Three Teams Chasing Perfection…

Posted by rtmsf on January 19th, 2011

As of Wednesday, January 19, we are down to three unbeaten teams in college basketball — #1 Ohio State, #2 Kansas and #5 San Diego State.  Previously undefeated Duke lost last week at Florida State and Syracuse lost Monday at Pittsburgh, proving once again that conference play is a completely different animal than the non-conference slate.  With only a little over six weeks left in the regular season (which seems rather impossible), it is at least feasible that one of these three schools could run the regular season table and join 1991 UNLV and 2004 St. Joseph’s as the only two teams to have done so since Bob Knight’s dominant Indiana Hoosiers way back in 1976. 

If you look at the above teams and hoped to draw a conclusion from it, you might note that UNLV and St. Joe’s played in high mid-major conferences when they ran the regular season table.  Although there were a few decent opponents who could challenge the Rebels and Hawks in those leagues, they generally enjoyed more ‘nights off’ where they didn’t have to bring their best stuff to win the game.  Does this give Steve Fisher’s Aztecs an inherent advantage over OSU and Kansas by virtue of its Mountain West affiliation?  You might initially believe so, but not according to Pomeroy’s projections. 

We talked about how difficult it is for any team to run the table in the regular season back in December when Duke was gettting some buzz in that respect prior to Kyrie Irving’s toe injury.  There are any number of factors that can cause an off night, but the biggest confounding factor is how the schedule lays out in front of them.  According to the Pomeroy data, SDSU will be favored in all but two remaining games, Ohio State all but one, and Kansas will be the favorite in each of its final thirteen games.  But that’s just the math – it doesn’t account for the increasing attention and pressure that builds on a team as it approaches March with a zero in the right-hand column, nor does it consider all the other issues (injuries, team chemistry, tiring out, etc.) that teams face as the season wears on.  That’s what we’re here for, the analysis. 

Let’s take a look at the three unbeaten teams and make an educated prediction as to when each will finally lose.  It’s going to happen; the only question is the when and where.  Last year we went 3-1 in this exercise, and if we can do so well as to keep our head above .500 again this year, we’ll be pleased. 

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ATB: Woo Pig Sooey Again

Posted by rtmsf on January 6th, 2009

afterbuzzerNews & Notes.

Unbeaten Watch.

  • Bradley 56, Illinois St. 52. ISU’s undefeated season came to an end in front of a packed house at Bradley behind a balanced attack that saw nine Braves score in this game.  Bradley held ISU 24 points below its scoring average by defending their 3-pt attack (6-26, .231), holding the Redbirds well below its typical 40.5% average from long range.  ISU made a small run in the second half to close a 14-pt lead down to six, but Bradley hit their FTs (11-13) and took care of the ball enough to secure the upset win.
  • Clemson 66, Alabama 59. For a while, it appeared that we would be left with only two undefeated teams after tonight, as Alabama was continuing to play well on the road against the unbeaten Tigers.  A quick 15-0 run in the mid-second half put an end to that, however, as Bama’s Ronald Steele in particular was held scoreless in the second stanza.  Bama appears to be playing much better than they were at the beginning of the season, but the real question we have is whether Clemson will be able to sustain its so-far great season once ACC play begins in earnest.  We may not know for sure until a five-game stretch beginning 1/17 where Clemson plays Wake, UNC and Duke in the span of eighteen days.

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ATB: Holiday Weekend Wrap

Posted by rtmsf on December 28th, 2008

afterbuzzer1

Let’s start with some news & notes…

  • Which of the ten (now nine) unbeaten teams are frauds and which are legit?  Not sure we agree about Minnesota, Goodman.
  • On Jan. 7th, ESPN will have its announcers switch roles, using its NBA team of Jeff Van Gundy, Mark Jackson and Mike Tirico to call the Duke-Davidson game, and its college team of Dan Shulman and Dick Vitale to call the Heat-Nuggets game.  One can only hope that Van Gundy and Jackson will get into an argument over how to best defend Stephen Curry.
  • Just tuning in to college hoops?  Here’s a season recap.  And here’s Jeff Goodman’s Xmas gift column.

Weekend Wrap. The weekend was generally light, with only a few really good matchups.  So we’ll just hit the highlight games in short order tonight.

