by Ken Pomeroy on Monday, January 21, 2013
The 3 most appealing games (according to FanMatchTM):
1) Michigan State 59, Ohio State 56  (Saturday) John Donne penned the famous poem “No Man is an Island” in the 17th century. It would have never been written had he anticipated the Ohio State offense in 2013. Deshaun Thomas is clearly an island, and even though he was his usual productive self (28 points on 20 FGA’s, 2 FTA’s, and one turnover), no island is going to beat Michigan State this season without some sort of herculean defensive effort.
2) Wichita State 67, Creighton 64  (Saturday) The Shockers held the Blue Jays below 1 PPP for the first time this season. Rumor has it that Tyler Hansbrough and Ty Lawson popped the bubbly after this one as it ensured 2009 North Carolina would remain the only team of the last decade to post at least 1 PPP in every game for a full season.
3) Butler 64, Gonzaga 63  (Saturday) Everyone saw this game - and wrote about it - so I don’t think there’s much I can add that you haven’t seen. This was the rare low-scoring game that was not a defensive battle. Also, it was exciting. There were six lead changes in the last two minutes. On the busiest college-hoops day of the season, it was arguably the most exciting game of all 154 that were played. (Though, I’d give the honor to this one).
The 3 biggest upsets:
1) #346 The Citadel (7%) 70, #267 Georgia Southern 55  (Saturday) #347 Grambling’s halftime lead over Jackson State doesn’t technically qualify for this section, but it should give the Tigers hope that the #346 team can get a double-digit win over a D-I team. On the road, no less.
2) #177 Rhode Island (8%) 82, #50 Saint Louis 80 (OT)  (Saturday) The Rams stunned the Billikens in Kingston last season for one of their seven wins. They went a step farther here by winning at Chaifetz, and after spotting Jim Crews’ team a 27-18 first-half lead. This is a rough loss for SLU, who’s 1-2 in the A-10 and now projected for just 8-8.
3) #330 UC Riverside (10%) 68, #108 UC Irvine 58  (Saturday) All UC Riverside can do is play spoiler in the Big West race, and they did that very well in this game, severely damaging Irvine’s chances for a regular-season title. The Anteaters (maybe eating ants is affecting their play) now trail Long Beach State by three games with 11 to go.
The 3 craziest comebacks:
1) Binghamton (1.8%) over Maine. (Saturday) There was no guarantee Binghamtom would win a conference game this season, let alone on the road where they had lost 26 straight overall, what with the 41% two-point shooting. And when they trailed the Black Bears 39-27 with 13:48 left, this didn’t figure to be their breakthrough game. But they pulled it off, concluding matter on a Jimmy Gray (31%) three with two seconds left for the win.
2) Furman (3.1%) over UNC Greensboro. (Sunday) On the road, Furman was down 32-19 with 1:13 left in the first half, but a 15-0 run midway through the second half turned a seven-point deficit into an eight-point lead and Furman held on for a 69-61  win from there.
3) Rhode Island (3.9%) over Saint Louis. (Saturday) Covered above.
Winless teams remaining: Grambling. (One fewer since Friday. Congrats, UMES.)
Conference unbeatens remaining: 35. (18 fewer since Friday.)
Conference winless teams remaining: 24. (25 fewer since Friday.)
This week’s 3 most appealing games (according to FanMatchTM):
1) #3 Duke at #21 Miami FL (Wednesday, 7 ET, ESPN). The Hurricanes are expecting a sellout, even purchasing a domain name to promote the event, so you can expect yet another court-rush against Duke if the Hurricanes win. Curiously, operationsellout.com indicates 8,000 tickets will be sold while the Hurricanes’ fact sheet indicates the capacity of BankUnited Center is 7,200. Somebody notify the authorities.
2) #22 Colorado State at #30 New Mexico (Wednesday, 8 ET, CBS Sports Network). Larry Eustachy has generally had teams that are strong at both offensive and defensive rebounding, which is more rare that you might think. But after inheriting rebounding studs Colton Iverson and Pierce Hornung in his first season in Fort Collins, Eustachy is finally able to realize his dream of total rebounding domination. The Rams lead the country in defensive rebounding percentage and are second on the offensive end (to Iverson’s old team, Minnesota). You’d be advised to tune in to see that, but also because the winner will be the favorite to win the Mountain West regular season race.
3) #17 Oklahoma State at #42 Baylor (Monday, 5:30 ET, ESPN).
ESPN is doubling up on the Big Monday action this week and it turns out that the two matinees are the most appealing of the day. This one features an Oklahoma State team whose reputation has taken a beating with not-so-bad losses to Gonzaga and then at Kansas State and Oklahoma. Their conference schedule will soften up after this game, so a victory will put them in good position to win back the media’s attention over the coming weeks.