Morning Five: 12.26.13 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on December 26th, 2013


  1. We hope all of you had an enjoyable Christmas holiday yesterday. Fortunately for college basketball programs across the country it was an uneventful day as the only news that happens for programs on holidays and it appears that players (and coaches) across the nation were on their best behavior yesterday. Today should be more of the same and in fact should be even quieter with no games scheduled today, but that will change later in the week (more on that later).
  2. The only real college basketball action happening yesterday was in Hawaii where the Diamond Head Classic finished up. The big news out of Hawaii was Iowa State adding another quality win to its NCAA Tournament resume with a four-point win over Boise State. At this point, the Cyclones have a very solid top-10 resume and probably will end up there when the next poll comes out. On the other end of the spectrum we have St. Mary’s. Coming to Hawaii the Gaels were undefeated and a borderline top-25 team. Three games and three losses later (by a combined 11 points) they have just one game to rebound before a big showdown at Gonzaga on January 2.
  3. With all of the talk about scoring and fouls one of the things that not many people have talked about is the number of players who have had big scoring nights. Matt Norlander took a look at that using a 40-point performance as the threshold and breaking it down by season, conference, and game location. The one thing that jumps out (other than the big drop-off in 40+ point games since the four-year stretch spanning 2005-2009) is how many of these games came in BCS-level conferences (ok, maybe not the Big Ten) since many people would expect these performances to come in more free-flowing, less physical mid-major games. Clearly, the BCS-level conferences tend to get more talented players, but that is not always necessarily reflected in scoring output.
  4. We missed this over the weekend as we were traveling, but we remiss we did not mention the retirement of longtime official Ed Hightower, who officiated his last game on Sunday. Although Hightower’s final game was not a high-profile game (Iowa vs Arkansas-Pine Bluff) perhaps that is fitting as Hightower is one of the more well-respected high-profile officials that we can think of. Unlike some of his colleagues who are well-known for making specific calls Hightower does not have that type of reputation (ok, there are probably a few fans who harbor some resentment over random calls). As Dan Wetzel noted last week, Tom Izzo’s admiration for Hightower speaks volumes for Hightower’s work. Actually, we suggest you take a look at the comment section on Wetzel’s article, which might be the first time we have seen the comment section full of positive comments, to get an idea of the quality of Hightower’s work.
  5. If you still have some more time with your family this holiday season, we suggest you use today and tomorrow to get your family time in. If today isn’t enough, you should have some time on Friday too with three ranked teams playing, but doing so against really weak competition. On Saturday, it is a completely different story with a solid slate featuring games between Villanova and Syracuse at 2 PM and Kentucky and Louisville at 4 PM. Outside of that there are several other interesting games to keep you occupied the rest of the day so you might want to invest compression socks because you might be on the couch for a very long time.
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