Thursday’s Den: How NFL offenses do on long drives

Points per possession, on drives starting 75 yards from the goal line:

Chiefs 191 points on 72 drives— 2.65 ppp
Browns 2.51
Bills 2.38
Bengals 2.37
Cowboys 2.36
Ravens 2.30
Seahawks 2.28
Vikings 2.26
Eagles 2.19

Dolphins 1.99
Raiders 1.94
49ers 1.88
Falcons 1.84
Packers 1.79
Saints 1.68
Giants 1.67
Jaguars/Chargers 1.64
Buccaneers 1.62

Lions 1.59
Patriots 1.58
Bears 1.51
Cardinals 1.49
Titans 1.46
Commanders 1.45
Texans 1.34
Jets 1.27

Broncos 1.23
Panthers 1.19
Steelers 1.10
Rams 1.03
Colts 0.81

If a team gives up a defensive/special teams TD on one of these drives, they lose 7 points, which hurt the Rams’/Colts’ ppp.

Why is this important? Sometimes, teams score lot of points because takeaways/special teams create short fields for the offense. This metric measures an offense’s ability to drive the length of the field, and score on its own. 

New England has only 57 of these drives, seven less than any other team; they generally win the field position battle, and have good special teams, not necessarily good offense. 

Sunday’s Den: Wrapping up a sports Saturday…….

— This may come in handy when the bowl pairings are announced; conference records in games played outside their conference.

Best records ATS:
Big X 16-5-1 (5-1 as an underdog)
SEC 26-12-1 (22-8-1 as a favorite)
Sun Belt 17-13-2
Pac-12 12-10 (7-3 as an underdog)

Worst records ATS:
MAC 11-18-2 (0-3 as a favorite)
ACC 12-18-2 (3-8 as an underdog)
American 12-17 (4-10 as a favorite)
Mountain West 10-16 (8-5 as an underdog)

South Carolina 31, Clemson 30
Gamecocks end 7-game losing streak in this rivalry.
Clemson led 30-21 with 4:00 left in third quarter.
Carolina QB Rattler was 25-39/360 with two TD passes
Clemson QB Uiagalelei was 8-29/99 passing.

Michigan 45, Ohio State 23
Buckeyes led 20-17 at halftime.
Michigan averaged 11.1 yards/pass attempt, 21.4 yards/completion.
Wolverines won last two meetings, after losing previous eight series games.
9th year in a row this game went over the total.

Oregon State 38, Oregon 34
Ducks led 34-17 with 14:00 left in game.
Oregon State completed only 6-13 passes the whole game, for 60 yards.
Beavers were also minus-3 in turnovers; they ran ball for 268 yards.
Beavers beat Oregon for just third time in last 15 series games.

Texas Tech 51, Oklahoma 48 OT
Oklahoma led 17-0 early in second quarter.
Tech kicked a 43-yard FG with 0:03 left to force OT
Sooners outgained Tech, 672-599
Oklahoma finishes regular season 6-6.

TCU 62, Iowa State 14
Horned Frogs have five wins by 8 or less points; this isn’t one of them.
12-0 TCU heads to the Big X title game next weekend.

Upsets of the Week:
South Carolina (+14) 31, Clemson 30
Tulsa (+12) 37, Houston 30
Texas A&M (+10) 38, LSU 23
Nebraska (+10) 24, Iowa 13
West Virginia (+8.5) 24, Oklahoma State 19
Michigan (+7.5) 45, Ohio State 23
NC State (+6.5) 30, North Carolina 27 OT

Texas A&M 38, LSU 23
Aggies converted 10-15 on third down, LSU 4-11
A&M ran ball for 274 yards (5.5 yards/carry)

Central Florida 46, South Florida 39
Kid on UCF made a great catch in end zone with 0:20 left for the win.
Central Florida led 31-7 with 8:00 left in third quarter.
Knights ran for 345 yards, converted 10-12 on third down.

Tex-San Antonio 34, UTEP 31
Miners led 31-14 with 10:00 left in third quarter.
Roadrunners threw TD passes of 65-70 yards, also scored on a pick-6.
UTSA is 10-2; they were outgained 498-458, but was +2 in turnovers.

Western Kentucky 32, Florida Atlantic 31 OT
Hilltoppers went for 2 points and got it after their TD in overtime.
WKU’s QB Reed was 28-52/410 with three TD passes.
Hilltoppers are 8-5, will go bowling.

Georgia Southern 51, Appalachian State 48 OT
App State outgained Eagles 629-487, ran ball for 376 yards.
Georgia Southern threw for 385 yards; they’re bowl eligible now.
Eagles are 3-2 SU in last five meetings; they were underdog in all five.

