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McDermott isn't Creighton's only big-time scorer
A team hitting blackjack on 3-pointers is as good a time as any to look at key numbers during the week.
Creighton rained 3-pointers on Villanova on Monday as the new Big East frontrunner knocked off one of the league’s traditional powers and did so in a way Rollie Massimino might admire. Creighton's win over Villanova also was only one of two key wins for a team in a new league in conference realignment Monday as Nebraska defeated Ohio State for the first time since 1985, a span of nine games.
The night, though, wasn’t all bad for major powers. Far from it. Kansas hit a milestone of its own.
Key college basketball stats of the week: Jan. 21
4. Consecutive wins over ranked teams by Kansas.
Kansas started 9-4 against a hellacious schedule, but there was still plenty of room to wonder if the Jayhawks would struggle to live up to expectations. Not anymore. With wins over then-No. 25 Kansas State, then-No. 8 Iowa State, then-No. 9 Oklahoma State and No. 24 Baylor, the Jayhawks are the first team since 1997 to defeat four ranked teams in a row during the regular season. The last team to accomplish such a feat was 1996-97 North Carolina, which defeated No. 4 Wake Forest, No. 14 Maryland, No. 12 Clemson and No. 7 Duke to finish the regular season. The Tar Heels that year reached the Final Four before losing to Arizona.
58-0. Combined record for Ohio State, Oregon, Iowa State and Wisconsin to start the season.
The AP top 10 on Jan. 6 included undefeated Ohio State (No. 3), Wisconsin (No. 4) and Iowa State (No. 9). A week earlier, the top 10 included undefeated Oregon (No. 10). At the time, all were considered contenders in their respective conferences...
0-13. Record for Ohio State, Oregon, Iowa State and Wisconsin since their undefeated starts.
Those four formerly undefeated teams all endured their first losses in recent weeks and haven’t been able to win since. Not all losses are created equal, though. Ohio State’s 68-62 loss to Nebraska on Monday is the most troubling of the Buckeyes’ four consecutive losses, especially since Ohio State defeated Nebraska by 31 in the first meeting this season. Oregon, whose defensive presence has disappeared, has lost four in a row to Colorado, Cal, Stanford and Oregon State — none are NCAA Tournament locks.
21. 3-point field goals by Creighton on Monday.
Creighton was already one of the nation’s most prolific teams from 3-point range entering Monday’s key matchup against Villanova, but this something else. The Bluejays went 21 of 35 from 3-point range against the Wildcats — at team by virtue of its own offense that should know how to guard the 3-point line. They didn’t. Creighton’s 21 3-pointers was the most in a game since Nov. 29, 2010 and the most in a game between major conference teams since Kentucky hit 21 against North Carolina on Dec. 27, 1989.
97.4. Percentage of Creighton guard Ethan Wragge’s field goals that have been from 3-point range.
You want to talk about a specialist? Creighton guard Ethan Wragge barely ventures inside the 3-point line. Against Villanova, he was 9 of 14 from the field — all from 3-point range. That’s routine for Wragge. He is 74 of 148 from 3-point range this season. He’s 2 of 6 on attempts from 2-point range. Wragge has one job and he does it well. A historical comparison of Wragge? Ken Pomeroy and his readers note Iowa’s Devan Bawinkel, who made 83 3-pointers and one 2-pointer in two seasons from 2008-10.
10. Oklahoma’s rank in adjusted tempo on KenPom.com
Lon Kruger isn’t a coach normally associated with high-tempo play — he never really ran enough for the Runnin' Rebels of UNLV — but the 14-4 Sooners rank 10th nationally in adjusted tempo this season. Since the KenPom rankings began in 2005, Kruger’s Oklahoma and UNLV teams have never ranked higher than 60th in adjusted tempo, the only other time they’ve been ranked in the top 100.
344. Syracuse’s rank in adjusted tempo on KenPom.com
Jim Boeheim is the anti-Kruger in terms of tempo through his career, but his Syracuse teams are slowing down. The Orange rank near the bottom nationally in adjusted tempo at No. 344 this season as Syracuse has progressively slowed down every season since 2008. That year, the Orange ranked 27th in adjusted tempo.