The Other 26: Week 13Posted by KDoyle on February 11th, 2011
Kevin Doyle is an RTC contributor.
In last week’s article I touched on the notion of parity and how great it is within the world of sports. After analyzing many of the Other 26 conferences this week, I could not help but notice how in several of the conference there is not one team that has distinguished themselves from the pack yet, and we are already nearing mid-February. In some cases, there are not even two or three teams that are running away with the league. Competitiveness or mediocrity? Well, does it really matter? All this means is that conference tournament week becomes that much more unpredictable and exciting. Here are a few of the conferences that are still completely wide open:
- Atlantic 10: Four teams—Xavier, Duquesne, Temple, and Richmond—have records between 8-2 and 8-1.
- CAA: Four teams—George Mason, Virginia Commonwealth, Old Dominion, and Hofstra—have records between 12-2 and 10-4.
- The A10 and CAA are both very similar as each have four teams in legitimate contention, and both appear to be two-bid leagues at the moment.
- Conference USA: Six teams—UTEP, Southern Mississippi, UAB, Memphis, SMU, and Tulsa—have records between 6-2 and 7-3.
- Horizon League: Five teams—Valparaiso, Cleveland State, Wright State, Butler, and Wisconsin Milwaukee—have records between 10-3 and 9-5.
- MAC: Eight teams—Kent State, Buffalo, Miami (OH), Bowling Green, Akron, Ohio, Ball State, and Western Michigan—have records between 7-2 and 5-4.
- Southern Conference: Four teams—Charleston, Furman, Wofford, and Chattanooga—have records between 11-2 and 10-3.
- Southland Conference: Nine teams—Northwestern State, McNeese State, Southeastern Louisiana, Nicholls State, Texas State, Stephen F. Austin, Sam Houston State, UTSA, and Texas Arlington—have records between 7-3 and 5-4.
Very elaborate, I know. But, it is pretty remarkable the balance in the leagues. Of these seven conferences, there are a total of 40 teams who can still say they are capable and have a legit shot at winning their conference. What does this all mean? A great week of basketball during the conference tournaments, followed by more weeks of deliciousness during the NCAA Tournament. Enjoy.
The Other 26 Rankings
Tidbits from the Rankings
- The same 20 teams as last week remain in the rankings. There were not many losses for the teams ranked in the bottom half of the rankings this past week. Gonzaga dropped a game to Memphis, and Cleveland State—ranked 13th at the time—lost both of their games to move all the way down to #20.
- To that end, I was hoping I could find a way to sneak Princeton and Southern Mississippi into the rankings, but was unable to do so as there were 20 other teams worthy of the ranking.
- The top two teams—BYU and San Diego State—remained constant for the second straight week.
- George Mason moved the most as they climbed nine spots. Winners of both their games this week including a 17 point drubbing of Old Dominion have made the Patriots 20-5 as they are on a 10 game winning streak.
- Breakdown: 4 (A10), 3 (CAA), 3 (MWC), 2 (CUSA), 2 (MVC), 2 (WCC), 1 (Horizon), 1 (Ivy), 1 (WAC), 1 (A-Sun)
What team impressed the most?
Okay Coastal Carolina, your winning streak is too long and your dominance in the Big South for the past two years is so impressive that I can no longer keep ignoring you. Before reeling off how impressive CCU has been this year, it must be known that their strength of schedule ranks below 250, four of their wins have come against sub Division 1 teams, and their best victory on the year is against East Carolina. Cliff Ellis’ squad has not exactly challenged themselves either as they have only played two games against the top 100 RPI. Their 23-2 record is great, but it must be put into perspective.
With all that being said, Coastal Carolina is a team that simply knows how to win. Over the past two seasons, they have compiled a record of 51-9. A coach can teach his players many things, but it is the intangibles that cannot be taught. As cliché as that sounds, it is the absolute truth. Knowing how to win games down the stretch is of the upmost importance, and Cliff Ellis is arguably the best game coach in the Big South. He exudes such confidence in his players that breeds a winning mentality. It also doesn’t hurt that CCU has the Big South’s leading scorer in Desmond Holloway leading the way.
The Big South is without question a two team race this season. The third place team has a record of 7-6, and the two up front—Coastal Carolina and Liberty—are a combined 26-2. Both of Liberty’s losses this season have come at the hands of CCU. I can promise you this though, if CCU and Liberty do meet in the Big South Championship it will be an absolute dogfight. Liberty lost the first game by three points and the second by six. Plus, it is always hard to defeat a team three times in one season.