East Carolina 49, Temple 46
Pirates threw a 38-yard TD pass with 1:11 left for the win.
EJ Warner was 45-63/527 with five TD passes for Temple.
East Carolina is 7-5, will go bowling.

Bryant 73, Syracuse 72
Bryant was up 11 at halftime, by 13 with 13:05 left.
There was a scuffle in this game, multiple ejections.
Teams had last met two years ago; Syracuse won, 85-84.

TCU 79, Iowa 66
Horned Frogs shot 60% inside the arc.
This was TCU’s first game against a team in the top 200.
Iowa shot 3-17 on the arc. 

Saturday’s Den: Wrapping up a busy couple days………

Bills 28, Lions 25
— Buffalo drove 48 yards, kicked 45-yard FG with 0:02 left for the win.
— Bills are 4-2 SU on road, with wins by 21-4-3-3 points (2-4 ATS).
— Allen threw his 4th red zone INT, most in the league.
— Bills ran ball for 164 yards (5.7 yards/carry).
— Buffalo has 58 plays of 20+ yards (opponents 45)

— Loss snaps Detroit’s 3-game winning streak.
— Under Campbell, Lions are 7-20-1 SU, 20-9-1 ATS.
— Last four games, Detroit opponents converted 34-63 on 3rd down.
— Badgley missed a 29-yard FG wide left in third quarter.
— St Brown caught nine passes for 122 yards and a TD.

Cowboys 28, Giants 20
— Giants lost three of last four games, after a 6-1 start.
— Giants converted 3-11 on third down, Dallas 7-11.
— Giants are still 8-3 ATS this season.
— Last two games, Barkley was held to 61 yards on 26 carries.
— Giants are 22-11 ATS in last 33 games as a road underdog (3-1 TY).

— Dallas trailed 13-7 at halftime.
— First 3 drives of 2nd half: 30 plays, 199 yards, 21 points.
— Cowboys won eight of their last ten games (7-3 ATS).
— Last five games, Dallas scored 21 TD’s on 50 drives.
— Lamb caught six passes for 106 yards.

Vikings 33, Patriots 26
— Vikings outscored New England 10-0 in fourth quarter.
— Nwangwu ran a kickoff back 97 yards for a Minnesota TD.
— Jefferson caught nine passes for 139 yards and a TD.
— Vikings won eight of last nine games (6-2-1 ATS).
— Despite being 9-2, Vikings have outscored foes by only 262-257.

— Game was tied 16-16 at halftime.
— New England is 6-0 giving up 17 or less points, 0-5 giving up 20+.
— Patriots’ last three games: 3 TD’s, 11 FGA’s, 13 3/outs on 34 drives.
— New England converted 3-10 on third down, Vikings 8-15.
— Last six games, Patriots ran ball for only 84.7 yards/game.

Elsewhere in the world………
Why are all these pre-conference tournaments important? Nine of last 11 national champs won an in-season tournament- they’re a good indicator of talent/chemistry/depth.

Tennessee 64, Kansas 50
Vols win Battle for Atlantis, giving up 53.7 ppg in the three games.
Tennessee survived 24 turnovers, made 12-27 on the arc.
Tennessee is forcing turnovers 27.8% of time (#10).

Purdue 84, Gonzaga 66
Purdue outrebounded Gonzaga 46-31
Zags split their first four games vs top 30 teams (4-2 overall)
Boilers advance to play UConn in the finals Sunday

— Tough day for Tar Heel fans:
NC State 30, North Carolina 27 OT
Tar Heels scored TD on last play of regulation to force OT.
Tar Heels missed a 35-yard FG in overtime that ended the game.
UNC converted only 5-20 on 3rd down, but was 3-3 on 4th down.

Iowa State 70, North Carolina 65
Caleb Grill scored 31 points, making 7-11 on the arc.
Tar Heels made 3-18 on arc, after making 11-22 on Thursday.
Right now, UNC is #362 out of 363 teams in bench minutes.

Portland 83, Villanova 71
Wildcats went 9-41 on the arc; no bueno.
Villanova is 2-4 in the first year of Jay Wright’s retirement.
Portland is #25 in country in continuity; they shot 23-56 on arc last two days.

UConn 82, Alabama 67
Huskies outscored Alabama 32-19 over the last 10:00
UConn was +9 in turnovers (21-12)

Bellarmine upset Louisville in its opener, but overall the Knights are 2-4 in their third season as a D-I team. The accountants are happy though; their schedule so far:

W67-66 at Louisville (crosstown trip)
L55-62 at Morehead State
W86-46 over Campbellsville, a non-D-I game
L66-76 at Clemson
L57-74 at Duke
L80-59 at Loyola Marymount— they play at UCLA Sunday.

