Stats & Info: Massachusetts Minutemen

BPI Talk: Villanova ranked among elite

December, 24, 2013
12/24/13
1:40
AM ET
Who had the Villanova Wildcats pegged in the preseason as one of the elite teams in college basketball? The 11-0 Wildcats are ranked No. 2 in BPI.

Villanova and North Carolina are the only teams with two wins against teams ranked in the BPI top 15. Villanova has defeated Kansas (No. 6 BPI) and Iowa (No. 13).

The Wildcats' seven wins against teams ranked outside the BPI top 100 are each by at least 15 points. Their average margin in those games is 23 points.

The Wildcats have been the third-most consistent team in the country, in relation to variance in BPI game score.

Their best BPI game score was a 30-point win against No. 84 Saint Joseph's. Their worst performance of the season was a four-point win against Delaware, a team also ranked in the top 100.

UConn tends to play close games
Connecticut is ranked No. 15 in the AP Poll but No. 38 in BPI.

UConn has faced four top-100 teams and is 3-1 against those teams, including a two-point loss to No. 44 Stanford last week. Each of the Huskies' three wins against top-100 teams have been by one point.

The Huskies have seven wins against teams outside the BPI top 150, and three of those wins are performances that hurt their BPI (their three worst BPI game scores):

-A win by 10 points against No. 294 Loyola (MD)
-A two-point win against No. 190 Boston College
-A 27-point win against No. 348 Maine

There's nothing wrong with beating any team by 27 points, but doing so against the team with the fourth-lowest BPI doesn't help UConn's BPI.

Unlike RPI, BPI takes margin into account, and it recognizes that UConn has not performed its best against its toughest opponents. Sure, the Huskies are 3-1 against the top 100, but with each of those three wins by one point, they're lacking a "convincing" win against a quality opponent.

UMass stays consistent
Massachusetts lost to Florida State on Saturday, but the Minutemen -- ranked No. 2 in BPI entering Saturday's game -- are still No. 5 in BPI.

The Minutemen have played the second-toughest schedule according to BPI, and they've been quite successful against that schedule. They're 7-1 against the BPI top 100, including 4-1 against the top 50. Only Wisconsin has more top-50 wins this season, with five.

UMass has faced three teams outside the BPI top 100, each of which ranks between 150 and 200, and has defeated each of those teams by at least 13 points.

UMass ranks as the fourth-most consistent team in the country in terms of variance, in relation to variance in BPI game score.

Is Baylor overrated?
Baylor is No. 11 in the AP Poll, but the Bears are No. 53 in BPI.

Why so low?

The Bears have two games against non-D-I opponents -- Chaminade and Hardin-Simmons -- that don't help their BPI. Additionally, they have three close wins against lower-ranked opponents -- a two-point win against No. 131 South Carolina, a five-point victory against No. 192 Charleston Southern, and a seven-point overtime win against No. 203 Northwestern State.

Holy Toledo
Toledo is one of nine remaining unbeaten teams, but the Rockets are the only unbeaten not ranked in the AP Top 25. The Rockets have the fifth-most votes of teams outside the AP Top 25, but do they deserve that much consideration?

Toledo hasn't faced a team in the BPI top 100, and nine of its 11 games have been against teams outside the top 150.

The Rockets have faced seven top-200 teams, and five of those wins have been by four points or fewer. Against their two top-150 opponents -- No. 105 Cleveland State and No. 139 Stony Brook -- they won each game by four points.

BPI Rankings
For the second time this season, USC was held to 40 points or fewer.
Two weeks after scoring 36 points in a loss to Cal Poly, the Trojans fell to Minnesota 55-40. At 55.1 ppg, USC is on track for its lowest scoring season since averaging 52.8 in 1948-49. That’s also the last season in which the Trojans were twice held to 40 points or fewer.

Wildcats can’t score in first loss
Both Northwestern and Baylor entered Sunday’s contest undefeated, but you wouldn’t know it from the result. Baylor won 69-41, holding Northwestern to 24.1 percent from the field. It was the worst shooting performance by the Wildcats in nearly 10 years. The 41 points are the fewest Northwestern has scored in its home court since a 40-39 win over North Florida in 2006. Meanwhile, Baylor was 25-for-30 from two-point range, an 83.3 two-point field-goal percentage that is their highest over the past 15 years.

