Friday, January 18, 2013

Welcome to Bracketville---Five Match-Ups Between Ranked Teams Edition

Saddle Up: Five games on Saturday match ranked teams. Two more involve a ranked team against a dangerous conference foe boasting two or fewer losses.
The Kansas victory over Baylor was the 101st for Kansas in its past 102 games at Allen Fieldhouse.
For the first time since 1984-85 VCU is a member of the Top 25 poll. Remarkable!
In a scheduling quirk, neither the Duke men’s or women’s teams are playing this weekend. The women resume on Monday at UConn (Must-see TV on espn2 at 7 PM). The men carry on at Miami on Wednesday, January 23. Without Ryan Kelly, look for the fans at The U to storm the court at game’s end.
Good win: Wisconsin over Indiana at Indiana. Wisconsin played without regular point guard. The Badgers are the only team in the Big 10 undefeated in conference play (4-0).
Wisconsin ranks No. 1 in the country in turnover rate -- no team in America coughs it up on fewer of its possessions. That’s one reason they are so good at holding a lead. The Badgers are allowing opponents to take just 25 percent of their shots from beyond the arc this season -- the 12th-lowest rate in the nation.
Nerlens Noel ranks in the top 10 in the nation in blocks (fourth) and steals (eighth). No player has done that in at least the past 15 years.
On Sunday, Miami and Maryland combined to go 13-for-31 from the line. Pathetic.
Currently, in college sports, it is easier to make a football field goal that a basketball free throw. 72% versus 69.1%.
Clemson had 11 blocks in its win over Wake Forest. Wake had 11 blocks, steals and assists combined.
Each of the last four meetings between San Diego State and UNLV have been decided by just two points.
Florida and Duke are the most balanced in terms of offensive and defensive quality; they're the only two teams in the country that rank in the Pomeroy top 10 in both.
Marquette is off to a 3-0 start in Big East play…combined margin of victory is 14 points.
Don’t look now, but UCLA has won ten in a row.
Bryant won a mere two games last season. So far they have started off 5-0 in Northeast Conference play.
Saint Joseph turned the ball over three times in the final minute of regulation, blowing a four point lead in the last 15 seconds in their overtime loss to VCU.
VCU has now won a dozen in a row.
Bad loss: Illinois lost by double digits at home to Northwestern. Northwestern had dropped 21 out of its last 22 games versus ranked teams.
Saturday’s TV games will show us a couple of outstanding players who get very little TV time. #12 Creighton at Wichita State (4 PM, espn2) will be an opportunity to see Doug McDermott---70 points in his last two games.
Creighton has scored less than 70 points just once…Wichita State has given up more than 70 only one time.
#8 Gonzaga at #13 Butler (9 PM on ESPN) features Kevin Pangos, Kelly Olynyk and Elias Harris on the Zags---Roosevelt Jones and Andrew Smith from Butler.
Butler’s leading scorer and most minutes guy, Rotnei Clarke is out with an injury.
I love the Zags, but am picking Butler. Gonzaga played a late gate in Portland, Oregon on Thursday night…and has to travel across the USA and be ready for tipoff in less than 48 hours. That’s a lot, even for this well-traveled squad.
#11 Ohio State at #18 Michigan State—6 PM, ESPN. MSU still having problems scoring, but Coach Izzo keeps them winning.
#21 Oregon at #24 UCLA—4 PM CBS. Who would have thought there would be a pair of Pac 12 teams matched up this season?
#17 Missouri at #10 Florida (2 PM, ESPN). Erik Murphy is a warrior and Kenny Boyton is getting his stroke back. Go Gators!
#6 Syracuse at #1 Louisville…4 PM, ESPN. The #1 in points-allowed-per-possession (Louisville) and the second best in papp.
Unbeatens remaining: Just the Duke Women.
Winless remaining: 2.
Conference unbeatens remaining: 53. Miami is the last unbeaten in ACC play.
Conference winless teams remaining: 49.
Not so fast: Six Big Ten teams are in the Top 25. The school at the top of the conference, Wisconsin (4-0) remains outside the Top 25.
One more thing: In the Maryland victory over NC State, the Terps had zero double digit scorers until Alex Len’s basket with 0.9 seconds remaining.

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