No one is going to confuse today’s game with Paul Westphal’s Loyola Marymount teams, but the tide may be turning.
Scoring had been creeping lower and lower in recent years, to a point where the NCAA Basketball Rules Committee hoped an emphasis on calling hand checking and reinterpreting the block/charge would open up the game.
The returns so far indicate scoring is up, in part because of more free throws and improved efficiency.
Meanwhile, teams and players are enjoying record-breaking offensive performances. The Big 12 scoring record was reset Saturday, more due to the inability of TCU to stop Melvin Ejim than any rule change. At the same time Duke is set to become one of the best offensive teams of the last decade by at least one metric.
This, unfortunately, was lost on anyone at the Oakland Zoo to take in Virginia Tech and Pittsburgh’s pillow fight Saturday.
College Basketball Key Stats of the Week: Feb. 11
71.68. Points per game, per team so far this season
Offense is back in college basketball. Scoring is up 4.04 points per team per game from last season, according to a statistical trend report from the NCAA. If the 71.68 points per game holds up by the end of the season, it will be the highest average since 1995-96. The tougher officiating on hand checks and arm bars seems to have done its job. Of the 4.04 additional points per game this season, 2.24 have come on free throws. Field goal shooting, 3-point shooting and free throw shooting rates all saw marginal improvements. More conference games, plus the postseason, may diminish the average numbers, but this is still a good sign for those who want to see the college game more wide open.
128.8. Duke’s nation-leading offensive efficiency rating on KenPom
Duke took over the No. 1 spot in adjusted offensive efficiency on KenPom with a rating of 128.8. As CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander noted, that figure will shatter the record for as long as Ken Pomeroy has been keeping his tempo-free statistics. These are the best offensive teams in Pomeroy’s ratings since 2003:
5. Players to have 45 points and 15 rebounds in a game since 1997-98
Iowa State’s Melvin Ejim pulled off one of the most rare performances in college basketball when he scored 48 points and grabbed 18 rebounds in a win over TCU. He’s only the fifth player since 1997-98 to hit 45 points and 15 rebounds since 1997-98 and the first since 2005-06. Here are the others, according to data on bbstate.com:
2013-14: Melvin Ejim (Iowa State), 48 points and 18 rebounds vs. TCU
2005-06: Brion Rush (Grambling), 53 points and 16 rebounds vs. Southern
2003-04: Alex Loughton (Old Dominion), 45 points and 15 rebounds vs. Charlotte
2002-03: David West (Xavier), 47 points and 18 rebounds vs. Dayton
1997-98: Lee Nailon (TCU), 46 points and 16 rebounds vs. Hawaii
6. Points by Ejim in his next game
TCU allowed Ejim to score at will. Two days later, West Virginia shut down Ejim for only six points on 1 of 9 shooting. The Mountaineers defeated Iowa State 102-77 as Ejim was forced to take more shots from the outside, including four 3-pointers.
3. Wins for Kansas State over Kansas in Manhattan since 1983
As lopsided an in-state rivalry as any, Kansas State scored a rare victory by defeating Kansas 85-82 in overtime Monday. Kansas State overcame cramping and minor injuries to key players, not to mention coughing up a nine-point lead with 1:47 to go in regulation, to beat the Jayhawks in overtime. Since 1983, Kansas State has only three wins — in 2008, 2011 and 2014 — at home against Kansas.
46. Losing streak against Division I foes ended by Grambling
Since the end of the 2011-12 season, Grambling State’s lone win was over Division II Central Baptist College on Dec. 16. The Tigers ended their 46-game losing streak to fellow Division I opponents Monday with a 95-80 win over Alcorn State.
1. Field goal in 10 minutes of overtime in Virginia Tech-Pittsburgh
If scoring is up, no one told Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech on Saturday. The Panthers and Hokies set perhaps the season standard for offensive futility in a game involving two major teams. The two teams were tied at 48 at the end of regulation, and Pitt needed only one field goal among two overtimes to seal the win. Lamar Patterson had a layup in the first 20 seconds of the second overtime for the only basket in both extra frames.
93. Points per 100 possessions for Creighton against St. John’s this season
Even though they’ve split the series, St. John’s has Creighton’s number this season. The Bluejays average 93 points per 100 possessions against the Red Storm this season, well below their season average of 118. Creighton has been held to less than a point per possession three times this season, and St. John’s was on the other end of two of those games. Of course, it didn’t help when Creighton went 14 of 25 from the free throw line in a 70-65 loss Sunday.
941. Career assists for LIU Brooklyn’s Jason Brickman
Doug McDermott isn’t the only player ascending in the record book this season. LIU Brooklyn’s Jason Brickman passed Oregon State’s Gary Payton for 11th on the all-time assist list with 941 in his career. If Brickman keeps up his 9.9 assists per game pace for the remainder of the regular season, he’ll have 1,000 assists at the time of the Northeast Conference Tournament for a figure that would place him fourth all time and 76 behind record holder Bobby Hurley of Duke. Expect Brickman, who plays on a 7-16 team, to get more notoriety in the media this week: The next two assist leaders Brickman will pass are CBS analysts Doug Gottlieb (947 assists) and Greg Anthony (950).
3,645 Total points for Iowa’s father-son duo of Roy Marble and Roy Devyn Marble
Roy Devyn Marble’s 25 points against Michigan led a landmark win this season for Iowa, but it also helped Marble and his father move up the list of father-son duos in college basketball. As Terry Hersom of the Sioux City (Iowa) Journal notes, the Marbles moved into seventh place with a chance to move all the way up to fourth among father/son duos.
29. Years since SMU was last in the AP poll
After defeating Cincinnati on Saturday, SMU checked in at No. 23 in the Associated Press poll Monday. The ranking is the first for SMU basketball since March 5, 1985 when the Mustangs were ranked 20th under coach Dave Bliss (yes, that Dave Bliss). SMU was ranked as high as No. 2 that season before losing to Loyola (Ill.) in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Worth keeping in mind SMU football hasn’t been ranked since 1986.
5. American Athletic Conference teams ranked this week
The polls may carry less weight in college basketball than in football, but still, who could have guessed that the American Athletic Conference would have the same amount of top 25 teams as the Big Ten as of Feb. 10? The AAC has five ranked teams this week: No. 10 Cincinnati, No. 13 Louisville, No. 20 Memphis, No. 23 SMU and No. 24 UConn. That’s more than the Big East and the SEC combined.