Talk about a week full of upsets in college basketball! We witnessed 7 of the top 10 ranked teams fall this week shaking up not only the discussion for number one seed contenders come March Madness, but also the top 10 rankings in general. Kansas, Ohio State, Texas, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Georgetown, and Wisconsin fell this week/weekend. It should be real interesting to see how the top 10 pans out in the rankings tomorrow!
The Purdue Boilermakers are playing some great basketball right now. They have won 7 of their last 9 games with 4 of those wins coming against ranked opponents. In their last 4, they have won a hard fought rivalry game against their in-state rival Indiana Hoosiers, traveled to Champaign and beat an Illinois team who is incredibly tough to beat on their home floor, and in a span of 4 days, upset #10 Wisconsin and #3 Ohio State. This Purdue team is loaded with experience. 4 of their starting 5 are upperclassmen. I wouldn’t sleep on talented and experienced Purdue come tournament time. Boil Up!
Two weeks ago, the Connecticut Huskies were 17-2 and ranked in the top 5 of every major NCAA basketball poll. However, as of late the Huskies are in a slump. They are 3-4 in their last 7 games and are now in danger of falling out of the top 25. UCONN relies heavily on their all star Kemba Walker and if teams are able to shut him down, the Huskies really struggle. Granted, Connecticut does play in the Big East (arguably the best conference in basketball) and are bound to lose some tough games; the Huskies need to turn it around quickly to strengthen their case for a solid seed come tournament time.
THE WEEKLY SHOCKER
In a week full of major upsets, the one that was shocking to me was the Kansas Jayhawks falling to unranked Kansas State. This game was played just hours after Kansas was ranked #1 in the nation. Call it the curse of being #1 if you want, but a Kansas State team who was a dismal 4-6 in Big 12 play prior to this game completely handed it to the Jayhawks, beating them by 16. Kansas State senior guard Jacob Pullen put on a show. He scored a career high 38 points leading his team past their hated rivals and creating a mob scene on the court when the final buzzer sounded.
MY TOP PERFORMER
As I just mentioned, Jacob Pullen of Kansas State was unbelievable Monday night propelling his team past the #1 Kansas Jayhawks. However, Purdue’s senior guard E’Twaun Moore was just as good, if not even better. On Sunday, E’Twaun took over the #3 Ohio State vs. #11 Purdue game with his hot shooting and pure athleticism. Moore tallied a career high 38 points, hitting 7 three pointers, while making some other acrobatic shots that had Ohio State shaking their heads in disbelief. E’Twaun also added 4 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals in an all around stellar performance.
A couple weeks ago I picked Nebraska at home to upset the Kansas Jayhawks. Well, it looks like I was a couple weeks early on the Huskers, as they pulled off a shocker Saturday defeating the #2 Texas Longhorns 70-67. That being said, I am still 0 for 1 on my upset pick as Kansas did run away with it and defeated the Huskers by 20 (in my defense, it was a 4 point game with 12 minutes to go in the second half!).
This week I’m going to put the Arizona Wildcats on upset alert as they head to UCLA on Saturday. UCLA is 19-7 overall with a PAC 10 record of 10-3. Not only would a win over Arizona move them within a half game of 1st place in the conference, it would strengthen their March Madness resume greatly giving them a signature win. Expect the Bruins to be fired up and ready to go Saturday.
What to Watch For
There are a couple games I would highly recommend tuning in for this week. First, there is an intriguing matchup Wednesday as the #25 Temple Owls travel to #5 Duke. Temple has a lot of doubters, but they believe they can play with anyone. They have already beat Georgetown, Maryland, and Georgia this year, and have a couple tough losses such as Villanova by only 4, and Texas A&M by only 3. Let’s see if the Owls come out Wednesday night with something to prove.
The other game which is very intriguing is #8 BYU at #6 San Diego State on Saturday. Both these teams could potentially end up being number 1 or 2 seeds in the March Madness Tournament. San Diego State (27-1, 12-1 MWC) may be the most athletic team in college basketball and match up well with every team they play. On the other hand, BYU (25-2, 11-1 MWC) is lead by the nation’s leading scorer Jimmer Fredette (27.2 ppg) and the Cougars average 83 points per game which ranks 8th in the country. This matchup could give many fans an idea of how far these two “mid-majors” (if you will), could go in their bracket come March.