Saturday, November 29, 2008

Around the NCAA on a Saturday

First off, a couple items from Big Televen country, in advance of the challenge this week. Ohio State may not have figured out its offense yet, but the defense - wow. The Buckeyes held Samford to 22 points, including just 6! (yes 6!) in the first half. Samford shot 9 of 48 from the field, including 2 of 18 from three, plus coughed it up 18 times in just 61 possessions. The Buckeyes were sloppy (17 turnovers) and shot poorly (22-52 overall, 4-17 from three) themselves, putting together a sub-100 offensive rating, and still won by 37. This is likely on track for the best defensive/worst offensive game of the season.

Michigan - the same Wolverines that beat UCLA a couple weeks ago - trailed by 20 at the half at home against Savannah State. Yes, you read that correctly. Savannah took a 39-19 lead into the break at Crisler Arena. Michigan then put up an almost-mirror-image 37-17 second half performance to force OT (although they missed a breakaway dunk to win at the end of regulation). Overtime was not a cakewalk either, with the Wolverines eeeeking out a two-point victory on a Courtney Sims corner jumper as time expired.

It may just be me, but it seems like fewer teams made it to December undefeated than usual. The number will shrink by (at least) two tomorrow, as one team in each of the Tennessee-Gonzaga and Wake Forest-Baylor matchups will be handed its first blemish. Here's the list of the 30 teams that had loss-less Novembers (for the record, that makes 311 teams that lost at least once in the season's first three weeks):

Dayton, Xavier, Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, UNC, NC State, Wake Forest/Baylor, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Connecticut, Depaul, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Villanova, Illinois, Minnesota, Ohio State, Butler, Illinois State, BYU, Wyoming, Stanford, LSU, Tennessee/Gonzaga, Lamar, Arkansas-Little Rock, Utah State

If Wake can win today (and UNC and NCSU), the ACC will have more undefeated teams remaining than any other conference, including the JumboEast. I know this isn't really much of a measure of relative conference success; nonetheless, any metric (however flawed) by which I can say that the ACC is the best, I will use.

Very impressed with Florida State picking up two neutral court wins this weekend over Cal and Cincinnati. They have one of the easier challenge matchups this week (@ Northwestern) and have two remaining chances for marquee non-conference wins against Florida and Pittsburgh, especially since both games are in Tallahassee.

Finally, because I have no other place to put this, here's the HD Box from the Michigan game in the finals of the CvC. Not too much to say about this game (which I didn't see) - Duke was simply the better team, and played better pretty much all night. One thing of note - the difference between Smith's numbers (+22) and Paulus' (+1); obviously Nolan has been getting much more time with better teammates, but there's no question that the offense has been more efficient with him on the court.

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