Written by TJ Meredith. Media by Mike Ward.
This college basketball season has been full of great games and many upsets, but this past week could stand to be the best week of games thus far.
The real madness of this past week started on Tuesday. The Florida Gators went into Fayetteville, Arkansas and got beaten by an Arkansas team that is 7th in a below average SEC conference. Most people thought the Gators could be the best team in the country, but this roadblock will definitely cause people to re-think this opinion. That same Tuesday night, Michigan beat Ohio State in a game that had the likes of Lebron James tweeting about the level of play on display in Ann Arbor. The great OT contest between Michigan and Ohio State proved two things: 1) Although Michigan just lost a tough one at Indiana last Saturday, they are still a very strong title contender, and 2) Ohio State is a final four contender.
Wednesday night saw a poor TCU team get their first win in Big 12 play against the number five ranked team in the country, Kansas. This was an awful loss for Kansas. Head coach Bill Self went on to say that night that, “It was the worst team Kansas has ever put on the floor”. Self’s harsh words did not wake his team up, because they went on to lose a few days later to Oklahoma. Losing in Norman against Oklahoma was not nearly as bad as the TCU loss for Kansas, but now on a three game losing streak in the Big 12, one has to wonder how good this Kansas team really is. Nevertheless, this week proved one thing: Kansas is not a top ten team in the country. However, similar to Tom Izzo, never count out Bill Self team.
Thursday night brought down another number 1 ranked team in the country, as Indiana lost to a streaky Illinois team at the buzzer in Champagne. Illinois started out the season on fire and proved they can beat some good teams, although this was an upset. That being said, this was not and should not bee seen as a horrible loss for Indiana. They lost to a desperate Illinois team that was looking to keep their chances alive to make the NCCA tournament at the buzzer. Thus it is not a bad loss for the Hoosiers, but rather, a great win for the struggling Illini.
Saturday saw 19 of the top 25 teams in the country in action. It proved to be another great day of action. The day started off with a Wisconsin upset of the 3rd ranked Michigan Wolverines team. A half court heave put the game into overtime in Madison, and Wisconsin went on to outscore the Wolverines by three in extra time. Wisconsin under Bo Ryan has always been a very tough team to beat at home. Saturday proved to be indicative of this truth. Michigan is a very good team, and if it was not for the half court swish from Wisconsin’s guard Ben Brust, it would have been a very impressive win for Michigan on the road. The momentum from Brust’s half court heave propelled the Badgers to an impressive win in overtime.
In the afternoon, we saw the University of Miami dismantle North Carolina at home. Miami has proved they are a top 5 team this year and furthered this idea. The Canes will be a legit title contender come March. The young North Carolina team was starting to play better basketball prior to Saturday’s contest, but they were not enough to compete with the veteran and hungry Canes.
The nightcap on Saturday was, in my mind, the game of the week. The five-overtime thriller between Notre Dame and Louisville ended with The Fighting Irish pulling off the upset. The 105-minute contest is the longest in regular season Big East history. Unfortunately, I was not able to watch the game, but after watching the highlights I sure do wish I could have seen the instant classic.
This week was full of great basketball. That being said, let’s end this article with 3 things we learned this week in College Basketball:
1) Michigan, Florida, and Indiana all lost this week, but I still believe they are the best three teams in the country.
2) The University of Miami is a top five team in the country and this experienced team will be as dangerous as any come tourney time.
3) There are no dominating players or teams this College Basketball season. This will make for a March that could provide a bracket full of upsets and surprises.