There is a lot to process from this college basketball weekend in Iowa and the other 49 states. Well, not so much Alaska.
1. Melvin Ejim’s 48-point performance against TCU obviously set the college basketball world on its ear. The Cyclone senior forward matched BYU’s Tyler Haws and Texas Southern’s Aaric Murray for most points in a game this season. Haws’ game went triple-overtime. He was 17-of-24 from the field. Murray was 20-of-28.
Ejim was 20-of-24. Twenty-four shots to get 48 points. Crazy.
No, it didn’t touch Lafester Rhodes’ ISU record of 54 points. But Rhodes had 46 in regulation, 8 more in overtime of the Cyclones’ 102-100 win over Iowa in 1987. He was 20-of-31 from the field that night.
Ejim’s 18 rebounds were glossed over Saturday. That was merely a career-high for a player who has been a terrific rebounder. In his last three games he is averaging 30.7 points and 15.7 rebounds.
Here’s the beauty (and curse) of college basketball. Iowa State starts back at zero Monday night when it plays at West Virginia, a team that has beaten Kansas State and Oklahoma at home since Feb. 1.
2. Here is a statistic that is somewhat amazing: Four different Cyclones (Ejim, DeAndre Kane, Georges Niang and Naz Long) have scored 26-plus points in a game this season, and a fifth (Dustin Hogue) had a 22-point game.
More stats: Kane leads the Big 12 in assists with 6.1 per game, and freshman Monte Morris of the Cyclones leads the league in assists-to-turnovers ratio with 6.6-1.
3. Ejim leads the Big 12 in points per 40 minutes with 24.5 Devyn Marble leads the Big Ten in the same category with 23.1.
Marble has never been known as a great outside shooter in his career. Well, guess what. His 45.7 percent from 3-point range (21-of-46) ranks fourth in Big Ten games, and he’s attempted 20 or more threes than two of the three players ranked above him.
Iowa’s Josh Oglesby, ripped in many circles for his shooting slump last season, is sixth in Big Ten games this year at 44.8 percent (13-of-29).
4. Iowa’s win over Michigan coupled with Wisconsin’s victory over Michigan State tightened the Big Ten race, yes. The two Michigan teams are 9-2, while Iowa is 7-4, and Ohio State and Wisconsin are 6-5.
Michigan State still has the hammer, though it must play at Michigan. Its next three games are Northwestern and Nebraska at home, Purdue on the road. After going to Michigan, it hosts Illinois and Iowa, and finishes at Ohio State.
Michigan has a rough week ahead, with a game at Ohio State and one at home with Wisconsin. Then it hosts Michigan State before going to Purdue, hosting Minnesota, going to Illinois, and hosting Indiana.
Iowa can indulge in no more title talk until it sweeps Penn State and Indiana on the road this Saturday and next Tuesday. Then, it has Wisconsin at home, Minnesota on the road, Purdue at home, Michigan State on the road, and Illinois at home.
Watch out for Ohio State. If it beats Michigan in Columbus Tuesday, it could very conceivably be 11-5 when it closes at Indiana and at home against Michigan State. The four games after Michigan are at Illinois, at home against Northwestern and Minnesota, and at Penn State.
Iowa’s not getting as much a share of the championship if it doesn’t win at Michigan State on March 6. The Hawkeyes needed to beat the Spartans in Iowa City. So close, so far away.
5. It’s better for my business when the in-state schools do well. So, a Northern Iowa upset of Wichita State Saturday night would have been a good, newsy item.
But now that the Shockers beat UNI to get to 25-0, I’d like to see the Shockers keep winning, winning, winning, and building more and more interest in a mid-major. Unless UNI can trip them up in the Missouri Valley Conference tourney, of course.
A mid-major can win the NCAA title. Butler came within a win two straight years. Wichita State perhaps should have beaten Louisville in the national semifinals a year ago. While it’s not true that America loves the underdog, it would be a huge story if one won the whole shooting match.
And no, I don’t think the Shockers would be in first place of either the Big Ten or Big 12. But ask Ohio State what it was like playing those guys in the Sweet 16 last year.
6. With a month left, here is the All-Performance team of games I’ve covered, leaving Iowa and Iowa State’s players out of the mix.
Garrick Sherman, Notre Dame: 29 points, 9 rebounds in the Irish’s 98-93 loss at Iowa.
Andrew Wiggins, Kansas: 17 points, 19 rebounds in the Jayhawks’ 77-70 win at ISU.
Joel Embiid, Kansas: 16 points, 9 rebounds and 5 blocks at ISU.
Keith Appling, Michigan Stae: 16 points and some big shots with an injured wrist in MSU’s 71-69 overtime win at Iowa.
Aaron Craft, Ohio State: 17 points, 6 assists, 6 steals (all game-highs) in OSU’s 76-69 win at Iowa.
I had to take Nik Stauskas’ 26-point game against Iowa in Ann Arbor off the Top Five when he was held to 10 points and his team got smashed at Iowa Saturday.
7. Finally, tell me who else has ever gone from “She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah” to this in the space of two years:
The songs were great. The songs are great.