NATCHITOCHES, La. -- Mid-majors are often the Scrappy-Doos of college basketball (Let me at'im! Let me at'im!
), which is probably part of the reason they're so annoying to major schools. But I disavow any such implied connection -- I hated that character as much as you did.
Generally, I had a lot of problems with the Scooby-Doo universe. Daphne nearly started a "dumb redhead" stereotype (any damaging remnants of which was hopefully erased by my favorite current cartoon, "Kim Possible"), and I know that she and Fred were always "offstage" while the others looked for clues, but there's no way they were doing it because c'mon, Fred was soooo frickin' gay. (The scarf? I mean, come on!)
I just had to get all that off my chest today. And yeah, I've been watching the Boomerang
. But seriously, enough with the pop culture crap, let's shoot some hoops!Conference Shootaround!Southland:
Here's what you need to know about new members Texas A&M-Corpus Christi: forward Manuel Johnson
prefers to be called "Scooby," and that Islander teammate (and former Buffalo, Tex. HS teammate as well) Carl Nelson bears a striking resemblance
to a certain Norville Rogers
. And also that they beat defending champs Northwestern State 69-57
last night here in Nachitoches, snapping the Demons' 18-game home win streak. Ruh roh!
All in all, it was a weird night in the SLC as the teams all played non-division games, and many played upside-down overtime thrillers. Lamar lost at home to Stephen F. Austin, 73-72
in overtime, McNeese State topped Sam Houston State 59-58
in OT. And Nicholls State, which hasn't won a D1 game all year, nipped Texas-Arlington 83-81
in OT. Nicholls had only beaten Xavier -- no, not that
Xavier, this Xavier
In one of those games we'll be referring to for the rest of the season (or at least until the return match on Feb. 7), Hofstra topped Drexel 55-53
in a defensive battle royale that can be boiled down to a shooting contest between Antoine Agudio
(21) and Dominick Mejia
(26). In the end, though, Carlos Rivera
took what would become the winning shot in OT. Hofstra and Virginia Commonwealth are not the only remaining 5-0 teams in the conference, but the Pride are the hottest, winning five straight and putting an end to Drexel's 10-game win streak.Big Sky:
Using the odd rotating zone that Ken Pomeroy
helped find a title for ("O'Brien's Razor"), Idaho State is 3-0 in conference after stymying Rodney Stuckey
and Eastern Washington, 78-65
. But dig this, Sky fans: while the D is sharp, it's still giving up around a point per possession (read: pretty average). Idaho State's key strengths are its sharp shooting (41.2% from three, 14th best nationally) and its blade-edged refusal to send other teams to the line too much (14.1 fpg, 11th best in D1).
Other nuggets: Samford (9-7, 6-1) took its first conference loss of the season in the OVC
, losing in Nashville to Tennessee State, 59-44
. Credit due to TSU junior guard LaDarious Weaver
and his 23 points... In the America East
, Vermont (11-5, 3-0) is the only undefeated remaining, easily wiping out Maryland-Baltimore County 83-63
at their place. Here's a name you should probably remember: Joe Trapani
(23 pts last night). He's a 6-7 freshman at UVM who's averaging 15. He's had some frosh-like bad shooting nights, but he's shot 50% or better 10 out of 15 times, and the Catamounts are 8-2 in those contests...Nevada (15-1, 3-0 WAC) proved it could play okay without injured star Nick Fazekas, whipping San Jose State 72-63 on the road, thanks to a 33-point burst from Marcellus Kemp... Two no-loss teams left in the MAC, one on either side of the division line: Ohio beat Bowling Green 67-49 in the Bobcats' first really solid defensive effort to go 2-0 in the league, and Toledo's had the same record for about a week... Oral Roberts got the trudge out to Southern Utah out of the way earlier (the Mid-Con's equivalent of the WAC's Hawaii trip), and won 69-61 behind 21 from Ken Tutt. The Golden Eagles are off to a 3-0 league start...
Fairleigh Dickinson handed reeling Saint Francis (PA) its seventh straight defeat in the NEC, 91-84, to go 3-0; but the most impressive result was Sacred Heart's 74-57 bitch-down of defending champs Monmouth... And in the Sun Belt, your division leaders are Western Kentucky in the East, and Louisiana-Monroe in the West; both are 5-1. WKU (13-5 overall, 67 RPI) took out Florida International on the road 86-74, and ULM nipped New Orleans, 68-66. Without making editorial comment, the next time that Western will play a team with a (current) winning record will be when the (current) 11-7 Monroe squad comes to town in what could be a thrilling battle of division leaders. Or not.
K-Dub's Krazy Fact of the Day
I've been pounding turnover rate as much as I can this year -- not only because it's a good indication of why Butler has been excelling (nation's best 15.3% mark), but it's also a better indication of ball control than "turnovers per game," which can be inflated for fast teams and deflated for slow ones. Turnover rate is, quite simply, the percentage of your possessions that end in turnovers of any kind.
But what about turnover rate in individual games? Anyone who reads this site often knows that we give you that information in every boxscore, such as this one from last night, which shows that Fairleigh Dickinson only had premature expectoration of the ball on a mere 7.3% of its possessions in that NEC game against SF(PA). That, in fact, is the 14th best performance in that stat this year (counting D1-on-D1 action only). The No. 1 performance in turnover rate was put in by Butler nemesis Indiana, which put up a 3.2% mark in its 52-point win over the You're With Me Leathernecks of Western Illinois on Dec. 6.
But the next closest was put in by One Of Us, a 4.7% turnover rate by FDU's own conference nemeses, surging Sacred Heart against the Albany Great Danes of the A-East back on Nov. 21. That's a big reason why Heart was able to blast the Scoobies 90-71. One more time now... Ruh roh!
(And don't forget to stop by the ESPN.Com SportsNation section at 3PM Eastern for this week's epic mid-major chatfest. I promise, no toon talk.)
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