In the spirit of the season, NCAA.com is offering a little holiday cheer in the form of an introductory poem. Enjoy.
As the clock struck midnight on this fine Christmas day,
gifts were still left waiting in Santa's Christmas sleigh.
But it's not those gifts he gave to boys and girls galore,
these gifts were dunks, jump shots, and oh so much more.
The 2016-17 season has already seen one month fade away,
teams are beginning to gel, AKA, teams know who to play.
But hark! What's that? It's conference play that draws near,
which means the safety of an early slip-up is gone most fear.
For now, six unbeaten Division I teams are left standing tall
but no need to worry, there's still plenty more college basketball.
Be sure to pace yourself though. The college basketball season is not a sprint, it's a marathon.
Need to know:
Freshman guard Jonah Matthews poured in a season-high 26 points, including five makes from the 3-point line, to help pace the effort for USC and head coach Andy Enfield. Like Creighton, USC is also one of college basketball's remaining unbeaten clubs. But only time will tell how long the unbeaten ride lasts. Pac-12 play starts soon.
Saturday: No Top 25 action
Sunday: No Top 25 action
In other action:
Marcus Keene, Tyler Hall trade buckets in Central Michigan-Montana State shootout
If one 40-point game is good, then two must be better. At least that’s the kind of logic that Central Michigan is operating with these days behind the leadership of 5’9” dynamo Marcus Keene. And the latest victim of Keene’s 2016-17 campaign were the Bobcats of Montana State. Keene posted a career-high of 44 points on Wednesday, while also collecting nine rebounds and dishing out six assists in a 106-103 win.
The San Antonio native continues to lead the nation in scoring through Sunday with a hefty margin over Valparaiso's Alec Peters. Montana State sophomore Tyler Hall had a personal best of 29 points for the Bobcats in the losing effort, including eight points in the game's final minute and a potential game-tying 3-point shot that bounced off the rim at the final buzzer.
Jairus Lyles big night in UMBC’s 2OT win
An unlikely submission for “Game of the Week” comes from the campus of the UMBC Retrievers (University of Maryland, Baltimore County). Sure, basketball royalty is not far off in the form of Georgetown and Maryland, but for now the Retrievers should have your ears. In Monday's win, a 120-111 double-OT thriller against The Citadel, UMBC’s lead guard junior Jairus Lyles posted 32 points and grabbed 20 rebounds — the first 30-20 game in school history, per UMBC Athletics.
Jairus Lyles has the first 30 pt.-20 rebound game in UMBC DI history. He is fourth UMBC DI player to record 20 caroms in a game— UMBC Mens Basketball (@UMBC_MBB) December 20, 2016
It was also the eighth win of the year for first-year head coach Ryan Odom, one more than the Retrievers had all of last season. And for those who are surprised to see The Citadel included in such a high scoring affair, don’t be. The Bulldogs, who call the Southern conference home, actually lead the nation in scoring at 103.2 points a night.