It’s Monday and it’s time we came to terms with it. We have another long week coming up, made even longer by a barren college basketball schedule, brought on by exam week. But fear not. It’s Throwback Week here at Mid-Major Madness and we will help you pass the time by reliving some of the great moments in mid-major history.
Before we got to that, here’s everything that happened this weekend:
These teams were good:
Central Michigan: How about them Cheppewas, eh? They’ve now won seven in a row and their only loss was at Michigan by seven — certainly forgivable. Missouri State transfer Shawn Roundtree has been phenomenal, and had another great game this weekend against Tennessee Tech, when he scored 17 points and was KenPom game MVP.
Stephen F Austin: We loved the Kyle Keller hire when it happened, and after a step back last year, the Lumberjacks appear to have found their way. At 9-1, they now own a KenPom top 100 win on the road over Louisiana Tech, and followed that up this weekend by taking down a bad Rice team. Kevon Harris was the star in that one, scoring 31 points on 8-11 shooting from three. Yes, you read that right.
Middle Tennessee: Not only has Middle Tennessee won five in a row, but the last four Blue Raiders wins have all been against quality competition. First it was an in-season sweep of likely NCAA Tournament team Florida Gulf Coast. Then, a pair of victories over SEC teams — Vanderbilt last week and at home against Ole Miss on Saturday. We’re going to cover this on the podcast (hopefully coming tomorrow), but MTSU is building a not-so-crazy at-large resume.
Navy: Shoutout Ed DeChellis! We don’t often talk about the Midshipmen, but maybe we should start. They opened the season with a win over Pittsburgh and are now 9-3, fresh off a win at Columbia. Things get tougher Thursday, however, when an underrated Lipscomb team comes to town.
These teams were not:
VCU: VCU is still a good team and the Rams are going to win a lot of games. But their game against Seton Hall this weekend was underwhelming, to say the least. The final margin (90-67) was bad enough, but what was especially concerning was how the Pirates were able to control the game in just about every way. Most notably: Angel Delgado had his way in the post and the Pirates scored 52 in the paint.
Dayton: There’s a first time for everything, and unfortunately for Dayton, one of those firsts came on Saturday when the Flyers fell to Penn. It was their first-ever loss to an Ivy League opponent, and with a 4-5 record midway through December, the Anthony Grant Era is off to as rough a start as we feared.
UT Arlington: The Mavericks squandered two HUGE chances this week, first by losing at Northern Iowa, then by falling at home to Florida Gulf Coast. Neither is a bad loss, but together, they represent two missed opportunities. The Sun Belt is a one-bid league, so the Mavericks aren’t building an at-large resume, but if they do make the tournament, a win over the weekend could have helped bump them up a seed line.
Missouri State: The Bears were rolling coming into this weekend. They had won seven in a row, including three victories over top-200 teams, and seemed to have re-established themselves as Missouri Valley favorites after a rough start. Then they lost to Oral Roberts. Yikes.
Kansas: Sorry, had to.
Team of the Weekend (by GameScore):
G Parrish Hewitt, UT Martin | GmSc 33.2 | 29 pts | 6 rbd | 6 ast | 4 stl | 3 blk | 5-8 3PT
G Tookie Brown, Georgia Southern | GmSc 28.2 | 32 pts | 6 ast | 3 rbd | 3 stl | 5-8 3PT
F Fatodd Lewis, UT Martin | GmSc 38.7 | 34 pts | 16 rbd | 12 ast | 2 stl
F Jalen Hayes, Oakland | GmSc 29.0 | 30 pts | 10 rbd | 3 ast | 12-14 FG
F Cody Martin, Nevada | GmSc 28.0 | 27 pts | 11 rbd | 6 ast | 10-13 FG
Game of the Weekend:
Ball State 71 Valparaiso 70
How could it be anything but the Tayler Persons game (Part II)? Down two, with the ball, top of the key...
Here’s a boxscore:
There’s a lot going on here, I know. A quick breakdown: UT Martin beat something called Cincinnati Clermont, 127-92 this weekend. You’ll notice Lewis, who made the Team of the Weekend, had a triple-double. Hewitt, also named to the team, had another outstanding performance. The Skyhawks shot 55 percent for the game and went 15-25 from three. They also out-rebounded Cincinnati Clermont, 52-33 and forced 23 turnovers. Fun!
Portland State? More like Portland Great:
That awful subhead was just a test to see if you’re still reading. I’ll know based on how many people tweet at me. The Vikings won at Santa Clara this weekend to improve to 4-0 on the road this season. Couple that with the way they made high-majors sweat at PK80 and we might have an emerging Big Sky favorite. If you’ve never heard of Deontae North, it might be time to change that.
Some historic starts:
You’ll notice up top that I omitted a few teams from the “these teams were good” section. I wanted to give them each a shoutout here. Albany, Towson, and Wagner, while not having beaten anyone of note, has each taken care of business in the non-conference to the extent that you can realistically ask of them. The result? Some fun stats.
A complete list of programs with more wins than @UAlbanyMBB this season:— UAlbany Basketball (@UAlbanyMBB) December 10, 2017
*end of list*
Longest current active NCAA Division I men's basketball winning streaks as of 6:38p on Sat., Dec. 9th after Duke's loss today. https://t.co/yL0fJZLnpW— Towson Men's Hoops (@Towson_MBB) December 9, 2017
1. TCU 15
2. TOWSON 10
3. Villanova 9 pic.twitter.com/740cD06rjd
MBB: Men's Hoops Wins Six Straight Contest:— Wagner Seahawks (@WagnerAthletics) December 10, 2017
7️⃣-1️⃣ for the second time in its Division I history (First since 1979-80 under former HC and AD PJ Carlesimo)
5️⃣-0️⃣ at the Spiro Sports Center this season#CHAOSonthehill #WAGvMERCY pic.twitter.com/YdQpWI0JPJ
Who wants Rick Pitino’s mansion?
The price is dropping! Maybe it’s in your range now?
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 Yale get a big win?
Apparently not, as the Bulldogs fell 75-67 at St. Bonaventure over the weekend. It’s not a huge deal, though — Yale is still without Makai Mason and the Bonnies now have a healthy Jaylen Adams (25 points, nine assists). Alex Copeland led the way with 17 points, but as a team, Yale committed 21 turnovers. That’s not going to get it done, especially when your opponent shoots 7-15 from three.
Is Georgetown the best team in the MEAC?
It appears that way! Congrats to the Hoyas, who took down North Carolina A&T, 83-74, to improve to 4-0 in MEAC play. Their embarrassing non-conference schedule has given me perhaps my favorite Twitter bit of 2017-18:
Georgetown began the season ranked 80th in KenPom. After starting 8-0, Georgetown is now 94th.— Russ "Busy on Christmas despite my name" Steinberg (@Russ_Steinberg) December 9, 2017
Seven unbeaten teams remain. They are: Villanova (Big East), Miami (ACC), TCU (Big 12), Florida State (ACC), Arizona State (Pac-12), Mississippi State (SEC), and Georgetown (MEAC).
The same seven teams from last week are still looking for their first win. They are: Texas Southern (SWAC), Norfolk State (MEAC), Alabama State (SWAC), Coppin State (MEAC), Arkansas Pine Bluff (SWAC), Alabama A&M (SWAC), Mississippi Valley State (SWAC).
Florida International at USF, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN3
Good goly, the slate is light tonight. Fortunately, we have a chance for some brutality as FIU takes on a truly dreadful USF team. The Panthers have just one Division I win and it came against KenPom 275 South Alabama. The Bulls’ KenPom ranking? 281.