NCAA Notes: Oakland, UGA suddenly on fire
Published on Monday, 2/11/13, at 12:11 p.m. Eastern.
By Brian Edwards
–In five seasons at Marquette, Buzz Williams owns a 54-28 record against Big East foes. Very impressive, to say the least! Buzz, one of my favorite coaches in America, will lead his team into Washington D.C. tonight to face Georgetown as a 4.5-point underdog.
–This Georgia team has won five in a row both SU and ATS to improve to 12-11 overall. UGA’s only loss during this stretch came to Florida in a game it led at intermission. The Bulldogs’ next three games are against RPI Top 100 squads: vs. Alabama (63), at Ole Miss (47) and at Arkansas (92).
–Travis Bader has led Oakland to five consecutive wins both SU and ATS while averaging 30.2 PPG. Bader drained 9-of-16 from 3-point range in Saturday’s 88-83 home win over South Dakota St. Nate Wolters had a game-high 36 points for the Jackrabbits in the losing effort. Wolters and Bader are two of the nation’s most underrated players and they are ranked fourth and fifth in the country in scoring, averaging 22.8 and 22.1 PPG, respectively.
–After missing six consecutive games due to eligibility concerns, Syracuse’s James Southerland returned Sunday and helped the Orange to a blowout win over St. John’s. Southerland, who averages 13.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 1.0 blocked shots per game, had 13 points in his return and knocked down back-to-back 3’s in the second half.
–Kansas will try to snap its shocking three-game losing streak when it hosts Kansas St. tonight as an eight-point favorite. The Jayhawks have gone down vs. Oklahoma St., at TCU and at Oklahoma.
–Miami has won 11 in a row while going 9-2 ATS in the process. The Hurricanes, fresh off Saturday’s blowout win over North Carolina, now own the nation’s best ATS ledger (15-4).
–The ‘under’ is 14-3 overall for Cincinnati. Man, the Bearcats really struggle to score sometimes. They could not buy a bucket in the second half of a game they seemingly had control of Saturday night against Pittsburgh, which rallied for a crucial Big East win as a short road underdog.
–The ‘under’ has cashed in eight consecutive Alabama games and 14 of its last 16.
–Minnesota has lost six of its last eight games but the real story from The Barn on Sunday was another huge win for Illinois. Jim Groce showed us he could coach last year when he guided Ohio to the Sweet 16 before losing an overtime heartbreaker to North Carolina. Coming off an upset win at the buzzer over top-ranked Indiana, the Illini won 67-63 over the Gophers as a nine-point underdog. Gamblers taking Illinois on the money line cashed a nice plus-350 ticket (risk $100 to win $350). Leading by one with the shot clock winding down and only 18 ticks remaining, sophomore guard Tracy Abrams drained an audacious step-back trey to insert the dagger.
–Illinois made 11-of-23 from 3-point range against Minnesota. Following his buzzer-beating layup against Indiana, Tyler Griffey had another big game with 16 points. Groce’s bunch now has five wins over RPI Top 22 schools: at Gonzaga, at Minnesota, vs. Indiana, vs. Ohio St. and vs. Butler on a neutral court.
–Minnesota played without stud forward Rodney Williams, who was nursing a shoulder injury. When he returns Thursday against Wisconsin, the Gophers should make a much more concerted effort to get Williams more touches. Despite shooting at a 56.4 percent clip from the field last season, Williams averaged only 12.2 points per game. This year he’s making 50.5 percent of his shots yet averages just 11.9 PPG. Therefore, I repeat: Why the hell does Williams not get more touches and shots? He got only five shots (making three) in last week’s loss at Michigan St. Williams has only had five games with 12 or more shot attempts from the floor and the Gophers are 4-1 in those contests.
–The theme of this past week was upsets with AP Top 10 teams losing six times. On Sunday, California produced the biggest stunner. The Bears went into Tuscon and handed Arizona just its third defeat in a 77-69 win as 12.5-point underdogs. They hooked up money-line supporters with a gorgeous +700 return (paid $700 on $100 wagers).