Three (Why not 4?) for Thursday
(1) Via the professional hardwood, something bizarre happened and I wish PHSports had its own in-house statistician, somewhat like the Elias Sports Bureau. On the same night, two teams (Atlanta and Minnesota) were outscored by 27 points in the fourth quarter. Both lost leads in the final stanza at home to Utah and the Los Angeles Lakers, respectively. I wonder when the last time two teams were outscored by such a margin on their homecourt on the same night in the NBA.
(2) I know I've veered away from college basketball in the last week, but I've still been able to follow. After a month and change of games, [in no particular order] I see UCLA, North Carolina, Ohio State, and Florida (once they get rid of their injuries) in the elite class of teams this season with Wisconsin and Arizona on the cusp of excellence. Kansas has really struggled to gel, but seeing them emerge from the ashes would be no shock given their talent; however, thus far, they are second-best in the state (Wichita State). Pittsburgh really disappointed me with their matador approach to defending Alando Tucker and the crew from Madison. They have another test at Oklahoma State, who themselves are coming off of their first loss of the season (Tennessee). Also, Duke continues to find its offensive identity against Gonzaga at Madison Square Garden. Heytvelt versus McRoberts and Raivio versus Paulus will be a treat to watch.
(3) Don't look now, but Drexel is rated 6th in the RPI (a more realistic 62nd in Pomeroy) after road wins at Villanova and Syracuse. A major reason for this is because 6 of their 7 wins are against RPI top-150 teams. After an embarrassing overtime loss at Rider, Bruiser Flint's squad has reeled off five straight. Can they keep it going upon entering the CAA conference play? Yes, but they must improve offensively and at the free throw line.
(4) Okay, one more. As tournament selection time approaches, look for Clemson to be a bubble potentially bursting if they are sitting at 7-9 in the ACC despite a high RPI. While they have a very formidable RPI rating of 7, they are buoyed by quality wins against unconventional opponents, such as at Old Dominion (67) and South Carolina (44), and home to Appalachian State (25) and Mississippi State (68). This may present a case similar to Missouri State, who had a RPI of 21, yet only had one quality non-conference win (at Horizon League champion Wisconsin-Milwaukee).