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Monday Morning Water Cooler: Utah State and Bowling Green won the weekend

Feast Week excitement is already picking up steam.

Washington v Utah State Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Happy Monday morning and welcome to the Water Cooler.

Thanksgiving week is always one of the best weeks of the year. It’s a short work week (as if anyone is getting anything done anyways), but more importantly Feast Week tournaments are plentiful.

Before we dive into the smorgasbord of hoops that awaits, let’s set the table by getting reacquainted with the weekend’s happenings.

Utah State continues to roll

Through the first three weeks of the season, things are going about as well as possible for the Aggies. The No. 15 team in the country picked up a pair of solid wins this weekend in the Jamaica Classic.

On Friday night, a monster second half rally propelled them to an 80-78 win against LSU. The Aggies overcame a 16-point halftime deficit to pick up their first Quadrant I win of the season. A monster 24-point effort off the bench from junior big man Alphonso Anderson was crucial to the comeback. The JUCO transfer has already proven himself to be a vital piece for Craig Smith’s squad. In just over 24 minutes per game, the forward is averaging 14.7 points and 5.7 rebounds per contest. With Neemias Queta still on the sidelines due to injury, Anderson’s versatile offensive repertoire does not go unappreciated.

Anderson delivered another big effort on Sunday night against North Texas, once again helping the Aggies overcome a halftime deficit (two points, but still). He poured in 19 points as Utah State overcame a cold shooting night and a struggling Sam Merrill to improve to 7-0. A monster litmus test awaits them this week as they’ll travel to Moraga to face Saint Mary’s on Friday.


You’ll be hard pressed to find a team that had a more exciting weekend than Bowling Green. The Falcons picked up two huge wins over Western Kentucky and Cincinnati at the Paradise Jam, but the manner in which they won them will make your heart race.

The hero of Friday night was their star junior Justin Turner. The guard led the way with 27 points, but none were more important than the last two:

Here at the Water Cooler, we love win probability graphs, and that floater delivered a great one.


Turner’s late game heroics set up a matchup with in-state foe Cincinnati. Trailing by 12 at the break, the Falcons weren’t able to make much of a dent in the Bearcat lead. Cincinnati held a nine point lead with three minutes to go, but a 13-4 run led by Dylan Frye sent the game to overtime. Frye added seven more points to his game high total of 28 as the Falcons were able to ultimately pull out the win despite Cincinnati shooting 55 (FIFTY FIVE DAMN FREE THROWS). A matchup with Nevada awaits them Monday night as Bowling Green looks to move to 6-1 on the year.

And of course, here’s the win probability graph.

BGSU v. Cincinnati

So uh, what’s wrong with Davidson?

To put it bluntly, Davidson has been a huge disappointment to start the year. The Wildcats sit at 2-3, the most recent of which came on Friday night against a pretty mediocre Wake Forest team.

The biggest issue for Davidson has come on the defensive end of the court, particularly in the paint. Per Hoop-Math, opponents are shooting 66.7% on shots at the rim so far this season, which have consisted of 36% of their opponents’ total shots. Based on KenPom’s numbers, the block rate of 3.5% checks in at 339th in the country. The other aspects of the defense have been solid! They’re forcing turnovers at a 22.3% clip (76th nationally, per KenPom), and have held opponents to 34% shooting from behind the arc.

For a team that was widely expected to be one of the best mid-majors in the country, it’s tough to see Davidson squandering the opportunities that they need to capitalized on in the non-conference slate. Using T-Rank’s TourneyCast, Davidson’s chance of getting an at-large bid currently sits at zero. A neutral court tilt against Marquette on Thursday is another chance for Bob McKillop and Co. to right the ship and possibly build some momentum before Atlantic 10 play starts.

The weekend in brutality

It was a relatively quiet weekend in brutality compared to the first couple weeks. Although there were plenty of upsets, most came in MTEs, which do not count as brutality.

The only addition to the leaderboard this weekend is brought to us by Penn. The Quakers notched their second brutality win of the season on Saturday with an 81-75 win over Providence. Ryan Betley had a game-high 22 points to lead the charge.

Here’s where we are through three weeks of brutality.

Brutality 11/25

Other news, notes, tidbits

  • There are 15 undefeated teams as of the time of writing this on November 25: Gonzaga, VCU, Utah State, Dayton, San Diego State, Liberty, Duquesne, Richmond, Northern Iowa, San Francisco, UTEP, Kent State, Eastern Michigan, Delaware, and Sacramento State.
  • Silver Sword standings are updated to account for the first weekend of Feast Week games. Everybody’s favorite Water Cooler blogger (your boy, me) is currently tied for 7th.
  • Stony Brook had one of the wildest endings to a game so far this season. Trailing by one, the Seawolves rebounded a missed free throw that resulted in a wild shot to put them ahead and ultimately seal an overtime win against Wagner.
  • North Texas’s Deng Geu has become a staff favorite because he’s extremely fun to watch play, but more importantly because he’s fun to make tweets about.
  • Since beating Kentucky, Evansville has subsequently proceeded to go 1-3, including a triple overtime win against Morgan State on Sunday to prevent a four-game skid. Oof.

On tap this week

There’s obviously a ton of Feast Week tournaments, so there are great matchups that could come to fruition that we don’t know about yet.


Georgia vs. Dayton, ESPN2
Wisconsin vs. Richmond, ESPN2
Nevada vs. Bowling Green, FloSports
Auburn vs. New Mexico, ESPNNews
Louisiana Tech at Indiana, BTN


Northern Iowa vs. West Virginia, CBSSN
Cayman Islands Classic, FloSports
Maui Invitational, ESPN/ESPN2
Gulf Coast Showcase, FloSports
Legends Classic, ESPNU


UT Arlington vs. Furman
Saint Louis at Boston College, ACC Network
Cayman Islands Classic, FloSports
Maui Invitational, ESPN/ESPN2
Gulf Coast Showcase, FloSports
Cancun Challenge, FloSports


Creighton vs. San Diego State, FS1
Davidson vs. Marquette, ESPN2 or ESPNU
Texas A&M vs. Harvard, ESPN2
UCF vs. Penn, ESPNU
Pepperdine vs. Arizona (The Kyle Cajero Bowl), ESPN2
Battle 4 Atlantis, ESPN/ESPN2