Clip of the Week
It is a not your standard short clip, but the seven minute video of San Diego State head coach Steve Fisher being interviewed by Jim Rome on his show “Rome is Burning” is well worth the watch:
Quote of the Week
Princeton head coach Sydney Johnson, who is also an alum of the school—class of 1997—exclaimed to Brendan Prunty of The Star-Ledger: “It’s a special moment. Since I’ve been here, all I’ve wanted for these guys is to have the time and experience that I had. And we’re getting closer.”
To give you an idea of the kind of success Johnson had while playing for the Tigers, he was named the Ivy League’s Player of the Year in 1997, has the most steals in Princeton history, and led his squad to an upset victory of UCLA in the 1996 NCAA Tournament. The Princeton faithful sure would be pleased if Johnson brought that sort of success back to his alma mater.
Sharpshooter of the Week
Andrew Goudelock, College of Charleston—Any player who goes 4-9 from three in a game would be more than satisfied with their performance; this is what Goudelock did against Furman in a 19 point victory. Clearly, Goudelock was not overly happy with his shooting from three against the Paladins. In his next game against Elon, he drained 8-12 from behind the arc.
Clutch Performer of the Week
Antonio Barton, Memphis—With his Tigers’ season on the line in terms of attaining an at-large berth, freshman Antonio Barton came up big in end-of-game situations against Gonzaga and Central Florida to give Memphis two much needed wins. The week prior, Memphis dropped games to Marshall and Tulsa, but Barton made sure there would be no losses this week. Across the country in Washington, Barton scored the final four points against Gonzaga including the go-ahead jumper with 38 seconds left. Then, against UCF, Barton received a pass from his brother Will and drained a three in the final seconds to give Memphis a one point victory.
Freshman of the Week
Sean McGonagill, Brown—In Ivy League competition, McGonagill is the freshman leader in both points scored and assists dished out. In two games last weekend, the youngster from Illinois averaged an even 20 points while dishing out 6.5 assists. It is still extremely early in his career, obviously, but McGonagill had by far his best game as a Brown Bear against Columbia as he exploded for 39 points on 15-19 shooting.
Best Individual Performances
- Orlando Johnson, UC Santa Barbara—The Big West’s leading scorer demonstrated why this is the case as Johnson destroyed UC-Davis and UC-Riverside by averaging 34.5 points against them. It was his efficiency, more than anything, that was most impressive as he compiled the 68 points on just 32 shots.
- Ken Horton, Central Connecticut State—CCSU has won seven straight games and are just a game behind Long Island in the Northeast Conference thanks in large part to the play of Horton. He is the NEC’s leading scorer and is second in rebounds. Against Robert Morris and Bryant, Horton averaged 27 points and 10.5 rebounds. His stat line against Bryant was easily the most impressive, even though he scored eight less points. The 6’6 forward had six thefts and six block shots to go along with 11 rebounds. Not too often you see that.
- Desmond Holloway, Coastal Carolina—Standing at a modest 6’3, Holloway is a very good rebounder for his size as he corrals 6.6 rebounds a game. This past week, however, Holloway may have been mistaken for a seven footer as he averaged 14.5 rebounds to go along with 22.5 points. In the process, CCU picked up two more wins; they have not lost since mid-November.
- Chris De La Rosa, UMBC—De La Rosa has been one of the few bright spots for the 5-20 Retrievers this year. He is second in the America East in scoring and first in assists as he distributes nearly seven a game. Against Maine, he willed UMBC to an upset over the first place Black Bears by scoring 24 points and handing out 13 assists; the assists total was a career high.
- Josten Crow, Sam Houston State—Crow led the Bearkats to two big wins on the week to propel SHS to a 5-4 mark in the Southland Conference as they now trail first place Texas State in the West division by a game. Crow lit up the stat sheet by averaging 20 points, 8.5 rebounds, and six assists for the week. Against Southeastern Louisiana, he nearly had a triple double as he was one rebound and two assists shy.
- Princeton 65, Harvard 61—For the time being, Princeton is the top dog in the Ivy League as they are the last remaining unbeaten and earned a big four point victory over Harvard on February 4th to hand the Crimson their first league loss. Ian Hummer led the Tigers with 17 points against Harvard. The teams will meet again in early March, but this time in Cambridge.
