Hey everyone, here’s what you might or might not have missed over the past two weeks.
3. Nov. 29: #316 NJIT 84, #120 Duquesne 81 (8%). The Highlanders are still the country’s only independent, and therefore must earn an at-large bid to get into the NCAA tournament. Wins at Duquense help that cause. Except NJIT has already been swept by UMass Lowell, so they’re not going to be the first independent since DePaul in 1991 to make the tournament. They do have sophomore shooting guard Damon Lynn, who may well own the career three-point attempt record in two more years. He’s taken 79 in seven games this season, and in this game he took 11 3’s and made six to propel NJIT to the win.
2. Nov. 22: #331 Appalachian State 65, #154 Virginia Tech 63 (8%). The top of the ACC appears to be stronger than any other conference, but the bottom of the league has some issues. At the same that the Hokies’ football team was dueling Wake Forest to a scoreless tie in regulation, App State went to Blacksburg and won on a rather, ahem, fortuitous shot by Frank Eaves.
1. Nov. 28: #300 Delaware State 72, #91 Wake Forest 65 (7%). While there’s a certain sense of anticipation that surrounds a season with a first-year coach, the fact is that it’s usually a rough year for a program under a new leader. Both of these teams are experiencing that to some degree this season. But still, this is not a game Wake Forest should lose even if the players had to coach themselves. The Demon Deacons were coming off a 24-point win over Mount St. Mary’s. Delaware State was reeling from a 50-point loss to Iona. But the Hornets won in a game that wasn’t even that interesting at the end.
Least likely comeback
Elon 74, Morgan State 73 (0.9%). There were lots of fun comebacks over the past two weeks, but nothing tops what the Phoenix did in overcoming a 66-47 deficit with 7:41 to go. They scored on their next 11 possessions to take the lead and then won it on a layup by Luke Eddy with six seconds left. Fun fact: Elon is in the CAA this season.
My five-man #ShootersClub of Micah Mason, Brett Olson, Michael Frazier, 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.
After an ordinary opening week the #ShootersClub is starting to heat up. My five guys made 38 of 100 3-point shots against D-I opponents over the past two weeks and sits at 57-for-153 (37.3%) on the season. It’s a long road to that 40% mark, but they’ll get there.
Nov. 22, UNC Wilmington 110, VMI 93 [88 possessions]. The Keydets have jumped into the top spot in the adjusted tempo standings, so fun times are coming to an arena near you if VMI shows up. The Seahawks had three players score at least 20, which doesn’t happen very often in college hoops. It’s happened five times this season, to be exact.
Dec. 3, Air Force 59, Grambling State 34 [51 possessions]. Nobody wants to see games like this, that are both non-competitive and pushing the limits of the shot clock too regularly. Nobody wants to write about them, either.
(see Fastest Game)
Nov. 29: Virginia 45, Rutgers 26. The record for fewest combined points in a game in the shot-clock era is 62 and I have a feeling this will get threatened this season. These two teams managed to exceed that with under six minutes left, so it’s not like we were that close to establishing a new record. This was the lowest scoring game since Manhattan beat Fairfield in a 34-31 thriller on March 1, 2013.
Alan Williams Watch
Williams has cranked out double-doubles in every game this season except against something called Master’s College, which isn’t even a game considered real within the confines of this site. Apparently, Master’s College is like the golfing version of the Heisman House, with people strolling around campus in their green jackets. If you want to find Sandy Lyle, he’s hanging out in the Student Union. As far as Big Al goes, he was featured in Sports Illustrated this week. In his four real games since we last spoke, he scored 72 points and grabbed 56 rebounds while blocking 13 shots.
The kPOY leaderboard is starting to look like something worth checking on occasion. Frank Kaminsky is still your leader with a slight lead on Jahlil Okafor. And you can imagine that the race for the regular POY might come down to these two as well. I’d like to give a special shoutout to Syracuse’s Rakeem Christmas who is currently in seventh place. He barely avoided being classified as “nearly invisible” last season and now he’s the Orange’s go-to guy, performing well against both good teams and bad. Indeed, among players getting at least 40 percent of their team’s minutes in each of the past two seasons, nobody in the land has increased his usage more than Christmas. Here are the five players that have increased their usage the most…
PctPoss Player 2015 2014 Diff Rakeem Christmas, Syracuse 27.1 13.3 +13.8 Langston Morris, Oregon St. 23.1 11.2 +11.9 Marquan Botley, Florida Atlantic 31.0 19.6 +11.4 Royce Woolridge, Grand Canyon 31.2 20.2 +11.0 Kory Brown, North Dakota St. 24.9 13.9 +11.0
Five best games to watch this week (according to FanMatch, all times Eastern)
#4 Virginia at #27 VCU, 71.3, Saturday, 2 PM, ESPNU
#11 Gonzaga at #7 Arizona, Saturday, 5:15 PM, ESPN
#18 San Diego State at #49 Washington, Sunday, 9 PM, Pac-12 Network
#6 Villanova vs. #26 Illinois (MSG), Tuesday, 6 PM, ESPN
#9 Kansas at #29 Georgetown, Wednesday, 7 PM, ESPN