by Ken Pomeroy on Monday, December 31, 2012
The 3 most appealing games (according to FanMatchTM):
1) North Carolina 79, UNLV 73 . (Saturday) Nice win for the Tar Heels, especially without Reggie Bullock. A win Sunday at Virginia will be more impressive but probably get less fanfare. I can feel a post coming on about how the media undervalues the invisible powers of home-court advantage.
2) UCLA 97, Missouri 94 (OT) . (Friday) Another game where the team ranked in the human polls lost to a team not ranked in the human polls. Phil Pressey was once again productive despite poor shooting and five turnovers. Dishing out 19 assists will do that for you. Shabazz Muhammad, meanwhile, has arrived. He posted his fourth-consecutive game with an offensive rating over 130 and a usage rate of at least 30.
3) Louisville 80, Kentucky 77 . (Saturday) The Cardinals were impressive in a game that wasn’t as close as your typical three-point game. It’s worth noting though that Kentucky put up the most points per possession that Louisville has allowed in its last 36 games.
The 3 biggest upsets:
1) #259 Bryant (6%) 80, #57 Lehigh 79 (Sunday) C.J. McCollum went for 34 but it wasn’t enough as Bryant recorded their most impressive win since first playing a full D-I schedule five seasons ago. Frankie Dobbs’ driving layup with 1.3 seconds left (video) was the game-winner. Congrats to Tim O’Shea and Co.
2) #278 Towson (7%) 67, #86 Oregon State 66 (OT)  (Saturday) The Pac-12 keeps on giving us colossal upsets and crazy comebacks. This weekend it was Towson, paid by the Beavers to travel 2400 miles, pulling out the win after trailing 44-25 with 15:48 to go. Jerelle Benimon not only scored 20 and rebounded 21 but he played all 45 minutes for the winners.
3) #340 Alabama A&M (7%) 59, #225 Mississippi State 57  (Saturday) The Bulldogs are not good this season, as you might guess from their 225 ranking before this game. They’re likely the worst team in the SEC, which is saying something since the SEC is easily the worst power conference in the country. Mississippi State actually owned a 15-point lead in the first half in this one.
The 3 craziest comebacks:
1) Towson (0.4%) over Oregon State. (Saturday) Towson was better than my system was giving them credit for, but still. A cross-country road trip, trailing by 19 with 16 minutes left, and having to play an extra five to get the win. Amazing comeback.
2) Georgia Southern (0.5%) over Georgia State. (Saturday) Georgia Southern already had one improbable win – an upset at Virginia Tech. (Although, that’s looking less shocking with every double-digit loss by the Hokies.) Georgia State jumped out to a 17-0 lead in this one and still held a 54-44 lead with 2:46 left before an 11-1 run by the Eagles forced overtime, leading to a 68-64  victory.
3) Alabama A&M (1.2%) over Mississippi State. (Saturday) A&M trailed 30-15 with 5:21 left in the first half before pulling off the stunner.
Unbeatens remaining: Duke, Michigan, Arizona, and Wyoming. (One fewer since Friday.)
Winless teams remaining: St. Francis PA, Mississippi Valley State, Maryland-Eastern Shore, and Grambling. (Unchanged since Friday.)
This week’s 3 most appealing games (according to FanMatchTM):
1) #14 Gonzaga at #17 Oklahoma State (Monday, 6 PM ET, ESPN2). Gonzaga has gone 4-0 against the Big 12 so far but they haven’t had a test like test. The Cowboys are increasingly looking like a defense-dominated team. Their offensive stats are not all that inspiring so far and they’ve played an awful collection of defenses to date – their defensive SOS is 332nd in the land.
2) #15 Creighton at #47 Illinois State (Wednesday, 8 PM ET, Fox Sports Net). The Redbirds have been a staple of this section for mostly random reasons. You have the top-ranked (Creighton) and eighth-ranked (Illinois State) teams in the nation in terms of eFG% offense and they both play kinda fast. FanMatch likes that and the fact the game should be close.
3) #18 Michigan State at #10 Minnesota (Monday, 2 PM ET, ESPN2). The Big Ten schedule begins with this early-afternoon game today. The Gophers’ offense has been propped up by an offensive rebounding rate just a tick under 50%. That’s likely to fall against Michigan State, so how will their offense fare under such circumstances?