- Murray State 67, Austin Peay 58—The Ohio Valley Conference, like so many leagues throughout the country this year, has a great deal of parity in the upper echelon of the league. Murray State is the leader of the pack, and their victory over Austin Peay is a big reason why.
- Morgan State 65, Bethune-Cookman 57—Winners of the MEAC last year, Morgan State is doing their best to get back to the Dance this season. The Golden Bears have been very inconsistent throughout conference play, but their win against B-C pushed them into a second place tie with them behind Hampton.
- Butler 73, Cleveland State 61—Behind five players who scored in double figures, Butler snapped a three game losing skid by defeating the top team in the Horizon League: Cleveland State. Although they own some nice non-conference victories, it is hard to see Butler attaining an at-large bid with their poor performance within the league. Their focus should be more on winning the Horizon, than relying on an at-large bid. Defeating Cleveland State is a great first step.
- Drake 72, Northern Iowa 69—Northern Iowa looked like the best team in the Valley after winning eight straight games—two of these wins coming against Wichita State and Missouri State—but could not keep the streak going against Drake. After losing to the Bulldogs, they suffered an eight point setback to Evansville to move to 9-5 in the Valley. The leaders are at 11-3.
- George Mason 62, Old Dominion 45—While there are several capable teams in the CAA capable of winning the league, it is hard to not call George Mason the odds on favorite. The Patriots used a staunch defensive effort to get past ODU with relative ease. VCU will certainly have their say in the matter as they travel to Fairfax, VA on February 15th to take on GMU.
- Memphis 62, Gonzaga 58—In a game that featured two teams that for all intents and purposes have underachieved throughout the year, Memphis came out on top. Maybe this win will jumpstart the Tigers for the rest of the regular season and into the CUSA tournament.
- IUPUI 100, Oakland 88—They are still the best team in the Summit Conference, but their loss to second place IUPUI proves that they are mortal after all. The Golden Grizzlies won their first 12 games in the league, but ran into a dominant performance by Alex Young (31 points, 9 rebounds) in the loss. The story of the game, however, was at the free throw line: Oakland was 4-7, IUPUI was 29-34.
- Harvard 83, Pennsylvania 82 (OT)—After losing a tough game to Princeton the previous night, Harvard did not get down on themselves. The Crimson entered a raucous atmosphere at The Palestra and left with a well-earned one point victory over Pennsylvania. The win ensured that they would remain only a game behind Princeton for first place.
- San Francisco 68, Santa Clara 62—It is not often that a game between these two program is of great significance within the WCC. San Francisco’s victory gave them sole possession of second place in the unpredictable conference. The only thing one can predict in the WCC is that Mickey McConnell will tear apart an opposing defense and Portland will be draining threes. The Dons, picked to finish sixth in the WCC during the preseason, are now in second place.
- St. Bonaventure 64, Duquesne 62—This is only the second time in A10 play that Duquesne failed to score above 70 points and their lack of offense did them in against St. Bonaventure. The defense was certainly there, but shooting 36% from the field and 27% from three is not going to get it done. Even still, Duquesne had an opportunity to win the game, but a late three by Michael Davenport put the Bonnies on top.
- Rider 96, Fairfield 87—Behind Justin Robinson’s masterful shooting performance—7-9 from the field, 3-3 from downtown, and 9-10 from the line—Rider defeated first place Fairfield. The Stags still hold a two game advantage over Rider, but the Broncs are one of the hottest teams in the MAAC now having won five of six and defeating Siena, Iona, Loyola (MD), and Fairfield in the process.
- Detroit 81, Cleveland State 78—Just days after losing to Butler, Cleveland State dropped another game to Detroit. Standing at just 8-6 and in the middle of the Horizon League, Detroit would not appear to be a real threat, but no team has yet to distinguish themselves yet. Plus, the Titans have the best freshman in the league in Ray McCallum at the point guard. Detroit still remains a long-shot to win the Horizon, but they are certainly in the conversation.
Breaking down Lunardi
The number continues to shrink for Other 26 teams in Joe Lunardi’s Bracketology. For several weeks there were eight at-large teams in the field, then there were seven, and now it is down to six. Remember, when Lunardi is determining who receives the conference at-large bid, it is not who he believes will win the conference, but who is currently in first place in the league. The six teams this week are: San Diego State (2), Temple (7), UNLV (7), Richmond (12), Missouri State (12), and Old Dominion (12).
