Scoreboard Watching: December 27, 2016

Bracketology Scoreboard Watching

In The Books

Oakland 68, Georgia 79: A great night for Summit League contenders and coach Greg Kampe, who may have had the performance of the weekend with this ugly sweater for the ages.
Auburn 70, UConn 67: The Tigers cap off a much needed 3-0 week including wins against Oklahoma and UConn away from home.  They open SEC play at 10-2 and in contention for a bubble bid.

Tipping off Tonight

SMU at Memphis: At different points in the pre-season, the Mustangs looked like either the AAC favorites or a lost team with no hope.  A road test at Memphis will help sort out who they really are as conference play opens.
Michigan St at Minnesota: There's been a lot of talk about Michigan St's injuries, but man, an 8-5 record anchored by a home loss to Northeastern leaves Tom Izzo with the most work he's ever had to open B1G play.  10 wins may not be enough to guarantee them a spot in the field.
Northwestern at Penn St: I'm not going to lie, the Wildcats may be the team I'll most enjoy following if they can keep this run up.  They're sitting firmly in the dance at this point, but now must make it through the conference slate.
Illinois vs Maryland: The Illini have won six in a row after a 4-3 start that included a home loss to Winthrop.  Meanwhile, Maryland is in good shape at 12-1 under Mark Turgeon.

Scoreboard Watching: December 22, 2016

Bracketology Scoreboard Watching

In The Books 

Louisville 73, Kentucky 70:  The Cards announce themselves with a signature home win.  they're now 3-1 against the KenPom Top 25, with the only loss coming to Baylor in the Battle 4 Atlantis title game in which they blew a monster first half lead.  Kentucky couldn't keep their offensive explosion rolling against a stoud defense.  They'll have some time to regroup before opening SEC play on the 29th.
 
Clemson 62, South Carolina 60: Clemson picks up their biggest win of the season, extending their winning streak to seven games after a mixed 2-2 start.  Meanwhile, South Carolina seem to be slipping, dropping their last two games against KenPom Top 50 teams after an 8-0 start.
 
Virginia 56, Cal 52: The cross-country road test was always going to be a test for Tony Bennett's team, who escape with a four point win.  They'll have a week to prepare for their ACC opener in the Yum! Center against Louisville.
 
Auburn 74, Oklahoma 70: Auburn needed the win badly and got it at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut.  They improve to 9-2 on the season and add a KenPom Top 100 win to their resume.    The loss is Oklahoma's fourth in five games, as the Sooners drop to 6-5.
 
Dayton 68, Vanderbilt 63: The Flyers bounce back from Saturday's loss to Northwestern with a respectable home win.

Tipping off This Weekend

The holiday weekend makes for a light hoops slate before the Big Ten and American open up play on Tuesday

 
Friday
Georgia at Oakland: An intriguing road test for a Georgia team still hoping a strong SEC showing could earn them a bubble bid.
 
Auburn at UConn: A matinee tip-off in Hartford is the opportunity to put two nice wins together in a row for Bruce Pearl's Tigers, coming off last night's win over Oklahoma noted above.

Scoreboard Watching: December 21, 2016

Bracketology Scoreboard Watching

In The Books

Creighton 96, Arizona St 85: The Jay pass a decent road test and improve to 12-0 on the year.  They'll open up Big East play at home against Seton Hall and Villanova, both before the new year.

Tipping off Tonight

Kentucky at Louisville: The Wildcats are coming off Saturday's huge win over UNC in Vegas, where Malik Monk put on a one man show, netting 47 points and the go-ahead three pointer in the game's final seconds.  Expect a lower scoring affair here, with both teams ranking in the top 5 nationally in defensive efficiency.
 
Clemson at South Carolina: The Tigers have won six straight after a 2-2 start, while the Gamecocks look to rebound in their first real test after last Monday's loss to Seton Hall, their first defeat of the year. South Carolina only has only three opponents the rest of the way (including D-II Lander next week) ranked outside of the KenPom Top 100.
 
Virginia at Cal: The final tune-up for Tony Bennett's team is a good cross-country test, who open up ACC play at Louisville a week from tonight.
 
Auburn at Oklahoma: Bruce Pearl's team has an uphill fight left if they hope to break into this year's field.  Road tests like this - while longshots - are the opportunities they need to bolster an otherwise boring resume. 
 
