Disturbances In The Force
(St. Louis, MO) – Something strange happened on the way to another ‘status quo’ week in the college basketball. Nationally, the top two ranked teams lost on the same day for the first time in 10 years. The top teams in the Missouri Valley and Ohio Valley conferences both lost and even in the NAIA there were some massive upsets.
Not since 2006 had the nation’s top two ranked teams lost on the same day, but Kansas State Head Coach Bruce Weber (formerly of Southern Illinois Carbondale) was so sure his Kansas State Wildcats would knock off No. 1 Oklahoma, that he had his team practice what to do when the fans stormed he court at Bramlage Coliseum. Of course after the 80-69 victory, in a very weird week, Wildcat fans stayed off the court.
No. 2 North Carolina lost to Notre Dame when the Tarheels couldn’t grab an offensive rebound and the Fighting Irish scored 19 second half points. This game shouldn’t have surprised us. Mike Brey’s team has won six of its last seven against North Carolina and Duke.
Missouri Valley Conference
It was odd enough that Bradley earned its second conference win of the season against what looked to be a surging Indiana State team, and goofy that a Loyola team that had won one road game all season would win at Southern Illinois, but when Illinois State upset # 21 Wichita State, snapping the Shockers’ 12 game winning streak, well, it was practically a ‘man bites dog’ kind of Saturday in the MVC.
Wichita State was winning its Valley games by an average of 18 points per game, but couldn’t make a 3-point shot and the Redbirds did the unthinkable and out rebounded the Shockers. Guard Paris Lee outplayed all-American guards Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker scoring 19 points to their COMBINED 17. Earlier in the week, league officials and ESPN had announced that when these two teams match up on February 27th it would be the four-letter-network’s featured game. Clearly the sequel will be worth watching.
Ohio Valley Conference
Belmont lost a conference game at home. That is not a typographical error. The annual conference champion, dropped their first home conference game since January 6, 2012, ending a national best 35-game conference game home winning streak. Rick Byrd’s team fell into a virtual tie for the OVC East Division title when they lost to Eastern Kentucky 88-78.
NAIA’s American Midwest Conference
We should have known something weird was in the air when Thursday night’s NAIA results started coming in. Two nationally ranked teams, and one receiving votes in the national poll in the American Midwest Conference were playing on the road against (record-wise) inferior teams. All three lost.
No. 3 Columbia (22-3) dropped a one point decision at Lendenwood-Belleveille (11-13) by the score of 69-68, while # 15 Park was losing by eight points at Williams Baptist (11-7). William Woods was receiving votes, but was edged at Hannibal-LaGrange (5-15).
The calendar says February and that means every night college basketball anomalies can and do occur.