Did everyone see that UNC v UNLV game? Full credit to the Runnin' Rebels, but that game illustrated what I suspected about North Carolina after the game they played on the aircraft carrier: they're soft as warm butter. We've got bigger fish to fry though, as we head around the A-10. Teams from the conference are 43-23 before the results of the games today; there's a good chance that the A-10 might be a stouter conference than initially suspected.
Temple bounced back from their only loss of the early season with a hard-fought win over a good Wichita State team. Temple got 6/7/1 in 34 minutes from their bench, which isn't a stout showing. Ramon Moore led the line with 23/4/3 on 9-15/1-3/4-6 shooting. Moore, Juan Fernandez, and Khalif Wyatt all played at least 40 minutes of the game, and Michael Eric added 14/12/1 with two more blocks.
This week: at Bowling Green 11/27, home with Central Michigan 12/3.
St Louis (5-0):
St Louis has generated a lot of positive press early in the season for the way they've been playing, and their three games this week show why. The Billikens knocked off two good teams and Boston College in fairly handy fashion while shooting 24-59 (.407) from behind the arc as a team. Kwamain Mitchell posted 47 points and 11 assists against only 1 turnover on the week. The Billikens have done a great job of protecting the ball as a team, but they're only getting offensive rebounds on 20.7% of their misses, which is 336th in the country.
This week: another busy week with a neutral site game against Oklahoma 11/27, 11/29 at Loyola Marymount, and a 12/3 home game with Portland.
The Flyers knocked off Wake in a game in which every member of their starting line up scored in double-digits. Matt Kavanaugh had the best game with 15/13/3 on 6-9/0-0/3-3 shooting. Eighteen turnovers from a team that lost its best point guard to transfer over the summer is not encouraging. The Friday game against Fairfield was a dire, 58-possession affair that the Flyers ground to victory. Not a lot happened, but it's interesting that a team could so thoroughly impose its pace on Dayton.
This week: UD takes on Minnesota at a neutral site 11/27 before Buffalo at home 11/30.
St Joseph's (4-2):
Ken Pomeroy lists St Joseph's as the 77th best team in the nation, so it makes sense that they'd play a tight one on a neutral court with Tulsa (83rd), play Iona (46th) tough in a loss, and pull away from Penn State (140th) at home. That KenPom sure knows his stuff, but that's not what we're here about. CJ Aiken again patrolled the lane in a nasty way, posting 10 blocks on the week. The highlight of the week for the Hawks was the 10 points they allowed in the first half against Penn State, though Langston Galloway's 57 points in 3 games were nothing to sneeze at.
This week: home game 11/30 with Drexel.
St Bonaventure (2-1):
I'm not sure who the director of basketball operations for St Bonaventure is, but he's apparently in no hurry to get the season started. Three games have managed to take the same amount of time it's taken some other members of the conference to get five or six games in. Against Siena this week, Andrew Nicholson threw up 14/12/1 and added 4 blocks for good measure. Eric Mosley's 17/2/2 came on 4-7/3-6/6-6 shooting, so kudos to him for efficiency.
This week: 11/27 at VT, 12/1 home with Arkansas St, and 12/3 at Buffalo.
Richmond was an excellent shooting team last year, but that has not been the case so far this season. Their EFG% is 46.5 this year, down from 53.1 last season. Bad shooting plagued them this week, with a 18-47 from the floor dooming them against Illinois before a 16-42 showing made the Rutgers game a lot closer than it had to be. Take out Darien Brothers' 7-12 against Illinois and the Spiders shot 35% on the week. Richmond is 64th in the nation in avoiding turnovers; they're going to need to keep that rate excellent if they want to contend while shooting like they are.
This week: 11/30 at William and Mary, 12/3 at Wake Forest.
George Washington (4-1):
The Colonials were busy mopping through the mediocre teams of the upper Midwest this week. To GW's credit, they played really good defense, holding their three opponents to 37% shooting from the floor. Tony Taylor posted a brutally efficient 22/4/6 on 7-8/4-4/4-4 shooting en route to 39/10/17 on the week. Outside of a 21-53 against Austin Peay, GW shot 58% from the floor on the week. Their 48.6% from behind the arc currently leads the country in that regard.
This week: 12/1 at Kansas State.
After taking the Thanksgiving holiday off (probably not), the Dukes were back in action against Louisiana Lafayette. Duquesne stayed relevant through February last year by forcing the pace, inciting turnovers, and protecting the ball. They did all three this week, forcing 21 turnovers while only committing 14 and keeping the game up-tempo. TJ McConnell's 12/5/7 with 4 steals on 5-8/2-3/0-0 led the way. Duquesne is still having trouble controlling the glass, and they may bite them in the haunches later in the year.
This week: 11/30 neutral site with Pitt, 12/3 at home with Tennessee Tech.
The week was up and down for Massachusetts, in that they lost to the two good teams they played and beat the crummy ones. UMass' defense was solid all week, forcing 79 turnovers in the course of the four games. Their offense was less steady, shooting 67-146 with 22 TOs in their two wins and 34-140 and 36 TOs in their losses. If the Minutemen can't control the ball and shoot it a little bit better, they're going to have a hard time winning games.
This week: 11/30 at home with Towson, 12/3 at Miami (FL).
Unfortunately for the Atlantic 10, not every team is carrying the mail. LaSalle's showing against Pitt was reasonable, but dropping the follow up game to Robert Morris is more than a bit disappointing. It shows all the classic signs of a let-down game; tied at 19 at the half, Earl Pettis followed his 22 against Pitt with 5 on 1-11 shooting against Robert Morris, and they turned the ball over 17 times. They were supposed to beat Rider, and they did, thanks to only 7 TOs. Tyreek Durden posted 16 assists against 7 turnovers on the week, but the Explorers are still searching for a reliable offensive threat.
This week: home games 11/30 and 12/3 with Northeastern and Bucknell.
This win probability graph probably hurts to look at if you're a Charlotte fan. From having the game all but in hand with eight seconds left to losing at the buzzer via the three ball is a heart-breaking arc to follow. The 41 turnovers that the 49ers committed this week are going to be a recurring problem for them this year; they're currently 279th in the nation in taking care of the ball. Forward Chris Braswell has been Charlotte's main threat for a while now, and his 22/6/1 helped them to victory Saturday. He turned the ball over 10 times over the course of the two games, which isn't helping the team's troubles at all.
This week: 12/3 at East Carolina.
Rhode Island (1-4):
As those of you with a passing ability to recognize numbers has noticed, URI posted its first win of the season this week. Orion Outerbridge posted 51 and 24 on 18-39 shooting on the week and is pretty much the best thing the Rams have going. They're a decent offensive club, just outside of the top 100 in adjusted efficiency and with good numbers on the offensive glass, but their defense is in the mid-200 range. Coach Baron has some work to do if he's going to make this club do anything in the conference season.
This week: 11/27 at Cleveland Sate, 11/30 at home with Brown.
Dropping a game to Loyola Chicago is bad enough; going into it with a win expectancy calculated by KenPom at 26% is not wonderful. Chris Gaston posted 19 and 10 with 6 blocks, but it took him a 6-16/0-0/7-10 shooting line to get to it. Starting guards Brandon Frazier and Devon McMillan combined to go 6-26/0-10/4-7 en route to 16/5/3 with 6 turnovers. The team shot 27% from the floor and turned the ball over 13 times to only 4 assists. It was kind of a sorry showing.
This week: 11/28 with Colgate, 12/1 with Lehigh, both at home.