Two more upsets involving top ranked teams on Saturday afternoon.
In what was billed as a titanic sports day at Columbia, Missouri–the Tigers got off on the right foot by beating UCLA (CBSSports.com RPI #39) in the first CBS game of the season, 80-71.
Thanks to guard Earnest Ross running the show both inside with consecutive dunks and a three pointer by Jabari Ross in a four minute span, Missouri (#48 CBSSports.com in RPI poll) turned a 56-55 deficit into a 70-62 lead. The most ironic point which there was a graphic after the first TV timeout during the second half was the fact that except for two points scored by each school, every other basket and free throw converted was made only by backcourt players.
What a way to clean out the clocks from that stunning second round defeat thanks to Tyus Edney, present day UCLA Special Assistant whose driving layup stunned Missouri at the Boise Pod during the 1995 NCAA Tournament. The Bruins were held to only 37 percent shooting overall, at a paltry 23 for 61, while Frank Haith had every reason to smile often as his Tigers outrebounded UCLA 44 to 28. And hopefully, it helped ease the pain after Auburn ran circles around the Georgia Dome after Auburn ran away with the SEC title and the final BCS Championship appearance against Florida State–or when Purdue stunned the Lady Tigers on their home court to win the second round matchup in the women’s volleyball tournament, losing 3 sets to one.
As for UCLA, the Bruins suffer their first loss in the Steve Alford era, and only 16 schools remain unbeaten after what happened a few hours later in Boulder, Colorado.
Askia Booker did a few dribbles more than Christian Laettner during the Elite Eight round of the 1992 NCAA Tournament. Catching a pass that was 60 feet in flight, his three dribbles in less than 2.9 seconds as the shot hit nothing but nylon at the buzzer.
Kansas battled back with 11:31 to play after being down by nine points at 53-44. Andrew Wiggins missed 1 of 3 free throws at the 13 second mark that could have tied the game at 71. Spencer Dinwiddie of Colorado split his two attempts from the charity line shortly thereafter. The next time down, KU’s Perry Ellis made a driving layup to tie the game at 72 before Booker’s heroics.
The key to Colorado’s victory was getting to the free throw line–22 of 37 attempts while Kansas only toed the line 20 times and made 13. Kansas (as of Saturday, #2 in the CBSSports.com RPI poll) finished 27 of 51 from the field for a sparkling 52.9%, but Colorado nearly lost with poor shooting on their end of things, going only 23 of 54 (41.1 percent).
Another interesting factoid for you history buffs out there–
The last two times when Colorado (#13 in the most recent CBSSports.com RPI poll) beat Kansas (back when they were members of the Big 12 and prior to that in the old Big Eight Conference) in 1991 and 2003, both of those years the Jayhawks did reach the Final Four.
Kansas will head to Florida on Tuesday night, should be another interesting test.