UCLA Bruins (16-4, 5-2 Pac 12)
- Noteworthy Performance(s): Stanford (91-74), California (76-64)
UCLA picked up two big home victories this week to remain in striking distance of undefeated Arizona in the Pac 12. In those wins versus the Cardinal and Golden Bears, the Bruins were a combined +12.5% from the field. As great as the offense has played, the defense was once again able to generate double digits turnovers, as CAL and Stanford combined for 31. That marks the 20th straight game where the defense has generated double digits turnovers.
Speaking of the offense, head coach Steve Alford has unleashed an awfully impressive offensive attack out in Westwood. Currently, seven players on the roster are averaging over 7.5 points per game (D. Wear, Parker, Alford, Powell, LaVine, Anderson, Adams), and the Bruins 84.3 points per game currently ranks 10th nationally. The battle of Oregon is next up for UCLA, with road games versus the Ducks and Beavers scheduled this week.
Creighton Blue Jays (17-3, 7-1 Big East)
- Noteworthy Performance(s): @Villanova (96-68), Georgetown (76-63)
I always put huge stock in a team’s ability to value possessions and convert those possessions into consistent points on the offensive end. If you read my college basketball posts regularly, then you know that I consider points per possession perhaps one of the biggest statistical advantages a team can have. With the exception of Louisville (2013) and UCONN (2011), seven of the last nine tournament winners have finished in the Top 5 nationally in Points per Possession.
Boy, does that statistic bode well for Creighton, as their offensive efficiency has been through the roof this season. Their 1.23 PPP currently leads the nation, and as you can see by the efficiency chart below, few teams have been able to match their fire power.
With two more wins last week against Villanova and Georgetown, the Jays currently sit atop the Big East standings all alone. They are currently outscoring their opponents by 14 points per game during league play (1st), and their offensive (49.6%) and defensive FG% (41.8%) both rank among the Top 3 in the conference.
Michigan Wolverines (15-4, 7-0 Big 10)
- Noteworthy Performance(s): Iowa (75-67), @ Michigan State (80-75)
With their win versus Michigan State on Saturday, Michigan became the first team since the 1996-97 season (Iowa) to win three straight games against Top 10 opponents. Guards Nik Stauskas and Derrick Walton Jr. paved the way for the win in East Lansing, as the combined for 38 points.
As great as the guard play has been for head coach John Beilein, he would probably be the first to tell you that the play of forwards Jordan Morgan and Jon Horford has been the determining factor in the Wolverines recent resurgence. Following the loss of preseason All-American Mitch McGary to back surgery, the duo have combined to average 14.2 points, 9.8 rebounds, and shoot 78.3% over the team’s last nine games (9-0). Any way you look at it, that’s impressive.
Honorable Mention: Florida, Wichita State, Pittsburgh, Texas, Richmond
Michigan State Junior Branden Dawson
As the story goes, the junior forward was so upset watching game tape earlier in the week that he slammed his right hand on a table and broke it. Whether or not that is what really happened (I have my doubts) doesn’t matter much now. What does matter is that the Spartans will have to try and make due without the services of Dawson for the next 4-5 weeks. Not good.
Clemson Tigers (13-6, 4-3 ACC)
- Uninspired Performance(s): @Pitt (76-43), @ UNC (80-61)
It was a rough week for head coach Brad Brownell and the Tigers. After a promising 4-1 start in conference play, Clemson was absolutely obliterated in road losses at Pitt and UNC (lost by a combined 52 points). You can’t expect to win in hostile environments when you consistently turnover the ball (30 combined) and shoot a poor percentage (33%). The schedule doesn’t get any easier, as a road game versus Florida State looms on Saturday.
Baylor Bears (13-6, 1-5 Big 12)
- Uninspired Performance(s): Texas (74-60)
The Bears simply can’t get things going in conference play. After dropping their fourth consecutive game on Saturday versus Texas (at home no less), Baylor now sits in 9th place in the Big 12. Through six conference games, Baylor has been pretty bad. Their 39.9% shooting is last in the conference, as is their 48.8% field goal defense. For a team as talented as this, their recent play has certainly been a head scratcher (to say the least).
Crazy (Performance of the Week)
VCU’s Treveon Graham & Juvonte Reddic vs. La Salle
The duo of Graham and Reddic was instrumental in guiding the Rams to their 97-89 (2 OT) win over La Salle on Saturday. The two combined for 61 points and 27 rebounds in route to the team’s 16th win on the season (4th in conference). The Explorers actually led 73-67 following a Tyreek Duren bucket with 1:15 remaining in the 2nd Half. Graham would score the game’s final 6 points of regulation to force the first overtime session.
Head Coach Shaka Smart has his Rams Rolling Again
Copyright © sports-glutton.com, 2010-2014. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from sports-glutton.com is strictly prohibited.