Monday, January 21, 2019

Carnage

Upsets all over the place:

No. 19 Arizona State outlasted No. 10 Oregon State in double overtime, 79-76.

Georgia Tech took down No. 12 Syracuse, 65-55.

No. 20 Rutgers routed No. 17 Michigan State, 76-62.

Nebraska rallied past No. 23 Minnesota, 63-57.

Seton Hall toppled No. 24 DePaul, 84-73.

Purdue knocked off No. 25 Indiana, 56-53.

Should make for yet another interesting week of top 25 rankings tomorrow

More results:

No. 1 Notre Dame 92

No. 2 Baylor 79, West Virginia 47

No. 3 Louisville 73, Wake Forest 49

No. 5 Oregon 93, Arizona 60

No. 6 Stanford 85, Washington State 64

No. 8 NC State 70, Virginia Tech 61

No. 9 Maryland 79, Penn State 67

No. 14 Marquette 73, St. John’s 63

LSU 62, Alabama 56

Florida State 66, Duke 62

Miami 76, North Carolina 68

Michigan 62, Ohio State 58

Ole Miss 76, Florida 66

Cal 79, Washington 70

USC 72, UCLA 67

All scores

Tomorrow’s game schedule

Milestones:

Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer today became the fifth Division I head coach to win 900 games at one school.

Oregon guard Sabrina Ionescu earned her 16th career triple-double today.

College team news:

South Carolina and Missouri are taking extra steps to cool down their heated rivalry.

Ole Miss talks growth and success amid an up-and-down season.

Indiana is still confident despite their loss to Purdue.

College player news:

Is Sophie Cunningham a dirty player? It’s not just South Carolina asking anymore.

Duke redshirt freshman guard Mikayla Boykin will miss the rest of the season after tearing her ACL in the team’s Miami game.

College coach news:

Harvard has created the Friends of Harvard Women’s Basketball Head Coach Endowment.

So many game results

Today’s results:

No. 2 UConn 88, Temple 67

No. 11 Texas 73, TCU 67

No. 13 Gonzaga 86, San Diego 61

No. 18 Iowa State 104, Oklahoma 78

Army 55, Navy 52

Central Michigan 82, Kent State 75

Ohio 85, Eastern Michigan 44

Buffalo 61, Western Michigan 59

South Florida 73, Tulane 46

Oklahoma State 72, Kansas 62

Kansas State 66, Texas Tech 62

Miami Ohio 60, Ball State 57

Rice 64, North Texas 52

Georgetown 68, Villanova 63

Pepperdine 95, Loyola Marymount 86 (OT)

Old Dominion 53, Southern Mississippi 50

Northern Colorado 60, Idaho State 56

All scores

Tomorrow’s game schedule

College team news:

One of Pat Summitt’s favorite sayings is suitable for the Lady Vols now.

Notre Dame is dominating the middle quarters.

Duke will host a mental health awareness game Jan. 27.

College coach news:

Holly Warlick doesn’t have answers for Tennessee’s historic losing streak.

For four months, Lindsay Whalen was Minnesota’s coach while playing in the WNBA.

College player news:

Michaela Onyenwere has jumped from the wings to center stage for UCLA.

Kennedy Burke’s drive to be great is finally an asset for the Bruins.

Games:

The top 15 remaining games of the regular season.

Arizona State plays their fifth top 10-ranked opponent tomorrow in No. 5 Oregon.

Iowa’s energy must come from themselves tomorrow.

Both Minnesota and Nebraska enter tomorrow’s match up coming off of a slump-busting win.

Onyenwere jumps from the wings to take center stage for UCLA

Michaela Onyenwere has almost tripled her point production as a sophomore. Maria Noble/WomensHoopsWorld.
Michaela Onyenwere has almost tripled her point production as a sophomore. Maria Noble/WomensHoopsWorld.
Michaela Onyenwere has almost tripled her point production as a sophomore. Maria Noble/WomensHoopsWorld.

Michaela Onyenwere truly arrived on the ninth day of the season.

After respectable showings in UCLA’s first two games, the sophomore forward unleashed the dragon against then-No. 14 Georgia in the Bruin’s third outing – a lunchtime matinee match up. Onyenwere scored 25 points on 11-19 shooting, grabbed 11 rebounds – five of which were offensive – dished four assists, and had two steals and a block. She played all 40 minutes in leading her team’s upset win.

