Here are the most extreme things to happen in college basketball between Friday, December 4th and Thursday, December 10th…
1) #330 SIU Edwardsville 76, #146 SIU Carbondale 74 (8%), Wednesday. There was just a single upset of the 10% variety during finals week. SIUE got its first win in seven tries against the main campus. But in cases like this, the main campus should suffer the indignity of having its location appended to its name. Thus, we go with SIUC here. The Cougars had lost seven straight, six of those by double digits before this one, and Carbondale had rolled to an 8-1 mark, but anything can happen when these two battle for the bragging rights of the Southern Illinois University System.
Least likely comebacks
3) #319 UMass-Lowell 68, #208 Boston College 66 (2.1%), Sunday. Let’s put an asterisk here as a BC team already foundering outside the top 200 was down two starters in this one due to a food poisoning incident from the previous evening. Nonetheless, the Eagles did have as much as a ten-point lead in the second half and led 60-51 with 5:31 to go before allowing a late 14-1 run to the River Hawks that would lead to the upset.
2) #139 Milwaukee 68, #30 Wisconsin 67 (1.9%), Wednesday. The Panthers ended a 22-game losing streak to Wisconsin by overcoming a 15-point deficit. Their biggest hole according to the win probability model was when they trailed 48-36 with 14:49 remaining. This is not your typical Bo Ryan team in many ways. And here’s another reason: This was the first time in a decade that a team attempted more 3’s than 2’s against Wisconsin.
1) #343 Utah Valley 84, #128 Weber State 81 (2OT) (1.1%), Wednesday. In a week when seemingly every combination of Utah’s Division-I teams were playing each other at some point, the least anticipated matchup turned out to be the most interesting. UVU picked up its first D-I win of the season despite trailing by eight with less than three minutes remaining in regulation and by seven with less than two minutes remaining in the first overtime. The extra time and poor shooting by both teams allowed Weber’s Joel Bolomboy to become the sixth player to post a 20-20 this season. He had 28 points and 20 boards.
My five-man #ShootersClub of Micah Mason, Isaiah Williams, Jared Brownridge, John Simons, and J.C. Hampton is barnstorming the country this season, spreading goodwill and providing inspiration that you, too, can make three-point shots with enough practice. It was a slow week for the Club as John Simons didn’t have a game against a D-I team and Jared Brownridge took last week’s advice in this space too literally and didn’t shoot a single three-pointer in Santa Clara’s lone contest of the week. Meaning that the guy who has taken the most 3’s in a game this season now has a game where he didn’t take any. Overall, the Club went 13-36 (36.1%) this week for a season total of 83-229 (36.2%).
Fastest game: #214 Mount St. Mary’s 85, #243 Loyola MD 67 [83 possessions], Saturday. Last season, Mount St. Mary’s fasted-paced game was 74 possessions. This season, five of its nine games have been at least that fast. In other trivial matters, the Mount also has the shortest player to log a minute this season in sophomore point guard Junior Robinson, who is listed at 5-5. He had 17 points and six assists in this one.
Slowest game: #137 Little Rock 64, #292 Idaho 54 , Saturday. Little Rock is one of ten remaining unbeatens. Part of their feat is schedule-driven – the Trojans have played two non-D-I’s and two sub-250 teams among their seven games – but they do have road wins against San Diego State and Tulsa. Still, their run will likely come to an end tomorrow at DePaul. Along with Saint Mary’s and UNC Wilmington, they are one of three remaining unbeatens that will be an underdog on Saturday.
Highest-scoring game: #200 Nebraska-Omaha 100, #298 Montana State 97 , Sunday. 1,533 were on hand in Bozeman to see this doozy where the Bobcats’ Marcus Colbert tied the game on a jumper with three seconds to go to completely erase what had been an 18-point second half deficit. However, Devin Patterson hit a three at the buzzer to win it. The senior’s 38 points were 12 better than his previous career-high.
Lowest-scoring game: #215 Texas A&M Corpus Christi 47, #209 Texas State 39 , Saturday. Just two Texas State players made a two-point bucket in this game. The team shot 6-for-31 inside the arc and that’s a problem when your team is dead last in the country in three-point rate. Live by the two, die by the two is head coach Danny Kaspar’s motto this season.
Coach’s Pet Award: The CPA goes to the player that averages the fewest minutes per game while appearing in all of his team’s games. Dartmouth’s Cole Harrison was the early leader for the award, but head coach Paul Cormier elected not to play him in both of the Big Green’s games last week. Thus, Harrison is permanently eliminated from consideration. There will be no appeals.
The new leader is Radford’s Caleb Tanner, who has played in each of the Highlanders’ nine games totaling a mere 30 minutes of action. He’s not just some bystander when the coach calls on him, either. Tanner has launched 15 shots this season, taking an estimated 37% of Radford’s shots when he’s on the floor. Coach Mike Jones got him in for the last five seconds of Radford’s 74-65 loss to Virginia Tech on Wednesday night to preserve his eligibility for the award.
Here are the five games you’ll want to watch this week (as determined by FanMatch, all times eastern):
#36 Utah at #41 Wichita State, Saturday, 3:30, ESPN2
#9 North Carolina at #48 Texas, Saturday, 5:15, ESPN
#21 Cincinnati at #10 Xavier, Saturday, 5:30, FOX
#29 Oregon at #75 Boise State, Saturday, 7:00, CBS Sports Network
#40 VCU at #73 Georgia Tech, Tuesday, 9:00, ESPN2