Stop me if you’ve heard this before---the top-ranked team in the polls lost this week, as did a number of ranked teams. No team, no coach and no fan can assume anything this season.
Without a couple of overwhelming, all-world teams, we are getting many more compelling matchups on a daily basis. That’s a good thing.
It is wide open this season, and the NCAA Tournament should be more unpredictable than ever.
Pick your team, pick your favorite. On any given night, they’re bound to make a fool of you.
Already, we have seen Butler, NC State, Miami, Syracuse and Illinois defeat a #1 team. In fact, Indiana has lost as a #1 and beaten a #1. Twists and turns abound.
Eight games went to overtime on Thursday.
Much as I enjoyed it, I guess I agree that the BracketBusters concept is an idea whose time has past. This is the last round-up, and there a couple of praise worthy match ups.
Detroit at Wichita State, ESPN/2, 4 ET;
Creighton at Saint Mary's, ESPN/2, 6 ET;
Ohio at Belmont, ESPN2, 10 ET---all on Saturday 2/23/13.
That trio tickles my fancy.
In the past five years, here are the teams who've gone unbeaten in league competition. 2008: Cornell (Ivy) 2009: Memphis (Conference USA), Gonzaga (West Coast) 2010: Butler (Horizon) 2011: -- 2012: Kentucky (SEC).
Going undefeated in conference play is not as easy as it looks.
Against the 18th-best defensive schedule, Ohio State has been held below 1 point-per-possession just four times this season.
Belmont’s loss at Murray State by five surprised me big time.
It’s a good thing that South Dakota State’s Nate Wolters scored 53 points (most in D-1 since 2009) as SDSU needed all of them to get by IPFW 80-74.
I guess I need to confess that I enjoy Bill Walton’s patter during the ESPN broadcasts of Pac-12 games. He does drift into outer space at times…but when he returns to Planet Earth, he has interesting insights and tidbits.
Another #1, another buzzer-beater, a new #1 next week. Indiana was at the movies at the end of regulation, and never laid a glove on Tyler Griffey, as Illinois won by a deuce. Both teams hit nine threes…so the Illinois-3-machine was not the reason for the upset. No matter, it was exciting to watch.
UVA gets rolling and what happens? They lose their quality big man Mike Tobey to mono. Virginia held Clemson to ten first half points…pretty amazing.
Bo Ryan’s Wisconsin teams have never finished lower than 4th in the Big 10. Astonishing! The Badgers are, however, a 61% foul-shooting team---a post-season danger sign.
Oklahoma State freshman sensation, Marcus Smart, missed 17 shots in the win over Baylor. My-oh-my.
After the loss at Texas A&M, the over-rated Missouri team remains perfect on the road---they have lost them all.
#19 Oregon is now 1-3 without their point guard, Dominic Artis…this time they lost at home to Colorado by one point.
Air Force is an experienced team filled with upperclassmen — but New Mexico is the best team in the Mountain West.
Florida State’s Michael Snaer hit yet another game-winner as time ran out against Georgia Tech…this time he went for the old fashioned two-point play. He is a competitor.
In their loss to Miami, BC had just eight turnovers and only one player had more than one. Miami at UNC Saturday is chance for the canes to make a big statement.
Northeastern leads the CAA with a 10-1 record.
New Mexico ranks fourth nationally in percentage of defensive possessions that reach the final four seconds of the shot clock, according to Synergy Sports Technology.
Nerlens Noel picked up a double double (10 points/10 rebounds) in Kentucky’s 22-point win over South Carolina. What does not receive enough attention is that Noel sped up his high school graduation to enter UK this year. In realty, this kid is a high school senior. Makes all his accomplishments and maturation all the more incredible.
Louisville’s relentlessness is unmatched by just about any other team in college basketball.
The 11 turnovers coughed up by Baylor’s Pierre Jackson at Oklahoma State ties for most TOs by a player this season. Holy mackerel.
Longest winning streak: Akron’s 14.
Not so fast: Only once has the ACC produced the leading scorer in college basketball. That was back in 1957 when South Carolina’s Grady Wallace pulled it off with 31.2 ppg.
Currently, Virginia Tech’s Erick Green leads the nation with an average of 25.0 ppg through 21 games…Creighton’s Doug McDermott is second with 23.9.
One more thing: Belmont coach Rick Byrd ranks seventh among active coaches in victories with 656.