Since then, Onyenwere has scored 24 or more points in five more games, has notched five double-doubles and has matched her career high of 29 points twice. She made one three-point shot last year, but already this season she is 8-25 from beyond the arc, including two games of three shots – both career highs.

Onyenwere has increased her overall numbers substantially from her first year, when she averaged 6.9 points and 4.7 rebounds per game in 17.1 minutes on the floor. This season she averages 16.6 points and 8.2 rebounds in 31 minutes per game. In all of last year Onyenwere dished 17 assists and blocked 13 shots; so far this season she has 17 assists and 19 blocks. She is the rebuilding-Bruins’ leading scorer and second-best rebounder by being a playmaker, a threat from both inside and out, and a burgeoning leader.

Michaela Onyenwere lays it up and in. Maria Noble/WomensHoopsWorld.
Michaela Onyenwere lays it up and in. Maria Noble/WomensHoopsWorld.

“Michaela has unlimited potential,” Bruin coach Cori Close said. “It’s fun for people in SoCal to root for her because she’s fun to watch. They admire her skill, and everyone wants to be around her, everyone respects her. She’s a great role model – very inspirational.”

Nineteen-year-old Onyenwere had plenty of shining moments in her debut season: three double-doubles, two Pac-12 Freshman of the Week honors, and conference All-Freshman team. She was one of only two on her team to grab more offensive than defensive rebounds, with an 84-81 differential.

But Onyenwere was playing behind two of the program’s all-time greats in forward Monique Billings and guard Jordin Canada, as well as other veterans who guided the team to an Elite Eight appearance. Billings left as UCLA’s all-time blocks leader and Canada reset the mark for all-time assists. Onyenwere, who was a Colorado high school state champion as a senior, the state’s three-time Gatorade player of the year and a McDonald’s All-American, took a different role upon arrival in Westwood.

“Jordin and Mo were really great leaders to follow,” Onyenwere said. “I was a role player last year and tried to screen and rebound well. I wasn’t in a major role last year, but it was fun for me and I learned a lot.”

Close knew that would have to change, however, and before the Bruins took a summer break, she met with Onyenwere.

“She said she needed me to be somebody who was a go-to scorer,” Onyenwere said of her coach. “I took that and ran with it. She told me I needed to work hard over the summer, and I accepted that challenge. I worked on shooting, working out a lot and doing the reps and perfecting my craft. I also worked on increasing my confidence.”

Somehow, Onyenwere made this happen after working a 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daycare job.

Michaela Onyenwere boxes out Sabrina Ionescu for the rebound. Maria Noble/WomensHoopsWorld.
Michaela Onyenwere boxes out Sabrina Ionescu for the rebound. Maria Noble/WomensHoopsWorld.

“During the process it was long days, and working out after that was hard,” she said. “But I took myself out of that picture and looked at the big picture and realized that this is what my coach needs from me. Hard work will eventually pay off.”

She worked with trainers for her former club ball team, the Colorado Hawks. Theo Davis, president of the organization, said Onyenwere striving to increase her skill set was a deja vu.

“We got Michaela when she was in eighth grade, and she was extremely raw,” he said. “Coaches would call me during the recruiting process and want her to handle and dribble the ball better, so we moved her to the guard position. We have high-level player developers, and (that’s who) worked with her last summer.”

“The kind of athlete she is, you don’t see a lot of in the women’s game. When she works, it’s easy for her.”

UCLA has had an up-and-down season as they continue to find their footing, but Onyenwere’s play and willingness to step up grows with each game.

“With the points she puts up and the versatility she brings, she is an impossible match up,” Close said. “The other part is her relentless rebounding – especially offensively. She’s getting some really difficult out-of-area rebounds to the point where she’s becoming an elite rebounder. She reminds me of (Los Angeles Sparks forward and former WNBA MVP) Nneka Ogwumike in that she can be a threat to anyone.”

Close said Onyenwere’s skill set gives the Bruins options.

“She put in a lot of work over the summer, especially on her jump shot – the 17-footer and three-point range shots,” Close said. “She’s undersized but doesn’t mind getting in the post banging. Other teams have to use different strategies to guard her.”