Note: These are just the teams that are projected for at-large berths; there are many other teams that are in Lunardi’s field via the automatic berth. Here are some of these notable teams: BYU (2), St. Mary’s (8), Utah State (9), Xavier (9), George Mason (10), Wichita State (11), Cleveland State (12), Oakland (13), Belmont (13), UTEP (13), Princeton (14), and College of Charleston (14).
(The following statistics are following the conclusion of games on February 9th)
|Team||Record||Last Week’s Seed||RPI||SoS||vs. top 100||vs. 101-200||vs. sub 200|
|Richmond||19-6||Not in field||74||136||4-4||7-2||8-0|
- Several numbers that stick out: San Diego State still has an incredibly high RPI. If they are able to maintain such an RPI and win the MWC tournament—not losing the rest of the way, of course—they may be able to earn a #1 seed. Missouri State’s sub .500 record against the RPI top 100 does not bode well for them. The weak strength of schedules from Temple, Missouri State, and Richmond certainly will not impress the committee, although the high RPI’s from the Owls and Bears will be beneficial. Richmond’s low RPI of 74 sticks out like a sore thumb.
- No Butler or Gonzaga in the field; two of the most decorated Cinderella teams of the past decade are omitted from Lunardi’s field. With their records and mediocre play within their respective conferences, at this stage they do not deserve a bid.
- No at-large bids for Conference USA. Currently, UTEP is slated to attain the auto-bid, but other than the Miners there is not another CUSA team in the field. Memphis and Southern Mississippi may be able to get one of the final at-large bids with an impressive run down the stretch in the regular season and conference tournament.
- Right now, Harvard does not deserve to be in the field. Princeton currently is slated for the auto-bid, and Harvard has not done enough to warrant an at-large bid. But, let’s just say that Harvard ended the season with five losses—they are 16-4 right now—would that be good enough for an at-large bid? Similarly, Princeton is 17-4 right now, what if they ended up with five or six losses? Neither would most likely get in, but it makes for an interesting discussion.
- There are always upsets in conference tournaments, so it is certainly possible for there to be more than just six Other 26 teams who make the NCAA Tournament via the at-large bid.
A Closer Look
Impressive Statistics: Offensive and defensive three-point percentage are very high. The Patriots have done a great job beyond the arc this season both shooting and defending the three-point shot. They are connecting on nearly 40% of their shots (18th nationally) and their opponents are hitting 30.2% of theirs (21st nationally).
Offense: The Patriots are an exceptional shooting team. They have six players that can all step outside and hit from behind the arc, and they also shoot nearly 52% from two which puts them inside the top 50 in the nation. Cam Long and Ryan Pearson have been dependable options throughout the season as the tandem are combining for roughly 30 points a game.
Defense: Jim Larranaga institutes a unique “scramble half-court defense” against opponents. This philosophy is a trapping defense that relies on the quickness and aptitude of his players to recognize what offense the opposition is and what they will try to do with the ball. It is not overly complicated for two players to double the basketball, but it is the upmost importance for the other three defenders to space themselves correctly on the floor. Rather than try to butcher Larranaga’s strategy, take a gander at the diagrams here, along with the video at the end. This defense, along with the tight man defense GMU runs, is certainly working as they surrender just over 60 points a game.
Weakness: Free throw shooting, while not atrocious, is not overly impressive as they connect on 68.2% a game. In their two losses this within the CAA, they shot 56% from the stripe. In the grand scheme of things, however, this is not a grave concern. Although, the ability to close out games by hitting free throws certainly is crucial.
Top Player: Cam Long and Ryan Pearson are of equal importance to George Mason. The two average a combined 30 points a night and are lethal from the outside shooting upwards of 40%.
Why? All they need to do is get back into March Madness and they will instantaneously have the entire nation on their side. Ever since their miraculous run in 2006, they have been once and that was in 2008 when they lost to Notre Dame in the first round as a 12 seed. America still remembers 2006, and will undoubtedly pull for the Patriots again.
Impressive Statistics: Are very proficient on the defensive glass as they rarely allow their opponent second chance opportunities coming off of offensive rebounds—third in the nation.
Offense: Who are you supposed to guard? Do you pressure David Kyles so he is unable to get open looks from the outside? Or, do you double team J.T. Durley on the low blocks when he catches the ball underneath—Durley can hit the occasional three too though. The Shockers have 10 players averaging nearly five points or better per game. That amount of depth and having many players that can contribute makes Wichita State a very dynamic team.
