Best for the money
Forbes magazine has a method to find the best college basketball coach for the money - that is, the one who does the most with the resources he has. The formula is to divide the total number of wins a team had in 2010-11 and 2011-12 against Division I opponents by that school's basketball budget.
The winners were Mark Schmidt of St. Bonaventure for high-major teams and Scott Nagy of South Dakota State for mid-majors. Schmidt, whose Bonnies defeated Temple and St. Joseph's in Philadelphia, led his team to the 2012 Atlantic Ten title and an NCAA berth even though his budget was less than half that of A-10 rival Xavier, according to Forbes.
A Huskies turnaround
A salute to the Huskies of Northern Illinois, who came off an abysmal 25-point performance to score 67 in a two-point win over Kent State.
NIU suffered through a four-point first half Saturday against Eastern Michigan when it shot 1 of 31 from the field and missed all 17 three-point attempts, losing, 42-25. But on Wednesday, the Huskies knocked down 46.8 percent of their shots, including 53.8 percent from three, and won on a basket with 2.2 seconds left.
"What a difference from Saturday to Wednesday," coach Mark Montgomery said.
Cats are back, redux
Just as almost everyone was ready to relegate 2012 national champion Kentucky to the NIT, the Wildcats showed signs of life in an 87-74 win at No. 16 Mississippi. Kentucky (14-6, 5-2 Southeastern Conference), which gained its first win of the season over a top-50 RPI opponent, blew nearly all of a 17-point lead before pulling away in the final four minutes.
Coach John Calipari wants to temper any talk that his team is ready to make a run. "We have a long ways to go," he said.
Syracuse point guard Michael Carter-Williams is undoubtedly an all-American candidate, but something happened to him this season against Big Five teams.
In one game against Temple (an Orange loss) and two against Villanova (1-1), the 6-6 sophomore shot 10 of 46 (21.7 percent) from the field, 1 of 11 (9.1 percent) from the three-point arc, and 19 of 35 (54.3 percent) from the line with 17 assists and 11 turnovers. In 20 games, Carter-Williams' shooting numbers are 36.5 percent overall, 28.0 percent from three-point range, and 70.7 percent on free throws.
Checking in on L.B.
Since Allen Iverson has been in the news this week, we thought it a good time to check on Larry Brown, the former 76ers coach who now is the boss at Southern Methodist.
After an 8-1 start, the Mustangs had dropped nine of 12 before a 68-57 win Wednesday night over Marshall, Brown's first Conference USA road win. Their roster has a combined 11 seasons of experience among its eligible players.
"It's tough because we aren't deep," the 72-year-old Brown told the Dallas Morning News. "We've got to find a way to get help, but it's coming."
Three players are sitting out as transfers, including former Villanova forward Markus Kennedy.
Expat of the week
Duke freshman Amile Jefferson, a graduate of Friends' Central, has been a valuable contributor since Ryan Kelly went down with a foot injury.
In his last five games (four starts), the 6-foot-8 forward has averaged 8.0 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.4 blocked shots, and 22.2 minutes. In a win over Maryland, Jefferson had one of his best performances with 11 points, 9 boards, and 3 blocks.
"The coaches just told me to be patient - don't overthink things," Jefferson said in an Associated Press report. "Come out and play hard, and if you make a mistake, play through it."
Games of the Week
Michigan at Indiana, Saturday at 9 p.m., ESPN: This could be the game of the year in the Big Ten, the nation's top conference. Led by national player of the year candidate Trey Burke, the top-ranked Wolverines are coming off a win over Northwestern during which they committed only two turnovers. The Hoosiers, ranked No. 3, have terrific inside-outside balance led by center Cody Zeller and do-everything guard Victor Oladipo.
Miami (Fla.) at North Carolina State, Saturday at 4 p.m., CBS3: The 14th-ranked Hurricanes remain the only unbeaten in the ACC but the Wolfpack are tough at home, as evidenced by their win over Duke three weeks ago.
Mississippi at Florida, Saturday at 7 p.m., ESPNU: The Gators, now a legitimate Final Four contender, have won nine straight games by an average of 26 points, and the Rebels could be reeling from their loss to Kentucky.
Marquette at Louisville, Sunday at 2 p.m., ESPN: The Golden Eagles, owners of a share of first place in the Big East, got 30 points from Vander Blue in their most recent game and aren't intimidated by the Cardinals.
Ohio State at Michigan, Tuesday at 9 p.m., ESPN: Don't think the Wolverines will be tired from their Indiana trip; they want to avenge their only loss of the season, handed to them by the Buckeyes.
North Carolina State at Duke, Thursday at 9 p.m., ESPN3: Speaking of revenge, the Blue Devils are seeking payback from their Tobacco Road rival in the friendly confines of Cameron Indoor.
- Joe Juliano
Contact Joe Juliano at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @joejulesinq.