Did you guys have a great weekend? I know I did. We had our work holiday party Friday night, so I fulfilled my weekly social obligations then. That opened up my Saturday and Sunday to spend 48 hours in front of my TV, watching college basketball and attempting that massive New York Times crossword. I haven’t completed it yet, but I feel like I Just might.
Anyway, my remote took me from Georgetown-Syracuse to Bucknell-Siena, and everywhere in between. What did I learn?
All this nonsense:
Loyola Chicago: Porter Moser has a pretty good team here. The Ramblers are 10-2, winners of five straight, and own a victory over San Diego State.
New Mexico State: Make it eight in a row for the Aggies, who won at Arizona State on Saturday. Not bad for a team from the WAC.
Portland: Do we have to stop applauding teams for beating Oregon State? Probably. But Portland is starting to look like the best team in the second tier of the WCC.
VCU: 10 days ago, we were questioning whether the Rams were in decline. Since then, they’ve won at Old Dominion and halted the Giddy Potts show at home. I’d say VCU is back, but the Rams never went anywhere.
Oral Roberts: Not really, but the Golden Eagles needed a shout-out for almost knocking off Creighton on the road.
BYU: The Cougars have plenty of time to put it together and they own a couple nice wins over Colorado and Princeton. That said, they could have really used a W over Illinois on Saturday, as their last chance for a quality non-conference win.
Charlotte: There’s no shame in losing to Florida. There is shame in getting pounded by Wake Forest, then losing to the Gators by 41 in back-to-back games.
Florida Gulf Coast: The Eagles have a win over UT Arlington and nearly knocked off Michigan State, but last week they lost to Georgia Southern and La Salle. The loss to the Explorers isn’t bad, but maybe it’s time to reexamine our expectations.
Northern Iowa: A 23-point loss to in-state rival Iowa knocked the Panthers down to 5-5 on the season. They play at North Carolina Wednesday in the return game of a home-and-home. It might get ugly.
Richmond: I wish Richmond was better because it was REALLY fun trolling VCU fans on Twitter while the Spiders were at Barclays Center. They could have gotten back on track with a home win against Texas Tech, but they fell by seven.
Team of the Weekend (by Game Score):
G Olin Carter III, San Diego: GmSc 34.5 | 34 pts | 10-11 FG | 6-7 3PT
G Jonathan Stark, Murray State: GmSc 28.5 | 32 pts | 5 rbds | 6 ast
F B.J. Johnson, La Salle: GmSc 30.8 | 35 pts | 4 steals | 10-16 FG
F Mike Daum, South Dakota State: GmSc 31.0 | 39 pts | 11 rbd | 16-16 FT
F Darral Willis Jr., Wichita State: GmSc 27.3 | 24 pts | 13 rbds | 14-17 FT
How our Slack reacted to Dayton’s near-comeback against Northwestern:
Honestly I’m putting this here to shame Chris for saying NorthLESStern. It also should not surprise you to learn that Gianna is a Northwestern fan.
Przemek Karnowski does not care for floppers:
Or don't flop... https://t.co/aMDoFVrXnl— Przemek Karnowski (@PKarnowski) December 19, 2016
For what it’s worth, Karnowski is a giant human, and being knocked down by him does not, by any means, indicate that you need to get in the weight room.
There was a scary moment Saturday in the Richmond-Texas Tech game when Spider forward Grant Golden collapsed on the court. Thankfully, he seemed alert as he was carted off, but he was taken to a local hospital for evaluation. He stayed in the hospital Saturday and Sunday night, and the university may provide an update today, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
What we learned:
Every week, I ask two questions in our weekend preview that I hope are answered with Saturday and Sunday’s games. Here they are for this week:
Can Rice beat a real team?
Rice came into its weekend matchup with Pittsburgh at 8-2, but with precisely zero KenPom top 150 wins to its name. Winning at the Pete is tough for even the best teams in the country, but it was an opportunity for the Owls to show something. And they fought, staying within single digits most of the way, before falling, 83-73.
VERDICT: Probably, we just need to see it. Rice’s game at Old Dominion on New Year’s Eve will be its next shot.
Who is the next mid-major to beat Oregon State?
Oh, Oregon State. Poor, poor Oregon State. Our friends from the Pac-12 entered the weekend at 3-7, with losses to Lamar, Nevada, Fresno State, Charlotte, and Savannah State. We can pretend it’s because they don’t have Tres Tinkle. Once he’s back this is a championship team, right? RIGHT? Naturally, we expected the Beavers to lose at least one of their weekend games (Fri. vs. Long Beach State, Sun. vs. Portland). And, well…
VERDICT: Technically, Long Beach State was the next mid-major to beat the Beavers, but Oregon State lost both contests over the weekend. First, it was a 71-67 defeat to the 49ers, then the Pilots got them, 53-45. But we still love you, Building the Dam!
@BuildingTheDam pic.twitter.com/OboL1zyEOx— Mid-Major Madness (@mid_madness) December 19, 2016
Gonzaga stayed unbeaten by outlasting Tennessee on Sunday. Will broke it down here.
This week: vs. South Dakota (Wed.)
KenPom’s unbeaten probability: 6.1%
We’re down to just two winless teams. Here’s what they’re up against this week:
Alabama A&M: Thurs. at Bowling Green
Mississippi Valley State: Thurs. at Iowa State
There are 13 more teams who have not beaten a Division I school:
North Carolina A&T
UC Santa Barbara
The impact of a Wichita State move to the American Athletic Conference
The Shockers have an identity crisis
I should also note that we have something pretty darn insane coming your way later this morning. Keep an eye out.
Charleston at LSU, 8 p.m. ET, SEC Network
Again there’s not a great slate of games on Monday, but if you’re looking for a potential upset, always take the better-than-average mid-major over the high major who just survived two close calls in buy games.
One note: with Christmas over the weekend, I probably won’t have one of these for you next Monday. We’ll return you to your regularly scheduled programming the following week.
Have a great week, everyone!