Michaela Onyenwere and Lajahna Drummer celebrate after a bucket. Maria Noble/WomensHoopsWorld.
Michaela Onyenwere and Lajahna Drummer celebrate after a bucket. Maria Noble/WomensHoopsWorld.

Another thing that keeps Onyenwere in growth mode is that she is a student of basketball.

“She watches the game a lot too, and I wish more women watched the game,’ Close said. “I think that’s helping her. She watches the WNBA, NBA, whatever – she really loves it.”

Onyenwere’s teammates are taking cues from her development.

“Michaela is vital to us in so many different ways,” sophomore forward Lauryn Miller said. “I’ve definitely seen her growth in her confidence to score and her abilities involved. Seeing her attack everything so fearlessly this year, it’s been fun to see, and it’s huge for us.”

Miller said Onyenwere’s character influences the team, as well.

“Her confidence on the court also bleeds into how she cares for us and looks for us and cheers for us,” Miller said. “Her positivity and energy that comes from how fearlessly she plays is just enormous for our team.”

Onyenwere’s easygoing friendliness and always-present smile belies her on-court onslaughts.

“The joy that she brings is really special,” Close said. “I wish I could do that. She has the ability to be really intense and then put a smile on her fact that’s really infectious.”

Josh Ulitsky, Onyenwere’s high school coach, said that as much as her game is growing, she is the same young woman he has always known.

“As incredible an athlete as she is, she’s an even better person,” Ulitsky said. “It’s never been about the numbers for her. Even when she was on the bench, which wasn’t often, she was cheering for her teammates, because that’s who she is.”

“I’ve never had a kid with her talent. I’ve also never had a kid who was as humble and gracious. So many of her teachers didn’t know the caliber of player she was because that was the last thing she wanted to do was bring attention to those things.”

Michaela Onyenwere. Maria Noble/WomensHoopsWorld.
Michaela Onyenwere. Maria Noble/WomensHoopsWorld.

Close said Onyenwere’s team-first approach and her work ethic makes her a winner.

“The coolest part about her is she could care less about shining,” Close said. “She knew her team needed her to have a new role this year. She couldn’t care less – she just wants to be the best she can be. The great thing is she’s not assuming and passive about being great; her main focus is on being a great teammate. She is being aggressive, trying to get better every day.”

The willingness to go from star to learning mode as a Bruin newcomer is also paying dividends.

“She really watched Jordin and Monique and how they built their games. She really respected them and affirmed them,” Close said. “She really studied what this is going to take, and she had some moments last year of really stepping up.”

“She also honored (senior) Kelli (Hayes) too, and she took something from all of them. You could see how Michaela connected the dots in the offseason.”

Currently tied for eighth in the Pac-12, the Bruins will need Onyenwere to continue making adjustments.

“It’s different than it was last year in the way teams are scouting me,” she said. “I’m making different reads because teams are going to find ways to scout me. But I’m comfortable, whatever the system.”

UCLA takes on rival USC tomorrow at Pauley Pavilion, in the second game of the season series.

All is quiet for a change

Today’s results…..which include NO upsets:

No. 5 Oregon 77, No. 19 Arizona State 71

No. 6 Stanford 91, Washington 54

No. 10 Oregon State 86, Arizona 64

No. 14 Marquette 96, Seton Hall 60

No. 24 DePaul 73, St. John’s 64

Cal 77, Washington State 63

South Dakota State 66, North Dakota 48

South Dakota 76, Oral Roberts 72

Drake 88, Northern Iowa 64

Utah 78, Colorado 59

All scores

Tomorrow’s game schedule

College team news:

NC State stands alone as the only undefeated team in this wild season.

Towson is off to its best start in CAA play in 11 years.

Being at the top creates a target Northern Colorado welcomes.

Troy is off to a record start.

Florida’s bench has been one of its few bright spots.

College player news:

Mississippi State’s Chloe Bibby is out for the season with a left knee injury sustained in last night’s game.

UConn’s Megan Walker is playing with a new confidence since the winter break.

USC’s Shalexxus Aaron’s brother Shaqquan plays for the men’s team.

