That’s Debatable: Upset WeekendPosted by rtmsf on January 12th, 2010
Each week RTC will posit a That’s Debatable question or topic that is relevant to the world of college basketball. Sometimes whimsical, sometimes serious, we’ll post the thoughts from our core editing crew (in 200 words or less), but we’ll also be expanding to include our contributors and correspondents as appropriate throughout the season. We also invite you, the readers, to join us as we mull over some of the questions facing the game today. Feel free to send us your takes and/or leave them in the comments below.
This Week’s Topic: It was Upset Weekend in college basketball, as more than half the ranked teams took a loss. What was your favorite part of the weekend?
nvr1983 – editor/contributor
Without question the best part of the weekend was watching depleted Tennessee “shock the world” on Sunday afternoon against #1 Kansas while most of the country was focused in on the awful NFL wildcard games (ok, the Green Bay-Buzzsaw game was pretty entertaining). Although Tennessee has managed to continue to disgrace itself (first Lane Kiffin’s football players now Bruce Pearl’s carful of idiots) the university can take some pride in Bruce Pearl’s six scholarship players and the handful of walk-ons that did suit up and play. While the upset showed us some of Kansas’s weaknesses that most people saw in their narrow victory at home over Cornell, the game was more important for what it showed us about the Volunteers, which may be an appropriate name for a team using so many walk-ons. Right now there might not be a more difficult to read team in the nation. And isn’t that part of what we love about college sports?
john stevens – editor/contributor
Are you kidding me with this? My favorite part of the weekend? Did you not read about how I met Ashley Judd while on my assignment in Lexington for Kentucky/Georgia? Please. The woman shook my hand, looked me straight in the eye and spoke to me. What, you expected me to write something about Tennessee/Kansas? Get over yourself. Fine, if you need more of a basketball answer, for me the best part of Upset Weekend was playing the waiting game. Weekends like the one we just had occur once or maybe twice in a season. One of the coolest things about it is wondering what the next upset’s going to be as you move through the day. After a couple of early ones, you start wondering if you might have a true Upset Weekend on your hands, and then it happens. Teams just start falling, one after the other, in exciting games that often have incredible finishes. The trend spreads across the country like a virus and, as the upsets get bigger, the phone calls and text messages and tweets from friends and fellow hoop-lovers really start cranking up. That’s why this version of Upset Weekend was special: it ended with the biggest surprise of them all, with everyone watching. Hmmm. I wonder if Ashley enjoyed Upset Weekend…
zach hayes – editor/contributor
Other than Tennessee taking down #1 Kansas while getting a huge chunk of minutes from three walk-ons (which I’m sure will be the popular answer), I’d have to go with Austin Freeman’s 28 points in the 2nd half to lead Georgetown to an enormous comeback home win against Connecticut. In some ways, Freeman’s heroic performance may have saved the season for the Hoyas, even at this early date. Fall to UConn in blowout fashion, as it appeared Georgetown would do in the opening frame, and the questions begin. Was the glamorous non-conference record just another mirage, similar to a season ago when this same Hoya roster reached the top 10 before collapsing to a 16-15 finish? Remember, Georgetown already fell on Wednesday at Marquette, and a defeat at the hands of rival UConn would send John Thompson’s team to 2-2 in the Big East with pressure mounting. Austin Freeman’s breakout party in D.C. was my favorite part of the weekend, the way in which the 6’4 junior from DeMatha calmly drained big shot after big shot in a win that may catapult Georgetown to greater heights.
rtmsf – editor/contributor
I’m a pretty simple-minded guy, so I like shiny objects and loud noises. And dunks. I really like dunks, especially when they involve an offensive player crushing one over a bigger defender. So my favorite parts of Upset Weekend were a couple of SEC throwdowns that resurrected the Ghost of Hollywood Robinson in their ferocity and awe. The first came on Saturday in Lexington, as the heavy underdog Georgia Bulldogs stood toe to toe withe John Calipari’s talented Wildcat team. Toe to toe, that is, until 6’4 guard Travis Leslie found himself on the break with nobody between himself and the rim other than the 6’10, 260-lb manchild known as UK’s DeMarcus Cousins. Then it was more like toe to face. Leslie elevated one step inside the SEC marker in the paint and came down somewhere near Hopkinsville, throwing a vicious dunk down that we’ll be seeing for the rest of this year. Cousins is still looking for the spot on the floor where he became someone’s poster. Down at Tennessee, in a much-talked about upset (see above), UT’s Scotty Hopson drove baseline and met Kansas behemoth and all-american Cole Aldrich at the rim. Result: Hopson hanging on said rim, and Aldrich peeling orange rinds off of his forehead. Both of these dunks were representative of the underdog tenacity and aggressiveness that we love to see during conference play, and we hope to see more weekends like last several times this season.