Wednesday’s Den: Some early college basketball knowledge

This is another unusual college basketball season, but hopefully this season will play out until the end, which obviously didn’t happen last year. Here is some early knowledge……..

13) Michigan (4-0) is the only unbeaten team left in the Big 14; there are fewer turnovers in this league than in any league in the country. Lot of half-court basketball.

While I’m typing this up, I’m watching re-runs of the old TV show The West Wing, and who shows up on one episode but Michigan coach Juwan Howard, who shows up playing pick-up ball with the President and his staff. This was 1999; Howard was still an active player.

7-2 Rutgers looks like they’ll make the NCAA’s for first time since 1991. 

12) Oklahoma State starts out 1-3 in Big X, after going 6-0 out of conference; Cowboys are #312 in experience, #280 in continuity. Their best player is freshman Cade Cunningham, who won’t be in college three months from now— he’ll be getting ready for the NBA Draft, but he’ll likely stay engaged here, since his brother is an assistant coach at Oklahoma State. 

11) North Carolina is 6-4, 1-2 in the ACC; they’re experience team #325. Duke is off to a 3-2 start, 1-0 in ACC; they haven’t played since December 16, and are experience team #338. Seems like a bad year to have an inexperienced team. 

10) Teams from the bigger conferences with the most experience:
AAC: Tulsa, SMU, East Carolina
ACC: Georgia Tech, Notre Dame, Florida State
A-14: Richmond, Dayton, Saint Louis
Big East: Seton Hall, Georgetown, Creighton
Big 14: Wisconsin, Penn State, Michigan
Big X: Oklahoma, Iowa State, Texas
Pac-12: Oregon, Colorado, California
SEC: Missouri, Georgia, Ole Miss

9) Teams from the bigger conferences with the least experience:
AAC: Tulane, Memphis, Central Florida
ACC: Duke, Louisville, North Carolina
A-14: UMass, St Joe’s, LaSalle
Big East: Butler, St John’s, Marquette
Big 14: Purdue, Indiana, Northwestern
Big X: Kansas State, TCU, Oklahoma State
Pac-12: Washington State, Arizona, Utah
SEC: Auburn, Kentucky, LSU

8) Maybe this category is more important than experience; continuity. How long have teams been together. Teams that cobble together transfers may have more experience, but they’re still getting to know each other.

Teams from the bigger conferences with the most
AAC: East Carolina, Memphis, South Florida
ACC: Georgia Tech, Clemson, Florida State
A-14: Richmond, Duquesne, Saint Louis
Big East: Villanova, Creighton, UConn
Big 14: Wisconsin, Rutgers, Illinois
Big X: Texas, West Virginia, Oklahoma
Pac-12: UCLA, Utah, Stanford
SEC: Missouri, South Carolina, Texas A&M

7) Montana Grizzlies started out Big Sky play 1-3; the four games were decided by a total of six points. Montana hasn’t finished under .500 in Big Sky play since 2004. 

6) Seton Hall split its six non-conference games, but is off to a 5-1 start in Big East play; their only conference loss was to Providence, in overtime. Overall, Pirates have played schedule #33 so far this season. 

5) Two years ago, Washington was 27-9, 15-3 in Pac-12, a 9-seed in the NCAA’s, but since then, Huskies are 16-24, 5-16 in league games. Washington is 1-7 this season; their only win is over #280 Seattle.

Oregon/UCLA are tied for first place at 3-0; Arizona is 9-1, 3-1 in conference, but they’re not going to the NCAA’s this year, and they’re experience team #281, so some regression is expected.  Stanford won five of its last six games; they’re 6-3, vs schedule #40. 

4) Kentucky is 2-6; one win was in double OT, the other over #275 Morehead State. Wildcats are #339 in experience, turning ball over 22.8% of time (#288)- lack of a true point guard seems to be an issue.

Tennessee is 7-1, with wins over Colorado, Cincinnati, Missouri; they defend very well, have overcome some COVID issues already. 

3) Teams who take highest %age of their shots behind the arc:
58.6%- Wofford
53.9%- Evansville
52.4%- UNLV
52.3%- Akron
51.9%- Florida International, Auburn

2) San Diego State is off to a 7-2 start, but they led 33-7 in one of the games they lost. You wouldn’t think the #8 team in experience would blow a lead like that. Utah State/Boise State would appear to be San Diego State’s biggest challengers in the Mountain West.

UNLV hasn’t played since December 5th; they were off to a 1-4 start anyway- no depth. 

1) Tulsa won its last five games after a 1-3 start; their last three D-I wins are over Houston, Memphis, Cincinnati, all quality wins. Golden Hurricane is #34 experience team that has played schedule #57- they force turnovers 22.3% of the time.

8-1 Houston is favored in the AAC; 6-4 Memphis has been a bit of a disappointment. 

Author: Armadillo Sports

I've been involved in sports my whole life, now just write about them. I like to travel, mostly to Las Vegas- they have gambling there.

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