There are many more teams in NCAA than CIS so we have to extend our definition of "upset" a little bit more up here (kenpom uses anyone who was less than 10% likely to win).
3. WBB: Lakehead over Western (24%), Saturday. You often hear it said that the Thunderdome is a tough place to play. Well, anywhere is tough when your opponent is the Great Group of Dudes [Teammates]. This is not the GGOD[T]s; the women's team has played eight games at home this year and this was their first win against a non-Waterloo team. A really bad shooting night for the Mustangs all around and they didn't figure it out until it was too late: they scored 20 in the fourth, more than any other two quarters put together.
2. MBB: Memorial over UNB (23%), Saturday. Javon Masters missed four shots in the last 2:30 of this game (it was tied at 74 with 2:36 to go), part of a brutal 4/19, 12-point night from him. He and the Reds bounced back the next day, though, going from 40% in effective field-goal percentage to 52% (they average about 47%, for context) and winning by 17.
1. WBB: Toronto over Ottawa (19%), Friday. A season low in points scored for Ottawa U. 16-second half points won't get you many wins unless you had 46 in the first half. U of T had a brutal schedule to start the year and have since won 4 of 6 against their division-mates. They could very well make a run at a first-round bye but it would require more games like this.
The teams who came back from the dead. Or at least back from a seemingly insurmountable deficit.
|MBB: Laval 57 at Concordia 62 (Jan. 18, 2014)|
2. MBB: Western (4%) over Lakehead, Friday. Back-to-back threes early in the fourth started a 10-0 run that put the Thunderwolves up 68-56 with 6:57 left. They would only make two more baskets in the rest of the game, going 2/7 to Western's 8/11. (Eight for 11!)
1. MBB: Concordia (3%) over Laval, Saturday (see chart, at right). Down 45-29 with 3:15 to go in the third quarter, the Stingers somehow pulled this one out, going on two separate 14-4 runs to tie it with about three minutes to go in the fourth. And while we're here: Laval also blew their chance in the first game of the home-and-home, up 9 midway through the second and losing by 10 (merely an 80% chance of winning at their peak in that one, not the 97% they had here).
Biggest weekly increases in SRS
SRS, or Simple Ranking System, is the basis for our basketball team rankings. These teams improved their ranking the most vs. last week.
WBB: Calgary, +5 (up to 16th from 21st). Staying within three points on average of the 5th-ranked team is not so bad when you're 21st to begin with.
MBB: UBC, +8 (up to 19th from 27th). Safe to say it's an off-year for the perennial contender. They weren't often in the 20s in January in previous years.
Slowest game of the week: WBB Toronto at Carleton, Saturday (67 possessions)
A classic Carleton pace. Both Raven teams are now legendary, for very specific meanings of the word "legendary," for slowing down the pace. The women's team came into this one averaging 70 per game, lowest in the country. Last year they averaged 70.5. Lowest in the country. 2011-12: 72.5, falling all the way down to third-slowest. You can almost see the Ravens and their short bench just hanging on in this game: up 15 at the half, then 13 after three, then just 1 when time ran out.
Fastest game of the week: MBB Laurier at Brock, Wednesday (91 possessions)
When the losing team scores 88 there probably wasn't much pack-line defence going on. 71 points total in the fourth quarter alone, which works out to one point every 8.5 seconds. Ironically, this fast-paced game probably took a long time to finish: the last five minutes saw 25 trips to the line, the first one coming when it was already a 13-point deficit for Brock.
Terrell Evans Watch
The kenpom version focuses on Alan Williams, UCSB's "undersized center [who] piles up stats like nobody else" and is "ignored by scouts and media alike." We'll draft in another product of the American Southwest now playing on the west coast: UVic's Evans, who despite being second in the country in our player rankings last year was only given a second-team conference all-star spot. Future editions of the Watch will rotate among other favourites.
Evans faced lowly UNBC this week and had 19 and 13 in the Friday game, then 25 points on Saturday, missing only five shots total in that game. He's now up to a PER of 34.0 on the year, third behind Phil Scrubb and teammate Chris McLaughlin, though he is averaging 32 minutes per game to their 27 and 29.
Best games of the upcoming week (all times Eastern)
These are based on the same odds that are used for our upset games from above — we just take the opposite, and look for the closest games on paper, between two good teams. Only games with webcasts are listed; those schools who don't show their basketball teams' games are kindly encouraged to get on board already.
MBB: Carleton vs. Ottawa (Tuesday, 8:00pm). Like you need to be told.
WBB: Windsor at Western (Wednesday, 6:00pm). The first of ... two? three? maybe even four? ... well, the first of multiple matches between Windsor and Western this year, anyway. Windsor's lapping the field pretty easily early on in OUA play; at least this one has home-court advantage for the Mustangs.
MBB: Laurentian at Ryerson (Friday, 8:00pm). Lots of OUA teams here, but that's just how the schedule goes this week (and, for that matter, how the rankings are set up). Here we have two top-10 OUA East teams...no, the other ones.
WBB: Calgary at Alberta (Friday 8:00pm, Saturday 7:00pm). The second of two weeks where Calgary plays top-10 teams from their division.
WBB: Western at McMaster (Saturday, 1:00pm). Losses to Laurier and Lakehead in recent weeks mean this stretch is pretty important for UWO. (Next week, they get Guelph and Waterloo at home. Next week, they will not be in the "best games" section.)