Bellarmine doesn’t play a D-I team at home until December 10 vs Murray State.

— College hoop teams that have played the hardest schedule so far:
Robert Morris
Oral Roberts
Southern Utah
Michigan State

— College hoop teams that have played the easiest schedule so far:

— Pittsburgh Pirates gave 1B Carlos Santana a one-year deal for $6.7M; with the shift being banned now, Santana’s production is expected to improve. It better improve; he hit .202 last year.214/.199 the two years before that.

— Nebraska Cornhuskers are said to be eyeing former Carolina Panthers’ coach Matt Rhule to be their new football coach. Rhule did a great job at Temple before trying his hand at the NFL, which didn’t go as well.

Tulane 27, Cincinnati 24
Green Wave is 10-2, will host the AAC championship game.
Tulane drove 75 yards, threw 30-yard TD pass to win game with 5:10 left.
Cincinnati had to play its backup QB; he was 10-26/102 passing.

Florida State 45, Florida 38
Seminoles outscored Florida 17-0 in third quarter.
Neither QB completed half his passes.
Gators had touchdown plays of 52-43-45 yards.

Missouri 29, Arkansas 27
Razorbacks led 21-20 at halftime.
Mizzou ran ball for 226 yards, threw ball for 242 yards.
Tigers are now bowl eligible.

Boise State 42, Utah State 23— Talk about bad beats, this was one of the worst I’ve seen in a long time. Boise State was favored by 16.5 points; with 1:20 left, they lead only 28-23, but Taylen Green runs 91 yards for a TD to make the score 35-23.

38 seconds later, Boise scores again, on a pick-6, to cover the spread. If you took Utah State and the 16.5 points, the betting gods owe you one. 

Thursday’s Den: Happy Thanksgiving, everyone……..

Maui Classic
Arizona 81, Creighton 79
Wildcats win the Maui Classic, shooting 59.6% inside the arc.
Arizona led by 14 with 12:19 left to play.
Creighton outscored Arizona 15-4 on foul line.

Arkansas 78, San Diego State 74 OT
Up 4 with 0:13 left, Aztecs fouled intentionally; it proved costly.
Teams combined to shoot 5-35 on the arc.
Arkansas was 27-38 on foul line, San Diego State 18-23.

Odd sidebar to this game: Long time ago, Bill Musselman was the basketball coach at Minnesota; his son Eric coaches Arkansas now. When Musselman left Minnesota, he was succeeded by Jim Dutcher, whose son Brian coaches San Diego State.

Eric Musselman also coached at Nevada for four years, so he’s seen the Aztecs before.

Anyway, the Maui Classic was great this year; Lot of good teams.

Kansas State 61, LSU 59— Wildcats win tournament on Cayman Islands; Tigers led by 12 late in first half, but they scored only 18 points in second half.

UNLV 71, Minnesota 62— Rebels improve to 6-0, winning this tournament that was played in a high school gym in San Juan Capistrano. Minnesota took 31 3-pointers (9-31), only 26 2-point shots (12-26).

Wisconsin 43, Dayton 42— Badgers win a game where they shot 25% inside the arc; only one of their starters scored more than 3 points- he had 9.

Auburn 43, Northwestern 42— Another 43-42 game? With a Bruce Pearl team? Teams combined to shoot 7-45 on the arc. So far this season, Auburn is rebounding 42% of its missed shots, #5 in country— they had lot of chances for offensive rebounds in this game.

Mississippi State 52, Utah 49— Bulldogs take tournament in Fort Myers, winning both games by three points. Miss State is 6-0, giving up 48.5 ppg- they have top 100 wins over Utah and Marquette- their eFG% defense is #7 in country.

Cincinnati 81, Louisville 62— Cardinals have a long, proud basketball tradition, but this year’s team doesn’t have a quality point guard, and they’re 0-6 already, losing the three games in Maui by 26-32-19 points. Not good.

American 74, Georgetown 70— Speaking of not good, Hoyas have now lost three of last four games, after going 6-25 last season. Losing to a Patriot League opponent ain’t going to help.

Elsewhere in the world………
— Each member of World Series champ Houston Astros banks $516,347, the biggest winners’ share ever; all the Phillies get $296,255 for winning the National League title.

— NFL knowledge:
Jets will start QB Mike White this week, benching 2nd-year QB Zach Wilson. White started three games for the Jets LY, throwing for 953 yards in four games.

