LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — There is Gonzaga. There is Baylor. Then there is Moe, Larry and Curly in college basketball this season.
Consider this opening nugget for my Thursday college basketball notebook:
*Eight Associated Press Top 25 teams played Wednesday.
Five lost — to unranked teams.
Two lost at home.
Two lost by double figures.
Two lost to teams with losing records.
Got all that?
East Carolina defeated No. 5 Houston tonight 82-73. They entered the game 0-17 all-time against AP top-5 teams and had a 35-game losing streak vs any ranked teams.Houston entered the matchup holding opponents to 56.0 PPG this season, the lowest in Division I. pic.twitter.com/Y2xX5mBZsJ— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 4, 2021
It was reasonable to argue that Villanova and Houston were the two leading contenders to grab the No. 1 NCAA Tournament seeds after Gonzaga and Baylor.
Then, with a 92 percent Ken Pomeroy win probability, No. 5 Houston lost to East Carolina, a team that had lost five straight and was without a win over a Top 150 opponent.
That flashed as a bigger upset than No. 3 Villanova losing at St. John’s, which has quietly won five straight or No. 15 Creighton losing a home game to 4-8 Georgetown.
St. John's completed the upset over No. 3 Villanova tonight 70-59. It's St. John's 3rd double-digit win over a top 3 team in school history & the 2nd highest scoring margin pic.twitter.com/WQNJ8B4R6P— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 4, 2021
Who can explain No. 22 Florida?
Poor Mike White. People love to remind him that he isn’t Billy Donovan. White’s sixth Florida team keeps providing examples of that.
The Gators beat Tennessee by 26 — and lost at home to Kentucky by 18. They went to No. 17 West Virginia and won and returned to Gainesville and lost to South Carolina team with a losing record.
Don’t forget No. 16 Virginia Tech. Four days after dominating Virginia, the Hokies stumbled against Pitt, 83-72.
Here’s an interesting thing about the Hokies: Three of their four losses have been by double figures.
These kids aren’t machines, you know.
*The wise-guys say a team must be ranked in the Top 20 in offensive and defensive efficiency if it expects to win the NCAA title.
Here is the list of the current dual qualifiers at KenPom.com. I’ll list them in order of the best overall performance in both categories.
Baylor — third on offense, second on defense.
Gonzaga — second, 13th.
Michigan — eighth, seventh.
Houston — 18th, fifth.
Illinois — seventh, 17th.
Virginia — 11th, 18th.
*The Indiana University men’s basketball record book lists IU’s first overtime being played on Jan. 17, 1953. The Hoosiers survived Illinois in two overtimes, 74-70.
Coach Branch McCracken’s team played another OT game that season, defeating Northwestern.
According to the media guide, IU did not play a third OT game until Dec. 10, 1960 against Detroit. The fourth OT game was later that season against Northwestern.
Four overtime games in nine seasons.
During the 1998-99 season, the Hoosiers played six overtime games, winning four.
Indiana played its fourth overtime game this season Tuesday in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, losing to Illinois, 75-71.
If the numbers in the IU media guide are accurate, this is the first time Indiana has lost three overtime games (Florida State, Wisconsin, Illinois) in one season.
Archie Miller’s team is also the only team from the Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, Big East, Southeastern or Atlantic Coast conferences to play four OT games this season.
UCLA and Providence have played three.
USC, Creighton, Seton Hall, Mississippi State and Minnesota have played two.
And, 34 of the 76 teams in those six leagues have not played any overtime games.
*When you look at the numbers posted by John Calipari’s 5-11 Kentucky team, the primary caution lights have been delivered by the Wildcats’ offense, not the defense.
According to Pomeroy’s data, Kentucky’s turnover habit — turnovers on 21.5% of their possessions — is the worst average of Calipari’s 12 UK teams.
UK’s 2-point field goal percentage (46.7%) is easily the worst of the Calipari Era. One other Cal team, the 2011 Brandon Knight Final Four group, made less than half of its 2-point attempts.
And, at 30.2%, this is also Calipari’s worst 3-point shooting team. Prior to this season, his worst 3-point team was his first squad, which made 33.1%.
But that powerful DeMarcus Cousins, John Wall, Eric Bledsoe, Patrick Patterson group ranked sixth nationally in 2-point shooting, making 54.6 percent of its attempts.
*Pomeroy and Bart Torvik, another analytics master, have Iowa center Luka Garza with a solid advantage in the national player of the year race.
Pomeroy’s formula slots Baylor guard Jared Butler and Drew Timme of Gonzaga as second and third, while Torvik’s numbers prefer Illinois guard Ayo Dosunmu and Corey Kispert of Gonzaga.
As for the locals?
Pomeroy put Indiana center Trayce Jackson-Davis No. 4 nationally while Torvik ranked him No. 9.
At Pomeroy’s site, the rankings stop at 10. Torvik ranked the Top 50 — Western Kentucky Charles Bassey is No. 14 and Louisville guard Carlik Jones is 34th.
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