Defense: As is the case with many of the teams I have taken a closer look at, their defense always ranks as one of the tops in the country. The Shockers protect the basket well as opponents hit only 43% of their two-point shots. For the season, they are relinquishing 61.3 points per game which is 28th in the country.
Weakness: They have not truly been tested yet, and do not have that signature win that will “wow” the committee. Aside from having a solid performance at the Maui Invitational there they took Connecticut to the final minute and then defeated Virginia days later, their best win is probably against Tulsa. Playing in the Valley always prepares a team for the postseason as it is one of the most competitive Mid-Major conferences around, but they have not seen an exceptional team since December 4th when they played at San Diego State.
Top Player: It is impossible to identify just one player as Wichita State’s top guy. Their top three players are a very solid unit who play most of the minutes compared to the other seven that routinely play. J.T. Durley, David Kyles, and Toure’ Murry all average between 10 and 11.6 points and share almost equal minutes a night. Kyles is the best outside threat the Shockers have, and while Durley is capable of draining a long ball, he is better suited at staying near the paint. Since January 7th, the big man 2-20.
Why? Gregg Marshall had an amazing run in the Big South Conference with Winthrop. His Eagles were constantly in the Tournament and even won a game one year against Notre Dame. Marshall’s winning ways are beginning to rub off at Wichita State. Many of the top guns are upperclassmen now, and they have seen what it takes to be successful. Moreover, there is not one player on the current roster who has tasted the beautiful waters of the NCAA Tournament; there is a great motivation to get there and do some damage.
Important Upcoming Games
- Harvard vs. Yale (Feb. 11)—It is a rivalry game—maybe the biggest rivalry of them all—throw the records out the window. Although Yale’s overall record is just 11-9, they are 4-2 in the Ivy League. This may be a must-win situation for them though as it is hard to see Princeton or Harvard losing three games in the league.
- Virginia Commonwealth vs. Old Dominion (Feb. 12)—These games between the top teams in the CAA from here on out are all critical. There are three teams with legitimate shots at an at-large bid: George Mason, VCU, and ODU. The CAA looks like it will probably receive an at-large, but certainly not two. VCU won the first game at ODU 59-50, and have been better ball lately than the Monarchs.
- Memphis vs. Southern Mississippi (Feb. 12)—Let’s see if the Tigers can build on their two straight wins and finish CUSA with a bang. Southern Mississippi has been flying under the radar for much of the year, but are quietly 7-3 in the league and have arguably CUSA’s best player in Gary Flowers.
- Winthrop vs. Coastal Carolina (Feb. 12)—Winthrop defeated Coastal in last year’s Big South Championship and lost to them by just five points earlier this year in Conway, SC. This time, CCU has to make the hour drive to Winthrop where the Eagles are always tough to play. Winthrop is 11-1 at home and 1-11 on the road. CCU has all but locked up the one seed in the Big South tournament, but Winthrop is right in the mix for the three seed.
- UNLV vs. San Diego State (Feb. 12)—UNLV has been unable to topple the two top teams in the MWC. They have lost twice to BYU, and previously lost to SDSU by a slim six point margin. The Aztecs travel north to Vegas for this game and will do battle with the Runnin’ Rebels who exploded for 94 points in their last outing. This is one of UNLV’s last chances to gain that signature win heading into Selection Sunday.
- Valparaiso vs. Wright State (Feb. 12)—At this point, it almost does not even matter where one is seeded in the Horizon League. Virtually every team has demonstrated they can win and lose on any given night. Currently, Valpo is atop the league and have two of the top players in Brandon Wood and Cory Johnson. Wright State, some would say, has an equally impressive duo in Vaughn Duggins and N’Gai Evans.
- Colorado State vs. New Mexico (Feb. 12)—While they are not in the upper echelon of the MWC, and will most likely not win the league, Colorado State and New Mexico are still clinging onto hope of gaining an at-large bid. New Mexico has played well of late having won their last four games, and would like nothing more than to be riding a five game win streak entering their game at San Diego State.
- Northern Iowa vs. Wichita State (Feb. 12)—Having lost two straight, Northern Iowa is trying to get back into the race for first in the Valley, while Wichita State hopes to gain some separation from Missouri State. It will be interesting to see how head coach Gregg Marshall constructs his defense in order to combat Kyle Weems.