Texans are benching 2nd-year QB Davis Mills, will start Kyle Allen this week. Allen is 7-10 as an NFL starter, mostly with Carolina.

Matthew Stafford has a strained neck; looks like the Rams will give QB Bryce Perkins his first NFL start this week. Rams signed QB Case Cookus to the practice squad; he played in the USFL last spring, may wind up being the Rams’ backup the rest of this season.

Aaron Rodgers has apparently been playing with a broken bone in his throwing thumb.

Chicago QB Justin Fields has a separated left shoulder; it is unclear if he’ll play Sunday.

— QB’s taken in first round of the 2021 NFL Draft:
#1 pick— Trevor Lawrence, Jaguars
#2— Zach Wilson, Jets
#3— Trey Lance, 49ers
#11— Justin Fields, Bears
#15— Mac Jones, Patriots

If they did that draft all over again, would the order change any?

Genius Alert— Arizona Cardinals fired their offensive line coach after he allegedly groped a woman in Mexico City last weekend. He was sent home before the Cardinals’ 38-10 loss in to the 49ers Mexico City Monday night.

— Tennessee Vols’ QB Hendon Hooker tore his ACL, is out for the year. He suffered the non-contact injury while rolling left on an option play. Hooker passed for 3,135 yards and 27 TD’s while throwing only two interceptions this season.

— Bryce Harper had Tommy John Surgery this week, is expected to miss the first half of next season. Harper isn’t expected to play in the outfield at all until September.

— Texas Rangers brought Mike Maddux back as their new/old pitching coach; he was their pitching coach from 2009-2015, when they made their only two World Series appearances. 

Monday’s Den: Wrapping up an NFL Sunday, on Felix Unger Day

Anyone remember the old TV show The Odd Couple? It always began this way:
“On November 13, Felix Unger was asked to leave his place of residence. That request came from his wife……”

Great TV show, very funny. Hope you had a good Felix Unger Day.

Vikings 33, Bills 30 OT
— Up 27-23, Bills stopped Minnesota on 1-yard line with 0:49 left.
— Allen fumbled snap on next play, Vikings recovered for go-ahead TD.
— Bills then drove 69 yards for tying FG that forced OT.
— Buffalo turned ball over four times (minus-2)
— Vikings have 11 takeaways in last four games (+7)

— Vikings won their last seven games (5-1-1 ATS).
— Jefferson caught 10 passes for 193 yards and a TD.
— Diggs caught 12 passes for 128 yards against his old team.
— Both teams had eight plays of 20+ yards.
— First Buffalo game this season that went over the total.

Lions 31, Bears 30
— Chicago led 24-10 with 12:00 left in the game.
— Detroit scored two TD’s in 1:08 to tie game, the second one a pick-6.
— Fields ran 67 yards for a TD to put Bears ahead; they missed the PAT.
— Detroit drove 91 yards, scored game-winning TD with 2:21 left.
— HC Campbell is now 1-11-1 SU on the road (7-6 ATS)

— Chicago lost last three games, despite scoring 29-32-30 points.
— Last five games, Bears ran ball for 238-243-240-252-258 yards.
— Chicago opponents scored TD’s on 13 of last 25 drives.
— Bears have led at halftime once this season (1-8-1).
— Five of their last six games went over the total.

Buccaneers 21, Seahawks 16
— Seahawks in first half: 20 plays, 29 yards, no points.
— Seahawks in 2nd half: 31 plays, 231 yards, 16 points.
— Seattle lost fumble in red zone when they trailed 14-3.
— Last four weeks, Seattle is 14-54 (25.9%) on 3rd down conversions.
— Seahawks are 8-14-1 ATS last 23 games coming off a win.

— Bucs converted 10-15 on third down, Seattle 1-9.
— Tampa Bay outrushed Seahawks 161-39.
— Bucs won despite Seattle’s 12-yard edge in field position.
— Tampa Bay’s TD drives were 88-86-87 yards.
— This is Tampa Bay’s first cover in eight games (1-6-1 ATS)

Chiefs 27, Jaguars 17
— Jaguars started game with a successful onside kick.
— Jaguars won field position by 13 yards, were +3 in turnovers, still lost by 10.
— Jacksonville lost six its last seven games (1-6 ATS)
— Jaguars are 10-21-1 ATS last 32 games as a road underdog.
— In his career, Pederson is 10-17 ATS as a road underdog.

