What’s Trending: Goodbye February, Hello March!

Posted by Matthew Eisenberg on March 3rd, 2020

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

Three words that the entire college basketball community has been waiting for have finally been spoken. Take it away, Jon…

The look back at what transpired on the court last week begins with a piece of history, thanks to Dayton. Two minutes and ten seconds into the Flyers’ weekend game against Davidson, Dayton’s Jalen Crutcher missed a jumper. It would end up being the Flyers’ only miss from inside the three-point line for the entire game. Anthony Grant’s team would go on to make 27-of-28 from two-point range in their 82-67 win over Davidson, which, incidentially, also clinched the Atlantic 10 title.

Dayton leads the nation in effective field goal percentage and two-point field-goal percentage this season, and the Flyers are in position to become just the fifth team to shoot above 60 percent on their two-point attempts over the past 15 seasons. Dayton’s 59.7 percent effective field-goal percentage has only been topped in the past 15 seasons by the Lonzo Ball UCLA team of 2016-17. Of course, Dayton shooting those high percentages should not be surprising when Obi Toppin is doing this…

Big Ten-leading Maryland began the week by trailing Minnesota by 16 points at the half. Down by a pair with the clock winding its way towards zero, the ball made its way into the hands of junior Darryl Morsell. The Terps had gone 5-of-27 from beyond the arc before Morsell found the range for his first made three of the game…

https://twitter.com/BigTenNetwork/status/1232886246625574913?s=20

After the game, Maryland’s Mark Turgeon was none too pleased with the late tip-time for the game. Turgeon days earlier was angry at the way Ohio State’s Kaleb Wesson was allowed to “bully” Maryland around in the Buckeyes win over Turgeon’s team.

After a back and forth in the media early in the week, Ohio State’s Chris Holtmann could not help himself when it came to sharing his thoughts on a 9:00 PM tip-time…

Rutgers began the week at 18-10 (9-8 Big Ten) and needing a win at Penn State to help keep its spot on the right side of the bubble. The opening 17 minutes in Happy Valley were anything but happy for the Scarlet Knights…

But an early 26-9 second-half run gave Rutgers newfound hope. The Scarlet Knights found a way to take the lead with under a minute to go before a John Harrar screen freed Myles Dread for what would ultimately be the winning Penn State basket. If Rutgers ends up on the wrong side of the bubble next weekend, remember this play…

https://twitter.com/CBBonFOX/status/1232849359659814918?s=20

Duke’s struggles early on the road were noted and updated by Rush The Court‘s very own Brad Jenkins when the Blue Devils fell behind early at Wake Forest

After trailing by six at the halfway point of the first-half, Duke outscored Wake by 12 points over the next 20 minutes to lead by nine points with just 81 seconds to go in regulation. After Wake make a couple stops, a turnover and subsequent three by Wake Forest’s Brandon Childress sent the game to overtime, where the Demon Deacons ultimately came out on top.

https://twitter.com/Stadium/status/1232499217786077184?s=20

Duke was given a chance to redeem itself this past weekend with a road test in Charlottesville against Virginia. After a Kihei Clark three pushed Virginia into the lead, Tre Jones found Vernon Carey alone under the rim for what looked like would be the go-ahead bucket. That is, until Jay Huff showed up…

https://twitter.com/marchmadness/status/1233928138276638720?s=20

Huff finished the game with 10 blocks in 29 minutes of action. In his previous four games, he had combined to swat only nine shots. That total was four more than his previous high of six blocks in a game, and it was just the third time all season that Huff has blocked more than four shots.

When Evansville beat Kentucky on November 12, the Purple Aces were perfect on the young season at 2-0. They went on to finish the non-conference slate at 9-4, with three wins coming against KenPom top 150 teams. Then came all the turmoil. First, Walter McCarty was dismissed from his head coaching position for off the court reasons and then the bottom fell out, as Evansville was perfectly imperfect in the Missouri Valley Conference…

One additional note on Evansville’s season, do not ask John Calipari about that November night again…

On the opposite end of Evansville comes UCLA. An 8-9 (1-3 Pac-12) start to the season — including a home loss to Cal State Fullerton — resulted in the Bruins having a NET Ranking as low as #183. Since then, Mick Cronin’s first year at the helm in Westwood has turned completely around. The week began with the Bruins getting the best of then Pac-12 leaders Arizona State…

And the week ended with UCLA sweeping Arizona to take a half-game lead in the conference. After having an average monthly adjusted efficiency ranking of 120.7 through the first three months of the season, UCLA finished February with the 18th best adjusted efficiency.

In the Big 12, the focus of the past week begins and ends in the state of Texas. TCU’s duo of Desmond Bane and PJ Fuller combined for 44 points in the Horned Frogs’ weekend upset of Baylor. The loss dropped Baylor a game behind Kansas for the conference lead.

After Texas‘ lopsided loss at Iowa State on February 15th, Shaka Smart’s job security at Texas was at an all-time low. Barring a miracle, it almost seemed certain that the Longhorns would be looking elsewhere at the end of the season. Then Texas rattled off three straight wins, including a win against West Virginia. Then there was this past weekend where the Smart led Longhorns strolled into Lubbock and outscored the Red Raiders by 11 points over the final 10 minutes to win by the same margin. With games at Oklahoma and against Oklahoma State remaining, could Texas reach 20 regular season wins, make the NCAA Tournament, and ultimately keep Smart as its head coach?

While Obi Toppin walked away easily with any possible “Dunk of the Week” title, the competition for buzzer-beaters from deep was quite competitve.

The first nominee comes via Illinois’ Trent Frazier. After Nebraska took what should have been the last shot of the half with 1.6 seconds left, a rebound, single dribble, and heave led to to this…

https://twitter.com/BigTenNetwork/status/1232121001367891970?s=20

The second nominee comes from USC’s Onyeka Okongwu. The Trojans were leading Arizona by a score of 23-21 when Okonguw grabbed a Nico Mannion miss and proceeded to do this. Bonus points for drilling this while being “fouled” (no call was made, ask Sean Miller about Pac-12 refs)…

https://twitter.com/BleacherReport/status/1233239171721904128?s=20

The final nominee comes courtesy of Michigan State’s Cassius Winston. With the Spartans inbounding the ball from underneath their own basket up eight points with 1.2 seconds to go in the half, Maryland fell asleep defensively as Winston alertly heaved up a prayer. Michigan State’s eight–point lead suddenly converted to 11, thanks to this…

Matthew Eisenberg (110 Posts)


Share this story

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *