Monday, January 19, 2015

Morning News: DePaul Upsets St. John's, Indiana Over Illinois, Caris LeVert Done, And St. Francis Buzzer Beater

Caris LeVert is done for the season.

DePaul Upsets St. John's The Johnnies couldn't hit a jump shot all day, finishing 6-for-32 (19%) for the game. DePaul, meanwhile, hit 14 of 16 free throws down the stretch and in overtime. St. John's also wasn't done any favors by the quick referee whistle (a combined 49 fouls for the two teams), as they're a team with a few stars and a short bench. DePaul was significantly less impacted by foul trouble.

After reaching 15th in the AP Poll, St. John's has gotten off to an ugly 1-4 start in Big East play. This is their first bad loss of the season but they don't have any great wins either. Unless they knock off Duke, they need to get to 10-8 in Big East play to be in good shape on Selection Sunday. At 9-9 they'll have a lot of work to do in the Big East tournament.

DePaul moves to 4-2 in Big East play, though they head into a nasty stretch of games. They go on the road to face Seton Hall, Xavier and Providence, and then come home to face Villanova. If they win even one of those four games it'll be a surprise.

Indiana Beats Illinois Despite still missing Rayvonte Rice, the Illinois offense put up a respectable 1.10 PPP, though it came against a soft Indiana defense and included 12-for-27 three-point shooting. It's a mistake to draw too many conclusions from a game that had a one point margin in the final minute, but it's just another mediocre result for Illinois since the loss of Rice. They've gone 2-2 without Rice against a soft stretch of their Big Ten schedule, dropping from 56th to 69th in the Pomeroy ratings.

The Selection Committee is not going to give Illinois a pass for the games without Rice, so they need to start piling up wins against the likes of Penn State and Rutgers, because their schedule gets nasty in mid-February.

Indiana, meanwhile, is now 4-1 in Big Ten play despite being outscored by a net of 3 points. They head into a tough stretch of schedule, though, with road games at Ohio State, Wisconsin, Maryland and Purdue among their next seven. It's still not clear that Indiana is actually a good team, rather than just a little lucky in close contests, so it will be interesting to see how they handle this stretch of games.

Caris LeVert Done For The Season Michigan's nightmare season has hit a new low, as star Caris LeVert will miss the rest of the season with a foot injury. LeVert was leading the team in points (14.8), rebounds (4.8), assists (3.5) and steals (1.9) per game. Michigan had stabilized their season after that ugly four game losing streak in December, and were up to 4-2 in Big Ten play, but the loss of LeVert probably dooms their NCAA Tournament chances. They just don't have another player who can regularly create offense both for himself and his teammates.

St. Francis Buzzer Beater Tops St. Francis The Brooklyn St. Francis knocked off the one from Pennsylvania at the buzzer. And it's a result that could decide the NEC regular season title, since these are probably the two best teams. It's an odd announcer call below since the refs initially called off the final shot, but rest assured that on replay review they gave them the basket.

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