That was fun. Following an entertaining Saturday highlighted by Clemson’s upset win over Duke (made possible by a ridiculously one-sided second half in which the Tigers clobbered Coach K’s Dukies), things really got nutty yesterday. Iowa took down Ohio State in Columbus, Washington whipped Colorado, Stanford stunned Oregon, and struggling Northwestern knocked off Illinois. In today’s post, we’ll look at each of the upsets and what the results mean for the teams involved.
Iowa 84, Ohio State 74
Iowa was somewhat of a ticking time bomb. The Hawkeyes took Villanova to overtime in November, came three points short of an upset of Iowa State in December, and nearly beat Wisconsin in Madison a week ago. Eventually, they were going to knock off an elite team. Things crystallized for Iowa yesterday, as Fran McCaffery’s Hawkeyes put on an offensive show, scoring 84 points against the defensively formidable Buckeyes. At this point, Iowa looks like a legitimate contender for a Big Ten Title. The same can still absolutely be said of the Buckeyes, but Thad Matta’s team has now lost two straight (OSU came up short last Tuesday at Michigan State). Chalk it up to life in the Big Ten.
Washington 71, Colorado 54
A couple of months ago Washington was a mess. The Huskies couldn’t stop anybody–in back to back November losses in Madison Square Garden, Washington gave up 102 points to Indiana and then 89 points to Boston College. Lorenzo Ramar’s team has come a long way, and yesterday they pounded a Colorado team which entered the day ranked 15th in the nation. The Buffaloes were shut down offensively, shooting only 35% and making only one three. Meanwhile, C.J. Wilcox drained SEVEN treys for the Huskies, who are now 3-1 in Pac-12 play. It was Colorado’s first conference loss, but more could be coming with games against UCLA and Arizona on tap over the next couple of weeks.
Stanford 82, Oregon 80
After winning their first 13 games, Oregon is experiencing some turbulence. The loss to Stanford was the Ducks’ third straight and their second straight disheartening home loss (the first came at the hands of Cal). It is fair to blame Oregon’s defense for the mini-slump; they’ve given up a dreadful 278 points over their last three games (that’s 93 per). But give Stanford a lot of credit. They once again proved capable road warriors and limited themselves to just seven turnovers. Guard Anthony Brown was extremely efficient, finishing with 24 points on 12 shots. Oregon is now 1-3 in Pac-12 play while Stanford is 1-2. Both teams have some work to do.
Northwestern 49, Illinois 43
For the offensively challenged Wildcats to win games, they have to play great defense. They did that last night and got a major boost from a pair of rims that were quite unfriendly to the Fighting Illini, be it on long threes or put back dunks. Illinois finished the night with a putrid 28% field goal percentage, many missed put backs, and marginal production from star guard Rayvonte Rice. It was the second straight loss for an Illini team than ran into a buzz saw at Wisconsin on January 8th. For Northwestern, it was their first Big Ten win under rookie coach Chris Collins and a bright spot in what has been a season short on good moments. They celebrated accordingly.
Will tonight bring another round of upsets? Second ranked Syracuse will be on the road at Boston College and a win for BC would, well, be quite the upset indeed. Perhaps a more likely could-be shocker is Duke’s date with underdog Virginia in Cameron Indoor tonight. The Cavaliers have been balling of late (just ask FSU, Wake Forest, or NC State) while Duke has hit a bit of a rough patch.