OK, Saturday was certainly a crazy day of basketball. Two top-five teams fell, NC State sent a message, La Salle made moves, Wisconsin won on a last-second shot -- we'll get to all of that. What was everyone talking about at the end of the day? The GIF above, of course.
It's of Ole Miss guard Marshall Henderson taunting the Auburn student section, shortly after hitting two game-winning free throws in the final seconds. Watch it about 30 times, then you can truly dive into the analysis. Here are several observations, cycling through all the MVPs of the GIF:
- Obviously, we kick things off with the older gentleman standing up in defiance right in front of Henderson. Not sure what he said to Henderson, but that guy wasn't having anymore of the tomfoolery.
- The guy in the white polo is big-time, just smiling the entire time. He loves it.
- Jerry Garcia-looking guy on press row. He's clapping, smiling, really enjoying the scene.
- The crew of double-middle finger guys. They're forever best friends.
- The guy who rips his hat off. He was so heated he just couldn't take it anymore.
- Now we get to the sleepers: To kick things off, check out my man next to Auburn pajamas girl. He's got the creepy sideways grin, like he digs Marshall Henderson's attitude, but can't have his friends find out.
- Speaking of Auburn pajamas girl, she looks out of place. And is also terrified by the flying object to her left.
- What is that flying object? No one really knows. Could be a Fathead, could be a cardboard cutout, could be an umbrella. But the blonde girl reacts like it's a head. A real one.
- White hat fellow. Waving his hands, yelling "Come on, come on, come on!" to Henderson. His flailing hands and sideways shuffle steals the show for a bit.
- The guy right in the middle who emphatically sticks a middle finger at Henderson -- and then tears it right back down. Everything he did was 100 percent.
- The curly-haired kid in the orange shirt. He gives the fingers, claps two times (as if to get loose) -- and then goes back with the fingers.
- Kid in the gray hoodie to the left. It kind of looks like he sneezes as the GIF starts -- but bounces back extraordinarily quickly to join in the ballyhoo.
- What about the girl in the upper right corner? She yells some profanity, and then goes tumbling forward, either getting pushed or falling from the momentum of her yelling.
- And yes, the older, older gentleman in the front row just seems dismayed by the entire scene. And probably this analysis of it.
By Matt Norlander and Jeff Borzello
So, college basketball has this awesome trend going on. We keep having Saturdays with so much action and random outcomes and bizarre happenings, it's just so hard to keep up with. One of those good problems.
|This is Providence coach Ed Cooley kind of looking a Friar and keeping an eye on a rogue bat. (Screencap via @bubbaprog)|
A bat was on the loose in a Big East game. No joke(r). Why so serious, Ed Cooley? Read/hear/see all about this winged wackiness.
The worst of the worst and why it intrigued us: Northern Illinois' record-breaking low for first-half points.
NIU only scored four -- yes, four -- first-half points, shooting 1 of 31 from the field. And it was a bad 1 of 31: NIU missed 30 straight shots, a streak that bled into the second half, nearly reaching 40. It's so bad, so unthinkable ... until you're reminded that the 4-14 Huskies only put up five points in a half against Dayton back in December. Saturday's game at Eastern Michigan ended 42-25, EMU winning and NIU dodging Saint Louis' shot-clock-era record of scoring 20 in a game.
But no fear! Another record was set, and plenty others were threatened. NIU has finally made a 3-point shot after shooting thirty-freaking-two of them and missing (which would've far and away smashed the record of 24). The 33rd fell. The modern record for fewest combined points in a game is 62, by Monmouth and Princeton. This one seemed sure to break it until an offensive flurry came down in the final four minutes. No matter, because the 22 first-half points are a shot-clock-era low for total in one half. That's right, it was 18-4. I wept for a minute.
More fun: NIU's football team scored more than 25 points this season six times and in all but one game had more than four points at halftime.
We'll wrap up the NIU talk with this. The two tweets that say it all:
Northern Illinois did end up with a D-I record, shooting 13.1% (8-61) from floor; previous record 13.3% (8-60) by Miami (OH) in 2001.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 26, 2013
NIU coach Mark Montgomery just drew up a play: twitpic.com/byiek8— Hustle Belt (@HustleBelt) January 26, 2013
Game of the day: Yet another team done in by not fouling up three in the final seconds.