— Chiefs won five of their last six games SU.
— Last five weeks, Chiefs converted 44-68 (64.7) third down plays.
— Chiefs have 23 TD’s on their last 59 drives.
— Kansas City led this game 20-0 late in 2nd quarter.
— Chiefs have 50 plays of 20+ yards; opponents have 34.

Giants 24, Texans 16
— Houston was in red zone six times, scored only 16 points.
— Texans lost seven of their last eight games SU (2-5 ATS last six).
— Giants converted 7-14 on third down, Houston 3-10
— Texans outgained Giants 387-367, were minus-2 in turnovers (0-2).
— Texans are 10-18-1 ATS last 29 games coming off a loss.

— Barkley carried ball 35 times for 152 yards and a TD.
— Giants were in red zone twice, scored TD both times.
— Giants won/covered seven of first nine games.
— Giants are 7-0 if they score more than 16 points.
— Under is 7-1-1 in Giant games this season.

Steelers 20, Saints 10
— Pittsburgh outgained the Saints, 374-186.
— New Orleans in 2nd half: 19 plays, 24 yards, one first down.
— New Orleans ran ball 15 times for 29 yards.
— Saints are 1-6 when they score less than 27 points.
— Saints lost 7 of last 9 games; their turnover ratio is minus-13.

— Steelers converted 9-17 on third down, Saints 3-12.
— Pittsburgh ran ball 43 times for 217 yards.
— Steelers have no turnovers (+11) in their wins, 14 (-9) in losses.
— Under is 7-2 in their games this season.
— Pittsburgh has been outscored 43-13 in last 2:00 of each half.

Dolphins 39, Browns 17
— Dolphins won last four games, scoring 31-35-39 points in last three.
— Miami had eight drives, scored five TD’s, kicked two FG’s.
— Miami is 12-4-1 ATS last 17 games as a home favorite (3-1 TY).
— Dolphins converted 19 of last 33 third down plays.
— Dolphins are 6-0 if they score more than 17 points.

— Dolphins outgained Cleveland, 491-297.
— Browns turned ball over 12 times in last five games (minus-7)
— Browns are 0-4 scoring less than 26 points.
— Cleveland lost five of their last five games SU.
— Six of their nine games went over the total.

Titans 17, Broncos 10
— Denver lost five of last six games, losing by 1-9-3-7-7 points.
— Broncos in 2nd half: 36 plays, 106 yards, no points.
— Denver scored 16 or fewer points in seven of nine games.
— Last seven games, Broncos are 29-115 (25.2%) on third down. 
— Eight of nine Denver games stayed under the total.

— Tennessee won six of last seven games (7-0 ATS), allowing 15.1 ppg. 
— Titans’ first six drives: 22 plays, 51 yards, 2 first downs.
— Titans’ last six drives: 38 plays, 245 yards, 17 points.
— Opponents have converted only 34-122 (27.9%) third down plays.
— Tennessee held last seven opponents under their team total.

Colts 25, Raiders 20
— Matt Ryan returned to the lineup, was 21-28/222 with a passing TD; he ran for 38 yards.
— Colts drove 82 yards, scored game-winning TD with 5:07 left to play.
— Jeff Saturday wins his first game as a head coach.
— Underdogs covered seven of their ten games. 
— Indy is 11-5-1 ATS last 17 games coming off a loss.

— Las Vegas lost last three games, outscored 36-13 in second half.
— Raiders’ first four drives: 17 plays, 18 yards, no points.
— Raiders are 0-5 SU in games decided by 5 or less points, or in OT.
— Last eight games, Las Vegas’ opponent is 7-0-1 against its team total.
— Last five games, opponents converted 38-65 on third down.

Cardinals 27, Rams 17
— Neither starting QB played in this game.
— Cardinals scored two TD’s in 1:32 span late in 2nd quarter.
— Arizona had an 11-yard edge in field position.
— Arizona is 15-4-1 ATS last 20 games as a road underdog.
— This was Arizona’s 2nd win in last 14 games against the Rams. 

— Rams lost five of their last six games.
— Rams were held to 17 or less points in their losses.
— LA has one takeaway in its last seven games (minus-8).
— Last six games, Rams ran ball for only 69.3 yards/game.
— WR Kupp got hurt, is going to miss some time. 

Packers 31, Cowboys 28 OT
— Dallas led 28-14 after three quarters.
— Green Bay drove 89 yards, tied game 28-28 with 2:29 left.
— Cowboys’ last four drives: 23 plays, 87 yards, no points.
— Last three games, Dallas scored 13 TD’s on 31 drives.
— NFC East teams are 18-8-2 ATS outside the division

— Watson caught four passes for 107 yards, three TD’s.
— Jones ran ball 24 times for 138 yards and a TD.
— Green Bay ran for 207 yards, averaged 9.5 yards/pass attempt.
— Packers converted 20 of last 40 third down plays.
— Since 2018, Packers are 3-0 ATS as a home underdog.