Mikayla Pivec’s team-first mentality is paying of at OSU.

Sierra Cheatham is looking to her out of her slump when Tulane takes on South Florida.

Pitt junior Alayna Gribble has been granted a medical disqualification.

College coach news:

Monday’s South Carolina-Missouri rematch is a chance to move forward, Tiger coach Robin Pingeton says.

High school news:

The Dallas-Forth Worth area is loaded with talent.

Maori Davenport fights to return to the court.

She can keep playing, as her case has been postponed.

International and WNBA news:

Kayla Pedersen is playing her farewell game in Australia tomorrow before she retires.

Maya Moore is out, but for how long?

Upsets are the new normal

Upsets are becoming the norm, not the exception

Upsets:

No. 17 Michigan State knocked off No. 9 Maryland, 77-60.

BYU ended No. 13 Gonzaga’s 12-game winning streak, 70-68.

Alabama took out No. 20 Tennessee, 86-65. It is the first four-game losing streak for the Lady Vols since 1970.

Close ones:

No. 16 Kentucky 64, LSU 60

Auburn 72, Vanderbilt 70

More results:

No. 4 Louisville 91, Virginia 43

No. 7 Mississippi State 89, No. 15 South Carolina 74

No. 22 Iowa 75, Michigan 61

No. 23 Minnesota 78, Wisconsin 50

Missouri 61, Georgia 35

Miami 58, Duke 50

Clemson 71, Georgia Tech 61

Ohio State 76, Penn State 71

Florida State 91, Boston College 71

Nebraska 77, Illinois 67

All scores

Tomorrow’s game schedule

College team news:

There are plenty of North Carolina players on NC State’s undefeated team roster.

Oregon and Oregon State are on the verge of setting attendance records.

Oregon podcast.

Utah is enjoying the moment during Pac-12 play.

The scariest thing about the Utes’ resurgence is that they’re young.

Arizona State’s freshmen are progressing on a veteran team.

Arizona is searching for scorers to help Aari McDonald.

UConn’s game against Temple has been moved to Saturday due to weather.

College player news:

UConn’s Megan Walker outscored Tulane last night – the first DI player since 2002 to do so.

There’s at least one Syracuse player who skips three’s.

Mikayla Pivec is putting in work to overcome her free throw struggles for Oregon State.

Colorado’s young points guards are growing up fast.

College coach news:

Joni Taylor’s daughter brings joy to Georgia.

Amy Williams shares a list of ways Nebraska can improve their scoring production.

High school news:

ESPN’s picks for the McDonald’s All-American game rosters.

Christ the King’s Natalija Marshall is emerging as one of New York’s finest.

Hearing loss hasn’t deterred Cheyenne Talbot.

Saylor Poffenbarger thrives with recruiter’s eyes on her.

WNBA news:

The Minnesota Lynx issued an interesting statement today: “We have been in close contact with Maya Moore and together, are deciding the best way to approach next season.”

The Lynx is unsure if Moore will play this season.

She might sit out.

I would not be surprised at all.

The ranked teams keep falling

Upsets:

Kansas State knocked off No. 11 Texas, 87-69.

West Virginia took down No. 18 Iowa State, 73-64.

Northwestern upended No. 25 Indiana, 75-69.

Miami handed Central Michigan their first conference loss, 70-67.

Almost upset:

No. 20 Rutgers held off Purdue in OT, 65-63.

More results:

Ohio survived Kent State, 83-81.

TCU 78, Texas Tech 70

Villanova 58, Penn 50

All scores

Tomorrow’s game schedule is full of big match ups

College team news:

Why Mississippi State and South Carolina have one of the best hoops rivalries.

Oregon is much more than Sabrina Ionescu’s supporting cast.

The return of Kadiatou Sissoko is bringing depth to Syracuse.

At halftime, Iowa players talk, then listen.

The Hawkeyes look to keep their momentum going.

Utah is off to a strong start.

Ohio State is seeking growth in a season of transition.

It will be gut check time for BYU when taking on No. 13 Gonzaga.

Houston is struggling in the early season.

Around the Rim focuses on the Big Ten.

Lady Vol news:

Getting a much-needed win will require ending a losing streak to Alabama.

