West Virginia. (Tuesday) The Mountaineers loss to Duquesne was disappointing but especially so when you realize they led 38-23 with 19:34 left. It’s not like Duquesne had to do much to overcome the deficit since WVU went 8-of-31 from the field and 0-for-4 from the free throw line the rest of the way allowing the Dukes to secure a 60-56  victory.
3) McNeese State (7.9%) over Louisiana Tech. (Wednesday) As noted previously, this wasn’t a huge upset coming at home and all. But McNeese spotted La. Tech the first 11 points which increased the degree of difficulty a bit.
Unbeatens remaining: 13. (One fewer since Monday.)
Winless teams remaining: 6. (Two fewer since Monday.)
This weekend’s 3 most appealing games (according to FanMatchTM):
1) #2 Florida at #14 Arizona. (Saturday, 10 ET, ESPN) Florida hasn’t played a great collection of offenses, but their offensive SOS is ranked a not-disgraceful 169th. I bring this up because the Gators have the eighth best turnover percentage against those offenses and Arizona has had a turnover problem so far, ranking 231st in taking care of the ball. Florida also has the 2nd-lowest opponents’ 2P% in the land. That felt weird to type.
2) #15 Creighton at #43 Cal. (Saturday, 11 ET, Pac-12 Network) It’s a pretty nice run for Haas Pavilion – UNLV, Creighton, and Alan Williams in a three-game stretch. Fun fact – Alan Crabbe is Doug McDermott’s fourth-best statistical comp right now. Both can fill it up from everywhere and draw fouls in impressive quantities.
3) #3 Louisville at #33 Memphis. (Saturday, 2:30 ET, Fox Sports Net) Russ Smith tries to further his unlikely player-of-the-year campaign as these two continue a rivalry rooted in Metro Conference times. Let’s dedicate this one to the memory of Baskerville Holmes. Last year’s game checked in at 86 possessions, by the way.