Inside the NCAA | Upsets span numerous conferences in another excitement-filled weekend
Published: Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 02:02
Another weekend, another set of upsets in the world of Div. I college basketball. With Selection Sunday less than three weeks away, underdogs shaking up the rankings has become a weekly occurrence, setting up a frantic final three weeks of the season. Here are some notable recaps for the games you might have missed this weekend.
Dominant three-point shooting gives Wake Forest the edge over Miami
Already the clear favorite as the most chaotic conference in college hoops this season, the ACC saw another upset Saturday as the Wake Forest Demon Deacons took down the conference leading No. 2 Miami Hurricanes in front of a riled up home crowd, 80-65.
Though four Miami players scored in double figures, junior guard Rion Brown struggled to find his rhythm and shot a forgettable 1-for-10 from the field, including an 0-for-5 showing from three-point range, hindering the Hurricanes’ attempt to hold on. This is the first ACC loss for the Hurricanes, who have been impressive in wins against ranked Michigan State, NC State and Duke teams earlier this season.
Saturday’s win likely won’t help Wake Forest’s odds for an NCAA tournament bid, but is nevertheless a huge victory for coach Jeff Bzdelik’s program. Senior guard C.J. Harris led the way for the Demon Deacons, nailing 5-of-5 shots from long distance in a 23-point outbreak, while forwards Travis McKie and Devin Thomas combined for eight blocks in the contest.
Miami will look to regroup Saturday when they take on the Duke Blue Devils in Durham, N.C., in a battle of Top 10 teams, while Wake Forest will face four non-ranked teams to round out its regular season schedule.
Otto Porter Jr. leads Georgetown past Syracuse
In a battle between two perennial forces in college basketball, Georgetown sophomore forward Otto Porter Jr. scored 33 points on 5-of-10 shooting from beyond the arc to help push the No. 11 Hoyas to a 57-46 victory over the No. 8 Syracuse Orange in their final in-conference battle.
Porter carried his team on the offensive end, shooting over 60 percent from the field while his teammates shot a measly 20 percent. Meanwhile, Syracuse’s standout performances came from junior forward C.J. Fair, who led the team in scoring with 13 points and added seven rebounds and three blocks, and sophomore guard Michael Carter-Williams, who led the team with five assists and two steals.
This match marks not only the end of a 38-game home winning streak for the Orange, the longest in the nation, but also the end of the Georgetown-Syracuse rivalry. This is the last time the two teams will play each other in the regular season as in-conference opponents, as Syracuse is leaving the Big East to join the Atlantic Coast Conference come July.
Saint Louis defeats Butler for a second time in upset fashion
After rolling past the Butler Bulldogs 75-58 on Jan. 31, the Billikens of St. Louis triumphed over Atlantic 10 powerhouse Butler yet again, this time defeating Brad Stevens’ squad 65-61 on Friday night.
St. Louis now sits atop the A10 at 10-2 with a 21-5 overall record. Although Butler controlled most of the first half and went into the break leading 34-29, Saint Louis was able to fight back behind the scoring prowess of Mike McCall Jr., who finished with a game-high 18 points, and Kwamain Mitchell, who scored 10 of his 12 points in the second half. The Billikens have now won a record four games against Top 25 opponents this season, having also beaten No. 24 VCU, who is second in the A10, just a week ago today.
Butler has now lost all six of its games to opponents who were unranked at the time of the matchup, despite earning big wins against North Carolina, Indiana and Gonzaga. The Bulldogs will next take on VCU Saturday, with the winner poised to take over the second spot in the conference.
Ohio State takes down Michigan State in Columbus
Since securing the No. 4 ranking in the nation last Monday, Tom Izzo’s Michigan State Spartans have lost two in a row after dropping a heartbreaker to No. 18 Ohio State on the road Sunday, 68-60.
Another double-digit scoring night for freshman guard Gary Harris and a 12-point, 15-rebound performance from junior forward Adreian Payne was not enough to overcome the Buckeyes, who, led by junior guard Aaron Craft, are executing as well as any veteran-dominated team right now. Craft scored a career-high 21 points in the game, with Big 10 scoring leader Deshaun Thomas chipping in 14 of his own despite a lackluster 4-of-16 shooting night.
The Big 10 rankings are now as tight as ever, with No. 1 Indiana comfortably in the lead with a 12-2 record in the conference. The next four teams, including both OSU and MSU, are separated by just one full game with a little over two weeks left of play before tournament season begins.
The Spartans will return to the court Sunday in Ann Arbor, Mich. against a Michigan team they handily beat 75-52 on Feb. 12, while the Buckeyes prep for Tom Crean’s Hoosiers, who they will play a week from tonight.