To say this season of college basketball has been full of surprises would be an understatement. #2 Arizona shocked everyone by dropping three games to inferior teams during the Battle 4 Atlantis. This string of losses resulted in them dropping from a second ranked team to out of the Top 25 entirely. But most people just assumed this was a fluke. To see the downward spiral of a powerhouse team in such a short span of time is not a common occurrence. Fans of the sport thought they had seen their share of upsets for the foreseeable future. No one predicted that they would witness one of the most shocking weeks of play less than a month later.
Monday, December 4
#5 Florida 66 – Florida State Seminoles 83
The Florida Gators hosted in-state rivals Florida State in an ACC/SEC battle for supremacy. Florida St. is coming off one of their best seasons in recent years – finishing with a #16 ranking in the AP Poll and landing a 3 seed in the NCAA tournament. After losing several key pieces from last year’s roster such as Dwayne Bacon and All-American Jonathan Isaac, the Seminoles are not receiving a the same level of respect they are accustomed to. That will soon change with the unranked ‘Noles easily handing #5 Florida their second loss of the year in a seventeen point win in Gainesville.
Tuesday, December 5
#9 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 77 – Ball State Cardinals 80
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are looking like the best chance for a team to take the ACC title from Duke. Going into this game, the Irish only have one loss to #3 Michigan St. On top of that the Irish have a win over consensus AAC favorites Wichita St. on their resume. In no way should they lose a buy game to a team such as Ball State. Thanks to a last second game-winner by Tayler Parson’s, that is exactly what happened.
Wednesday, December 6
#2 Kansas Jayhawks 65 – Washington Huskies 84
Rock-Chalk Jayhawk is no more. As Kansas walks into this game on a seven game winning streak, there is little that should shake their confidence. Bill Self is arguably the best coach in the country. Facing a Washington team that comes into this season with an almost entirely new coaching staff should be a breeze. Well as the Jayhawks would learn, shooting 25% from 3 and turning the ball over 14 times is not how you win a basketball game. This should be a nice confidence booster for a rebuilding Huskies program.
#5 Florida Gators 59 – Loyola-Chicago Ramblers 65
The Gators are looking to redeem themselves after being embarrassed at home on Monday. A buy game to a mid-major MVC team is the perfect way to get your mojo back. This game however proved to be more demoralizing than anyone would have thought. Florida dropped their second game at home in three days. That is not good. With little interior offense, the Gators live and die by the three. Unfortunately for them, this is one of those death days. Florida shot just over 10% from behind the arc. While the AP poll has yet to be released at the time I am writing this article, I will be surprised if they are still ranked by the end of the day.
Saturday, December 9
#1 Duke Blue Devils 84 – Boston College Eagles 89
I usually do not find joy in another team’s misery….unless that team is Duke. Everyone loves when an underdog takes down the champ. When the champ happens to be Duke and the underdog is an ACC basement team, the upset is that much sweeter. Duke really did not play all that bad aside from shooting 26% from 3. When your opponent is shooting lights out from everywhere on the floor however, it is going to be difficult to win. Good for BC and the ACC. For the time being, I’ll just leave this here.
Sunday, December 10
#2 Kansas Jayhawks 85 – #16 Arizona State Sun Devils 95
Kansas has not lost back to back home games since 1989. Yes, only one loss came at Allen Fieldhouse but the schedule does claim the Sprint Center as a home court so we’ll just run with it to save the narrative. ASU is by no means a bad team. Bobby Hurley is doing wonders with that roster this season. Going undefeated into this matchup was promising, but to defeat the second best team in the country on their home floor solidifies the Sun Devils as a contender with the best. It will be interesting to see where ASU ends up in this week’s AP Poll. Anything outside of the top 10 will be blasphemous.
College Basketball is in full swing and I could not be happier. If this past week is any indication of what the rest of the year will bring then we are in for a hell of a season. The polls are in absolute chaos which also brings a smile to my face. The tournament is still a long way from now but I think it is in everyone’s interest to strap in and enjoy the ride.