What’s Trending: Out With the Old and In With the New

Posted by Matt Eisenberg on January 13th, 2020

What’s Trending is a column examining the week that was in college basketball social media. Matthew Eisenberg (@matteise) is your weekly host.

When Clemson hit the floor at North Carolina and Baylor visited Kansas on Saturday, both teams were carrying much more than just a point spread labeling them as underdogs. Rather, these two programs were up against history, as neither school had ever won a game at those locations. That is, until Saturday….

In Chapel Hill, postgame feelings from the head coaches were quite different. For Brad Brownell‘s Tigers, the locker room was full of jubilation and joy as the weight of the long losing streak at North Carolina had mercifully ended…

Roy Williams, on the other hand, was hyperbolic beyond reason, from citing the loss as the lowest moment of his career to suggesting that athletic director Bubba Cunningham should fire him.

In Lawrence, Baylor held Kansas to a season-low offensive efficiency and effective field-goal percentage. After averaging 18.6 PPG through his first 14 contests of the season, Baylor held a banged-up Devon Dotson to just nine insignificant points. The Bears’ ability to slow he, along with Udoka Azubuike, led to an easy Baylor victory. Another streak snapped and the jumping off point for the question that never dies when referencing Baylor basketball: Is Scott Drew a good coach?

After winning the National Championship last April, Virginia began the season as the media’s fourth-best ACC team, netting 12 of the 111 first-place votes that were cast. While the Cavaliers’ defense remains as good as any club in college basketball, Tony Bennett’s squad is struggling at new levels offensively. They have gone from a top-10 three-point shooting team in 2019 to now ranking among the 10 worst three-point shooting teams in the country. And after losing just a total of two home games over the previous two seasons, Virginia has now lost twice at home in the span of a month.

After 40 minutes of action in Charlottesville, Syracuse and Virginia were tied at 43-all, with the two teams combining to shoot 27.4 percent from the field 23.1 percent from deep. While the teams exploded to the tune of 32 overtime points in the next five minutes, their offensive output as a whole continues to paint a picture of nationwide difficulty in effective scoring. This season, national averages in effective field goal percentage, two-point percentage, and three-point percentage are all below the previous five seasons.

While shooting was something both the Orange and Cavaliers struggled with all day long, Syracuse’s Buddy Boeheim nailed this nearly half-court heave which might have been the shot of the weekend…


…that is, had it not been for the heroics of St. Joseph’s Ryan Daly. Down three points with the clock nearing all zeros, Daly’s shot will be tough to topple as the shot of the year.

This week in the “Conference of Champions“, Washington suffered a major blow. After splitting with the Los Angeles schools in the opening week of Pac-12 play, the Huskies learned that they would lose point guard Quade Green due to academic reasons. Without Green in the lineup, Washington choked away a game it led by double-figures in the second half at Stanford, and then lost in overtime at California. Now 1-4 in its last five games, Washington has dropped to 11-6 overall and 1-3 in league play.

Elsewhere, Oregon’s Payton Pritchard continued his high level of play. He began the week with a game-tying shot in the final minute against Arizona, followed by a blocked shot of Zeke Nnaji to force overtime. Then he dropped 29 points on Arizona State over the weekend in another Oregon win. Through four Pac-12 games, Pritchard is averaging 21.8 points per game while shooting better than 40 percent from deep.

And finally, it would not be a wild week in the Pac-12 without an update on ESPN commentator Bill Walton. In the wacky world of Walton, Bill kicked things off by sharing peanut butter with the son of Oregon football coach Mario Cristobal.

Walton’s love of peanut butter then traveled to Pauley Pavilion on Saturday night, where only Bill Walton would go as far as to lick a broadcast camera.

Matthew Eisenberg (140 Posts)

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