Vanderbilt at Dayton: The Flyers look to bounce back from Saturday's road loss to Northwestern that dropped them to 73 on the season.

Scoreboard Watching: December 20, 2016

Bracketology Scoreboard Watching

In The Books

SMU 72, Stanford 49: The Mustangs remain undefeated in December and should enter AAC play at 10-3.  Meanwhile Stanford falls to 1-4 against the KenPom Top 50.
Syracuse 105, Eastern Michigan 57: The Orange bounce back from Saturday's loss to Georgetown with an emphatic win over an Eastern Michigan team that has been disappointing so far.  The Eagles were pre-season picks to win the MAC, but 3-5 against Division 1 competition.

Tipping off Tonight

Creighton at Arizona St: Bobby Hurley's team has struggled to a 6-5 start and doesn't look to be in tournament contention.  That's exactly why Greg McDermott's Jays can't afford to fall in this their second road game of the season.

Stanford at SMU: Both teams could use this will likely live in bubble-ville this season, so a win here could go away to keeping them on the good side of things.


Scoreboard Watching: December 19, 2016

Bracketology Scoreboard Watching

A family vacation last week means there's a lot to cover, so let's recap the week that was...

In the books

Saturday, December 10
Wisconsin 93, Marquette 84: Marquette badly needed a signature win after a mediore showing, but couldn't hand with a strong Wisconsin team.
 
Wichita St 76, Oklahoma 73: The Shockers pick up a nice on a mostly-road court in OKC, controlling the game down the stretch.
 
Villanova 74, Notre Dame 66: The Wildcats take the battle of the unbeatens at home.
 
Butler 75, Cincinnati 65: A nice bounce-back win for the Bulldogs after their midweek loss to Indiana St.
 
UCLA 102, Michigan 84: The Wolverines tried to run with the Bruins, but couldn't keep up after a red-hot first half.  UCLA improved to 10-0 with the win.
 
Houston 82, Rhode Island 77: The Cougars win what was basically an early-season elimination game as the Rams fall to 1-4 against the KenPom Top 100.
 
BYU 80, Colorado 71: The Buffaloes can't follow up Tuesday's great win against Xavier with another, falling to a BYU team who badly needed the win.
 
Arizona St 74, San Diego St 63: The Aztechs can ill-afford anything other than an MWC crown to earn a berth now.
 
Sunday, December 11
Florida St 83, Florida 78: A year after hitting a buzzer-beater to knock off the Gators at the O-Dome, Dwayne Bacon paced the noles with 24 points.  Leonard Hamilton's team is 10-1 and looks ready for the ACC slate.
 
North Carolina 73, Tennessee 71: A surprisingly close game for UNC at home...
 
Monday, December 12
Seton Hall 67, South Carolina 64:  The Pirates are slowly improving their standing after handing the Gamecocks their first loss of the year.
 
Tuesday December 13
Villanova 78, Temple 57: Temple's brief sign of life in Brooklyn over Thanksgiving weekend is in danger of looking like a fluke.  Meanwhile, the Champs continue to roll.  A four game stretch against Creighton, Butler, Marquette and Xavier will test them come New Year's Eve.
 
Friday, December 16
North Dakota St 87, North Dakota 70: A battle of some auto-bid favorites could have some weight further down the seeding line come March.
 
Saturday, December 17
Kentucky 103, North Carolina 100: Malik Monk is very good at basketball.  His 47 points (!) were capped off with the go-ahead three pointer with 6 seconds remaining to improve to 10-1 on the season.  Next up is a road trip to Louisville on Wednesday.
 
Butler 83, Indiana 78: Both teams really wanted this to help erase the damage done by road losses to low-level Indiana schools.  Butler has bounced back now with wins against Cincinnati and IU to prove they're back.
 
Purdue 86, Notre Dame 81: Caleb Swanigan led the Boilermakers with 26 points and 10 rebounds as Purdue picks up a solid neutral-court win.
 
UCLA 86, Ohio St 73:  The Bruins continue to as Bryce Alford and Aaron Holiday put up 20 apiece in Vegas. 
 
Arizona 67, Texas A&M 63:  The Wildcats pulled away late in the first half and controlled much of the remainder holding on for a much tighter final score than the game really was.
 
Northwestern 67, Dayton 64: The Wildcats looked primed to be in the best position in a long time for their first NCAA Tournament bid when Big Ten play opens after Christmas.
 
