This is the weekly column where I take a look at least-likely comebacks, biggest upsets, and other extremes in the college hoops universe over the past week. There’s also a dash of Alan Williams news and other random thoughts. Just read it.
Public service message: Currently, Division-I teams are 129-0 against teams not in Division-I. These 129 games are real in the sense that they count in a team’s record, but they are not real in the sense that they mean anything. Based on the 100% winning percentage, the outcomes of the games aren’t in doubt, and even if they were, there is no evidence that the NCAA’s Men’s Basketball Committee cares about the outcome or even that they were scheduled in the first place.
For whatever reason, it is tradition to count the stats from these games in the historical record. So when Minnesota scores 109 on Franklin Pierce (Alan Alda must be crying) or Tennessee Martin holds Champion Baptist to 29, these get counted in team and individual stats just like any other game. This despite the fact that these contests are often classified as exhibitions for the opponent. Because these games are complete shams, I don’t count the stats from these games anywhere on the site. If you are looking for individual or team shooting numbers, the data on my site may not match the “official” stats that will show up in media guides and other on-line sources. But don’t let that hold you back. Let’s work together to fight the pollution of Division-I stats with these quasi-exhibition games.
Now, let’s look at the extremes from the past week according to my computer…
Biggest upset: Fairleigh Dickinson 58, Saint Joseph’s 57 (6%) The Knights are no stranger to this category. Last season they went 6-10 in the NEC, 10-21 overall, yet posted road wins over Seton Hall and Rutgers in back-to-back games. Last Friday, they beat the Hawks by forcing 16 turnovers. Well, maybe those turnovers weren’t forced so much as they just happened. That’s the thing about stats, you never really know who was responsible. Mustafaa Jones hit a 3 with 3.3 seconds left to give FDU the win. Note: This victory may not stand the test of time considering that Saint Joe’s was nearly quintupled by Gonzaga in the first half on Wednesday.
Least likely comeback: Miami FL 69, Florida 67 (1.1%). The computer was underrating the Hurricanes during the first week of the season, but they were down 52-38 with 9:14 left at Gainesville before going on an 18-3 run that would give them the lead. A three by Angel Rodriguez with 15 seconds left provided the final points. An impressive comeback by any standard.
#ShootersClub: My five-man #ShootersClub is barnstorming the country this season, spreading goodwill and providing inspiration that you, too, can make three-point shots with enough practice. This past week they were in places such as Honolulu, Coraopolis, Moraga, and Morgantown. Collectively, club members made 19-of-53 three-pointers against Division-I foes, for a 36% clip. That’s good, but it will get better when they get some home cooking. These guys can’t stop and won’t stop.
Fastest game: Arkansas 97, Alabama State 79 [82 possessions] Arkansas made a statement for fast-paced hoops in its season opener. Through two games the Hogs have made 15-of-29 three-pointers. They are like their own #ShootersClub. Even 6-11 Bobby Portis has made 3-of-4 (after making just 27% last season).
Slowest game: Arkansas Pine Bluff 55, Cal State Bakersfield 49  Watch this space for sub-50 possession games as the season progresses, but for now we’re left to celebrate one of two D-I wins for the SWAC in the first week of the season. This was a veritable offensive explosion for Bakersfield. In their next game, the Roadrunners would get shut out for the first 12 minutes at San Diego State and score a total of 27.
Alan WiIliams Watch: I’m still watching Alan and you should be too because the conspiracy to keep him out of the headlines continues. He went to Allen Fieldhouse and dropped 22 and 13 on the Jayhawks last Friday. He also provided four blocks and a pair of assists for good measure. And nobody said anything about it! So then at Florida Gulf Coast he went for 29 and 16, and added four assists. And still nobody said anything! Probably because he doesn’t exist and is just a creation of my imagination. And that is OK.
kPOY race: It’s way too early to talk kPOY, but publicity and such dictates I mention that UConn’s Ryan Boatright is the frontrunner heading into today. He’s pretty much the entire UConn offense and they’ve started 3-0. The Huskies are looking like the favorite to win the American, although SMU with an eligible Markus Kennedy will be a worthy challenger in a few weeks.
Five best games of the week (Saturday through next Friday, according to FanMatch, all times Eastern):
There will be better games in later rounds of various tournaments, so check your local listings, but here are the five best on the schedule at the moment:
Villanova vs. VCU (at Brooklyn), Monday, 7 PM, ESPN2
Michigan vs. Oregon (at Brooklyn), Monday 9:30 PM, ESPN3 (Really?)
UCLA vs. Oklahoma (at the Bahamas), Wednesday, 2:30 PM, ESPN2
Florida vs. Georgetown (at the Bahamas), Wednesday, 9:30 PM, AXS TV
Baylor vs. Memphis (at Las Vegas), Thursday, Midnight, Fox Sports 1