Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Morning News: Nebraska Hangs On, Rutgers Upsets Clemson, And Conner Frankamp To WSU

"At least nobody is here to see this..."
It was a quiet night of college basketball on Monday. The two most interesting games were the two ACC/Big Ten Challenge games. The Big Ten won both, to move from a narrow underdog to a narrow favorite in the Challenge.

Nebraska Hangs On In Tallahassee Nebraska seemed to have this game in hand, leading by 18 points early in the second half. But after Florida State pulled within one point with a little over two minutes to go, with Terran Petteway and Tai Webster already fouled out for Nebraska, it seemed like the Seminoles would steal this one. But a huge three pointer in the corner by freshman Tarin Smith was the clutch shot that saved the game.

Florida State's jump shooting has been horrific all season long. They shot 2-for-18 on three-pointers and 1-for-10 on two-point jumpers in this game. For the season, their 3P% is down to 19.8%, which is second worst in the nation, ahead of only Houston Baptist. For perspective, only two teams in the last decade have finished the season below 25% behind the arc. They'd need an elite defense to even be a bubble-quality team, and they don't have an elite defense.

It's not implausible that Florida State could drop out of the RPI Top 100 by the end of this season, so Nebraska avoided a potential "bad" loss by hanging on late here. But what they lack this season is a quality win. In their defense, they haven't played a likely Tournament team thus far. Their first shot will be on Sunday, against Creighton.

Rutgers Upsets Clemson Last season, Clemson had one of the best defenses in the nation. The 0.96 PPP they held opponents to was 19th best in the nation. 6 of the 31 different teams Clemson faced had their single worst offensive performance of the season. But with KJ McDaniels gone, the defense has had a huge drop off this season. Three of the five Pomeroy Top 200 teams they have faced so far have cracked 1 PPP, including the 1.15 PPP Rutgers scored here.

This is a Rutgers offense, of course, that just scored 26 points against Virginia. That scored 0.81 PPP against St. Peter's. That committed 18 turnovers against Fairleigh Dickson. Here? 69 points. 1.15 PPP. 3 turnovers. Yikes.

Clemson has a chance to begin turning their season around on Sunday at home against Arkansas. But unless they steal that upset they're going to enter ACC play so far away from the Tournament bubble that they'll need binoculars.

Conner Frankamp To Wichita State This was the speculation when Frankamp announced that he'd be leaving Kansas. He'll be eligible for the second semester of the 2015-16 season, and then he'll have two additional years of eligibility. Kansas could certainly use Frankamp this season, where Frank Mason has again been inconsistent and the high hopes for true freshman Devonte' Graham haven't been realized yet. Frankamp will instead be a big addition for a Wichita State team that will be losing Tekele Cotton after this season, and will lose Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet no later than the end of next season.

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