Indiana puts Michigan into a dubious class, Pittsburgh continues home dominance, Kansas does not
Leave it to the state of Indiana to remind us how much fun regular season college basketball can be.
The top two games of the year have been played in the Hoosier State with a wildly different cast of characters, different pressures and different outcomes. In January, Butler upset Gonzaga at Hinkle Fieldhouse on a buzzer-beater. Then came Saturday night when two of the nation’s best took each team’s best shot before Indiana emerged with the 81-73 win over top-ranked Michigan.
Indiana started perfect (6 of 6 from the field, 2 for 2 from the free throw line), but Michigan clawed back to a tie at 40 apiece early in the second half. The Hoosiers, however, used their trademark efficiency to finish the game with 13 consecutive free throws. But along the way, Indiana’s Victor Oladipo made a case for National Player of the Year, Cody Zeller showed he’s not out of it, and Michigan’s Trey Burke remains in the conversation despite the loss.
Indiana’s win marked a wild weekend in college basketball where homecourt advantages were extended (Pittsburgh) or ended (Kansas), and where lanky forwards stole the spotlight from an emerging and divisive sharpshooter.
Here’s a look at the key numbers from the week of Jan. 28-Feb. 3:
4: Times Indiana has shot 50 percent from the field and 80 percent from the free throw line in the same game
One of these is not like the other: Bryant, Coppin State, Florida Atlantic and Michigan. All four were the victims of Indiana’s relentlessly efficient offense in which the Hoosiers made half their shots from the field and 80 percent of their shots from the free throw line in the same game. On Saturday, Indiana shot 52 percent from the field (26 of 50) and 88 percent from the free throw line (22 of 25) in the 81-73 win over No. 1 Michigan. Entering the game, Indiana ranked second in the country in points per possession (1.2) behind Michigan. The Hoosiers topped that against the Wolverines with 1.5 points per possession.
4: Pittsburgh wins over top-10 Syracuse teams at home teams since 2002-03
The Panthers are 13-1 at home against top-10 teams since the Peterson Event Center opened in 2002-03, and no one has been a more common victim of Pitt’s homecourt magic than Syracuse. The Panthers’ 65-55 win over No. 6 Syracuse on Saturday moved Pitt to 4-0 against top-10 Orange teams in the Peterson Event Center. Pitt coach Jamie Dixon is 10-3 overall against Syracuse.
24.1, 6-to-8: Michael Carter-Williams’ shooting percentage and assist-to-turnover ratio in Syracuse’s losses last week
Syracuse’s Michael Carter-Williams is one of the nation’s best point guards, but he struggled mightily last week in two losses for the Orange. Carter-Williams shot 7 of 29 (24.1 percent) from the field and had six assists and eight turnovers in losses to Villanova and Pittsburgh last week. Carter-Williams wasn’t alone in his problems with Pitt. The Orange had five assists and 14 turnovers against the Panthers.
2: Home losses for Kansas since 2006-07
Oklahoma State ended Kansas’ 33-game win streak at the Phog Allen Fieldhouse with an 85-80 win Saturday. That may not be the most impressive part of the Cowboys’ win in Lawrence. Oklahoma State is only the second team to win at the Phog since the 2006-07 season. Kansas’ last home loss was Jan. 22, 2011 to then-No. 11 Texas, which ended a 69-game win streak. The Jayhawks last lost to an unranked opponent in Lawrence on Nov. 15, 2006 to Oral Roberts.
11: Three-pointers by 6-foot-10 forwards against Ole Miss last week
The key perimeter shooters in Ole Miss games this week turned out not to be guard Marshall Henderson but 6-10 forwards Kyle Wiltjer of Kentucky and Erik Murphy of Florida. In an 87-74 win Wednesday, Wiltjer scored 26 points on 10-of-19 shooting, including 5 of 12 from three-point range. Murphy followed suit with 19 points, including 7 of 8 from the field and 5 of 6 from beyond the arc.
7: Combined margin of defeat in NC State’s four ACC losses
Only seven points separate NC State from a perfect ACC record. Saturday added to the Wolfpack’s bad luck as Miami used a late 8-2 run and a Reggie Johnson tip-in to defeat NC State 79-78. The loss was NC State’s second one-point loss in ACC play joining a 51-50 loss to Maryland on Jan. 16. NC State also lost to Wake Forest by 2 and to Virginia by 3 for its 5-4 start in the ACC.
37-23: Amount Florida State’s bench outscored its starters against Duke
Every team needs a little spark off the bench. Florida State took this a little too far against Duke. The Seminoles bench outscored its starters 37-25 in their 79-60 loss to the Blue Devils on Saturday. Two guards alone matched FSU’s starting five -- Aaron Thomas (14 points against Duke, averages 6.5 points per game) and Devon Bookart (9 points, averages 5.1). The main culprits in the futility of the Seminoles’ starters were Michael Snaer and Okaro White. Both average better than 12 points per game but scored seven each against Duke.
23-0: Mike Montgomery’s record against Oregon as coach of Stanford and Cal
With a 58-54 win over Pac-12 leader Oregon, Cal coach Mike Montgomery extended his dominance over the Ducks. Montgomery is 23-0 against Oregon as coach at Stanford (18-0) and Cal (5-0), as noted by Jeff Faraudo of the Bay Area News Group.
10: 3-pointers by Georgia State freshman R.J. Hunter against Old Dominion
Georgia State freshman R.J. Hunter, the son of coach Ron Hunter, had one of the standout performances of the weekend with 38 points, converting 10-of-15 shots from three-point range in an 83-63 win over Old Dominion. The 10 threes was a Colonial Athletic Association record but a long way from the Division I record of 15 three-pointers set by Marshall’s Keith Veney against Morehead State in 1996.