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Rick Nixon | | December 19, 2013

Notebook: Good scheduling or for real?


Being an undefeated team in late December sometimes comes with a footnote. While an 11-0 start for Connecticut is expected, others like Arkansas, Indiana, UTEP, Colorado and San Diego standing undefeated at this point of the season merits attention, and also speculation on how these teams will fare once conference play tips.

Arkansas11-0San Diego10-0
Georgia11-0Iowa State9-0
Indiana11-0Notre Dame9-0

Arkansas, now 11-0, has won 20 consecutive non-conference games during the past two seasons. In fact, Razorbacks head coach Tom Collen has built a 90-21 all-time record in non-conference play in seven seasons. Since 1982, Arkansas is 199-14 in non-conference games. The Razorbacks, which will play 10 of the 13 non-conference games at home, have two non-conference games remaining this season with Tennessee Tech and Mississippi Valley State both visiting Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville. A home win against Middle Tennessee State and a road victory at Kansas rate as Arkansas’ top wins over the first month-plus. On Jan. 2, South Carolina will pay a visit to Fayetteville to signal the start of Southeastern Conference play.

Indiana's 11 consecutive wins to start the season matches the Hoosiers' entire win total from the 2012-13 season when the team went 11-19. The quick start to this season marks the program's best start since the beginning of the 1992-93 season when they also started 11-0. The Hoosiers have posted home wins against Butler, St. Louis and Virginia Tech thus far, and will be tested with a pair of road games at Cleveland State (Saturday) and Xavier (Dec. 29) before the start of Big Ten Conference play on Jan. 2 at home against Iowa. Indiana went 2-14 in Big Ten play a year ago.

UTEP, 9-0, has won eight of its nine games by double-digits. One win shy of the schools’ 2011-12 squad for longest winning streak to start the year, the Miners have benefited by playing eight of the first nine games at home. UTEP has victories against Kansas State and SMU to date. Prior to Christmas, UTEP will play Georgia Tech on Friday and Belmont on Saturday in the Puerto Rico Classic. Conference USA play will begin for the Miners on Jan. 8 at UAB.

An NCAA tournament participant a year ago, Colorado (9-0) has picked up where it left off.  Ranked 11th in the latest Associated Press Women’s Basketball Top 25 poll, Colorado has won 33 consecutive non-conference, regular-season games. The Buffaloes have home wins thus far against Iowa and Illinois, with road wins scored against New Mexico and Wyoming. Colorado will put that streak on the line Saturday when it visits No. 7 Louisville.

Quality wins against Arizona State, San Diego State, Northern Colorado and Idaho have helped boost San Diego (10-0). The Toreros have received votes in both the AP Women’s Basketball and USA Today Coaches Top 25 polls. The 10-0 start for San Diego is the best in history of the program. San Diego’s win against Arizona State is the only blemish of the Sun Devils’ season thus far.  West Coast Conference play begins Dec. 28 against Pepperdine.

Around the division

• Already the nation’s leading scorer at 29.4 points per game, Baylor guard Odyssey Sims shows no signs of letting up. Sims scored 39 points in the Lady Bears’ 87-80 win against Ole Miss on Dec. 18. The 39 points were the third-highest single-game total of her career and tied for the 12th highest single-game point total in Baylor history.  She also extended her streak of double-digit scoring to 20 games. With the win, Baylor has now won a nation’s-best and school-record 66 consecutive home games. The most-recent home loss for the Lady Bears came on March 7, 2010 when they lost 70-54 to Texas.

Michigan State vs. No. 13 Oklahoma State
Albany at No. 2 Duke
2 p.m.
6:30 p.m.
No. 12 LSU at NC State7 p.m.
No. 11 Colorado at No. 7 Louisville
No. 3 Tennessee at No. 6 Stanford
No. 20 Oklahoma at Marist
1 p.m.
4:30 p.m.
7 p.m.
Texas A&M at St. John's
Bowling Green at No. 18 Purdue
Cal at No. 1 UConn
No. 2 Duke at No. 5 Kentucky
11 a.m.
1 p.m.
3 p.m.
Complete television listings 

• Both Baylor (102.4) and Oregon (101.0) are currently averaging more than 100 points per game. 

• Connecticut’s Geno Auriemma earned his 850th career coaching victory as the Huskies defeated Duke on Dec. 17.

• In 11 games this season, Connecticut’s largest deficit is two points.

Morehead State connected on a school record 19 of 44 three-pointers against Berea on Wednesday in a 103-55 win. The 19 threes were the fourth-highest single-game total.

• After wins last week against Arkansas State and Green Bay, Wichita State is currently on a six-game winning streak. The Shockers are one of just 26 teams in NCAA Division I to have a current winning streak of six or more games.

Chiney Ogwumike of Stanford became the program’s eighth player to reach 2,000 career points when she scored 32 points in Stanford’s 75-41 victory against New Mexico on Monday.  She also became the fifth Cardinal player to accumulate both 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds, joining older sister Nnemkadi Ogwumike (2008-12), Jayne Appel (2006-10), Nicole Powell (2000-04) and Val Whiting (1989-93).

• The top eight teams in the Southeastern Conference: Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi St., Missouri, LSU and South Carolina have combined for an 82-4 record.

Marist head coach Brian Giorgis eclipsed 100 points for the first time in his career as the Red Foxes defeated Northeastern,103-66 on Wednesday. The 100 points scored was the first century game for Marist since 2002 against Columbia (104-47). Marist is currently on a five game-winning streak.

• The top five most Improved field-goal percentage teams compared to 2012-13 are South Carolina (11.49 percent), Pepperdine (10.07 percent), St. Mary's (Calif.) (9.92 percent), Weber State (9.80 percent) and IPFW (9.07 percent).

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