Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Georgetown Embarrasses Texas

#15 Georgetown 64, Texas 41
The Texas offense has been brutal this year without Myck Kabongo, but this is a new low. Texas is scoring only 0.87 PPP this season, and has only broken 1.00 PPP once, which is particularly amazing since they've played one of the softest schedules in the nation - this was their first game all season against a team in the Pomeroy Top 100. And here? Their 41 points scored were their worst since scoring 37 against TCU in 1987. And while I can only get tempo-free stats back to 2003 (and this was the worst Texas offensive performance over that stretch), their 0.58 PPP were only outdone by a BCS conference team this season when Vanderbilt had 0.54 PPP in a 50-33 loss to Marshall a couple weeks ago.

Now 5-3, Texas has three tough opponents in their next four games: UCLA, North Carolina and Michigan State. The UCLA game is up next, in Reliant Stadium on Saturday. There is no timetable on when Kabongo might be allowed to play, and if Texas can't pull off one of those games then they'll be 7-6 heading into Big 12 play. If Kabongo returns midway through the season then there is precedent for the Selection Committee giving a team a little slack for a missing player (Jio Fontan at USC a couple of years ago being the best example), but there is a real risk that Texas will miss the NCAA Tournament altogether this season.

As for Georgetown.... well, maybe their defense is just awesome. Over their last two games, against Tennessee and Texas, they have allowed 77 points total, on 125 possessions (a staggering 0.62 PPP). I have never seen a two game defensive stretch like that in all my years watching college basketball. For the year their defense is allowing only 0.83 PPP, second best in the Big East to Cincinnati (with obvious caveats for varied schedule strength).

The Hoyas are now 6-1 with their one loss coming in overtime to Indiana. It's a very impressive resume, even though I'm not totally sure any of these wins are really great wins. Wins over Texas, Tennessee and UCLA sound impressive, but none of those squads are playing particularly well right now. With only cupcakes left before Big East play, it might be a few more weeks before we really figure out how good this Georgetown team is.

Wyoming 81, Illinois State 67
I'm not sure I've seen a team all season collapse like Illinois State did here. With a little over 12 minutes remaining they led 60-45. Wyoming outscored them 36-7 to finish the game. Illinois State committed 12 turnovers in those final 12 minutes, and just seemed shell-shocked in the final minutes. Once Wyoming grabbed the lead, it was obvious that the game was over. Luke Martinez was the star for Wyoming, finishing with 17 points (on 5-for-9 shooting) and 9 steals. A lot of credit has to go to the Wyoming bigs for shutting down Illinois State star Jackie Carmichael (5 points, 7 rebounds).

Wyoming has a reputation for having a great homecourt advantage, but for them to do this on the road at a very good Illinois State team has to make us all re-evaluate Wyoming's chances of finishing fourth in the Mountain West and contending for a Tournament at-large bid. Wyoming is now 9-0 with this win and a home victory over Colorado. A home game against Denver and a road game at SMU could be tricky, but if they navigate those games then they will enter Mountain West play at 13-0. It would be against a soft schedule, but it would be enough to put them on the bubble if they can get to 9-7 or better in Mountain West play. Their next game will be Saturday against a non-Division I opponent.

This is a really damaging loss for Illinois State's at-large chances. They now fall to 5-3 and will enter Missouri Valley play without a marquee non-conference win. They will have to avoid any more bad non-conference losses and will probably need to get to 13-5 in Missouri Valley play to have a real chance. Considering the quality of the Valley this year, that's going to be tough to achieve. Their next game will be on Saturday against Western Michigan.

Arkansas 81, Oklahoma 78
After grabbing the lead in the opening three minutes of this game and leading by as many as 11 in the second half, Arkansas almost blew this game in the final moments. A clutch Steven Pledger three actually gave Oklahoma a lead with 20 seconds left, but BJ Young responded by attacking the rim and scoring. Romero Osby got a chance to retake the lead for Oklahoma in the final seconds but missed.

The highlight for Arkansas was Marshawn Powell, who scored 33 points on 11-for-17 shooting. Powell, if you recall, was a rising star for Arkansas as a sophomore in 2010-11, but missed almost all of last season with a torn ACL. He looks to be back and better than ever, and that's great news for the Razorbacks.

This was an important win for Arkansas after three straight losses, including a bad loss to Arizona State. They have a very important test coming up on Saturday at Michigan, because after that it's basically just cupcake city until SEC play. Oklahoma has a win over West Virginia, but I'm not sure that's going to be a particularly impressive win this season. Over the next week and a half they will play Texas A&M, Stephen F Austin and Ohio. The odds are that they'll drop at least one, and probably two of those games, meaning that they'll need to go at least 10-8 in Big 12 play to have a shot at an at-large bid. I'd bet against it. I don't even think Oklahoma will even make the NIT, honestly.

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