Here are the most extreme things to happen in college basketball between Friday, January 30th and Thursday, February 5th…
3) #342 Chicago State 56, #255 Grand Canyon 55 (9%), Saturday. I don’t talk much about the WAC around here for obvious reasons. But it’s important to remember that the conference used to be an integral part of Big Monday. Chicago State is mildly interesting because Tracy Dildy trots out a different starting lineup every other game. The one that suited up against Grand Canyon was his 17th of the season, and you’d think based on the result that this one might stick. But no, Dildy changed it up for Thursday night’s game against New Mexico State (probably due to an injury and/or suspension) which resulted in an eight-point loss.
2) #125 Creighton 79, #20 Xavier 72 (OT) (9%), Wednesday. Teams like Creighton and Georgia Tech are a curse to their conference brethren. Both are at the bottom of their respective league tables and yet both have been competitive in most of their losses. So even the top teams in the league can’t take the game for granted. Don’t get me wrong, this is still a bad loss for Xavier, especially coming at home, but the Bluejays were eventually going to get a decent win or two.
1) #324 Marist 75, #135 Canisius 67 (6%), Sunday. Marist started the season 1-18 but have now won three in a row. They did lose two starters in their first two games of the season, and those two guys have recently returned, so Marist probably is a better team than their rating shows. Continuing to do things like winning at Canisius will make me research the best conference records after starting 0-9.
Least likely comebacks
3) #8 Duke over #2 Virginia (1.9%), Saturday. Virginia was up 45-34 with the ball and 9:56 remaining. But then Duke would convert on 15 of its next 16 possessions, scoring 35 points in the process. It was a phenomenal run that included only one free throw.
2) #342 Chicago State over #255 Grand Canyon (0.9%), Saturday. The Cougars put the WAC in wacky by overcoming a 50-37 deficit with 9:07 left.
1) #126 Eastern Washington over #239 Idaho (0.7%), Saturday. EWU overcame a 17-point deficit with 8:29 left to force overtime and eventually earn a 98-95 win. The Eagles somehow did most of this without the nation’s leading points-per-gamer Tyler Harvey, who left the game for good at the 7:31 mark after suffering a quad contusion.
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 wasn’t the prettiest week for the club, but after going 11-for-33 the fivesome remains at a more-than-respectable 40.4 percent on the season. They will not stop under any circumstances.
Fastest game: Northwestern State 110, Central Arkansas 108 [87 possessions], Tuesday. Oh yeah, if we were ever going to have a non-VMI game in this spot, you knew it would be from the Southland, where even a game involving an 0-19 team can be interesting. Central Arkansas was on its way to its first win, leading by 12 with 12 minutes to go, but couldn’t protect the lead partly because there were still about 30 possessions of hoops left.
Slowest game: Wofford 49, Mercer 46 , Saturday. On the other end of the speed spectrum was this key game in the SoCon where the game’s leading scorer was Wofford’s Spencer Collins with 11. Mercer went the last 6:30 without scoring.
Highest-scoring game: Northwestern State 110, Central Arkansas 108 , Tuesday. No overtime necessary in the Southland.
Lowest-scoring game: Tennessee St. 45, Jacksonville State 43 , Saturday. Tennessee State’s offense has been a problem all season. Making 38.4 percent of your 2’s will do that to you. This outcome was rather improbable as the Tigers trailed 36-21 with 13 minutes left. Anybody that was watching the game might have noted that a 15-point deficit is like a 30-point deficit when we’re talking Tennessee State. But Jacksonville State’s offense is kind of ugly, too, so when the Tigers went on a Duke-like run to end the game, the Gamecocks could not respond with things like points.
Alan Williams Watch: Williams is still recovering from a shoulder injury and UCSB is still struggling without him, losing their only game of the week at UC Irvine, 77-55, to drop to 10-11 and 3-4 in the Big West.
kPOY Watch: Frank Kaminsky is maintaining a rather large edge over his nearest competitor’s which includes Stanley Johnson, Delon Wright, and Jahlil Okafor. Kaminsky’s latest work was a 23-point, six-rebound, three-assist effort in a 92-78 home win over Indiana.
Here are the five games you’ll want to watch this week (as determined by FanMatch, all times eastern):
#13 Baylor at #19 West Virginia, Saturday, Noon, ESPNU
#14 Notre Dame at #8 Duke, Saturday, 1 PM, CBS
#11 Kansas at #25 Oklahoma State, Saturday, 2 PM, ESPN
#23 Georgetown at #49 Seton Hall, Tuesday, 7 PM, Fox Sports 1
#7 Villanova at #43 Providence, Wednesday, 8 PM, Fox Sports 1