What The Hell Happened Again: Everything You Need To Know About An Insane Saturday In College Hoops
Yesterday may have summed up college basketball perfectly. We had a bunch of hyped games yet here we are on a Sunday morning still trying to figure shit out. That's what happens when 8 ranked teams lose to unranked teams - which is somehow starting to become the norm this year. Let's run through everything you may have missed yesterday as you get ready to make a million prop bets today and eat a pound of buffalo chicken dip.
The Big East was drunk as hell
For me the Big East is the best conference in America. There's not a bad team in that conference and it showed yesterday. DePaul - the worst team in the league blew a lead against Marquette. Xavier, Providence and Creighton all went on the road and beat the top-3 teams in the league. Xavier by far had the biggest win of the day too. They were a team that plenty of people thought would be top-3 this year in the league, but their lack of shooting has really hurt the team taking a jump.
We had a player get ejected for biting not 1 but 2 people
How to sum up college hoops in 2020? Upsets and dudes biting people for a loose ball. Can't ever remember seeing this sort of ejection.
Does anybody want to make the tournament from the ACC?
We saw some massive failures yesterday. The ACC has a clear top-3 and it's a damn good top-3 with Louisville, Florida State and Duke. The question has always been who is the 4th best team. Virginia just got its first quality win at home over Florida State and sure it might be them. But, they can't score. NC State had a chance and then lost at home to UNC and Louisville. UNC got a chance with Cole Anthony returning, but they lost at home to Boston College. Syracuse was on a winning streak, but it was all against the lower half of the conference and now lost to Clemson and Duke. It's going to be hilarious that a team that is squarely on the bubble will be getting a double bye in the conference tournament. I can't ever remember seeing the ACC this down and there's a variety of reasons for that in terms of guys leaving early and a weaker recruiting class coming in. Someone has to finish 4th and good luck figuring that out.
San Diego State has a legit chance to finish undefeated
The late game last night was San Diego State, the last undefeated team in the country, coming back at home against Utah State on Kawhi Leonard jersey retirement day.
Utah State might be the most disappointing team in the country. They were preseason top-20 and Queta was injured, but they are now at full strength and blew a massive lead to Boise State and now blew a lead at San Diego State. This was also the chance for Utah State to get an at-large bid, something that will be a bit of an uphill battle. But back to San Diego State. They now have a legit chance to finish the season undefeated. They don't play a top-80 KenPom team the rest of the year with 3 games on the road. According to KenPom they have a 44% chance to go undefeated. The main reason why is the play of Washington State transfer Malachi Flynn, who is playing himself to an All-American team. He's shooting 38% from three and is top-100 nationally in both turnover and assist rate. Then you look at guys like KJ Feagin, Yanni Wetzell and Matt Mitchell. I don't think they are nearly as good as that undefeated Wichita State team from 2014, but they remind me a lot of them.
Auburn desperately needed that win over Kentucky
Yes, Kentucky lost. I understand that. However, am I worried? No. I expected them to split the road trips to Texas Tech and Auburn. Honestly, that win says more about Auburn than anything else. They needed a true, quality win. They sort of gamed the system - beating a bunch of decent teams, but didn't have a signature win. They now have that. It's not like Auburn was in jeopardy of missing the Tournament or anything like that but in terms of seeding. Without a win like this, there was a cap of where Auburn would be just based on quad 1 wins, etc.
It's time to worry about Michigan State away from home
Michigan State is a good team. They are an average team at best away from home. Both are true and it's officially time to worry about them away from the Breslin Center. They went and lost by 1 at Wisconsin to a team missing its starting backcourt. There's a variety of blame to go around here. First, Michigan State slept walked in the first half, getting down 16 at half and giving up 43 points to this team? Yikes. Second, Xavier Tillman flat out sucked ass yesterday. He went 2-for-8 on layups. 2-for-8! He had a stretch where he missed 2 layups in a row and a dunk when the lead was just 3. After that stretch? The lead was 10. Finally, what the hell was Tom Izzo doing late? He left Rocket Watts - who was having arguably the best game for MSU - on the bench when they needed a bucket. It made no sense. Credit to Wisconsin though for showing up to a game that everyone ruled them out on.
LSU is … good?
Despite losing a bunch of top talent to the pros. Despite the FBI investigation. Despite Will Wade not even coaching in the goddamn postseason last year and having a cloud over his head. LSU has now won 10 in a row and is in the race for back-to-back SEC regular season champs. It's wild. They somehow keep playing close games and winning. It makes almost no sense, but we're about 2 years in of LSU just winning a million games by 2 points. This time they won by 10, which is a blowout for LSU. But credit to Will Wade. He's figured out how to blend guys like Javonte Smart, Trendon Watford, Skylar Mays and Emmitt Williams into this. They also only have Kentucky and Auburn once, so the schedule opens up for them too.
The AAC goes through … Tulsa
Remember the AAC? Everyone assumed the race would be Memphis, Cincinnati, Houston and maybe Wichita State? Yeah, Tulsa is leading that conference thanks to this shot.
They are doing it mostly by defense - ranking top-40 in defense nationally. But they now have a 40-point win over Memphis. This win over Wichita State. A 2 point win over Houston and their only loss in conference is at Cincinnati. Speaking of UC, they seem to be figuring it out too thanks to Jarron Cumberland playing like the preseason conference Player of the Year. I still have no idea what to make of this conference, especially the teams up top but here we are with Tulsa having a game lead over Houston and Cincinnati.
Let's talk about the Pac-12
The Pac-12 was a laughingstock for a few years, but it's much improved. A lot of that is due to a team like Stanford, who got a win over Oregon and is a top-40 team in KenPom. Colorado beat the shit out of USC. Arizona swept the Washington teams. I do like Oregon long term and think Peyton Prtichard has a legit shot at National Player of the Year, but they can't be blowing leads at half, even on the road. The regular season race is going to be must watch too. Oregon, USC, Colorado, Arizona and Stanford all have 3 losses and are at the top of the standings.
Cheerleading/dance group picture of the weekend: