Four upsets in Top 10 prove parity is alive and very well

SONG SELECTION:

“Feel The Effect”, by Tokyo Police Club

Found on the Forcefield album, released in 2014

What a crazy week in men’s college basketball:

Tuesday had West Virginia toppling Kansas 74-63 as Devin Williams led the way with 17 points and 12 rebounds.  It was the Mountaineers’ first victory against the nation’s top-ranked team since UNLV on February 27, 1983 by an 87-78 score.  A few hours later, Michigan upset Maryland in Ann Arbor 70-67 without Chris LaVert, who is still recovering from a lower leg injury which he suffered against Illinois in the Big Ten opener on December 30, 2015.  Melo Trimble scored in the first minute of play and never scored again.

Wednesday saw Duke lose at Clemson 68-63, as the Tigers outrebounded the Blue Devils 33-21 (including a whopping 10-2 edge on the offensive glass).  Three Clemson players finished in double figures.

Also, the last of the true unbeaten teams finally went down (since I am not counting SMU’s impressive streak with the Mustangs having been banned from participating in either the 2016 NIT or NCAA Tournaments), as Alabama beat up on South Carolina 73-50.  Riley Norris nailed his first seven shots from long distance as part of his team’s game high 27 points.  The Gamecocks barely could hit the side of a barn, as their woeful shooting statistics looked like this:

From the field, South Carolina only made just 19 of 53 shots (35.8 percent), 3 of 18 shots from 3-point land (16.7 percent) and only made 9 of 17 free throws (52.9 percent).  Add that all up and it looks like it will be 41 years before we talk about a team running the table unbeaten.

Thursday, Iowa dominated at Michigan State racing to a whopping 47-25 halftime lead en route to a 76-59 beatdown of the Spartans.  This is the Hawkeyes’ second win against Gang Green in as many weeks, and suddenly Iowa is looking to be anywhere from a 4 to a 6 seed at this point in the season.

Also, Nick Emery may be a freshman, but the BYU point guard played like an upperclassmen hitting a huge three pointer with 1:38 showing on the clock to upset Gonzaga for the second straight season at The Kennel 69-68.  The ‘Zags (13-4 overall, 5-1 in WCC play) managed to shoot around 30 percent for the entire game, even as Kyle Wiltjer seems to be hitting shots from every conceivable angle ending the game’s high scorer with 35 points.  This year’s upset was made possible largely by the play of Kyle Collinsworth’s 20 points and Chase Fischer tabbing 18 as BYU moved to 13-5, 4-1 in West Coast Conference play.

Last night, an ugly scene followed by the traditional coaches handshakes around center court after Monmouth upended Iona 110-102 in halting the Gaels’ 26 game hitting streak.

Replays from ESPN and someone on the scene shooting on a Vine account clearly showed Jordan Washington of Iona slapping Monmouth forward Chris Brady in the face (ouch!)  Reports on the scene from some Twitter accounts also had Iona forward Aaron Rountree being eld back by multiple teammates so they could stop any momentum in going after a Monmouth player.

Expect multiple suspensions to come out of this fracas.   Hopefully, when these two MAAC rivals have their rematch on February 19 in Monmouth, the exciting play of A.J. English of Iona can continue (scored 45 points on only 26 shots in the loss).

Even though Oklahoma State barely missed a chance at upending Oklahoma in Stillwater, Buddy Hield has to tackle the press at West Virginia on Saturday.  That should be quite a game, along with a rematch of the 1985 national title game with Villanova playing at Georgetown.

Finally, on a sad note…

Butler graduate Andrew Smith died at the age of 25.  I hope his Number 44 gets retired by the school because he meant so much during the Bulldogs’ runs toward national credibility.  Please think about his family this weekend in your thoughts and prayers.  He was a great player and an even greater person by those who knew him best.  He will be sadly missed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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