Saturday, January 29, 2011

Welcome to Bracketville---Where Have All the Undefeated Teams Gone Edition

A topsy turvey week of college hoops when Kansas, Pitt and Syracuse all lose at home.

Providence upset both Louisville and Villanova? One more example of a college basketball world where the difference between the top teams and the others is not as big as many people think.

Duke is undefeated when scoring more points than their opponents.

Texas has three major road victories this season: North Carolina in Greensboro; Michigan State in East Lansing; and now Kansas in Lawrence. Last time a team beat those three opponents away from home in the same season: 1992-93. That team was the Michigan Fab Five.

Between 1980 (when the NCAA expanded and allowed an unlimited number of teams per conference) and 2005, the ACC has won more titles, produced more Final Four Teams, won more NCAA Tournament games and enjoyed the best NCAA winning percentage of any conference.

Things have changed. In the past eight weeks the ACC has had just one team in the Top 25…they are below .500 versus other BCS teams and just 5-13 against ranked opponents.

Only two players have won both the scoring title and a major National Player of Year Award since Pete Maravich did it in 1970…Bradley’s Hersey Hawkins (1988) and Glenn Robinson (Purdue) in 1994. BYU’s Jimmer Fredette has a shot this season.

Duke’s Nolan Smith is on a pace to become the first ACC player to lead the league in both scoring and assists. In fact, only six times since 1973 have the scoring and assists leaders been on the same team.

Ryan Kelly’s 20-point game against Wake Forest made him Duke’s sixth player to record 20 points this season. In the next game against BC, Seth Curry scored 20…making seven.

Currently Pitt is 145-11 all-time at the Peterson Events Center and 9-0 versus top five opponents.

When the Big East debuted in 1979, the league consisted of seven schools---UConn, Syracuse and five Catholic schools with basketball pedigrees, four in the Northeast and Georgetown in Washington, D.C. Villanova was added the next year.

In Duke’s 84-68 victory over BC, the Blue Devil bench contributed exactly zero points and just four rebounds.

Here in the East, I have yet to see BYU’s Jimmer Fredette, but the prolific scoring guard is one of those players that make you say to yourself, "I need to see this kid." College basketball needs more of them.


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