NCAA Week In Review 01/07/20
The College Basketball season has begun to heat up!
Non-conference schedules are over and there’s business to be settled in conference from here on out.
Over the past two weeks, we’ve seen some early-season chaos as the #2 (Ohio State), #3 (Louisville), #4 (Oregon), #5 (Ohio State), #7 (Louisville) and #9 (Virginia) teams all suffered losses.
Each week there has been some old and new faces being upset and one thing is for certain in college basketball - upsets are not stopping any time soon.
We take a look at some programs who are on the rise and others who have stumbled early on in the odds to win the NCAA Tournament:
Record: (13-0), (1-0 CONF) SEC
AP Ranking: #5 (Last Week - #8)
There is no team hotter than the Auburn Tigers, who stand as the only remaining unbeaten team in the AP Top-10.
Auburn has won each of the last three games by double-digits, including a convincing 80-68 road win in the SEC opener against Mississippi State.
The Tigers reached the NCAA Final Four last season - missing the Championship by one point - and have carried their winning ways to the top of the SEC standings, accompanied with the SEC’s lack of winning.
The Conference has struggled early on this season - aside from Auburn and one-loss Arkansas, all SEC teams have at least three losses.
Senior guards Samir Doughty and J’Von McCormick have helped lead Auburn to one of the best offenses in basketball, totaling the 13th most points in the nation (82.0 ppg).
Looking Ahead - The Tigers have played 11 of the 13 games at home this season which has benefitted them so far and that good fortune will continue this week when facing Vanderbilt and Georgia at home.
Duke Blue Devils
Record: (13-1), (3-0CONF) ACC
AP Ranking: #2 in the Nation (Last Week - #2)
Duke is right where we are all used to seeing them at this point of the season - atop of the ACC standings, amongst the nation’s Top-5 and arguably the most complete team in the country.
The Blue Devils opened conference play with a bang, winning all three games by 14 points or more, including a 39-point win over Boston College and 33-point victory over Miami this past week.
The lone blemish for Duke was an upset two-point loss at home to unranked Stephen F. Austin, which at this point seems to have only made the Blue Devils stronger. Duke has scored the fifth most points in the nation averaging 84.1 ppg.
Looking Ahead - Duke won’t have much of a challenge over the next three games, facing conference opponents Georgia Tech, Wake Forest and Clemson, who are a combined 22-19 this season.
Ohio State Buckeyes
Record: (11-3), (1-2 CONF) Big Ten
AP Ranking: #11 (Last Week - #5)
The Ohio State Buckeyes were riding high as the #2 ranked team in the nation - but had a long last two weeks after suffering back-to-back home losses.
For starters, the Buckeyes were handled by the rolling #22 West Virginia Mountaineers 67-58.
Not only was the score ugly, but the manner in which Ohio State lost was much worse. The Buckeyes blew a six-point halftime lead and were outscored by 16 after only 22 points in the second.
To follow that up, Ohio State scored under 60 points for the second straight game, falling to the unranked Wisconsin Badgers 61-57.
Despite the offensive struggles, the Buckeyes can turn to the defense to pick up the slack - Ohio State has allowed the 11th fewest points in the nation (58.4 ppg).
Looking Ahead - Ohio State hit the road to battle the #15 Maryland Terps hoping to avoid a third straight loss, then head to Indiana and take on a tough Hoosiers team.
Record: (11-3), (2-1 CONF) ACC
AP Ranking: #13 in the Nation (Last Week - #7)
Since reaching the status of AP #1 in mid-December, the Louisville Cardinals have come crashing back down to earth.
Louisville has lost three of the last five games, including back-to-back games over the last two weeks as both the #3 and #7 ranked team.
Both losses did come against ranked opponents, unlike their 70-57 home defeat to unranked Texas Tech when ranked as #1.
The Cardinals lost to #19 Kentucky 78-70, then were handled by #18 Florida State 78-65.
The lone bright spot as of late for Louisville has been junior Jordan Nwora, who has been one of the best scorers in the nation, ranking 19th best averaging 21.0 ppg.
Looking Ahead - The road won’t get any easier for the Cardinals as they face Miami at home, then hit the road for a three-game trip that includes matchups against Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and #2 Duke.