Oklahoma St 93, Wichita St 76: A nice road win for the Cowboys, while the Shockers fall to 0-3 against the KenPom Top 50
 
Iowa 69, Northern Iowa 46: After disposing easily of Iowa St, the Hawkeyes pick up a respectable neutral court win as they look to recover from a terrible 3-5 start to the year.
 
Xavier 69, Wake Forest 65: The Musketeers look to have rebounded well at home after dropping their only two road games of the year in back-to-back contests to Baylor and Colorado.  They're 5-2 against the KenPom Top 100.
 
Georgetown 78, Syracuse 71: Big win on the road for a Hoyas team that was looking for a quality win before Big East play.   The Orange drop to 1-4 against the KenPom Top 100.  Wake falls to 8-3 and 1-3 against the KenPom top 100, so there ill be a lot of work to do once Big Ten play opens.
 
BYU vs Illinois: BYU follows up their best win of the season against Colorado with a tough loss to an Illinois team that seems to be coming around after a 4-3 start.  They're now 3-2 against the KenPom Topp 100 and 9-3 overall.
 
Sunday, December 18:
Clemson 67, Alabama 54: The Tigers improve to 4-2 against the KenPom Top 100 and are an impressive 8-2 as they head into a big game Wednesday with rival South Carolina.
 
Gonzaga 86, Tennessee 76: At 11-0, the Zags stock may never be higher than it is right now.  The cupcake march begins now, with only two opponents (BYU & Saint Mary's) remaining in the KenPom Top 100.
 
Northeastern 81, Michigan St 73: Sure the Spartans are ravaged by injuries.  But man, an eight point loss at home to a Northeastern team sporting five losses to teams outside the Kenpom Top 150?  This is the resume anchor the Spartans could ill-afford going into Big Ten play.
 
Gardner Webb 70, Nebraska 62: The Huskers drop to 5-6 and Tim Miles' seat just got a whole lot hotter.

Tipping-Off Tonight

Stanford at SMU: Both teams could use this will likely live in bubble-ville this season, so a win here could go away to keeping them on the good side of things.

Scoreboard Watching: December 9, 2016

Bracketology Scoreboard Watching

In the books

Iowa 78, Iowa St. 64: The Hawkeyes show a pulse for the first time this season, running away with this rivalry win at home.  Can they build on it from here?
 
UT Arlington 65, Saint Mary's 51: Massive win for the Mavericks, who have now won 7 straight since starting 0-1.  The Gaels only have two opponents the rest of the way ranked in the KenPom Top 150, so they'll need a strong showing to be in the at-large conversation while their SoS rankings fall.

Tipping Off This Weekend

Wisconsin at Marquette: The Badgers have looked strong in their last two games against quality opponents, disposing of both Syracuse and Oklahoma at home.  However, Marquette badly needs a quality win out of conference - and definitely has this one circled as a must have.
 
Wichita St at Omaha: The Shockers start a two game road swing against the Oklahoma Big 12 schools.  A sweep would put them in solid position heading into MWC play.  Meanwhile, the Sooners look to bounce back after getting shallacked in their aforementioned trip to Madison last weekend.
 
Notre Dame at Villanova: It's a Big East flashback as Notre Dame takes an undefeated record on the road against the team currently occupying everyone's #1 spot. 
 
Cincinnati at Butler: Ever since the Bearcats went into Iowa St and got the win, a lot of eyes turned toward this showdown at Hinkle Fieldhouse.  This would be Butlers best win of the season, bringing them to 10-0 before next weekend's clash with Indiana.
 
Michigan at UCLA: The Bruins are red, red hot and Pauley Pavilion will be rocking as they return home after their monumental road win over Kentucky. Meanwhile, Michigan has been middling, barely edging Texas for a home win on Tuesday to inch their hopes forward.  If they don't shoot better, the Bruins may very well run them out of the gym.
 
Rhode Island at Houston: Both teams need it. Rhode Island needs to rebound from last weekend's loss to Providence, while Houston needs something to keep the door open for a bubble berth.
 
Colorado at BYU: Coming off a home win over Xavier, the Buffs' stock is rising fast.  The Cougars are only 1-2 against the KenPom Top 100 with an anchor of a loss to Utah Valley.
 