Coach Holly Warlick is tending to the team’s defense and confidence.

College player news:

Baylor’s Kalani Brown credits her mom, and not her NBA dad, for her game.

Why Jazzmun Holmes is Mississippi State’s X-factor against South Carolina.

Maryland’s freshman duo is making an immediate impact.

Seven super Pac-12 seniors.

How Tennessee’s freshman have performed thus far.

Utah freshman Dre’Una Edwards is stepping up.

Australian guard Tara Manumaleuga has joined Arizona.

Corey James mirrors Portland State’s growth even as she’s medically retired.

The NCAA’s starting five for the week.

College coach news:

Why Miami coach Katie Meier will put nostalgia aside tomorrow when her team faces Duke.

Otis Hughley is bringing a wealth of knowledge to Auburn.

High school news:

Julia Aryault is a top 100 player, thanks to her twin brother.

WNBA news:

Key things to know about free agency.

Alisha Valavanis is CEO of the Storm and Force 10 Sports.

A’ja Wilson has joined the SEC Network as a basketball analyst.

By the numbers: a statistical look at the ACC’s contenders

Junior point guard Tiana Magankahia posted a triple-double for Syracuse yesterday. Photo courtesy of Syracuse Athletics.
Junior point guard Tiana Magankahia posted a triple-double for Syracuse yesterday. Photo courtesy of Syracuse Athletics.

It’s deep enough into the season that the contenders, both in the ACC and nationally, have been pretty clearly identified. There’s enough data now to look beyond trends, win/loss records, and counting stats. Numbers never tell the full story, of course, but they are useful in confirming or disputing what the eye test or the records might suggest. In the thick of conference play, it’s a good time to look at the biggest strengths and weaknesses for each contender in the ACC, defined for these purposes as top 25-ranked squads. (Records and standings current through Sunday, stats from herhoopstats.com current through Jan. 10.)

No. 1 Notre Dame. (16-1, 4-0 ACC) Muffet McGraw’s Fighting Irish are an obvious juggernaut this year. They’re loaded with blue-chip talent, and the only blemish on their record thus far is a 71-89 loss to UConn on Dec. 2. That game got away from them in the second half, but they recently proved more than capable of being on the other side of the coin, dropping an absolute hammer on No. 2 Louisville while pulling away for a 82-68 victory Thursday night. They also demolished Wake Forest 78-48 on Sunday.

The Numbers (stat/national ranking): Offensive Rating 125.0/3rd, Defensive Rating 70.3/4th, PPG 88.6/3rd, FG percent 52.1/1st, 3FG percent 33.3/83rd, FT percent 73.8/63rd, EFG percent 55.1/6th, APG 19.8/6th, Assist/Turnover Ratio 1.36/10th, Off. Rebound Rate 41.9/11th, Def. Rebound Rate 68.2/137th, Total Rebound Rate 56.6/19th.

Biggest Strength: A balanced scoring attack. Arike Ogunbowale’s 22.6 PPG has her on pace to comfortably pass Skyler Diggins’ all-time school scoring record, but the terrifying thing for opponents is that she’s one of five Irish players averaging double figures. Jackie Young (15.2), Jessica Shepard (14.8), Brianna Turner (13.1) and Marina Mabrey (12.6) are all playing lights-out basketball. Notre Dame bury their foes by ensuring that there are no less than three or four players on the floor capable of burning them on nearly every possession.

Biggest Weakness: Three pointers. By design, McGraw’s offense does not heavily emphasize shots from behind the arc (they’re 325th nationally in three-point attempts), and they really haven’t needed to so far. Nonetheless, that 33.3 percent from deep is somewhat concerning. Ogunbowale has historically been capable of lighting it up, but she’s shooting a disappointing 30.9 percent from downtown this year. Mabrey (40.4 percent) is the only player on the roster currently both taking and making treys at a high clip. In the unlikely event Notre Dame find themselves in a hole and need to shoot their way back, that tiny flaw in an otherwise immaculate team could be a problem.

No. 2 Louisville (15-1, 3-1 ACC) The Cardinals bounced back from Thursday’s loss to Notre Dame with a commanding 61-44 win over a very good Georgia Tech squad. While Jeff Walz’s team has looked inconsistent at times this year, they’ve also racked up plenty of good wins and have been downright unstoppable for long stretches. When they’re cooking, Louisville is as dangerous as any team in the country, and they have what should be two more W’s coming against Virginia and Wake Forest before meeting FSU on Jan. 24.

