The 3 most appealing games (according to FanMatchTM):
1) Arizona 65, Florida 64 . (Saturday) ‘Twas a low-scoring game, but not necessarily a defensive battle since there were only 59 possessions. For the AP voters that are going to put Arizona above Florida this week (which is almost all of you, I’m guessing), it’s worth reading about the head-to-head fallacy. You’re judgment is basically the opposite of history and you’re only defense is that the AP made you sign an oath stating “I don’t believe in home-court advantage”.
2) Creighton 74, Cal 64 . (Saturday) It was another impressive win for the Blue Jays, who are providing some evidence that a team can improve its defense from one season to the next rather dramatically, even with the same personnel and head coach. Cal never led, and Allen Crabbe went 6-of-18 on twos and oh-fer on threes in eight attempts. It was easily his worst game of the season.
3) Louisville 87, Memphis 78 . (Saturday) The Cardinals at one point trailed 25-9, but overcame the deficit in hostile territory to win fairly comfortably. Russ Smith’s line wasn’t impressive until you consider he went 12-of-12 from the free throw line and also tried to dribble a basketball while doing a reverse somersault. I’ll roll out the kPOY leaderboard in the coming days, but the sneak preview is that as of today he has a slight lead over Mason Plumlee.
The 3 biggest upsets:
1) #315 Winthrop (2%) 50, #48 Ohio 49 . If you had known Winthrop was going to score 50 points in 62 possessions, this was surely going to be a big Ohio win. The prediction on this here site actually had Winthrop scoring 54…and losing by 23.
2) #280 Georgia Southern (5%) 78, #63 Virginia Tech 73 . The Hokies insist on playing the playing the three-point lottery defensively and Georgia Southern was thankful, hitting 11-of-26. This was the rare major upset that wasn’t all that close as the Eagles led by 16 at the under-eight media timeout.
3) #56 Butler (9%) 88, #1 Indiana 86 (OT) . This game produced one of the more schizophrenic win probability plots in memory as both teams had at least a 90% of winning at some point in regulation and then Indiana got to that level again in overtime when they got up 84-80 with three minutes left. Alex Barlow got the game winner for Butler. It’s probably a major indictment on Jordan Hulls’ defense when the opposing coach is willing to isolate a guy against you who has taken fewer than 8% of his teams shots when he’s on the floor.
The 3 craziest comebacks:
1) Fordham (0.4%) over Princeton. (Saturday) Fordham was down 56-46 with 3:01 left before a closing 17-4 run pulled out a 63-60 win at the Barclays Center. This is Princeton’s second time this season being on the wrong side of the 1% club.
2) Arizona (1.6%) over Florida. (Saturday) Covered above. The Wildcats never led by more than two and needed a 7-0 run in the last minute to win by one.
3) Winthrop (1.7%) over Ohio. (Saturday) Covered above. Winthrop’s most dire situation was down five with 18:45 to go, although it wasn’t that much more dire than when they walked out of the locker room for the opening tip.
Unbeatens remaining: 8. (Five fewer since Friday.)
Winless teams remaining: 6. (unchanged since Friday.)
“Marshall Henderson, Chasing History” Watch: In Ole Miss’s 77-55 win over East Tennessee State on Saturday, Henderson jacked up another 13 three-point attempts, bringing his total to 93 in just eight games this season. The entire Lamar team has played three more games and has a total of 81.
The single-season individual record is 380, set by Santa Clara’s Kevin Foster two seasons ago. If Henderson stays healthy, he’ll have to average 11.5 attempts per game (assuming two postseason games) to break the record. He’s currently averaging 11.6. We’ll keep you updated on his historic journey.
This week’s 3 most appealing games (according to FanMatchTM):
1) #21 North Carolina at #50 Texas (Wednesday, 9 ET, ESPN2). A loss to Texas would probably push the needle into the red of the Disappoint-o-Meter for the Tar Heels, at least in terms of national perception. The thing is, this is hardly a gimme game. Because, you know, home-court advantage and all.
2) #40 Stanford at #29 N.C. State (Tuesday, 9 ET, ESPN2). Kind of a bizarre cross-country trip here for Stanford who will hit Northwestern on the way back home. N.C. State’s strength is offense (13th nationally), but Stanford’s strength – led by Josh Huestis, the best 6-7 shot-blocker to ever come of out Great Falls, Montana – is defense (15th).
3) #45 Illinois State at #69 Dayton (Wednesday, 7 PM ET, Comcast SportsNet Chicago/WHIO) The Redbirds have made 58.3% of their twos, which leads the country. I would like to witness this but I don’t believe WHIO is on my cable system. 🙁