Here's Jim Boeheim explaining why he didn't hack a Villanova player in the waning seconds of Syracuse's eventual 75-71 overtime loss at Villanova. Regardless, he should have. And here's Gary Parrish telling you why he should have. Syracuse was also done in by missing 10 free throws and not keeping a man you've never heard of named Darrun Hilliard in check. Hillard had 25 points and, via Elias, we now know Villanova is the first unranked team in 11 seasons to beat top-five-ranked teams in consecutive games. The previous was Ball State, and the Cardinals did not go to the NCAAs that year.
The second best we saw: Did Minnesota get jobbed?
Badgers sophomore Traevon Jackson seemed to just barely get a shot out of his hands as the shot clock expired with 4.1 seconds to go in UW's home game against Minnesota. Since, stupidly, there is no replay option in college basketball for shot-clock close calls, this basket counted and Wisconsin won. This photo is far from flawless but does bring in some doubt.
Before that, though, Minnesota senior star Trevor Mbakwe was fouled and injured on the inbounds pass, couldn't shoot free throws, so Rodney Williams was sent to the line. He missed the second foul shot -- game over 45-44. (Mbakwe told our Jeff Goodman the wrist injury is just a sprain.) Wisconsin is 5-2 in the Big Ten and has three wins over top-15 teams. It's 28-11 under Bo Ryan at home vs. ranked teams in the AP poll, and UW has held 20 consecutive opponents to 60 points or fewer at the Kohl Center.
North Carolina State finally breaks through against North Carolina: Goodman was at this game, and he covered it in greater detail, but here are a few thoughts. The talent disparity between the two teams was eye-opening. Outside of a late run due to some North Carolina 3-pointers, the Wolfpack simply overwhelmed the Tar Heels. And the stretch that saw nothing but lay-ups and dunks was reminiscent of what good Roy Williams teams do to opponents. Not the other way around.
More Mountain West Madness: This should just be a regular category for our nightly recaps. Every night, there are more interesting results in the conference. On Saturday, San Diego State held New Mexico to 34 points for an easy victory; Colorado State won at Fresno State; Air Force went into Wyoming and got a win; and Nevada defeated Boise State. My top five of the league? UNLV, San Diego State, New Mexico, Colorado State, Wyoming. And you can make a case for any order.
Runner-up for Team of the Week: It's hard to top what Villanova did this week, knocking off two top-five teams in a matter of days. But Philadelphia brethren La Salle isn't too far behind. The Explorers beat No. 9 Butler on a last-second shot earlier this week, and then went into VCU and beat the 19th-ranked Rams on Saturday night. The two wins move La Salle closer to the bubble, although an early-season loss to Central Connecticut State is quite a black eye on the resume. With that said, though, the A-10 gives plenty of opportunities for decent wins -- but also potential bumps in the road.
The freshman Sulaimon put up a career-best 25 points (tying a Duke freshman record in the process) and helped the Blue Devils to a great 84-64 rebound win/response over Maryland after that embarassing showing at Miami earlier this week. As suspected, Duke will be fine. But the real buzz from this game came via two ridiculous reverse dunks -- first by Alex Len and then by Mason Plumlee. Which was better?
The best came near the end of the game, when a "Dont! Come! Back!" chant eminated from the Crazies. When your school leaves a league, this is to be expected.
No soup for you: Peyton Siva had a really rough one.
The game that featured an odd clock glitch that almost nobody in the arena noticed was not one of Siva's best. I do enjoy watching Louisville play, but the one thing I've maintained about the Cardinals over the past four years has been my outright hesitancy to ever fully trust Siva. That notion proved me right (how rare) on Saturday. Siva finished with no points on just two shots, two assists, three turnovers, four fouls and no rebounds. In a way, yes, it does prove his worth. But Rick Pitino also opted not to start Russ Smith -- a legitimate Player of the Year candidate -- in this, and that didn't have any positive effect from what I saw.
As for Georgetown: Good W, but the offense still lacks a lot. Recent win over Notre Dame and this one Saturday will erase worries about an NCAA bid, but sometimes I watch this team and wish JT3 would let the O run through Otto Porter entirely. Would be a lot more fun.
