Victor Oladipo's all-around game leads our look at highs and lows around college basketball this week
With nearly 350 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:
21, 7 and 6: Victor Oladipo’s stat line against Michigan State
The idea of Victor Oladipo being Indiana’s most important player would have been ludicrous at the start of the season. The same statement seemed bold in November and December. Now, it may be perfectly clear that Oladipo, not Cody Zeller, is the Hoosiers’ most logical pick for Big Ten Player of the Year. In the 75-70 win over Michigan State on Sunday, Oladipo was a true stat-sheet stuffer with 21 points, seven rebounds (four on offense), six steals and three blocks. Another worthy stat out of that game: Michigan State was 5 of 6 from the free throw line, the Spartans’ fewest attempts since a loss to Michigan on Jan. 17, 2012. Indiana, on the other hand, was 13 of 20 from the free throw line.
91: Points NC State scored on North Carolina, most since 2002
NC State picked up a key win for its psyche on a couple of fronts by defeating North Carolina 91-83 on Saturday. The victory over the Tar Heels eased the sting of two losses (Maryland and Wake Forest) in three games since the win over Duke on Jan. 12. Beyond that, the Wolfpack ended a streak of futility in the series with North Carolina. NC State’s 91 points against the Tar Heels was the most it had scored against North Carolina since a 98-76 win on Feb. 24, 2002. The Wolfpack, who led by as much as 28 in the second half, ended a 13-game losing streak to the Heels. Coupled with the victory over Duke, NC State defeated each of its Tobacco Road rivals in the same season for the first time since 2002-03. The Wolfpack still must face both on the road this season -- Duke on Feb. 7 and North Carolina on Feb. 23.
2: Top-five wins for Villanova
Villanova started the season with lopsided losses to Alabama, Columbia and Temple by early December, but the Wildcats could be in NCAA Tournament contention after defeating Louisville 73-64 on Tuesday and Syracuse 75-71 in overtime Saturday. Most remarkable about Villanova’s week was the Wildcats’ work against two of the best guards in the Big East. Louisville’s Russ Smith went 2-of-13 from the field against ‘Nova. Later, Syracuse’s Michael Carter-Williams had four assists against the Wildcats, his fewest since the opener against San Diego State. Carter-Williams also went 4-of-17 from the field.
61: Years since La Salle beat ranked teams in consecutive games
Between Villanova and La Salle going a combined 4-0 against ranked teams, this was not a bad week for Philadelphia teams. La Salle defeated No. 9 Butler 54-53 on Wednesday and No. 19 VCU 69-61 on Saturday. The back-to-back wins over ranked teams was the first for La Salle since the Explorers defeated three top-25 teams in a row in the 1952 NIT.
38.7: Louisville’s shooting percentage during its losing streak
Less than two weeks ago, Louisville was mentioned as one of the nation’s top teams capable of making another run to the Final Four. Now, the Cardinals are in a tailspin with three consecutive losses. Louisville’s offense has become increasingly erratic, as the Cardinals made 38.7 percent of their shots from the field (63 of 163) in the last three games. Before the losing streak, Louisville converted 45.7 percent of its shots from the field. More worrisome for Rick Pitino, his team is getting progressively worse: Louisville shot 40.7 percent against Syracuse, 39.7 percent against Villanova and 34.8 percent against Georgetown on Saturday.
4: Ranked teams that went 0-2 last week
Louisville wasn’t alone in its struggles last week, but the No. 5 Cardinals were the highest ranked team to lost both of its games. Four teams in the Associated Press top 25 went 0-2 this week: No. 11 Kansas State lost to Kansas and Iowa State, No. 12 Minnesota lost to Northwestern and Wisconsin as part of a four-game losing streak, and No. 19 VCU lost to Richmond and La Salle. K-State's 59-55 home loss to No. 3 Kansas on Monday was the only one of the eight previously noted losses to come to a ranked team.
4: Points scored in the first half by Northern Illinois
Pertinent question for DeKalb, Ill.: How is Jordan Lynch’s jump shot? Northern Illinois set new marks for futility by scoring four points in the first half against Eastern Michigan. Four. And that’s just the start. The Huskies’ four points broke their own Division I record for fewest points in half during the shot clock era set earlier this season with five points against Dayton on Dec. 1. Northern Illinois tied the mark for fewest field goals in a half by going 1 of 31, including 0 for 17 from three-point range. At least Northern Illinois’ sports information department found the silver lining.
34: Points scored by New Mexico against San Diego State
Northern Illinois wasn’t alone in its offensive ineffectiveness, at least. New Mexico lost 55-34 to San Diego State on Saturday, scoring its fewest points of the shot-clock era. The Lobos also shot 25 percent (11 of 44) from the field, their lowest rate since at least 1965.
8: Offensive rebounds for Arizona State’s Jordan Bachynski
Arizona State dominated the paint in the Sun Devils' 78-60 win over UCLA, but the most important number may have been Jordan Bachynski’s performance on the offensive glass. His eight offensive rebounds matched UCLA’s team total and exceeded Bachynski’s defensive rebound total against the Bruins (seven). In addition to six blocks and 22 points, Bachynski was one of three Sun Devils to pick up 11 or more rebounds. Arizona State also outscored UCLA 46-26 in the paint.
24.3: Points per game in SEC road games for Marshall Henderson
Ole Miss fans may call their star guard passionate. Fans of other teams will Marshall Henderson a cocky, brash trash-talker -- if they’re being nice. Henderson, a junior college transfer, has turned the fortunes of Ole Miss, who are 6-0 in the SEC and on track to reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time under Andy Kennedy. But Henderson is the most disliked player in opposing gyms, and we assume that’s the way he likes it. After scoring 15 points, including the game-winning free throws at Auburn, Henderson popped his jersey in front the Tigers student section after the 63-61 victory. Averaging 24.3 points in conference road games, Henderson has relished the boos in opposing SEC gyms, but the Rebels are 3-0 in such games. Left on Henderson’s road schedule: Florida on Saturday, Missouri, Texas A&M, South Carolina, Mississippi State and LSU.
24, 9: Points and assists by Rotnei Clarke in his return against Temple
Butler split its two games without leading scorer Rotnei Clarke, defeating Gonzaga and losing to La Salle. In Clarke’s first game back since his frightening neck injury, the guard scored 24 points with nine assists. He did most of his damage from the free throw line (13 of 14) while going 4 of 14 from the field and 3 of 10 from three-point range in the 83-71 win over Temple.