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Cincinnati, Kilpatrick among the models of consistency
This is the stage of the season where every coach starts to dread the unexpected.
More or less, we know what to expect from top teams around the country. Of course, there will be upsets and surprises, but for the most part we can count on the good teams to more often than not put a consistent team on the court.
Just take Cincinnati, even if this isn't a team that’s not many people’s idea of a title contender. But the Bearcats have been consistent in at least one way by putting the same five players on the court for every game.
Not every team is as lucky as Cincinnati. Injuries and personnel changes have impacted Oklahoma State and Arizona in ways that could derail their major goals for the season.
From the undefeated teams, to the teams dealing with curve balls and teams that just got a little lucky, here are the key stats of the week.
College Basketball Key Stats of the Week: Feb. 5
24. Teams since 1976 to be undefeated in time for the first polls of February.
Arizona’s loss to Cal means the Wildcats won’t join the elite group to make it to this point of the season with an unblemished record. With Syracuse and Wichita State undefeated at the time of the first AP poll of February, the Orange and Shockers have joined a group of 22 other teams since Indiana’s undefeated team in 1975-76 to be unbeaten at this point. Here’s how the other 22 fared.
1. Starting lineup used by Cincinnati this season.
The Bearcats are 10-0 in the American but still have their share of detractors. That’s not without good reason: Cincinnati’s non-conference schedule is ranked 315th on KenPom. But Cincinnati has wins over Pittsburgh and Louisville, so that has to count for something. What’s most remarkable for Mick Cronin’s team aside from Sean Kilpatrick’s scoring is that Cronin has used only one starting lineup in 23 games this season. Kilpatrick, Justin Jackson, Tutus Rubles, Shaquille Thomas and Ge’Lawn Guyn have started every game this season.
64.6. Free throw percentage against Ohio State in the last two games.
Not that Ohio State has had anything to do with it, but the last two opponents’ struggles at the free throw line have helped the Buckeyes reverse their fortune. Wisconsin went 19 of 29, and Iowa went 12 of 19 from the line as the Buckeyes ended their slump with a pair of wins. To put those numbers in perspective, the 64.6 free throw percentage by Wisconsin and Iowa in the last two games would rank 325th nationally over the course of the season. And if you think home cooking is a factor here, consider that Ohio State was on the road for both dismal free throw shooting performances.
511. Minutes of experience lost by Oklahoma State without Michael Cobbins and Stevie Clark.
The Cowboys have a definite big four in Marcus Smart, Markel Brown, Le’Bryan Nash and Phil Forte, but the Pokes’ depth has been decimated in recent weeks with a season-ending injury to forward Michael Cobbins in late December and the dismissal of backup point guard Stevie Clark on Monday. They were only the seventh- and eighth-leading scorers, but their absence has been felt mightily. Combined, they played 511 minutes this season. The rest of the roster behind Cobbins and Clark has played 302 minutes.
8. Percentage points Arizona’s 2-point field goal rate drops without Brandon Ashley.
The loss of starting forward Brandon Ashely is a major hit for Arizona, which has played three consecutive less-than-dominant games. The last of which to Cal resulted in the Wildcats’ first loss of the season and last game with Brandon Ashley. As SI’s Luke Winn points out, Arizona will miss Ashley’s play around the rim. The senior shot 55 percent on 2-pointers this season. Take away his production and Arizona’s 2-point field goal rate drops from 51.2 percent to 50.4. That might not seem like a lot, but it was already middle of the road in the Pac-12. Without Ashley, Arizona’s 2-point field goal rate drops from fifth in the league to ninth.
1,403. Points lost in the AP poll by Wisconsin since Jan. 13.
Saturday’s matchup between Wisconsin and Ohio State ensured that one team would end a slump and another would continued. The Buckeyes’ 59-58 win means the Badgers are still searching for answers. In less than a month, Wisconsin was ranked third in the nation with 1,482 points in the AP poll on Jan. 13. Five losses in six games later, and Wisconsin is unranked with only 79 points in the voting.
719. Points gained in the AP poll by Texas since Jan. 13.
Wisconsin’s fall in part has been mirrored by the rise of Texas. The Longhorns didn’t appear on a single AP ballot in the Jan. 13 poll. After winning six games in a row and four consecutive against ranked teams capped by Saturday’s 81-69 win over Kansas. The Longhorns are now ranked 15th.
2. Teams to defeat four ranked teams in consecutive games this season.
On Jan. 20, Kansas did something that hadn’t been done since 1997 by winning defeating four consecutive ranked teams in four games. Texas needed only two weeks to match the feat. The Longhorns defeated No. 8 Iowa State, No. 22 Kansas State, No. 24 Baylor and No. 6 Kansas to match the Jayhawks four-for-four streak earlier this year.
461. Career record for 3-pointers set by Oakland’s Travis Bader.
On Sunday, Oakland’s Travis Bader surpassed J.J. Redick for the most career 3-pointers. Redick left Duke with 457 3-pointers during his career. Bader hit 5 of 7 against Milwaukee, giving him 461 for his career. Just for fun: Marshall Henderson is averaging nearly 4 3-pointers per game in 54 games at Ole Miss. If he averaged that over the 128 games Bader has played at Oakland, Henderson would have 510 3s.