The Numbers (stat/national ranking): Offensive Rating 117.7/6th, Defensive Rating 78.6/26th, PPG 82.8/9th, FG percent 48.5/8th, 3FG percent 36.8/30th, FT percent 75.3/33rd, EFG percent 54.5/11th, APG 16.8/33rd, Assist/Turnover Ratio 1.24/20th, Off. Rebound Rate 36.4/70th, Def. Rebound Rate 65.1/247th, Total Rebound Rate 51.6/113th.

Biggest Strength: Asia Durr. Also shining are Arica Carter, Sam Fuehring, and Dana Evans, all of whom are averaging just over 10 PPG and playing very well this year. Louisville is calibrated to key off of Durr’s singular brilliance. Averaging 21.5 points and 3.6 in both rebounds and assists, she is the engine, the barometer, and the alpha that makes the team run. When she’s in full-on virtuoso form, the Cardinals can stand toe-to-toe with anyone. If she has an off night against good competition, they don’t have much of a Plan B. Fortunately for her team, Durr is almost never, ever, off.

Biggest Weakness: Rebounding. The numbers up top say it all. Fuehring is the team’s leading rebounder at 6.1 boards a game, and that has to be a major concern. Top-echelon ranking aside, Louisville simply can’t compete in March if they can’t figure out a way to clean the glass more effectively. Durr can work miracles, but not if the team isn’t coming down with the ball to begin with.

No. 8 NC State (17-0, 4-0 ACC) Wes Moore’s Wolfpack have proven themselves equal to every challenge so far. Division I’s lone remaining undefeated squad lost starting PG Kaila Ealey before the season began and guard Grace Hunter to an ACL tear last week. Despite the injuries, State’s patchwork back court hasn’t steered them wrong yet. Moore’s ability to reconfigure his roster on the fly has been something of a signature in Raleigh, and he has faced and surpassed expectations so far by relying on that talent. The Wolfpack are perfect on the season, but how long can they stay that way?

The Numbers (stat/national ranking): Offensive Rating 113.9/13th, Defensive Rating 75.7/14th, PPG 75.6/37th, FG percent 46.9/16th, 3FG percent 35.0/58th, FT percent 69.4/163rd, EFG percent 53.7/15th, APG 17.2/26th, Assist/Turnover Ratio 1.19/25th, Off. Rebound Rate 37.3/52nd, Def. Rebound Rate 74.7/7th, Total Rebound Rate 58.1/5th.

Biggest Strength: Completeness. NC State is so perfectly balanced across the board that it almost defies comprehension. They play smart, hard, and mostly very well in every aspect of the game. They’re not elite in any particular category, but they also have no readily-identifiable weaknesses. The breadth of their collective efforts has kept them perfect so far. A squad so adept on both ends of the court is a problem for anyone.

Biggest Weakness: Completeness, but not dominance. The Pack are somewhere between good and very-good-to-great in every area, but they’re not truly elite in any one facet of the game. Ranking fifth in total rebound rate is their only top 5 statistical category. There is a strong possibility State will need to lean heavily on something in a critical moment or stretch or game going forward. If they can’t identify or trust in a particular bellwether when they need it, that might be a problem their versatility can’t overcome.

No. 12 Syracuse (14-2, 3-0 ACC) Syracuse’s only two losses this season have been close affairs against ranked teams. In their most recent contest, Tiana Mangakahia tossed up a 34-10-10 trip-dub as the Orange cruised past North Carolina for their 14th victory on Sunday. Syracuse is destroying opponents on the strength of a punishing defense and their star guard’s outstanding play. It’s taken the some of best in the nation to beat them largely because they’ve been so brilliant.

The Numbers (stat/national ranking): Offensive Rating 110.3/23rd, Defensive Rating 73.8/7th, PPG 80.5/17th, FG percent 44.6/33rd, 3FG percent 33.0/97th, FT percent 75.3/32nd, EFG percent 51.9/28th, APG 18.4/14th, Assist/Turnover Ratio 1.01/68th, Off. Rebound Rate 36.5/68th, Def. Rebound Rate 68.8/122nd, Total Rebound Rate 53.6/52nd.

