Welcome to the TeamRankings.com Daily Feast, where every weekday we stuff your head with the tastiest data-driven insights on college hoops.
Coffee & Cooler Talk (news and results from this weekend)
- One of the most anticipated games of the year lived up to expectations on Saturday, as Wisconsin overcame a 47-32 second half deficit to topple previously unbeaten Ohio State at home. Down by 15, the Badgers went on a 30-8 run, during which Jordan Taylor had 18 points and hit 4 of 4 from three point range. Despite the loss, Ohio State still tops the TeamRankings power ratings, while Wisconsin moves up to #11.
- Pittsburgh went to Villanova and won 57-54, despite missing their leading scorer, Ashton Gibbs. That’s just the latest in a string of impressive road wins, and it’s no surprise the Panthers are #1 in the away power ratings.
- Kentucky continued to struggle on the road, losing at Vanderbilt 81-77. Kentucky’s road struggles (1-5 in the SEC) have contributed to them ranking a disappointing #53 in the last 10 games power ratings.
- San Diego State almost blew a large lead at UNLV, but persevered for a 63-57 lead, to hold steady at one loss. It’s still twelve days away, but I can’t wait until they host a rematch against BYU. A possession-based simulation predicts it will be extremely close.
- Norris Cole of Cleveland State scored 40 points and grabbed 20 rebounds (to go with 9 assists) to join Blake Griffin in the 40/20 club on Saturday. They’re the only two players to hit those marks in the last 15 years. Cole averages 21.1 points per game, which is 30% of Cleveland State’s team average of 70.5.
- North Carolina continued their recent hot streak, winning 64-62 at Clemson. UNC is the clear second best team in the ACC, according the the TeamRankings predictive ratings (choose ACC from the conference dropdown menu).
- Florida State’s best player, Chris Singleton, fractured his right foot in FSU’s Saturday win over Virginia and could be out for the season. The Seminoles average a 9 seed in the latest bracket projections, so a losing streak in his absence could knock them out of the NCAA tournament field.
- Perhaps the most under-appreciated game of the weekend was Xavier beating Duquesne 71-63 at home, take sole possession of first place in the Atlantic 10.
Lunchtime Reading (interesting posts from around the blogosphere)
- Want to know what a true college hoops die hard looks like? That would be John Templon, who put together a bracketology post this weekend. For the NIT.
- Since Big East expansion I personally have felt that the Big East tends to be overrated because of its sheer size. Jason Lisk shows that over the past few years, they’ve been the most underperforming major conference in the NCAA tournament.
- The Mikan Drill does some great scouting-style pieces at his blog. The latest is on how Pittsburgh has changed the way they defend the pick and roll.
Dinner & A Game (notes on tonight’s hottest games)
- #20 W Virginia at #17 Syracuse How crazy is it that a battle between two top 20 teams actually involves the 7th and 9th place teams in the Big East?
- #3 Kansas at #43 Kansas St This game looked to have a lot more cachet a few months ago, but that actually could work to Kansas State’s advantage, as Kansas may not be as fired up as the Wildcats, who will relish the opportunity to knock Kansas from the (perhaps?) top spot in the polls.
- #153 Nevada at #171 Hawaii Hawaii needs to win this to stay safely clear of becoming the 8 seed in the WAC tourney, and the associated first round pairing with the clear cream of the WAC crop, Utah State.