49ers 22, Chargers 16
— Chargers drove 75 yards in 7 plays for a TD on their first drive.
— Chargers rest of game: 52 plays, 195 yards, 3 field goals.
— Chargers in second half: 19 plays, 57 yards, 2 first downs.
— Bolts ran ball 16 times for only 51 yards.
— Chargers have been outscored 117-68 in second half.

— 49ers outscored Chargers 12-0 in second half.
— 49ers’ last six drives: 51 plays, 274 yards, 19 points.
— Last three games, 49ers converted 22-40 on third down.
— SF is 15-9 ATS in last 24 games vs AFC teams
— 49ers trailed their last four games at halftime.

Saturday’s Den: Wrapping up the first Friday of college basketball

— Say you’re a general manager for a major league ballclub ; your team just won the World Series, 4th time in six years they’ve been in the World Series. Your life is good, right?

James Click is 44; he had worked his way up the Tampa Bay Rays’ organization from an intern position, before landing the Houston Astros’ GM job in 2020. His Astros lost the World Series last year, won the World Series this year, but was only offered a 1-year contract going forward. 

Click turned down the 1-year offer and is gone from Houston. Technically the sides “parted ways” but the reality is, Houston owner Jim Crane let him walk.

Curious to see where the Astros go from here.

Gonzaga 64, Michigan State 63
Spartans led by 12 with 16:24 left in game.
Timme had 22 points, 13 rebounds, made only 4-10 on foul line.
Michigan State shot 25% in second half.
Game was played outdoors, on a battleship in San Diego.

Michigan 88, Eastern Michigan 83
This was a fun game, had a March feel to it.
Eastern Michigan led 45-42 at halftime.
Eagles led 73-69 with 6:00 left.
Emoni Bates scored 30 points in his EMU debut.

Temple 68, Villanova 64
Owls lost their opener to Wagner; this makes up for it.
Villanova was 2-7 on arc, for the whole game.
Villanova had won its last seven games with Temple.

Cal-Irvine 69, Oregon 56
Anteaters made 12-28 on arc, led by 27 at one point.
This is a great win for the Big West Conference.
Irvine G Davis was 6-14 on the arc, 2-3 inside arc, had 0 turnovers.

San Diego State 82, BYU 75
BYU led by 10 early in second half.
Foul shots: BYU 10-16, Aztecs 26-37
San Diego State was +10 in turnovers (20-10)

West Virginia 81, Pitt 56
Mountaineers shot 62% inside arc.
West Virginia was +8 in turnovers (19-11)
Pitt hasn’t had a winning season sine 2015-16. 

North Carolina 102, Charleston 86
Visiting Cougars led 50-43 at halftime.
Foul shots: UNC 27-38, Charleston 6-9
Tar Heels shot 30-38 (78.9%) inside the arc.

Toledo 93, UAB 85
Favored UAB led 46-39 at halftime.
Toledo forced 22 turnovers, shot 58% inside arc.
Rockets were 47-17 last two years, 32-7 in MAC games.

Wisconsin 60, Stanford 50
This game was at Miller Park in Milwaukee, where the Brewers play
Badegrs were 5-20 on the arc, Stanford 1-16.
Only one Stanford player scored in double figures.

South Carolina 60, Clemson 58
Gamecocks survived 19 turnovers, 6-13 shooting on foul line.

Central Florida 68, Florida State 54
Seminoles open season with losses to Stetson, UCF.
FSU center McLeod got hurt (achilles), will miss 4-6 weeks.

Hofstra 83, Iona 78
Hofstra opens season with wins over Princeton, Iona.
Pride played only seven guys; the 7th guy played 5:00.
Iona was +11 on boards (39-28)

Wake Forest 81, Georgia 71
Wake Forest was up 19 at halftime.
Deacons shot 18-27 (66.7%) inside the arc.

Missouri 92, Penn 85
Tigers scored 97-92 points in winning their first two games.
Penn was 16-32 on arc, Mizzou 16-35.
Qualers turned ball over 19 times, Missouri 9.

Grambling 83, Colorado 74
Grambling never trailed, led 46-32 at halftime.

Fullerton 74, Pepperdine 71
Titans were +9 in turnovers (17-8)
Pepperdine shot 55.9% inside arc.
Fullerton had 16 offensive rebounds.

