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BEYOND THE ARC | Teams doing more with less also selling out more

With the non-conference portion of the schedule by the wayside are here my top three observations from what I learned last week:
SELLING OUT
Do More With Less (DMWL) teams defeated Power 5 and Big East teams 76 times in non-conference play through Dec. 30. That is about a 10% drop from last season. Why?

P5/BE teams played about 85% of their OOC (out-of-conference) games last season at home or at a neutral site. This season that number for the P5/BE teams rose to 88.5%. What does that mean?

More NCAA bids for the P5/BE because they literally bought home games. That is why they play 88.5% of all of their OOC games at home or neutral sites. The paid lesser budget teams to play them on their own homecourt.

This means fewer bids for DMWL conferences because they travel so m much in OOC play for guaranteed money from playing the bigger budget programs at their sites.

The rich get richer and the DMWL teams allow this to happen, raising cash for their athletics programs from an easy pay day. It's not fair to the student-athletes.

I also blame the NCAA for having zero scheduling integrity. No other athletics league with integrity allows unbalanced scheduling practices dictated by who can pay the most to secure home games. This accepted and encouraged scheduling practice in NCAA D-1 basketball promotes an environment of an unfair advantage. Big budget teams gain more postseason bids to the NCAA tournament.

This needs to change.
CONFERENCE RACES OFF AND RUNNING
Something exciting is happening in Houston, who won its first two American Athletic Conference games on the road. Robert Gray Jr. and Damyean Dotson get a lot of credit and for good reason but Chicken Knowles is the key to anchoring Sampson’s defense, which dominated South Florida 70-56 on Saturday. They also won at UConn on Wednesday, 62-46.

Also in the AAC, Cincinnati opened with a dominant defensive in a 56-50 victory at Temple. The Owls were held to 24 points under their season average, shooting 27% FG and 19% 3PT — well below their averages of 43% and 39%, respectively. The Bearcats are holding opponenst to 36.6% FG. The Bearcats are a legit top 25 team.

The Atlantic 10 is shaping up already as Dayton won at home over LaSalle, while St. Bonaventure, Rhode Island and VCU all opened with road wins in their conference openers. VCU was most impressive with a road win at George Mason 73-64, snapping the Patriots' nine-game winning streak. The Rams shot 50% for the third time in five games and added 15 offensive rebounds.

This will be a fun ride.

Dayton continues to defy the injuries and keeps winning. Can Kendall Pollard stay healthy? So far so good but even though the Flyers won at home vs LaSalle 66-55, Charles Cooke injured his back, and according to coach Archie Miller Cooke will be out for an undisclosed amount of time.

Jaylen Adams of St Bonaventure is a stud. Adams scored 29 points and added 5 rebounds as the Bonnies went on the road and defeated UMass 89-77 to open A-10 play. Adams was 9/15 FG (,60%),including 5/8 3PT (63%) and a perfect 7/7 from the free-throw line as he posted his ninth 20-point game of the year.
A TOAST TO FIRST-YEAR COACHING SUCCESS
New Mexico State's Paul Weir is the most successful first-year head coach in the country with a 13-2 record. The Aggies picked up two more victories last week to run their winning streak to 11 games heading into WAC play starting Thursday on ASN at UMKC.

The Aggies averaged 81.5 PPG and shot 52/10 3FG (51%), including 19/45 3PT (41%), and had 16 APG in defeating Eastern New Mexico, 84-50,  and UTEP, 79-70.

But Weir is not the only successful first-year coach this season. Here are the firs- year coaches who enjoyed a New Year’s toast more than others.

  • Matt Lottich, Valparaiso (11-3)

  • Allen Edwards, Wyoming (11-4)

  • Grant McCasland, Arkansas State (10-4)

  • Wes Flanigan, Little Rock (10-4)

  • Anthony Stewart, UT Martin (11-6)






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