Get the Athlon Sports Newsletter
Arizona and coach Sean Miller are flirting with their first loss of the season.
With 347 Division I teams, following college basketball can be overwhelming. Let Athlon Sports start your college hoops week each Monday with a look at some of the most intriguing, most important and most interesting stats from around the sport:
2: Possessions keeping Arizona undefeated last week
Arizona is one of four remaining undefeated teams remaining -- Duke, Michigan and Wyoming are the others -- but the Wildcats needed a little luck to remain unbeaten last week. On Thursday, a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Colorado’s Sabatino Chen was waved off after video review. Arizona, which trailed by as much as eight with 1:44 left, dominated overtime against the Buffaloes in overtime on the way to a 92-83 win. But Colorado is an NCAA Tournament contender; Arizona’s opponent on Saturday was not. Utah (8-6, 0-2 Pac-12) gave the Wildcats all they handle in a 60-57 loss. The Utes’ final 3-point shot bounced off the rim, the backboard and then the rim again for another close call for Arizona. Before last week, the signature wins for Sean Miller's team over San Diego State and Florida came by one point each.
25, 14 and 4: Mike Muscala’s line against Missouri
File this note away when you fill out your brackets in March: Bucknell forward Mike Muscala had 25 points, 14 rebounds and four assists in a 66-64 loss at Missouri. Bucknell led until the final 3:37 before Missouri put the Bison away in the final seconds. Muscala, who arrived in Lewisburg, Pa., via Roseville, Minn., is a 6-foot-11, 239-pound forward who’s going to cause someone problems in the Tournament if Bucknell wins the Patriot League. Muscala’s day was just enough to overshadow Tigers guard Phil Pressey, who had a career-high 26 points.
4: Ns in Nnanna Egwu’s first name
A tip of the hat to Egwu, one of Illinois’ major difference-makers in a 74-55 win over Ohio State on Saturday. After losing two of three and with a brutal Big Ten slate ahead, Illinois needed to signal its staying power on the national stage. The victory over the No. 8 Buckeyes did that and more. The 6-foot-11 Egwu had the best game for any Illinois frontcourt player this season by scoring 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting with eight rebounds, three on the offensive glass. A perimeter-oriented team, Illinois was 20 of 31 (64.5 percent) from inside the 3-point line. Before Saturday’s win, Illinois had been shooting 48.6 percent from inside the arc. Even with the new inside game, Illinois still got 19 points from Brandon Paul and 8 of 27 shots from 3-point range.
7 of 29: Shooting from the field by Buckeyes not named Deshaun Thomas or Aaron Craft
Speaking of Ohio State, the Buckeyes’ ongoing difficulty in finding someone other than Deshaun Thomas to carry the load was evident in the 75-55 loss to Illinois. The Ohio State supporting cast (read: anyone other than Thomas or Aaron Craft) went 7 of 29 from the field, scoring 20 points. Thomas (24 points) and Craft (11) went 13 of 31 from the field. Lenzelle Smith Jr. was the only player to hit more than one field goal against the Illini.
50: Fateful number for Georgetown
Though not the most tantalizing team to watch, Georgetown is pretty good when the Hoyas or their opponent are under the 50-point mark. That changed Saturday when the Hoyas found a team that could flourish in an ugly game when Marquette defeated Georgetown 49-47. Before Saturday, Georgetown had been 4-0 when holding a team to fewer than 50 points; no surprise there. Before the loss to Marquette, Georgetown was 2-0 when scoring fewer than 50 points.
26: 3-pointers attempted by Pittsburgh against Rutgers
After a 12-1 start, Pittsburgh has lost its first two Big East games, including a 67-62 loss at Rutgers on Saturday. A major reason for the loss was an uncharacteristic boldness to shoot from long range. Pittsburgh has little business rolling the dice from beyond the 3-point line, but the Panthers attempted 26 shots from 3-point range against the Scarlet Knights. That’s nearly double Pitt’s average per game this season (13.4). Pittsburgh hit eight of its 26 attempts which as many 3-pointers as the Panthers had hit in its previous five games combined. That includes and 0-for-10 effort in the 70-61 loss to Cincinnati on Dec. 31.
0 for 11, 14 assists: Quinn Cook’s stat line against Wake Forest
The statline from the Duke point guard in the 80-62 win over Wake Forest on Saturday may make Missouri’s Phil Pressey blush. Cook missed all 11 of his shots from the floor and never got to the free throw line, but he managed to pickup 14 assists to one turnover against the Demon Deacons, the worst team in the ACC.