College Basketball Nation: Idaho

Numbers to know: Thursday recap

December, 7, 2012
Player of the Night - Kyle Fuller, Vanderbilt
Kyle Fuller scored all 12 of Vanderbilt’s overtime points in a 66-64 win over Xavier. Fuller finished with a career-high 25 points. Not bad for a player who scored a total of 17 points all last season.

On a team that lost its top six scorers from last season, Fuller (13.3 PPG) and Kedren Johnson (17.0 PPG) are taking on the load. On Thursday, they combined for 44 of Vanderbilt’s 66 points.

Stat Sheet Stuffer I – LaDontae Henton, Providence
He may be playing in a small state, but LaDontae Henton showed a pretty big game on Thursday. The sophomore went off for 21 points and a career-high 17 rebounds as Providence beat URI 72-57 in the battle for Ocean State pride.

It’s no surprise to see a Friar putting up big numbers, given their depleted bench. The Friars had only six scholarship players suited up on Thursday. Three Providence players rank in the top five of the Big East in minutes. Freshman Josh Fortune has played all but 13 minutes this season.

Stat Sheet Stuffer II – Kyle Barone, Idaho
Kyle Barone did a little bit of everything in Idaho’s 81-79 overtime win over Eastern Washington. He finished with 20 points, 11 rebounds five blocks and five assists.

He’s just the fourth player in the past four seasons to post such a 20-10-5-5 line, joining an impressive list of small conference luminaries: Tony Mitchell, Keith Benson and Kyle O’Quinn.

Scorer of the Night – Greg Gantt, Florida Atlantic
Greg Gantt had 21 points at halftime and finished with a career-high 34 points in Florida Atlantic’s 88-78 win over Stetson.

It’s the most points by a Sun Belt player this season, and the most by an Owl since DeAndre Rice’s 39 in 2007.

Ugly Stat of the Night – Arkansas-Little Rock
UALR had as many turnovers (32) as rebounds in its 87-53 loss to Cincinnati. Three Trojans finished with at least six turnovers on the night.

The 32 turnovers match the most by any team this season and is the most by a Sun Belt school in 11 years. It’s the most forced by Cincinnati in almost six years.
  • Somehow, this escaped The Morning After's purview today, which, considering the season-long love for Jarvis Varnado, is a very weird oversight on my part. In any case, the Sporting News' Chris Littman reminds (tsk-tskingly, with good reason) that Mississippi State's Jarvis Varnado did indeed break the all-time record for shots blocked in a college basketball career last night, stuffing eight shots against Alabama to overtake Wojciech Mydra's record of 535 blocks. Mydra played at Lousiana Tech, and while 535 blocks is 535 blocks, it is all the more impressive that Varnado broke the tally playing for four years against high-level SEC competition. Hat's off, Jarvis. Now, if Mr. Varnado can get eight stops a game throughout the SEC tournament, Mississippi State might just get themselves another automatic bid.
  • College Hoops Journal's Matt Norlander spends plenty of time and words deconstructing the latest NCAA tournament expansion talking point. It goes a little something like this: "Coaches (and writers) in college basketball consistently bash the snot out of college football. It’s practically a proud rite of passage for these guys (and, again, honks like me). Like most outside of it, and many in the game will acknowledge this as well, college football -- from a participation standpoint, at worst -- is a crock of a playoff system. For the past decade, once February rolls around, we’ve heard how great it is that college basketball’s championship is “decided on the court” and how silly it is to have more than half of its teams involved in the bowl system. [...] So why is it now a talking point of coaches to, basically, say, 'Well, since college football has half of its teams make the postseason why can’t our game involve more teams?'" Note to coaches: I'm no political strategist, but you don't have to be David Plouffe to know that of all the pro-expansion arguments to be made, "make it more like college football" is probably the worst. No thanks.
  • Seth Davis takes a somewhat novel approach to evaluating teams: Promising coaches off-the-record status, thus giving them free reign to say how they really feel about their conference opponents. The result is an interesting look at the major conferences' teams without any of the regular "they're a tough team, we need to play hard" postgame coachspeak.
  • Tar Heel Blue's Adam Lucas discusses how most UNC fans must be feeling right now. They're down, but they're not out, and even a bit defiant: "This is what he said: 'You have to sit through the bad ones to enjoy the good ones.'" The truth is, we don't sit through many bad ones as Carolina basketball fans. No one feels sorry for us. You know that, right?"
  • Take a swing at Joe Lemire's picks for this season's most disappointing player, conference and team. None of them will surprise you. All of them have disappointed you.
  • The more I hear Tennessee's Renaldo Woolridge, aka Swiperboy, talk, the more I like him: "Woolridge took time out of his schedule to visit with Gibbs' fifth graders and speak to them about topics ranging from his hip-hop career to the importance of chasing a dream. 'I told them about using writing as an expression of who you are and what you're feeling,' Woolridge said. 'I have reached a step in my life where I have achieved part of what I want to achieve. But every day I get up and work harder to reach my dreams. I told them they have to have that mindset, and the only person stopping you from trying is you. I wanted to tell them that so they could have someone to look up to. I had a few people like that when I was their age, and that direction really helped me a lot.'"
  • No one knows the status of Purdue's Robbie Hummel -- at this point, it could be anything from a tweak to a torn ACL -- but if he is out, Keaton Grant, who hit last night's game-winning shot for the Boilermakers, will have very large shoes to fill.
  • Storming The Floor catches us up on The Great West conference. I needed more than a refresher.
  • Speaking of the west, The Mid-Majority's "My Team" features have been an excellent running series; here's Travis Mason-Bushman on Idaho.
  • Joe Lunardi, master bracketologist, breaks down a Wednesday night that featured just about every bubble team you can think of. (Insider)
  • John Gasaway goes deep on whether and why the selection committee should use efficiency margin in their evaluations: "So why doesn't the selection committee avail itself of this "better and more detailed information" when selecting and seeding the field? In theory the committee does indeed consider a very wide range of information, even up to and including an efficiency-margin-based rating system like Ken Pomeroy's. But in practice the standing objection to a proper acknowledgment of efficiency margin's value can be boiled down to one word. Sportsmanship. It is feared that if the selection committee starts explicitly giving teams credit for beating the heck out of their opponents, then really good teams will start running up the score intentionally and wantonly. I can't help feeling that this fear is overblown. First off, I'm not advocating a selection process that simply parrots Ken's rankings or Jeff Sagarin's Predictor or my listings of efficiency margins step by mindless step. No one would advocate that, just as no one would suggest that such ratings should banned from the committee room outright. But in between these two extremes there's a sweet spot where efficiency margin is along for the evaluative ride without driving the bus."
As always, follow me on Twitter to send me links and tips.