Florida at Florida St: The Gators are playing their first actual road game of the year (I'm not counting UNF as a road environment) while they wait for the O-Dome to finish renovations.  FSU is hoping for a signature win to prove that their young team is ready to compete against the ACC slate.

Scoreboard Watching: December 8, 2016

Bracketology Scoreboard Watching

In the books

Indiana St 72, Butler 71: The Scott brothers strike again.  Two weeks after Fort Wayne's Bryson Scott led his team to an upset win over Indiana, it was his twin brother Brenton who netted the game winning free-throw with 0.8 seconds left.  We said yesterday this had the making of a trap game for the Bulldogs before Saturday's game with Cincinnati, and they proved us right.
 
Colorado 68, Xavier 66: Topping off a bad night for the Big East was Xavier, dropping their second straight road game.  A huge win for the Buffallos who head into Saturday's game with BYU looking like they're on the right side of the bubble.
 
Creighton 77, Nebraska 62:  The Jays pulled away in the second half after a game that was close for the first twenty minutes.  Creighton guard Maurice Watson Jr. dominated with his quickness, finishing with a season-high 25 points and 8 assists.
 
Grand Canyon 76, San Diego St 72: With back-to-back losses to Loyola (IL) and now Grand Canyon, the Aztecs are officially out of the conversation for an at-large bid if they can't take the MWC crown.
 
SMU 74, TCU 59: In one of the bigger DFW showdowns in a while, the Mustangs finally got back to looking like they did in the early part of the season, controlling the game behind Semin Ojeleye's 23 points.
 
Seton Hall 60, Cal 57: The Pirates are slowly building themselves back into a tournament team.  Monday's game against South Carolina would be a big step in that direction heading into conference play.

Tipping Off Today

Iowa St at Iowa: The Hawkeyes got a much needed cupcake in Stetson to end their four game skid, punctuated by a home loss to Nebraska Omaha on Saturday.  They still don't have a win against the KenPom Top 300(!).  Meanwhile, the Cyclones just beat that same Nebraska Omaha team to end their own 2-game slide.  All signs would point to the Iowa St rolling on the road.
 
UT Arlington at Saint Mary's: Arlington has gotten back on track after their 1-3 start, but face their toughest test of the season in Moraga against the undefeated Gaels.  Saint Mary's only had two opponents the rest of the way ranked in the KenPom Top 100, surely something that will hurt them come selection time.

Scoreboard Watching: December 7, 2016

Bracketology Scoreboard Watching

In the books

Florida Atlantic 79, Ohio St 77: Nick Rutherford's floater in the lane as time run down in overtime lifted the Owls to a monster upset on the road - the Buckeyes were 97% favorites to win by KenPom.
 
Duke 84, Florida 74: Much like their other loss to Gonzaga, the Gators started strong and then slowly faded away as things wore on.  Duke's continues to look strong despite a 6-man rotation most of the game as their walking wounded continue to heal.
 
Michigan 53, Texas 50: Trailing late, it appeared as those the Wolverines' skid would continue. However, a Mo Wagner block with 4 seconds left allowed Michigan to fight to see another day.  Next up? Red-hot UCLA on the road this Saturday.
 
Cal 62, Princeton 51: The Tigers may be the best team in the Ivy League, but they don't look like they'll be the world beaters that Harvard and other recent Ivy teams have been.
 
Arkansas 84, Houston 72: The Razorbacks cruise to a win that could be nice if they can play themselves in to the bubble in SEC play.
 
Purdue 97, Arizona St 64: The Boilermakers are still searching for their first KenPom Top 100 win of the season, but blew out ASU on a neutral flor, who lives just outside at 101.

Tipping Off Today

Xavier at Colorado: Xavier looked unstoppable before their tough loss at Baylor, while Colorado badly needs a quality win.
 
Creighton at Nebraska: The Jays have stormed through their schedule thus far, but this road trip will be one of their toughest tests so far
 
Seton Hall vs California:  Both teams badly need a win to boost their stock back into the bubble conversation.
 
TCU vs SMU:  This DFW showdown finally has some weight to it for once.  TCU has quietly marched through their schedule, while SMU has slumped after an impressive first few games.
 
Butler at Indiana St: A possible trap game for the Bulldogs, who could get caught looking ahead toward their tilt with Cincinnati this weekend.