Saturday Games.

  • LSU 64, Washington St. 52. Is LSU a team to watch in the SEC West?   Well, the Tigers are 10-0 at home and 0-1 on the road against the nation’s 300th toughest schedule.  You tell us.
  • Kentucky 76, Florida Atlantic 69. The Cats struggled in this one as a team, but Patrick Patterson (27/14/3 blks) is entering himself into first-team all-american consideration with his consistently superb numbers.  Consider that PP is averaging 20/10 on 71% shooting and is the second most efficient player in America (behind only Blake Griffin).
  • Louisville 82, UAB 62. Rick Pitino benched Earl Clark and Andre McGee and the Cards responded with the new lineup by pulling away from an overmatched UAB team with little depth.  T-Will nearly had a trip-dub with 21/10/7 assts.
  • West Virginia 76, Ohio St. 48. Unbeaten no more.  WVU put the smack down on the Buckeyes in their house, ending a 14-game winning streak and giving Bob Huggins sweet vindication given his previous snubs by the flagship university of the state of Ohio.   A 27-4 run in the mid to late-second half did the trick.
  • Michigan St. 82, Oakland 66. This game is only notable because Goran Suton started, contributing 16/9 in the process.  A healthy and effective Suton is key to MSU’s season.

Sunday Games.

  • St. Mary’s 87, San Jose St. 78 (Sat.) and St. Mary’s 76, Morgan St. 60.  Don’t look now, but SMC has now won nine in a row against a top 60 schedule.
  • Wagner 68, NJIT 58. That’s 45 Ls in a row now.  The next best chance for a win – try 1/21 against Bryant University.
  • UCLA 78, Lousiana Tech 55. It’s hard to tell whether UCLA is actually improving, but they’ve won their last six by an average of 25+ pts.  Jrue Holiday had 12/10/5 assts/3 stls today.
  • Illinois St. 72, Missouri St. 69 (OT). In a key early-season MVC matchup, ISU stayed unbeaten.  Down 15 in the mid-second half, the Redbirds used a 22-2 run to take the lead and held on in OT.
  • Florida St. 82, W. Kentucky 69. FSU pulled away late against the most schizophrenic team in America behind Toney Douglas’ 27/5/5 assts.
  • USC 66, Oral Roberts 56. Demar DeRozan had his third consecutive solid game (18/5) as the Trojans held off ORU.
  • Virginia 88, Georgia Tech 84 (OT). In an entertaining battle of two teams going nowhere this season, the Wahoos were able to steal a conference road win behind super frosh Sylvan Landesberg’s 26/6/5 assts.  We still can’t figure out why Ga Tech isn’t better than they are with the talent they have on that roster.
  • Lipscomb 74, Indiana 69. This is what we were afraid of with this IU squad.  With 5 minutes to go in the first half, IU led 37-16.  They were outscored 58-32 the rest of the way.  A four-win Big 10 slate should be considered a huge success this year.
  • Florida 74, Winthrop 45. Winthrop (1-10) is an abomination these days.   Halftime score – Florida 53, Winthrop 11.
  • Minnesota 82, High Point 56. Minny is now 12-0, its best start in sixty years.  That Tubby hire looks good right now, doesn’t it?
  • Siena 75, St. Joseph’s 74. Siena rallied from eighteen down to get this win, and in turn, may have saved its season.
  • UNC 97, Rutgers 75. Another methodical blowout win for the Heels.  Hansbrough had 26/10.  Up next for Rutgers…  #3 Pitt, then #2 UConn.
  • Stanford 111, Texas Tech 66.  This was the most shocking score of the weekend.  Certainly right now Johnny Dawkins is looking like a national COY candidate – he’s never lost a game!

On tap Monday (all times EST). Big Monday gets a jump before the new year with a blockbuster game – Georgetown at UConn.  The nightcap – Cincy at Memphis – isn’t half-bad either.

  • Connecticut v. Georgetown (ESPN2) – 7pm
  • Villanova v. Temple (ESPNU) – 7pm
  • Baylor v. Portland St. – 8pm
  • Davidson @ Charleston (ESPNU) – 9pm
  • Memphis v. Cincinnati (ESPN2) – 9pm
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