That's not the way to follow up a big win: UCLA beat Arizona on Thursday -- then got blown out by Arizona State. What makes it worse is that Sun Devils' star Jahii Carson shot just 4 for 16 in the 78-60 win. The Bruins simply couldn't make shots, and they missed the presence of Travis Wear in the post. Jordan Bachynski had 22 points, 15 rebounds and six assists for ASU.
Stars of the day
- Stony Brook's Tommy Brenton had the second triple-double of the season, as the senior forward had 15 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists in a win over Maine.
- Nate Wolters, hello. The South Dakota State stud went for 26 points in a needed victory for SDSU against Summit League rival North Dakota State. It ended 69-53. Though the league is not great, these two and Western Illinois are triangulating toward a tussle to the end.
- Phil Forte went for a career-best 26 in Oklahoma State's victory over West Virginia. Cowboys leveling out to being a really good club this season.
Other action worth your attention
- Notre Dame came into Saturday losing three of its past four. With no Scott Martin due to a knee injury, the Irish got to 17-4 by winning 73-65 at South Florida and seeing Tom Knight step in to put up 17 points and grab seven boards. Not a bad Martin understudy. USF looking like it won't repeat getting to the NCAAs.
- Temple made it close for a few minutes in the second half against Butler, but the Bulldogs pulled away down the stretch. Rotnei Clarke had 24 points, showing no ill effects of the neck injury that cost him the last three games.
- Florida is playing as well as anyone in the country right now, as the Gators steamrolled Mississippi State. Next Saturday's home tilt with Ole Miss should be fun.
- Kansas has now won 17 games in a row after beating Oklahoma. No one in the Big 12 is going to make it a close race come early March.
- Memphis fans probably biting their nails to nothing thanks to a 73-72 home win against a Marshall team that's depleted, not too good and really shouldn't be within eight points of the Tigers at the end of the day.
- Tennessee over Alabama 54-53, and that ends a four-game winning streak for the Tide. Now the SEC's doing what it can't afford: seeing all its teams mush up each other. Tennessee is 10-8 overall and 2-4 in the league, while Alabama's a 12-7 team that's 4-2 in SEC play. Jarnell Stokes came up big, going for 15 and 18, the 18 boards a career-best.
- Iowa State 73-67 over Kansas State isn't a huge deal, just a simple result that will give the Big 12 race a continued clog in the top half of the league. Kansas is head and shoulders over the rest, but teams 2 through 6 could rotate, much like we're seeing in the Big East.
- Oregon played without Dominic Artis, who is out with a foot injury, but Johnathan Loyd and Willie Moore stepped in and played well despite some inconsistencies and turnover issues. The Ducks beat Washington 81-76.
- Montana and Weber State battled for first place in the Big Sky on Saturday, and the Grizzlies pulled it out. They have now won 21 straight games against Big Sky opponents.
Delightful (and not-so-delightful) thoughts
-- I touched on the "vexing" Big East early last week, and it has only continued. Right now, seven teams are 4-3 in the league: Cincinnati, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Louisville, Pittsburgh, St. John's and Villanova.
-- The nation's highest-scoring offense played against the nation's stingiest defense on Saturday. It was a low-scoring affair, but Northwestern State handed Stephen F. Austin its first league loss 61-57.
-- George Washington, we see you, we hear you, we feel you. The Colonials are 4-2 in the A-10 after romping Charlotte 82-54. That 4-2 record will keep GW snug near the top of the standings. The league could be a bingo bin of fun for the next five weeks.
-- Since Ivy League play has begun, a little love for the smarties. Down 10 with a minute and a half to go, Harvard came back at home to take a lead in OT after previously only holding a 2-0 advantage on Dartmouth. Final: Harvard 82, Dartmouth 77. That's why Dartmouth is Dartmouth.
-- Lehigh's C.J. McCollum sent out an update to the media on Saturday morning about his surgery and recovery. There was no update on a return timetable, but he did say he's begun pool workouts and lifting weights.
-- Grambling is still winless on the season.
For more college basketball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnCBB on Twitter, subscribe to our RSS Feed and subscribe to our College Basketball Newsletter. You can follow Jeff Borzello on Twitter here: @jeffborzello and Matt Norlander here: @MattNorlander