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January 11, 2007

Amazing stats: Big names, big games

The Amazing Stats return from a prolonged hiatus to bring you this season's first look at the basketball landscape.

I see where Florida, North Carolina, Ohio State and Wisconsin are all near the top of the rankings, which is nice since all four were in Rivals.com's preseason top 25. The Gators are in possession of the basketball and football championships simultaneously, making them incredibly good at all things athletic and incredibly greedy.

At Rivals.com, we actually picked Florida to repeat as national champs. Of course, that hasn't been done since Duke followed up its 1991 title by winning it all in 1992. But the Gators returned all five starters from the title team, and they have played well so far this season (15-2). We'll stick with our prediction, though current Associated Press No. 1 North Carolina (our No. 2 pick in the preseason) looks good, too.

We also told you in our preseason basketball coverage that this could be the greatest freshman class of all time, mostly because none of its members were allowed to skip college and go straight to the NBA. So we'll lead off this first basketball installment of Amazing Stats with a kid who's playing beyond his year.

To the rim we go:

Number of players in the top 10 in scoring and rebounding (and it's a freshman, Texas' Kevin Durant)
The nation's longest winning streak, which belongs to surprising Clemson

Texas' Kevin Durant.

100.1 Points per game for the nation's leading team, Virginia Military Institute
3 Number of games VMI has lost despite topping the 100-point mark (115-111 against Howard, 105-103 against Mercer, and 129-111 to Penn State)

Boston College's Sean Williams.
Number of games this season in which 6-10 Boston College junior Sean Williams has had at least seven blocked shots (including two double-digit games)
Number of games in which top-ranked North Carolina has had at least seven blocked shots

3-pointers made per game by Tennessee's Chris Lofton through his first 12 games
3-pointers made per game by Lofton in his past three games

Tennessee's Chris Lofton.

Arizona's Jawann McClellan.
3-point percentage of Arizona's Jawann McClellan in the seven games in which he has made at least one 3-pointer
McClellan's shooting from 3-point range in Arizona's other seven games

2 Number of times the writer worked in the college player who shares his last name

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