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Kentucky flops without Noel while Indiana and Florida continue to run up the score
A handful of players hit multiple milestones this week, but they weren’t necessarily the most notable numbers of the week.
Creighton’s National Player of the Year contender Doug McDermott reached the 2,000-point mark, Kansas’ Jeff Withey set the Big 12’s career blocks record and Ohio’s D.J. Cooper moved into a tie for 15th on the all-time assists list.
Meanwhile, Kentucky and John Calipari flopped in a major way in its first game without Nerlens Noel, Indiana and Florida kept rolling over opponents, and Wisconsin soared at home.
In a wild season, we still found notable storylines in the numbers this week.
KEY COLLEGE BASKETBALL STATS FOR FEB. 11-17
30. Margin of defeat for Kentucky against Tennessee on Saturday
Before Saturday, Kentucky knew Nerlens Noel was its top player and the most consistent piece on a marginal NCAA Tournament team. But Tennessee proved the Wildcats could be lost without him. The Wildcats’ 88-58 loss to Tennessee was the biggest defeat of the John Calipari era by a long shot. The previous biggest losses were by 17 to eventual national champion Connecticut in the Maui Invitational in 2010 and by 17 to Florida on Tuesday, when Noel originally sustained a torn ACL. The numbers fallout was astounding: Zero fast-break points for Kentucky, 50 first-half points allowed and a 39-point deficit that wasn’t erased until the Wildcats ended the game on an 11-2 run.
How valuable is Nerlens Noel? Take a look at Kentucky’s key numbers in games with their National Defensive Player of the Year candidate and one game without him:
|KENTUCKY||WITH NOEL||AGAINST TENNESSEE|
|Points allowed||62.8 per game||88|
|Field goal % defense||38.2||58.0|
|Blocks||7.5 per game||6|
|Steals||6.4 per game||7|
|Defensive rebound %||69.4||45.0|
|Offensive rebound %||34.8||33.3|
21. Average margin of victory for Indiana and Florida this season
This isn’t a shock to anyone following college basketball this season, but when Indiana and Florida win this season, they tend to win big. That continued Saturday when Indiana 83-55 defeated Auburn and Indiana defeated Purdue 83-52. That boosted the Hoosiers’ nation leading average scoring margin to 21.9 points per game and the Gators to 21.7 per game. What do those near-identical scores mean? According to Matt Woods of TeamRankings.com, both teams have the highest average scoring margin since 2001 Duke (22.6 points per game). The last time two teams in a season averaged a scoring margin of 20 points per game, Kansas and Memphis met for the national title in 2008. Of the last 11 teams to defeat opponents by 20 points per game in a season, four won a national title. In his post, Woods notes how each team fared in the NCAA Tournament.
31. Auburn’s largest margin of defeat at home since 1952
The Tigers haven’t been a great basketball program, but the 83-53 rout to Florida was the worst for Auburn at home since the Tigers lost by 40 to Kentucky on Jan. 30, 1952. That game was notable more for the names in the arena that day -- Adolph Rupp was the coach at Kentucky and future Georgia football coach Vince Dooley played for Auburn.
60. Maryland’s shooting percentage against Duke
Maryland shot 60 percent from the field (27 of 45) in an 83-81 win over Duke on Saturday, the first time any team shot that well against the Blue Devils since Jan. 30, 2010. In that game, Georgetown shot 71.7 precent from the floor on 33-of-46 shooting. Both hot shooting teams were anchored by big men -- Georgetown by Greg Monroe in 2010 and Maryland by Alex Len on Saturday. Len was 6 of 8 from the field and 7 of 8 from the free throw line for 18 points, outdueling Mason Plumlee who fouled out with four points. The must-win game for the Terps boosted their RPI from No. 70 to 63 in one day.
6-1. Wisconsin’s Big Ten home record
Wisconsin’s 6-1 Big Ten home record isn’t all that impressive -- most top-25 teams will have similar or better home conference records. But Wisconsin’s 71-49 throttling of Ohio State further illustrated the Badgers’ dominance at the Kohl Center. Wisconsin has defeated three RPI top-25 teams at home (Michigan, Ohio State and Minnesota) and two other NCAA Tournament contenders (Illinois and Iowa). Moreover, three Wisconsin players average in double figures at home (Jared Berggren, Ben Brust and Ryan Evans) while none average 10 points per game on the road.
Here’s a closer look at Wisconsin’s overall home/road splits:
|Field goal %||44.9||37.9|
|Field goal % defense||37.1||44.3|
|Scorers averaging 10+ ppg||3||0|
28, 7 and 4. Marcus Smart’s stat line against Oklahoma
With UNLV and Anthony Bennett struggling to stay above .500 in the Mountain West and with Nerlens Noel out for the season, the National Freshman of the Year spotlight may turn to the Big 12. Kansas’ Ben McLemore and Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart will be in the discussion, and Smart’s game against Oklahoma will highlight the rookie guard’s credentials. Smart’s 28 points, seven rebounds and four assists in the 84-79 overtime win over the Sooners underscored what a unique player his in the Big 12. In conference games, Smart is the only player in the Big 12 to rank in the top five in scoring, assists and steals and the only player to rank in the top 15 in scoring, rebounding and assists.
63. Combined points for UCLA’s top three freshmen against Stanford
Ben Howland’s freshman class of Shabazz Muhammad, Kyle Anderson and Jordan Adams was tabbed as the trio that would salvage UCLA basketball. It’s been an up-and-down season, but the trio showed what they could do when they’re all on their games at the same time. The three rookies combined for 63 points in an 88-83 win over Stanford with 25 from Muhammad, 20 from Adams and 18 from Anderson. The 63 points was the most they’ve had as a group in Pac-12 play; the previous high was 46. It was also the most since combining for 72 against Fresno State on Dec. 22.
25-6. Amount Villanova freshman guard Ryan Arcidiacono outscored UConn leading scorers Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright
Connecticut isn’t going to the NCAA Tournament, but the Huskies might end up helping Villanova find its way to the field. The Wildcats earned a resume-boosting win by defeating Connecticut 70-61 on Saturday for their first top-40 win since defeating Louisville and Syracuse in consecutive games in January. Streaky freshman guard Ryan Arcidiacono outdueled UConn’s top guards Ryan Boatright (four points) and Shabazz Napier (two), though Napier had 10 assists.
4. Consecutive Big East wins for Providence
Hopes are high for Providence under second-year coach Ed Cooley, and the Friars have had a taste of what that might mean in the last two weeks. With a 71-54 win over Notre Dame on Saturday, Providence has won four consecutive Big East games, its longest conference winning streak since 2003-04. And the Friars aren’t ganging up on the have-nots in the Big East -- three of their four wins have come against NCAA contenders Notre Dame, Cincinnati and Villanova. Providence has had only minimal contributions from its standout freshman class, too. Kris Dunn is averaging only 5.6 points per game and Ricky Ledo has not qualified academically.
4. Active coaches in the Basketball Hall of Fame
Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim, SMU’s Larry Brown, Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski and North Carolina’s Roy Williams are the only active men’s college basketball coaches in the Basketball Hall of Fame, but that number could increase by one before next season. Louisville’s Rick Pitino was named as one of 12 finalists to be enshrined this season along with former UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian. The Hall of Fame Class of 2013 will be announced before the national title game in Atlanta.