What We Learned: College Basketball is Still King of Upsets

College basketball made its long awaited return from dormancy this past weekend. The last time we saw it, Duke was celebrating a National Championship. Now it’s back and better than ever. College basketball is the king of upsets and this past weekend, it was proved once again.

Upsets Reign Supreme.

The first ranked team to fall was the 17th ranked Wisconsin Badgers. They had a matchup against Western Illinois. On a day they raised the banner commemorating their second straight Final Four appearance, Nigel Hayes had 17 points at the half and seemed on track for an easy win. Then Wisconsin couldn’t buy a shot past halftime. Western Illinois was down 7 at the half then outscored Wisconsin 32-23 to win on the road. Garret Covington of Western Illinois had the clutch moment of the game. With the win in his hands, he walked up to the free throw line with the crowd going absolutely insane and knocked down 2 free throws to put his team up by 2. A lead Wisconsin couldn’t overcome. Bronson Koenig missed a mid-range jumper and the celebration was on in Western Illinois.

Now don’t get me wrong on this one, William & Mary is a good team. They returned a lot of their starters from the conference champion team last year. But nobody expected a team from the CAA to just dismantle a Power 5 team in NC State. It wasn’t even competitive. William & Mary went into PNC Arena and pulled out a 85-68 road victory.

Northern Florida, yes Northern Florida, defeated Illinois 93-81 in a game where Northern Florida made 17 threes to Illinois 5. Illinois could be in for a rough year with the amount of off-season injuries suffered.  But nobody expected them to lose to Northern Florida.

Georgia lost a tough game in OT vs Chattanooga 92-90. Georgia has beaten Chattanooga by 31 the past two years so this was no small upset.

Also, Arizona State fell to Big Sky powerhouse Sacramento State,  Marquette got beat by Belmont, and UCLA drops overtime game at home to Monmouth.

Radford 3

Perhaps the biggest upset of them all took place at the Verizon Center. Georgetown, while not ranked, was thought of as one of the better teams in the nation before this game. Georgetown lost to Radford. For nearly three hours, the game was a chaotic thriller. It didn’t relent until Radford’s Rashun Davis drained a game-winning three-pointer with 0.7 seconds left in the second overtime to lift his team to an 82-80 win in double OT. There were some thoughts that Georgetown was looking forward to their matchup with #3 Maryland on Tuesday. “I don’t think so. I don’t know,” Thompson said. “We’ll go back and we’ll talk about it, but I told this group every single game on the schedule is tough.”

With the Hoyas down late, after a big 3 pointer, Georgetown forced a big turnover on Radford’s Davis. “We were down. We were pressing and had to get up into [Davis], and so he turned it over,” Thompson said. “One of the few mistakes he made the whole night.”

Instead of holding the ball on the following possession, Peak elected to shoot a wide-open three-pointer and missed with nine seconds to go. That set into motion the game-winning three-pointer by Davis, who celebrated by backpedaling past the stunned Georgetown bench.

“They just wanted it more than we did in the moment,” Hayes said, “and it’s just that simple.”

Outside of these crazy upsets nothing unexpected happened this weekend. It was mainly tune-up games for power 5 teams. The real action gets underway this Tuesday, featuring:

  • #8 Oklahoma at Memphis 5 pm ET. ESPN
  • #2 Kentucky vs #5 Duke * 7:30 pm ET. ESPN
  • Georgetown at #3 Maryland 9 pm ET. ESPN2
  • #4 Kansas vs #13 Michigan State * 10 pm ET. ESPN (After the concluding Kentucky/Duke game)

* Neutral Site

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