NCAA Basketball | Upsets highlight another exciting weekend of college hoops
Published: Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 02:02
With the days dwindling until March, one thing has become clear: The madness is upon us. The No. 1 team in the land has lost each of the last five weeks, so from the outside looking in it’s very tough to pick the most dangerous team in college basketball right now. Let’s look at a few notable games from this past weekend that had us jumping out of our seats:
The longest game in Big East regular season history ends in Notre Dame’s favor.
Late Saturday night, the No. 25 Notre Dame Fighting Irish took down the No. 11 Louisville Cardinals 104-101 in a grueling battle that outlasted any previous regular season game played in Big East history. The two teams battled for five overtime periods, with clutch buckets from each side prolonging the game into the night before the Fighting Irish were able to eke out the win.
Despite a game-high 30-point, 15-rebound performance from sophomore forward Chane Benahan, the Cardinals were not able to secure a victory in South Bend. The Irish made timely baskets to put themselves in a position to win, such as junior forward Jerian Grant’s 3-pointer with just over 30 seconds left in regulation to cut the Cardinals’ lead to three, but Louisville must blame their lousy free-throw shooting for the loss.
They missed both of the free throws that ensued after Grant’s three, which then led to an Irish one-and-one opportunity to tie the game at 60 and send the game into its first overtime.
Fast forward through four overtimes and numerous missed last-shot opportunities for the Cardinals, and it’s apparent how Notre Dame was able to endure and ultimately win a huge in-conference matchup against a team that was No. 1 in the country just a few weeks ago.
Unranked Oklahoma downs No. 5 Kansas for the Jayhawks’ third straight loss:
Just over a week ago, basketball fans across the nation were witnessing what seemed to be another year of signature Kansas basketball.
As of Jan. 31, the Jayhawks had the nation’s longest winning streak and were 19-1 with just one early season loss to Michigan State. Freshman guard Ben McLemore and senior center Jeff Withey were leading their team to win after win, and nothing seemed to be holding them back.
However, after a home loss to Oklahoma State on Feb. 2 that snapped the Jayhawks’ 33-game home winning streak, Coach Bill Self and company just haven’t looked the same. They lost an ugly game to TCU Wednesday, in which the team shot a measly 29.5 percent from the floor, and then lost again on Saturday—this time to Oklahoma in Norman, 72-66. Seniors Romero Osby and Steven Pledger led the way for the Sooners, scoring 17 and 15 points, respectively, on a combined 12-for-22 shooting. And though McLemore and Withey totaled 29 points for Kansas, it was not enough for a team that simply looked scared at times and played from behind the whole way.
Kansas is still a threat come March, but they will need to get back on track throughout the rest of their conference schedule if they hope to pick up some momentum and, more importantly, secure a high seed before the Big 12 and NCAA tournaments.
Indiana regains momentum with dominant win over Ohio State:
After dropping a close, hard-fought battle against Illinois earlier in the week, the then-No. 1 Indiana Hoosiers returned to form Sunday and defeated the No. 10 Ohio State Buckeyes in Columbus, 81-68.
Tom Crean’s squad looked sharp as ever, scoring from both in and outside in a matchup that was never close. Three Hoosiers scored 20 points or more, with junior Victor Oladipo leading the way with 26 on 8-of-10 shooting. His .636 field goal percentage is good enough for ninth in the nation among qualified players and is by far the highest of any guard in college basketball.
While the Hoosiers are a team that specializes in points off turnovers, Sunday’s matchup against the Buckeyes was highlighted by a dominant half-court style of play that fans have yet to see this season, suggesting that although they have three losses to unranked opponents, this team is built for the long haul.
Juniors Deshaun Thomas and Aaron Craft helped the Buckeyes’ cause with 42 combined points in Sunday’s game, but it was not enough to spark an upset at home. Thomas still leads the Big 10 in points with 20.1 per game, and his ability to get to the rim will carry Thad Matta’s group going forward.
Michigan falls to unranked Wisconsin in overtime:
Despite another outstanding performance from Michigan’s standout sophomore Trey Burke, the only Big 10 player to have scored at least 15 points in every conference game this season, the Wolverines fell to Wisconsin on Saturday in overtime, 65-62.
After Michigan guard Tim Hardaway, Jr. hit a 3-pointer with three seconds left to put the Wolverines up by three, it appeared John Beilein’s crew would escape Madison with a victory. But junior guard Ben Brust of Wisconsin thought otherwise.
After catching an inbounds pass just before half court, Brust dribbled once and drained a desperate forty-foot 3-pointer at the buzzer, sending the arena into a frenzy and the Badgers into an overtime they would eventually win.
Brust was the leading scorer for the Badgers with 14 points, three of which came on a go-ahead three late in overtime to seal the victory for Wisconsin.