Tuesday’s Den: Random stuff, and notes from the first night of college basketball

Notes from first night of college basketball:
— These teams started their season with losses to teams that aren’t Division I:
Cleveland State
Kansas City
Northern Illinois

— Other upsets of note:
Sam Houston State (+17) 52, Oklahoma 51
SE Missouri State (+10) 64, South Florida 61
Western Illinois (+10) 71, Illinois State 68
Evansville (+8) 78, Miami OH 74
Cal-Davis (+5.5) 75, California 65

— A few other upsets:
Florida Gulf Coast 74, USC 61— Andy Enfield loses to his former employer.
Stetson 83, Florida State 74— Hatters made 14-35 on the arc.
Wagner 76, Temple 73 OT
NC-Asheville 98, UCF 95, 2OT— UCF led by 10 with 3:15 left in regulation.
Quinnipiac 67, Rhode Island 62— Bobcats survived shooting 9-25 on the foul line.

— Games of the Night:
Hofstra 83, Princeton 77— Princeton led by 7 with 4:05 left to play.
Akron 81, South Dakota State 80 OT
Belmont 70, Ohio U 69— Belmont hit a 3-pointer off a side out-of-bounds play with 0:01.1 left for the dramatic win.
Oregon State 73, Tulsa 70— Good start for Beavers after last year’s 3-28 debacle. 

Ravens 27, Saints 13:
— Baltimore led 14-3 at halftime.
— Ravens converted 9-15 on 3rd down, New Orleans 3-11.
— Ravens are 11-1 ATS last 12 games with spread of 3 or less.
— Last six games, Ravens have run ball for 181.4 yards/game.
— Baltimore won four of its last five games.

— Saints’ first four drives: 13 plays, 36 yards, 2 first downs, no points.
— Only New Orleans TD came with 4:13 left, after issue had been decided. 
— Saints have been outscored 53-18 in last 2:00 of each half.
— New Orleans is 1-4 when they score less than 27 points.
— Saints lost 6 of last 8 games; their turnover ratio is minus-11.

— Indianapolis Colts fired coach Frank Reich Monday; Colts are 3-5-1 this season, trailing all nine games after the 3rd quarter. Reich went 40-33-1 as coach of the Colts; he had a different starting quarterback every season.

Colts hired their former center Jeff Saturday as interim head coach; he was working on ESPN until now, and is first NFL head coach with zero college/NFL coaching experience since 1961, when Norm Van Brocklin went from QB of the Eagles to head coach of the expansion Vikings.

Saturday played 13 seasons with the Colts, and was a 6-time Pro Bowler and 4-time All-Pro.

— QB Sam Ehlinger has started two games for the Colts; they fired his offensive coordinator after last week’s game, fired his head coach after this week’s game. Perfectly normal.

— Carolina Panthers fired two more assistant coaches Monday; they fired head coach Matt Rhule and two other assistants a month ago. Panthers also activated QB Sam Darnold, but said that PJ Walker will start Thursday night’s game against the Falcons.

— Seattle Seahawks have started rookie offensive tackles in every game this year, first time that has happened in the NFL since 1982.

— Watching the Vikings play Sunday, WR Justin Jefferson is so good; if he is single-covered, QB Cousins will just throw a jump ball in that direction, figuring that Jefferson will win that battle and make a big play.

— New Jersey Giants safety Xavier McKinney went on vacation to Mexico during his bye week; he broke his hand there in an ATV accident. He went on IR, so he’ll miss at least four games.

— Miami Dolphins gave LB Bradley Chubb a 5-year, $110M deal, with $63.2M of that money guaranteed; Dolphins dealt RB Chase Edwards and two draft picks to Denver to acquire Chubb at the trade deadline. 

If the playoffs started today, 6-3 Miami would be the #6-seed in the AFC.

— Texas A&M’s football is on a 5-game losing streak for first time since 1980; Green Bay Packers have also lost five in a row, for first time since 2008.

— I stumbled across this reality series on Amazon Prime about the Sierra Canyon High School  basketball team; kids go there from all over the country to position themselves for scholarships in college. Lebron James’ son is on the team; Dwyane Wade’s son, Kenyon Martin’s son played there in previous years.

The show takes you behind the scenes of the team, which is interesting; how many high school basketball teams play games in eight different states in one season? It isn’t at all a normal high school team, but what I’ve seen of the program has been interesting so far.

— Why do NBA players sit games out at this time of year? They can’t play two nights in a row? Are they really going to play better in playoff games in April/May because they sat out a game on November 8th?

When they were kids, these guys played AAU ball, where teams might play couple of games in a the same day, and 5-6 games in a weekend.