Biggest Strength: Defense. The Orange is succeeding largely by smothering their opponents. Quentin Hillsman’s team is playing his preferred brand of defense, and the results are predictably excellent. As long as they continue pressuring smartly and aggressively, they will make it difficult for their competition to get in rhythm or score effectively.

Biggest Weakness: Turnovers. At 18.3 per game (262nd nationally) and a 19.8 percent turnover rate (191st), Syracuse is coughing it up too often to for a team that otherwise plays at an elite level. They’ll need to take better care of the ball if they want to make a deep run in March.

No. 22 Florida State (14-2, 2-1 ACC) Despite dropping a 45-57 loss to Clemson on Sunday, Sue Semrau’s Seminoles have been playing exemplary basketball this season, and they continue to show signs of a potential ACC spoiler at worst and a legit Cinderella at best. Their loss was evidence of their floor performance level, but FSU’s ceiling is still high.

The Numbers (stat/national ranking): Offensive Rating 105.7/45th, Defensive Rating 78.8/29th, PPG 70.8/79th, FG percent 42.4/88th, 3FG percent 30.2/202nd, FT percent 73.7/64th, EFG percent 47.5/94th, APG 13.9/121st, Assist/Turnover Ratio 1.02/64th, Off. Rebound Rate 39.0/31st, Def. Rebound Rate 71.9/50th, Total Rebound Rate 55.4/28th.

Biggest Strength: Offensive rebounding. Trailing only Boston College, Georgia Tech and Notre Dame in conference offensive rebounding rate, the Seminoles are doing a good job cleaning the glass and outworking opponents on the more difficult end of the rebounding spectrum.

Biggest Weakness: Shooting. With 42.4/30.2/73.7 splits with 47.5 EFG, FSU is not shooting like a top 25 team. It’s tough to argue with their win-loss record obviously, but outside of Kiah Gillespie (51.6), no Seminole logging significant playing time is carrying a field goal percentage better than Valencia Myers’ 45.4. They’ve been scoring and winning enough that it hasn’t mattered, but their shooting efficiency needs to improve significantly if they want to pursue bigger aspirations.

This week’s WomensHoopsWorld top 25 poll

Our new top 25 poll is based upon a number of criteria, including team performances over the past week, strength of schedule, RPI, quality of wins, quality of losses, and head-to-head performances. All of these things are weighted relatively evenly, though the emphasis is placed on an overall resume.

It’s been an unpredictable season thus far, with numerous upsets and surprises along the way. Just this week alone, 10 teams currently ranked 12-25 lost at least one game, leaving the rankjings wide open.

This week three teams fell out of the top 25 and others took hard falls.

1. Notre Dame
2. UConn
3. Baylor
4. Louisville
5. Oregon
6. Stanford
7. Mississippi State
8. North Carolina State
9. Maryland
10. Oregon State
11. Syracuse
12. Texas
13. Marquette
14. Gonzaga
15. Iowa
16. Rutgers
17. South Carolina
18. Arizona State
19. South Dakota
20. Iowa State
21. Michigan State
22. Kentucky
23. Utah
24. Tennessee
25. Central Michigan

Notes

-Plenty of people take issue with UConn being ahead of Baylor when they lost their head-to-head match up. While that meeting obviously needs to be taken into account, so do both team’s other wins. The Huskies beating Notre Dame on the road by 18, coupled with wins at Cal and over DePaul, is more impressive than Baylor’s next best wins (at Arizona State and at South Carolina). It is splitting hairs, and others may still put the Bears in front of UConn, but that is the rationale.

– Rutgers took the biggest jump of the week, going from unranked all the way up to No. 16. Part of that is because every team from 15-25 lost this week, but they are 13-3 with a win at Maryland on their resume. They probably should have been on last week’s list.

Tennessee took the biggest drop of the week, falling from 12 to 24. A case could be made that they should fall out of the top 25 altogether, but again, the lack of strong resumes after the No. 14 spot has them just holding on. 

Teams that fell out: Indiana (20), Florida State (23), Minnesota (24)

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