- San Francisco vs. St. Mary’s (Feb. 12)—In 2011, San Francisco is 8-2 (7-1 in the WCC) and in second place in the conference behind the Gaels. Usually a game at this stage of the schedule is reserved for Gonzaga and another team doing battle for first, but now is San Francisco’s time. Expect the quaint War Memorial Gymnasium to be rocking as the Dons have their biggest game there in some time.
- Duquesne vs. Xavier (Feb. 13)—Potentially the regular season game of the year in the A10 as the two teams tied for first with matching records of 8-1 meet up. Watching Bill Clark and Tu Holloway duke it should be a real spectacle as they are two of the most decorated guards in not only the league, but the country as well.
- Virginia Commonwealth vs. George Mason (Feb. 15)—Just like the preceding game between Duquesne and Xavier, this CAA matchup has major implications. Both teams having 12-2 records in the CAA and are vying for the regular season crown. More importantly, however, the winner of this game will have another feather in their cap come Selection Sunday when an at-large berth is on the line.
- Wright State vs. Cleveland State (Feb. 16)—Does anyone want to win the Horizon League? The winner of this game may have the inside track to do so, although something tells me they may slip up again.
- Maine vs. Vermont (Feb. 16)—Maine appeared destined to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history after starting 8-1 in league play and boasting one of the league’s top players in Troy Barnies, but the Black Bears have lose three straight and are tied with Boston University for second in the America East. Both squads are looking up at Vermont who is 11-2. A win over UVM at home would give them a much needed boost heading into the conference tournament.
- Southern Mississippi vs. UTEP (Feb. 16)—If it is possible, UTEP has been the most consistent team in the CUSA this season—a league where consistency seemingly does not exist—and are in first place, for now. CUSA is in constant flux with regard to the standings, and Southern Miss. can further complicated matters with a victory at home against the Miners.
- Temple vs. Richmond (Feb. 17)—Depending on the result of the Duquesne vs. Xavier game, the winner of this one may be playing for a share of first place in the A10. Both teams have aspirations of an at-large bid assuming they fall in the conference tournament, which makes games like these all the more important. How Temple goes about trying to contain the extremely versatile Justin Harper will be interesting to watch. Fran Dunphy is one of the better defensive coaches around; I am sure he will have something up his sleeve.
- Belmont vs. East Tennessee State (Feb. 17)—The Buccaneers are holding onto the slim chance they may overtake Belmont for the one seed in the A-Sun tournament. It is hard to see Belmont losing at home—a place they have not lost at in over a year—but you can bet that Mike Smith and Micah Williams will do their best to dethrone the Bruins as many critics have already anointed them the A-Sun crown and auto-bid to the Dance.
- Does Utah State have the body of work that is fool proof for an at-large bid?
- Cornell has struggled this year—many thought they would following the graduation of the most talented class in school history along with head coach Steve Donohue—but they had a great opportunity to earn a solid road win in New Haven against Yale. Instead, they squandered a 10 point lead in the final 1:58 to lose 71-70.
- I have quit trying to figure out the Memphis Tigers. It has become clear due to their inconsistent play that they will not be a true force come March, but one cannot discount their talent; they are a dangerous team when they come to play and are clicking.
- Brandon Fortenberry, a junior guard for Southeastern Louisiana, was one assist shy of recording a triple-double. Against Texas-San Antonio, Fortenberry scored 22 points, pulled down 10 boards, and had the nine assists. It would have been the first triple-double for the Lions since 2006.
- No one said it would be easy, and Fordham first year head coach Tom Pecora is finding that out. After getting out to a nice 6-4 start with wins over Lehigh and St. John’s, Fordham has yet to win a game in 2011. Ouch!
- The Portland Pilots looked like they would challenge in the WCC after soundly defeating St. Mary’s, but since then they have lost two straight conference games. The most recent being a two point loss to Pepperdine.
- Butler is playing better without Matt Howard? There is absolutely zero chance that Butler is a better basketball team without Howard, but they have won three straight games as he has been sidelined with a mild concussion.
- Centenary is now 0-26, and Kenpom does not have them winning a game the rest of the year. According to him, their best chance of picking up their first victory of the season is at home against 7-16 Western Illinois.
- Although it has not received a whole lot of coverage, the best story of the week is what Louisiana-Monroe head coach Keith Richard and his wife, Holly, decided to do in their game with Arkansas State on Thursday evening. For every student who attended the game, the Richards donated $1 to the Kitty DeGree Breast Health Center. A big thumbs up to you, coach Richard. While your Warhawks are just 6-20 this season, you are a true winner in my book.