Northern Iowa’s stunning win over North Carolina shakes things up entering holiday tournament week

SONG SELECTION:
Of Monsters And Men, “Wolves Without Teeth”
Found on the 2015 Beneath the Skin album

During the season’s first newly fallen snow Saturday afternoon, Northern Iowa used a frantic comeback down 16 points in the second half to stun top-ranked North Carolina 71-67.

It was also Marcus Paige’s homecoming, having grown up around 60 miles from campus in a small town called Marion, Iowa.  He was honored before the game but was injured and was unable to play.

The Tar Heels led 41-32 at the half and the lead ballooned to sixteen at 50-34 with less than 17 minutes on the clock.  But Northern Iowa rallied to pull off the biggest upset of this young season, thanks in large part to guard Wes Washpun’s 21 points and 8 assists.  As a team, the UNI Panthers converted on 11 of 28 attempts from the arc.

Lots of stuffing, and yes some turkeys in this pre-Thanksgiving version of Stock Up, Stock Down

This edition mostly affects three Indiana schools:

Stock Up

Purdue, for winning the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic 85-70 on Sunday over Florida.

Not the glamour matchup of years gone by but the Boilermakers are playing their way to at least a top 5 or 6 seed with Matt Painter’s crew winning every game by at least 15 points.

A balanced attack not seen the Glenn Robinson, Cuonzo Martin, and Carson Cunningham days was led by senior Rapheal Davis scoring 18 points, followed close behind by P.J. Thompson with 15 and Vince Edwards having 14.  Even the trio of inside guys like A.J. Hammons, Isaac Haas, and A.J. Hammons combined for 30 points, 15 rebounds and four blocked shots.  Purdue shot 50 percent from the field, and their offense seems to be clicking at exactly the right time.  But give Florida some credit without Billy Donovan patrolling the sidelines.  The Gators trailed only 63-60, but a 22-3 run put the game on ice.

Duke, for holding off Georgetown in the 2K Classic at Madison Square Garden.  In the process, Grayson Allen became the first Blue Devils player to score back-to-back 30 point games since a true sharp-shooter in J.J. Redick turned the trick in 2005-06.

Stock Down

Valparaiso, for getting turned away at Oregon on their funky looking court 73-67.  However, they got within two in the final seconds before a pair of Alec Peters jumpers from deep did not go down.

Want a bit of trivia?  Sunday’s loss was the 38th straight loss for the Crusaders against a ranked team.  Their last win against a ranked team?  I remember like it was yesterday, with current coach Bryce Drew’s last second jumper as time expired in the 1998 First Round Midwest Regional tournament game in Oklahoma City against Ole Miss.

San Diego State–losing to UALR at home on Sunday in a defensive battle 49-43.  Expect the Aztecs to a drop a few slots in everyone’s mock brackets.

But there will be some major jockeying for position this week at the Maui Jim Invitational.  A small preview is in my next blog above.

Enjoy the rest of your day, and thanks for reading.

 

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