by Ken Pomeroy on Sunday, December 23, 2012
The 3 most appealing games (according to FanMatchTM):
1) Kansas 74, Ohio State 66 . (Saturday) Deshaun Thomas took just four two-point shots, his fewest total of the season, as Kansas held Ohio State under a point per possession for the third time in the last 12.5 months. That’s the Jeff Withey Effect.
2) Missouri 82, Illinois 73 . (Saturday) Mizzou earns braggin’ rights in what was, as usual, an entertaining game between these two teams. For me, the most memorable moment was when Ted Valentine physically restrained Alex Oriakhi during live action. It’s not something you see frequently, or actually, ever.
3) Arizona 69, Miami FL 50 . (Sunday) Reggie Johnson sat this one out after injuring a thumb in practice on Thursday, but the story behind the result here was obviously much more than just Johnson’s absence. The Wildcats took control late in the first half and rolled from there.
The 3 biggest upsets:
1) #237 Old Dominion 63 (8%) 73, #33 Virginia 61 . (Saturday) The Cavaliers blew a ten-point lead as the Monarchs got their second win of the season. Actually, it’s pretty amazing how bad ODU has started this season given the consistent excellence that has existed in Norfolk since Blaine Taylor started coaching there. They have averaged 24 wins a season over the last eight but may struggle to get to double-digits this season. Perhaps it’s time to bring the mustache back, coach.
2) #148 South Dakota State (10%) 70, #29 New Mexico 65 . (Saturday) Nate Wolters kind of went off in The Pit, scoring 28 on 15 FGA’s and 11 FTA’s while assisting on seven others, as the Jackrabbits handed the Lobos their first loss.
3) #75 Temple (11%) 83, #6 Syracuse 79 . (Saturday) The Owls got after it on the offensive glass, grabbing 19 boards in 41 opportunities, which is one of the classic ways to put up points against Syracuse. What was a bit unusual was Temple getting 36 free throws against a defense that historically keeps opponents off the free throw line.
The 3 craziest comebacks:
1) Cal State Northridge (1.2%) over Utah. (Friday) In its brief existence, the Pac-12 Network has been where the improbable happens. Utah led 48-27 at the half against an average Big West team, but gave it all back by the five-minute mark as the Matadors won an unlikely 76-71  decision. Bottle up that halftime speech, Bobby Braswell.
2) Tulsa (2.0%) over Oral Roberts. (Saturday) Tulsa trailed 45-28 with 15:57 to go before Danny Manning’s team went on what you might call a roll, scoring 44 points to close out a 72-68  victory.
3) Mercer (2.2%) over Alabama. (Saturday) Mercer pulled of a sizeable upset of Alabama, barely missing the upset list, but they played most of the first 30 minutes from well behind. Their most dire situation was down 46-35 with 10:26 left, but they outscored the Tide 31-13 the rest of the way to win 66-59 .
Unbeatens remaining: 5. (Three fewer since Friday.)
Winless teams remaining: 4. (Unchanged since Friday.)
This week’s 3 most appealing games (according to FanMatchTM):
(Due to Christmas Break, there are only two worth discussing.)
1) #10 Arizona vs. #24 San Diego State(Tuesday, 9:30 PM ET, ESPN2). It wasn’t supposed to be quite this easy, but both teams won their first two games in the Diamond Head Classic without much stress (although the Aztecs were tested a bit by Indiana State yesterday). Finish off your Christmas celebration (or your regular Tuesday night) with this tasty showdown.
2) #39 New Mexico at #19 Cincinnati (Thursday, 9 PM ET, ESPN2). It was expected to be a battle of unbeatens, but the Lobos fell to South Dakota State on Saturday. Cincinnati had a mild scare of its own, trailing by eight to Wright State early in the second half before pulling out a 68-58 win. The Bearcats lead the nation in 2-pt% defense and have yet to allow an opponent to make 50% of its twos in any single game.