PHOENIX - O, layover... Haven of annoying cell-phone talk, home of heavily made-up airline employees yet unhelpful gate agents (that'll be seventy-five bucks to fly standby, please), opportunity to gorge oneself on 3,000-calorie Cinnabons, chance to catch up with increasingly irrelevant color periodicals. Let's see how much I can type between now and departure.Conference Shootaround!Colonial:
Just a couple days after losing to Delaware, Hofstra (15-7, 10-2) knocked off the No. 1 team in the conference, Virginia Commonwealth (19-4, 11-1), ending VCU's 10-game win streak. The Pride pretty much led throughout despite being decisively rebounded 36-29 and letting big Wil Fameni
do pretty much whatever he wanted inside (15 pts, 14 reb) -- 50% shooting and turning the ball over only six times proved the final difference, and now nobody can figure out if the CAA's two-bid switch is in the "on" or "off" position. Just remember that George Mason lost four league games and still got in last year.
In the Missouri Valley
, Southern Illinois and Creighton have now created a two-game bubble for themselves; after Wednesday's slate, both are 9-3. And I told you not to give up on Wichita State; after a nationally-televised 67-61
win over Northern Iowa, the Shox (15-8, 6-6) have won three in a row to get back in the race... If you're looking for a good basketball game to watch this weekend, check out the Horizon League's
ESPN2 offering between Wright State and Detroit. Wright is keeping nationally-ranked Butler honest, hanging a game back at 8-2, and the Titans look a lot stronger than they did a month ago. I was there last night at Detroit's 76-72
win over Wisconsin-Green Bay, and got to witness Brandon Cotton's
career-high 31...Valparaiso won't be in the Mid-Con next year (headed to the HL), but don't call this a lame-duck season. Last night, the young Crusaders handed Oral Roberts (15-8, 7-1) its first league loss, 70-67 at the ARC; 21 by junior Shawn Huff, and Valpo is 5-3... America East: Vermont, Albany, blah blah blah. Forget about all that for a sec, and peep this sweet Harlem Globetrotters move: to give Binghamton a 66-65 win over Stony Brook the other night at the Mid-Majority Events Center, Mike Gordon bonked a pass off a defender's back to himself and hit the game-winning layup. We've got video!... East Tennessee State is in the Atlantic Sun's one-seed position, but No. 2 Belmont and No. 3 Lipscomb both won their games last night...
After Central Connecticut State's (10-1) scoreboard-stuffing win over Sacred Heart (6-3) last weekend in the NEC, they'll play again at Heart on
Saturday Feb. 12. Apologies for the outdated, pre-revision sked. ... Weber State remains a game clear in the Big Sky at 8-3; the Wildcats beat conference newbie Northern Colorado 76-65 on the strength of 24 points from "My name is Juan Pablo Silviera, you killed my father, prepare to die." (Actually, dude's from Uruguay, but anything to get cred with the geeks)... Nevada and New Mexico State are now both 8-1 in the WAC after Wednesday wins; Nevada has 20 overall victories, and NMSU has 18.
Ohio Valley leaders Austin Peay (14-7, 11-2) got bit at Murray State 77-68, as well as by 40 combined points from Tyler Holloway and Bruce Carter... If you need any proof as to which Sun Belt division is better, consider that West leader Louisiana-Monroe lost to the top two East teams in the space of a week; the other night, it was a 103-96 exhibition of matador defense at Western Kentucky. Team USA is 10-2 and has won nine straight after celebrating the human spirit with a 76-58 win at New Orleans' Human Events Center.
K-Dub's Krazy Fact of the Day!
We need more blunt instruments in college basketball analysis for you, and here's another one. The NBA has what they call an "efficiency stat", which they claim is how coaches really evaluate a player's performance (but these are the same people who claimed 20 years ago that players spend all their down time reading Hoop magazine). Here's the formula:
((Points + Rebounds + Assists + Steals + Blocks) - ((Field Goals Att. - Field Goals Made) + (Free Throws Att. - Free Throws Made) + Turnovers))
The leader of this stat, fittingly enough, is someone who likely will be in the NBA next year, a guy from Texas name of Kevin Durant (28.2 efficiency per game). Yay for him.
We'll be testing this formula for the rest of the season to see what we can get out of it at the college level, and you may have already seen it featured in our Tempo-Free Boxscores™ and on leaderboards around the site. Just for fun, we'll be using this space on Monday to list all the mid-major conferences' efficiency leaders, as a lead-up to checking the final league leaders against the league MVP list at the end of the year. My guess is that we'll get about a third of them right.
But for now, let's have some nahsty fun. Who is the least effective player in Division I? We're limiting our sample to those who have played at least 15 games and average at least 20 minutes per contest. There are 1,812 guys who fit that description, and 1,812 is none other than Ivory McGilvery of Prairie View A&M, clocking in at a 2.6 efficiency rating. McGilvery is a freshman guard with atrocious stats -- 29.7% shooting, .76 PPWS, 61.1% from the line -- who's been pressed into action because of the sad state of a team that's 4-17 (2-7 SWAC). And now, we've finally found a stat that highlights his specialness.
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And don't forget, Friday is mid-major chat day! So head on over to ESPN.com and put in your questions before or during the 3 p.m. ET chat. This week's theme is "West Coast Bias." Fun is guaranteed, unless I don't get to your question.
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