Sunday, January 30, 2011

Duke sophomore forward Ryan Kelly recently put together a streak of 18 straight made field-goal attempts over a span of four games (Kelly's game-by-game stats):

Jan. 15 against Virginia, he made his last 3 shots.

Jan. 19 at North Carolina State, he went 4-for-4.

Jan. 22 at Wake Forest, he went 6-for-6.

This past Thursday, Jan. 27, he made his first 5 attempts against Boston College, before missing.

Elsewhere in college hoops:

Tennessee's women unleashed an 18-0 spurt last Thursday to blow open their game against Mississippi State.

The Wisconsin-Milwaukee men ran off a 14-1 stretch last Friday night to convert a 62-54 deficit to Detroit Mercy to a 68-63 lead and, ultimately, earn a 72-67 victory.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Neither the Houston Rockets nor Minnesota Timberwolves are among the NBA's elite teams, to say the least. However, their game tonight in Minneapolis featured a number of streak-relevant developments.

Normally, if a team has a 17-point lead with just 4:15 remaining in the game, a nail-biter finish is unlikely. Tonight, however, Houston saw its 119-102 lead with that much time left shrink to just a three-point advantage (125-122) with 0:09 remaining (play-by-play sheet). The Rockets then made all four of their free-throw attempts as the Wolves fouled down the stretch, to hold on for a 129-125 victory.

How did Minnesota score 20 points in just a little over four minutes (from 4:15 to 0:09 left on the clock)? Field-goal shooting was a mixed bag, as the Wolves went 2-for-2 on three-pointers, but only 2-of-7 on attempts from inside the arc. Minnesota's shooting was a lot sharper at the free-throw line, where it hit 10-of-11 during the stretch.

As noted in this AP/ article, the Rockets had a hot spurt of their own, outscoring the Wolves 17-2 in the third quarter to take a 93-74 lead. The same article noted an oddity, namely that the Rockets' Kevin Martin, "an 89 percent free throw shooter, missed five free throws." Specifically, Martin was 13-of-18 from the stripe. According to an online calculator, the probability that a .89 shooter would hit 13 or fewer free throws in 18 attempts was .04 (i.e., 4-in-100).

Former UCLA big man Kevin Love continues to be a force for the Timberwolves, although it hasn't translated into many wins; the team now languishes at 10-34. Against Houston, Love recorded his 30th straight double-double with 24 points and 17 rebounds.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Today's late-afternoon men's basketball play saw a real streak-breaker, with Texas winning at Kansas, 74-63. The game:

*Ends the Jayhawks' 69-game home winning streak (KU's last loss in Lawrence coming to Texas A&M in 2007).

*Ends KU's heretofore undefeated season after 18 straight wins.

*Is the first time the Longhorns have ever won in Allen Fieldhouse in eight attempts.

*Saw Kansas fail to take advantage of a quick start that yielded an 18-3 lead. A good part of the reason was a roughly 21-minute stretch (spanning approximately the final 5:00 of the first half and the first 16:00 of the second half) in which the Jayhawks hit on only 5-of-28 field-goal attempts (play-by-play sheet).

Elsewhere today in men's action...

No. 1 Ohio State moved to 20-0 on the season, with a 73-68 win at Illinois. The Buckeyes used a 14-0 second-half run -- which converted a 50-42 deficit to a 56-50 lead -- to take command. The Illini never went away, however, and the game came down to the final minute. The Buckeyes made nearly 90% of their free-throw attempts (24-of-27, 88.9%), including 13-of-15 by frosh sensation Jared Sullinger (box score).  A big guy (6-9, 280) who frequently gets the ball under the hoop, Sullinger is bound to get a lot of free-throw attempts, and his proficiency from the stripe will likely be a big factor as Ohio State goes for the national title.

Texas A&M put together a 13-0 run midway through the second half in knocking off Kansas State, 64-56. The Aggies also made 13 of 14 free throws down the stretch (see play-by-play sheet).

ADDENDUM: My radar screen missed a big streak-laden game last Monday night, in which Pittsburgh handed the Syracuse men their first loss of the season after 18 wins, 74-66. Pitt got off to an amazing 19-0 lead, only to have Syracuse score the next 17 to make it a two-point game (play-by-play). The Panthers and Orange continued neck-and-neck until a point where Pitt led 46-44 after a Syracuse free-throw with about 12:00 left in the game. The Panthers then went on a 7-0 run and then a later 8-0 spurt (after the 'Cuse had closed to 57-53) and that was it.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

I don't write about collegiate wrestling too often. Today, though, a lengthy streak came to an end, as Iowa and Oklahoma State tied 15-15 in a dual meet (a head-to-head battle of two teams, as opposed to a multiple-team tournament). Iowa had won 69 straight dual meets, which trailed only the Oklahoma State program's 76 in a row (from 1937-1951).