— There is some conference shuffling going on again this year in college basketball; the WAC and Sun Belt have both added a bunch of teams. Next year, Jacksonville State, Liberty, New Mexico State and Sam Houston State are all going to Conference USA.

— Doing my prep work for college basketball the last couple weeks, remarkable how many kids are playing at their third different college. More than a few are playing for their fourth college; not a lot of continuity around the country, which makes handicapping early season games just an impossible task, a complete crapshoot.

— This is an oddity and speaks to how kids transfer all the time now; James Madison has four players on this year’s team who have been Freshmen of the Year in a conference. None of them did it while playing for James Madison. 

— Last year, Murray State beat San Francisco 92-87 in OT in the NCAA tournament; both head coaches in that game parlayed their successful seasons into better jobs, so this year, when LSU plays Florida, it’ll be the same two coaches going up against each other- Matt McMahon, who went from Murray State to LSU and Todd Golden, who bolted from USF to Florida. 

Saturday’s Den: A quick statistical note on every NFL team

Arizona— scored 19 ppg in first six games, without DeAndre Hopkins; scored 42-26 points in first two games Hopkins played.

Atlanta— Underdogs covered seven of their eight games this season.

Carolina— ran ball for 90.3 yards/game when McCaffrey was on team; ran ball for 173-169 yards in first two games since they traded him.

Chicago— ran ball for 157.4 yards/game in first five games; last three games, they ran ball for 238-243-240 yards.

Dallas— won/covered six of last seven games. Under is 6-1-1 in their games this season. 

Detroit— last three games, Lions were outscored 48-0 in second half.

Green Bay— went under their team total in 7 of 8 games; last four games, Green Bay was outscored 57-26 in second half.

Rams— 3-0 scoring 20+ points; scored 14 or less in losses- in the four losses, they were outscored 58-3 in second half.

Minnesota— won last five games, covered last four; Vikings scored 18 TD’s on their last 57 drives.

NJ Giants— Under is 6-1-1 in their games. Giants converted 31 of last 67 (46.2%) third down plays.

New Orleans— four of their last five games went over. In weeks 5-7, Saints allowed 32-30-42 points. In Week 8, they shut the Raiders out 24-0. Go figure.

Philadelphia— under is 6-1 in their last seven games. Last five games, Eagles are +12 in turnovers (13-1).

San Francisco— 49ers are 4-0 if they score 24+ points; in two games with McCaffrey on team, they converted 13-23 third down plays.

Seattle— won/covered four of last five games; in their last six games, Seahawks outscored opponents 35-0 in last 2:00 of each half.

Tampa Bay— lost five of last six games (0-6 ATS); they’re 1-3 in games decided by 6 or less points. Bucs scored 3 touchdowns on their last 29 drives.

Washington— won/covered their last three games. Under is 5-1 in their last six games.

Baltimore— road team covered six of their eight games this season.

Buffalo—under is 8-0 in their games this season; opponent stayed under their team total in all eight games.

Cincinnati— yards per pass attempt this year:
In wins: 6.9-9.2-6.8-10.2
In losses: 5.0-3.9-5.0-4.8

Cleveland— their three road games were decided by total of 8 points; Browns lost 2 of the 3 games (underdogs 3-0 ATS)

Denver— under is 7-1 in their games. Denver scored 16 or less points in six of the eight games.

Houston— threw for less than 6 yards/pass attempt in six of eight games. Converted 4 of last 23 third down plays.

Indianapolis— stayed under their team total 5 of last 6 games. Have been outscored 105-42 in first half this season.

Jacksonville— 0-5 SU/ATS last five games (minus-9 turnovers)

Kansas City— last four games, converted 29-49 on third down. Are 5-0 when they score more than 20 points.

Las Vegas— last 6 games, their opponent went over their team total 5-0-1. Last three games, Raiders converted 23-39 on third down.

LA Chargers— four of their last five games went over total. Chargers averaged 6.5+ yards/pass attempt in all three road games, 6.2 or less in three of four home games (in a dome)

Miami— 4-0 in games decided by 6 or fewer points. Dolphins stayed under their team total in five of last six games.

New England— covered 4 of last 5 games. In their wins, are +7 in turnovers. In their losses, are minus-6 in turnovers.

NJ Jets— opponent stayed under their team total 4 of last 5 games. Jets converted only 9 of last 39 third down plays.

Pittsburgh— lost 6 of last 7 games SU, with last four staying under total. Steelers are +5 in turnovers in their two wins, minus-9 in their losses.

Tennessee— Titans won/covered their last five games; they were outgained in six of their seven games.