Welcome back to On the Quad, where last week Michigan State, Purdue and Xavier were the first teams to reach double-digit wins. The number of undefeated teams is down to eight, including Oklahoma, Iowa State, SMU, South Carolina and Arkansas-Little Rock.
Your weekly campus tour into what is and what was in college hoops begins now:
Big man on campus
Howard University guard James Daniel III had no clue it would be this way. As a sophomore last season, he transitioned into a new role when the Bison needed him to become more of a point guard. As a junior, he knew he’d have a chance to improve on his 16.1 points-per-game average and lead the team.
But he didn’t expect to lead the nation in scoring. No, seriously. He didn’t.
“I knew I’d have a scoring responsibility, that it would go up, but I didn’t expect this,” Daniel said.
“This” is 29.4 points per game, which leads all Division I scorers.
Daniel, who stands at just 5-foot-11, hasn't even been slowed by a recurring toe injury. It kept him out of Howard's loss to Purdue on Wednesday, mainly because the Bison had a quick turnaround after beating North Carolina Central on Monday.
The Hampton, Virginia, native, who returned to drop 38 points against Radford on Saturday, said he wasn’t even aware he led the nation until junior center -- and the team’s resident stats geek -- Marcel Boyd “looked all that stuff up.”
There’s a reason Daniel has been so prolific that goes beyond being a volume shooter. (His biggest improvement has come from 3-point range, where he shot just 29 percent last season but is up to 36 percent this season.) He also tops the nation with 116 free throw attempts and 102 free throws made.
“You have to always stay aggressive and be a threat,” Daniel said. “But it’s also little things like knowing your personnel and knowing how to set screens up. Most of all, though, you have to capitalize on open shots -- all open shots.”
Although Howard hasn’t made the NCAA tournament since 1992, Daniel gives the Bison a shooter’s chance.
Coach of the week
Maybe the true calling for SMU associate head coach Tim Jankovich should be as a master motivational speaker. There’s no other way to explain how the Mustangs’ head-coach-in-waiting has kept it all together.
SMU has been banned from postseason play in 2016 and its head coach, Larry Brown, was suspended for the first nine games of this season. With seemingly nothing to play for, Jankovich has SMU ranked No. 19 in the country with a 7-0 record which includes an 82-58 pummeling of Michigan on Tuesday. With remaining games against Nicholls State and Hampton, Jankovich could return control back over to Brown with an unblemished record.
“I have been a head coach for a number of years, and going to practice with these guys is no different than any team I’ve ever been with that knew full well they had a good chance to go to postseason,” Jankovich told reporters after the Michigan win. “... I want them to have so much fun and do so well that they forget that something has been done to them. ... They were innocent victims, and it’s very sad.”
The place to be
Charlottesville, Virginia. Although technically No. 9 Villanova’s loss to No. 7 Oklahoma on Monday will likely knock the Wildcats from the top 10 when the new AP poll is released this coming Monday, Saturday’s battle at No. 10 Virginia will still be the marquee game of the week between two potential Final Four contenders.
The Cavaliers will look to shake off any rust after having an extended break for exam week. When they take the court against Nova, it will be their first game since Tuesday’s win over No. 14 West Virginia.
The Wildcats will simply be looking to reiterate they are an elite team after their 78-55 loss to the Sooners.
Number to know
Three. Derrick Henry’s Heisman win Saturday meant Alabama coach Nick Saban joined Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops as the only active head football coaches with multiple Heisman winners. The number of active men’s basketball coaches with multiple Wooden Award winners stands at three. Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski leads the way with five: Christian Laettner (1991), Elton Brand (1999), Shane Battier (2001), Jay Williams (2002) and J.J. Redick (2006). Tennessee’s Rick Barnes coached two while at Texas: T.J. Ford (2003) and Kevin Durant (2007). John Calipari also coached two, with Marcus Camby at UMass (1996) and Anthony Davis at Kentucky (2012).