Scoreboard Watching: December 6, 2016

Bracketology Scoreboard Watching

In the books

UConn 52, Syracuse 50: Down 10 with 11:45 remaining, it looked like UConn was resigned to another disappointing showing.  Instead, the Huskies mounted a comeback before Christan Vital's free throws sealed with win with 2.2 seconds remaining.  Can this be the turning point for Kevin Ollie's squad?  Saturday's trip to Ohio St will likely give them a quick answer to that question.

Tipping Off Today

Florida vs Duke: The Gators' neutral-court tour keeps on with this trip to NYC to tip-off against Duke.  The Blue Devils should get Grayson Allen back, who joined Coach K's walking wounded with a toe injury that forced him to miss Saturday's win over Maine.
 
Texas at Michigan: Two teams at an early crossroads as Texas looks to build upon their win over Alabama over the weekend, while Michigan has lost it's last two tilts with quality opponents.  It's a big week for John Beilein's team, who also hosts UCLA on Saturday.
 
Houston at Arkansas: Two teams hoping for at-large berths face off in Fayetteville.
 
Princeton vs California: The Tigers hope to steal one on a neutral floor for their first win over a KenPom Top 300 team this year.  They still look to be the class of the Ivy League, but are definitely disappointed with their 2-3 start t the season.
 
Purdue vs Arizona St: The Boilermakers are 0-2 against KenPom Top 100 teams, so this tilt in NYC is even bigger for Matt Painter's team.
 
Monmouth vs Wagner: Two teams who are favored to win their conference face off in a game that could help be the difference between a 13 and 15 seed.

Scoreboard Watching: December 5, 2016

Bracketology Scoreboard Watching

In the books

Gonzaga 69 vs Arizona 62: The Bulldogs stormed out to an early lead and never really allowed Arizona back in.  Mark Few's team just keeps winning and is projected by KenPom to finish 27-3 on the season.
 
Baylor 61, Xavier 61: Talking of teams that just keep winning, Baylor pulled away late for their second strong home win of the season to go with their Battle 4 Atlantis title. 
 
West Virginia 66, Virginia 57: The Mountaineers dominated the end of the game, picking up a huge win despite only having two players in double figures (Jevon Carter 11, Nathan Adrian 10).  The Temple loss is still tough for WVU's resume right now, but this does a lot to move them back up the S-Curve.
 
UCLA 91, Kentucky 92: What a statement by the Bruins, scoring the most points against Kentucky in the John Calipari era.  They'll face a struggling Michigan team in Westwood before playing Ohio State on the 17th in Las Vegas.  
 
USC 91, BYU 84: LA's other team is rolling along themselves, as Andy Enfield looks to have his strongest Trojan team yet with their third win over a KenPom Top 100 team and an 8-0 record.  Barring an upset, they'll beat up on cupcakes and enter Pac-12 play undefeated.
 
Maryland 71, Oklahoma St 70:  Maryland bounces back from their loss to Pitt with a strong win at home over a good Oklahoma St. team.  both teams live around the middle of the at-large pool currently.
 
Providence 63, Rhode Island 60: In a rivalry game between two teams that look destined for life on the bubble, this head-to-head match-up may the tie-breaker that keeps the Friars in and the Rams at home.
 
Minnesota 56, Vanderbilt 52: The Gophers continue to look good - not great - in this pseudo home game in Sioux Falls, SD.  With cupcakes the rest of the month, their best non-conference win is likely Arkansas, not exactly something that will wow the committee without a 10-win conference showing.
 
Wisconsin 90, Oklahoma 70: The Badgers continue to show signs that they'll be ready to go toe-to-toe with Indiana for Big Ten supremacy, cruising to this home win.
 
Loyola Chicago 65, San Diego St. 59: The Aztecs suffer a huge loss they could ill-afford.  Their tilt against Arizona State on Saturday is now huge for their at-large hopes if they don't win the MWC.
 
Marquette 89 at Georgia 79: The Bulldogs can never seem to turn the corner, falling to 0-3 against the KenPom Top 50 on the year, while Marquette starts to fight back into bubble contention.  A huge home tilt with Wisconsin waits for them next week.

Tipping Off Today

UConn vs Syracuse: Can the Huskies show any sign of life in this neutral court rivalry showdown at Madison Square Garden?  Kevin Ollie's team has played one game - a 2 point win (!) against Boston U - in the last 10 days and have many, many holes to fix if they hope to right the ship.