Here are the most extreme things to happen in college basketball between Friday, January 23rd and Thursday, January 29th…
3) #308 Austin Peay 56, #168 Eastern Illinois 52 (12%), Sunday. It wasn’t a big week for upsets across the country. Peay overcame a 13-point halftime deficit to stun EIU in Charleston. Eastern Illinois was off to a 6-0 start in OVC play but has since lost three in a row, following up this defeat with a 30-point catastrophe at Tennessee Martin (who is having a great season under first-year head coach Heath Schroyer).
2) #180 Dartmouth 70, #58 Harvard 61 (12%), Saturday. The Ivy League starts its season later than any other league, but Dartmouth’s win at Harvard officially make the league race interesting, even though we’re only two games into the schedule. This was Harvard’s third home loss in league play in the past five seasons. A 41-15 run by the Big Green in the second half was decisive. Dartmouth’s best ranking since 2002 was last season’s finish at #236. Currently, they’re #151.
1) #346 Maine 70, #236 Hartford 61 (5%), Sunday. Maine picked up its second win of the season in Hartford with help from the Hawks’ 5-of-32 performance from 3-point range. The Black Bears’ point guard Kevin Little went 5-of-10 from long range all by himself to engineer the upset.
Least likely comebacks
3) #247 Loyola Marymount 70, #133 San Francisco 69 (1.2%), Saturday. Things haven’t gone smoothly in Mike Dunlap’s first full season as a D-I head coach. It looked like the Lions were on their way to a 1-8 mark in WCC play when they trailed USF 47-30 with 17:51 to go at War Memorial Gym. But they came all the way back, finishing the deal on an Evan Payne put-back at the buzzer.
2) #32 Davidson 80, #190 George Mason 73 (OT) (1.4%), Saturday. Davidson still owns the best offensive performance against Virginia this season and they haven’t been held to less than 0.98 points per possession in rolling to a 14-4 record. However, they almost suffered a major upset at the hands of George Mason. The Wildcats trailed by six with 21 seconds left, but got 3-pointers from Oskar Michelsen and Brian Sullivan and two missed free throws from Mason’s Jalen Jenkins to force overtime. Davidson is now 2-0 without its stud point guard Jack Gibbs, who’s had a breakout season as a sophomore but nursing a meniscus injury at the moment.
1) #180 Dartmouth 70, #58 Harvard 61 (1.5%), Saturday. Documented above. Harvard had a 43-29 lead with 13:09 left but couldn’t hang on.
My five-man #ShootersClub of Micah Mason, Brett Olson, Michael Frazier II, Seth Hinrichs, and Devante Wallace is barnstorming the country this season, spreading goodwill and providing inspiration that you, too, can make three-point shots with enough practice.
It was another good week for my cadre of shooters. Make that a great week. Led by Devante Wallace going 10-for-18 and putting some early season struggles behind him, the group knocked down 26-of-51 shots, good for a 51 percent clip. On the season, the Club has passed the 40 percent mark and there’s no looking back. They’ve now hit on 212 of 519 attempts (40.8 percent).
Fastest game: #235 Western Carolina 85, #273 VMI 70 [81 possessions], Thursday. The end result wasn’t pretty, but VMI posted its fourth consecutive game with at least 80 possessions and pushed its adjusted tempo to 79.5, four possessions more than any other team in D-I. The Keydets took a whopping 47 3’s (compared to 24 2’s), also extending their lead in 3PA%. They’ve taken 51.5 percent of their shots from beyond the arc against D-I teams.
Slowest game: #285 Drexel 53, #235 College of Charleston 51 , Saturday. On the other end of the speed spectrum, Drexel played its second sub-50 possession game of the season. They got a 3 from Damion Lee with 17 seconds left to earn the victory.
Highest-scoring game: #76 Colorado 98, #153 USC 95 (3OT) , Thursday. Colorado point guard Askia Booker leads the country in percentage of shots taken and so if you give him 55 minutes or 91 possessions, he is going to fill up the FGA column. On this night he took 23 shots and 15 free throws and scored 43 of the Buffaloes 98 points, allowing CU to climb back to .500 in Pac-12 play.
Lowest-scoring game: #289 Howard 45, #331 Bethune Cookman 42 , Monday. Howard’s offense is ranked 331st nationally, but that’s a big step up from last season when they finished 351st with some room to spare. Who knows how ugly this would have looked had James Carlton not scored 27. That was 60 percent of Howard’s point total. That’s only fifth-best this season, though. Cleveland State’s Trey Lewis scored 24 of the Vikings’ 33 points against Louisville earlier in the season.
Alan Williams Watch: Williams is still dealing with a shoulder injury and was not in action while UCSB split a pair of games last week.
kPOY Watch: Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky is still the leader after going for 13 and 11 against Iowa and 22 and 9 against Michigan, both games being victories for the Badgers. The latest contender moving up the list is Arizona’s Stanley Johnson who has jumped into third after a series of solid performances.
Here are the five games you’ll want to watch this week (as determined by FanMatch, all times eastern):
#10 North Carolina at #14 Louisville, Saturday, 4 PM, ESPN
#11 Oklahoma at #26 Oklahoma State, Saturday, 8 PM, ESPN2
#9 Wichita State at #21 Northern Iowa, Saturday, 4 PM, ESPN2
#20 Xavier at #42 Seton Hall, Saturday, Noon, Fox Sports 1
#2 Virginia at #10 North Carolina, Monday, 7 PM, ESPN
*Due to college hoops cowering in the shadow of the Super Bowl, Saturday features 151 games between Division-I teams, the most of any day this season.