Freshmen shine off the bench
A pair of freshmen starred off the bench on Saturday in Connecticut’s 75-62 win over Arkansas. Playing in just his second game, Ryan Boatright led the Huskies with 23 points, adding five rebounds and six assists. He’s the first UConn freshman with a 20-5-5 game off the bench since Kemba Walker against Missouri in the 2009 Elite Eight. Meanwhile, B.J. Young led all scorers with a career-high 28 points in the losing effort. It was the third most points by a freshman off the bench this season. The rest of the Razorbacks combined to shoot 24.6 percent from the field.

16 points and no field goals
Despite not connecting on a field goal, Durand Scott was Miami's top scorer in Saturday's 83-75 win over Massachusetts. Scott missed all six of his field goal attempts, and his 16 points came courtesy of a 16-for-18 performance at the line. It's the most points scored by a Division I player without a field goal since Binghamton's Sebastian Hermenier's 17 against Vermont in 2006. Scott's total is the most by a major conference player without a field goal since Indiana's Michael Lewis also scored 16 against Minnesota in 1998.

Top scoring performance of season
Weber State's Damian Lillard had the nation's top scoring game of the season, finishing with 41 points in a 91-89 double-overtime win over San Jose State. Lillard only had 24 points at the end of regulation, but scored 17 of the Wildcats' 24 points in the two overtimes. The 41 points are the second most in school history behind Stan Mayhew's 45 points in 1977. He's the first Division I player to crack the 40-point mark since Harrison Barnes in the 2011 ACC Tournament. Lillard is the top scorer in the nation, averaging 28.2 ppg.
Harvard continues to roll
The newest members of the Pac-12 would probably be fine not seeing Harvard on their schedule in near future. Last year, Colorado took an 8-1 all-time record against the Ivy League into Cambridge, but fell to Harvard 82-66. On Thanksgiving, it was Utah's turn. Harvard won 75-47, the fewest points the Utes have scored since February 2007. With multiple 10-0 runs in the first half, Harvard actually led 49-24 at halftime before resting its starters.

The Crimson entered this one 1-19 all-time against current Pac-12 members. Harvard is now an impressive 6-8 against power conference schools under Tommy Amaker. Utah falls to 0-3 against Division I opponents.

More bad news for the Pac-12
It’s not often that the MAAC beats the Pac-12 despite shooting just 33.9 percent from the field. Fairfield toppled Arizona State 55-44, defeating a Pac-12 school for just the second time in school history and the first since 1978-79. It was the Sun Devils’ lowest point total against a non-conference foe since scoring 43 against Iowa in 2003. Former Boston College starter Rakim Sanders scored a game-high 21 for the Stags.

In addition to Thursday’s losses to the Ivy and MAAC, the Pac-12 has been taken down by the Big Sky, Big West and Sun Belt among other conferences. In fact, the Pac-12 is just 24-14 against D-I schools in non-power conferences. Compare that to the Big East (57-6), Big Ten (44-2) and Big 12 (27-2).

Grooms is best man against Washington State
Not much is expected out of Oklahoma, which finished 14-16 last season and lost its top scorer in Cade Davis. But the Sooners improved to 3-0 with a 74-59 win over Washington State. It was the first ever meeting between these schools.

Sam Grooms, one of the nation’s top junior college transfers, handed out 10 assists compared to just one turnover. He’s just the second Sooner in the past seven seasons with a game of 10 or more assists and fewer than two turnovers. Tommy Mason-Griffin did it in 2009.

This is when it got ugly for Oklahoma last season. After a 3-0 start, the Sooners dropped five straight games, including a loss to Chaminade.

Florida State’s defense feasts on UMass
Things had been looking good for Massachusetts following a 4-0 start that included a drubbing of in-state rival Boston College. Then came Florida State's defense and a 73-53 loss. UMass was held to 27.9 percent from the field and went 2-23 from 3-point range. It was their worst performance from beyond the arc since missing all 12 threes against Richmond in 2006.

The starting lineup combined for a 24.3 field goal percentage, and Chaz Williams was the only Minuteman to register an assist. Florida State is holding opponents to a 32.1 FG pct, sixth lowest in the nation.

Clanton does it all for UCF
The line of the day belonged to UCF's Keith Clanton. In a 74-63 win over Charleston, he feasted for 28 points and 14 rebounds on 70.6 percent from the field. Clanton is averaging 24.0 ppg and 14.5 rpg over the past two games. There have been 19 games of 20+ points and 14+ rebounds this season, but Clanton is the only player to have done it twice.

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