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Louisville men have gotten this college basketball Saturday off to a streaky start. Trailing Marquette 65-47 with 5:44 left in the game, the Cardinals reeled off 15 points in a row to cut their deficit to 65-62, with 1:56 remaining (play-by-play sheet). The teams then traded scores in the next few possessions to leave Marquette up 70-67 with 37 seconds left. Louisville then scored the final four points to eke out the 71-70 victory.

Within the same conference, the Big East, the Syracuse men unleashed "a 16-0 run to start the second half and remained unbeaten with a 67-52 victory over Cincinnati " (article).

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Texas Tech Lady Raiders, whose defensive prowess I discussed on January 3, continue to turn their opponents' shooting hands cold, doing so most recently in two closely contested Big 12 basketball games. This past Saturday, the Lady Raiders scored the final 10 points of the game (over a 5:15 span) to edge Kansas, 61-57. Then, last night against Missouri, Texas Tech used a 15-0 run to turn a 50-42 deficit into a 57-50 lead, en route to a 63-56 Lady Raider victory (play-by-play sheet).

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Defending National Collegiate Athletic Association men's basketball champion Duke had its 25-game win streak ended tonight at Florida State, 66-61. The streak encompassed 15 straight wins to open the current season, six games in last year's NCAA tournament, three games in last year's Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, and last year's regular-season finale against North Carolina.

Monday, January 10, 2011

With a game-winning field goal as time expired, Auburn has captured this year's Bowl Championship Series national title, 22-19 over Oregon. A team from the Southeastern Conference (SEC) has now won the last five mythical national championships. As a sign of overall SEC balance, the five titles have been won by four different schools: Auburn (2010), Alabama (2009), Florida (2008 and 2006), and Louisiana State (2007).

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Some streaky games in college basketball today...

Baylor defeated Texas Tech, 71-59, in men's play this afternoon (play-by-play sheet). Baylor began the game on an 11-0 run. Texas Tech stuck around, aided by a 10-1 second-half run (cutting the Red Raiders' deficit from 41-29 to 42-39). Tech even took the lead, 50-49. At that point, the Bears unleashed a 20-2 spurt, putting them up 69-52. By coincidence, Texas Tech allowed a huge run in its Big 12 conference opener last year, too (29-1 vs. Oklahoma State).

Utah State's men came from behind to knock off Nevada (play-by-play), thanks to second-half runs of 11-0 (transforming a 50-41 deficit to a 52-50 lead) and 10-0 (expanding a 71-67 edge to the final score of 81-67).

Elsewhere in men's hoops, the University of Central Florida had its 14-game winning streak snapped, 76-71, as Houston dealt the Knights their first loss of the 2010-11 campaign. Donnie Jones is in his first year as coach at UCF and he seems to have made quite an impact!

Thursday, January 06, 2011

In my previous posting, I talked about how LeBron James's new team, the Miami Heat, was in the midst of a very hot streak. The other side of the coin, however, is that his old team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, are really struggling. With last night's loss to Toronto, the Cavs have now lost 18 of their last 19 games (see game-by-game log).

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

The Miami Heat's 9-8 start to the the season had many questioning the LeBron-Wade-Bosh experiment. That all seems forgotten now, though, as the Heat has been playing at a level worthy of the team's name. Tonight, Miami notched its 19th win in its last 20 games, besting Milwaukee 101-89.

The Heat's opposition in its last 20 games has not been the greatest (see game-by-game log), but it's still probably a good sign for Miami that it has kept its motivation and systematically knocked off a lot of weaker teams. For some perspective, the NBA currently has six teams (besides Miami) that have won two-thirds or more of their games: Boston (.788 winning percentage), Chicago (.697), Utah (.686), L.A. Lakers (.686), San Antonio (.853), and Dallas (.765). Of the Heat's 19 recent wins, only two have come against these elite teams (December 8 at Utah, and December 25 at the Lakers). The one Miami loss during the stretch was against Dallas (December 20 at home).

Monday, January 03, 2011

Texas Tech's women's basketball team jumped out to a 27-0 lead tonight over Houston Baptist, en route to a 73-36 win. Though the Lady Raiders showed some explosiveness in building up the lead -- for example, scoring three baskets in less than a minute to increase their lead from 3-0 to 9-0 -- most of Texas Tech's points came in gradual increments (play-by-play sheet). Houston Baptist missed its first 14 field-goal attempts of the game; all of these missed shots were listed as three-pointers or jumpers, as opposed to layups, suggesting that the Huskies couldn't get off any shots near the basket. Texas Tech coach Kristy Curry, in her postgame comments, attributed the shutout stretch both to her team's good defense and the fact that Houston Baptist "did miss some shots."

Sunday, January 02, 2011

It was a conference-wide cold hand, as teams from the Big Ten lost all five of their football bowl games on New Year's Day.'s Mark Schlabach details the difficult day for Northwestern, Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, and Wisconsin.