The 3 most appealing games (according to FanMatchTM):
1) Duke 73, Ohio State 68 . (Wednesday) Duke rebounded poorly (again), got about nothing from Seth Curry, and still won after digging itself out of a ten-point deficit early in the second half. The point guard job is now Quinn Cook’s. He went 40 minutes against (mostly) Aaron Craft and performed very well considering the opposition. On the Buckeye side – has Amir Williams finally been freed? He performed reasonably well in a career-high (by 12!) 27 minutes, scoring 4 and rebounding 10 (6 offensive).
2) Notre Dame 64, Kentucky 50 . (Thursday) FanMatch delivered a dud here as the Irish cruised to a 14-point victory. Kentucky jumped out to a 12-6 lead, but never strung together three consecutive scores all night. Jack Cooley, as expected, owned the offensive glass, grabbing six of those in 36 minutes. He’s now second in the nation in OR%. (He’ll be first soon, trust me.) Like Duke, Kentucky is tall. And like Duke, Kentucky is amazingly inept at rebounding on both ends of the floor.
3) Minnesota 77, Florida State 68 . (Tuesday) OK, Seminoles, you’re taking this lack of emphasis on defense a little too far. Allowing the Gophers to 1.2 officially puts Florida State on alert for having a bad defense by at-large bid standards. Shots on both ends of the floor were more often rebounded by the offense, which made for high scoring action. We’ll next see the Gophers tested on December 8 at USC.
The 3 biggest upsets:
1) #321 North Carolina A&T (15%) 90, #217 UNC Greensboro 79 . (Wednesday) It was a really light week for upsets. The Aggies won this one going away in a game that featured 60 fouls and 87 free throws. When you get to the line 40 times (as UNCG did) and can’t crack a point per possession, you deserve to lose.
2) #327 Fairleigh Dickinson (15%) 66, #235 Saint Peter’s 61 . (Wednesday) I guess the upshot here is that the Peacocks are now good enough to get upset by people. It would have helped if they had done better than 6-of-19 from the free throw line. Actually, Saint Peter’s is shooting sub-50% from the line on the season, which is saying something after six games.
3) #53 Virginia (15%) 60, #10 Wisconsin 54 . (Wednesday) There are signs of life from the notoriously-soft underbelly of the ACC. Joe Harris has emerged as the go-to guy for Tony Bennett and used a whopping 37% of UVa’s possession is scoring 22 and assisting five.
The 3 craziest comebacks:
1) USC Upstate (2.6%) over UNC Asheville. (Thursday) Not a big week for comebacks either. Upstate trailed 49-33 with 12:39 left against the slightly favored Bulldogs, then went on a 13-0 run. No payoff here though. The game was won on consecutive single-point possessions by Upstate to close out a 73-71  victory.
2) Utah State (4.1%) over Santa Clara. (Wednesday) The Aggies trailed 69-65 with 31 seconds left but forced overtime with a Preston Medlin 3-pointer that tied the game at 70 with three seconds left. Utah State went on to win 80-78 .
3) LSU (5.3%) over Seton Hall. (Thursday) LSU trailed 48-32 with 16:09 left but turned it around for a 72-67 win which keeps the Johnny Jones era unblemished. The Pirates managed to commit 17 turnovers during the closing stretch, so I’m not sure how they found the time to score 19 points.
Unbeatens remaining: 28. (5 fewer since Monday.)
Winless teams remaining: 10. (5 fewer since Monday.)
Alan Williams Watch: Six games into the season it’s apparent that UCSB’s Alan Williams is a one-man wrecking crew, currently ranking in the top 25 in OR% and block percentage. He’s also sporting a usage rate around 35%, fourth-highest in the country. His most recent outing against Wyoming was typical Williams. He played just 20 minutes due to foul trouble (he’s averaging a whopping 5.9 fouls per 40 minutes this season), shot 5-of-14 while his teammates shot 11-of-42, and the Gauchos got whipped by the Cowboys 64-40. The man needs some help.
This weekend’s most appealing games (according to FanMatchTM):
1) #23 San Diego State vs. #26 UCLA. (Saturday, 10 ET, ESPNU) The marquee games this weekend aren’t available on a lot of TV’s. I guess it’s still football season. This game takes place in Anaheim, by the way. It’s Team Jamaal vs. Team Shabazz.
2) #27 Saint Joseph’s at #32 Creighton. (Saturday, 3 ET, ESPN3) Catholics vs. Catholics at CenturyLink Center Omaha. Creighton leads the country in two-point percentage at 61.1%, but signs of last season’s woeful defense were spotted in the loss to Boise State as the Broncos made 19-of-29 2’s and 10-of-19 3’s. Get on the internets and watch!
3) #24 Oklahoma State at #74 Virginia Tech. (Saturday, 2 ET, ESPN3) This one of five battles between unbeatens over the weekend. (Alabama/Cincinnati, East Carolina/Charlotte, Arizona/Texas Tech, and Colorado/Wyoming are the others.) In the point guard battle, everyone’s heard of Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart while the Hokies’ Erick Green is close to anonymous. Green’s stats blow away Smart’s right now, but they have come against a ridiculously soft set of defenses. That changes Saturday.