by Ken Pomeroy on Monday, January 28, 2013
The 3 most appealing games (according to FanMatchTM):
1) Wisconsin 45, Minnesota 44  (Saturday) The Badgers won the game, which was not really an upset. They also got more offensive rebounds (11-8) which was not really an upset, either, considering Minnesota’s woeful defensive rebounding. Of course, nobody likes Minnesota anymore now they have lost four straight, despite the fact that three of those losses are to Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin, and a top ten team would be expected to lose to those teams anyway.
2) San Diego State 55, New Mexico 34  (Saturday) This was another in a string of low-scoring affairs on a Saturday where teams averaged just under 66 points per game, sending us on an inevitable trajectory towards this being the lowest-scoring season since 1951-52. San Diego State, with three or four exceptions, has been consistently excellent defensively this season, but it takes two extreme efforts to put up .57 PPP, which was New Mexico’s worst offensive game in the tempo-free era. Thus, I conclude this was a combination of great Aztec defense and putrid Lobo offense.
3) N.C. State 91, North Carolina 83  (Saturday) Here was the rare high-scoring game on Saturday. It actually had just four fewer points than our top two games combined. I like to stand up for UNC’s defense from time to time since it’s often the victim of pacism - a way of thinking that discriminates against pace. But the Tar Heels were brutal, often indifferent, when it came to stopping the Wolfpack’s transition game. This game, much like UNC”s loss to Butler earlier in the season, was not as close as the score. N.C. State led by as many as 28 in the second half.
The 3 biggest upsets:
1) #246 Lafayette (5%) 78, #56 Lehigh 57  (Sunday) Lafayette almost made it here earlier in the season, taking Stanford to the final minute on December 29. This time, the final minute (or ten) didn’t matter. You might think this was about how Lehigh isn’t the same team without C.J. McCollum. The thing is, in the six previous games the ex-Engineers had played without him, they had performed better than their season-long rating.
2) #335 Tennessee Martin (13%) 65, #266 SIU Edwardsville 62  (Saturday) Kinda slow in the upset department over the weekend.
3) #262 Cornell (13%) 66, #143 Columbia 63  (Saturday) Columbia and Cornell played the rare consecutive games against each other, and the road team won both.
The 3 craziest comebacks:
1) Northwestern State (1.8%) over Stephen F. Austin. (Saturday) Stephen F. was in line to be one of just three one-loss teams nationally, but they failed to protect a 57-50 lead with 2:38 remaining. On the final five possessions of the game, the Demons outscored the Lumberjacks 11-0 to win 61-57 .
2) Harvard (2.1%) over Dartmouth. (Saturday) Harvard trailed 57-44 with 3:49 left and was still down 57-47 with 2:04 to go. The game went to OT tied at 62, which was a commanding position for the Crimson considering they were at home and much better than Dartmouth. Harvard prevailed 82-77 .
3) VIllanova (2.7%) over Syracuse. (Saturday) Syracuse had the ball, up three, with 22 seconds remaining. Michael Carter-Williams missed the front end of a one-and-one, and Ryan Arcidiacono made a three to send the game to overtime. Villanova would pull off the upset, 75-71 .
Winless teams remaining: Grambling. (Unchanged since Friday, though in Saturday’s game against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Grambling managed to have a lead with ten minutes to go.)
Conference unbeatens remaining: 20. (8 fewer since Friday.)
Conference winless teams remaining: 13. (5 fewer since Friday.)
This week’s 3 most appealing games (according to FanMatchTM):
1) #7 Pitt at #4 Louisville (Monday, 7 ET, ESPN). My simulation has Syracuse with about a 60% chance to win the Big East, followed by Louisville at 19% and, yes, Pitt at 11%. Pitt’s chances revolve around winning either this one or their next game hosting the Orange. The Panthers’ schedule softens up nicely after that, so if they are able to pull off the upset here, watch out.
2) #22 Kentucky at #26 Mississippi (Tuesday, 9 ET, ESPN). Ole Miss is into the meat of their SEC schedule, hosting the Wildcats, going to Florida, and after an exhibition against Mississippi State, traveling to Missouri. Willie Cauley-Stein’s status seems to be a guarded secret, but it’s kind of weird nobody is talking about his absence when mentioning Kentucky’s struggles.
3) #25 Oregon at #50 Stanford (Wednesday, 11 ET, ESPNU). Oregon’s going to be ranked really high in the human polls, and they’re actually in pretty good shape to be the one-seed in the Pac 12 tournament by virtue of a two game lead on the field and wins against UCLA and Arizona. But they’re unlikely to make it another week as a conference-unbeaten. Between this game and Saturday’s trip to Berkeley, they have less than a 1-in-3 chance of going 2-0.