A Pair of Upsets. Of course, the big news tonight were the upsets of #4 Oklahoma and #9 Purdue at the hands of unranked Arkansas and Illinois, respectively.
- Illinois 71, Purdue 67 (OT). The Big 10 is looking stronger and stronger now that the likes of Minnesota, Ohio St., Michigan and Illinois are all approaching conference season with respectable resumes. Illinois laid waste to Missouri last week, but tonight they laid claim to further legitimacy with an upset of the Boilermakers at Mackey Arena, breaking Purdue’s 16-game winning streak there. How are they doing it? A Bruce Weber staple – defense. The Illini have the ninth most efficient defensive team in America, and they held Purdue to 38% shooting and stars E’Twaun Moore and Robbie Hummel to a mere 24 pts tonight. Brand new guard Alex Legion contributed 12/5 off the bench for the Illini.
- Arkansas 96, Oklahoma 88. We’re not sure what to make of this game, but Arkansas is now sitting at 10-1 after running out to a dominating 25-point lead over a top five team who arguably has the best player in the country on its roster. That player, Blake Griffin, had 21/13 in this game, but he was outplayed by the Razorback combination of Michael Washington (24/11) and Marcus Monk (12/6) in a game that OU coach Jeff Capel described as one where “talent matters.” Oklahoma made a huge second-half comeback, pulling within 4 pts a couple of times behind Willie Warren’s 35 pts and seven threes, but Arkansas was able to hang on for the biggest upset win of John Pelphrey’s two years in Fayetteville.
Other Scores of Very Quick Intrigue.
- Houston 80, Massachusetts 54. My, how long ago that UMass victory at Kansas seems.
- Coppin St. 59, George Washington 53. A one-win MEAC team defeating a 6-5 A10 team is a major upset. Way to go, GW.
- Bethune-Cookman 55, Savannah St. 29. What a weird score, and Savannah St. was at home!
- Vermont 84, Colorado 59. The Big 12 school in Boulder is singlehandedly trying to destroy the cred of its conference in Hawaii.
- Wake Forest 83, Radford 61. The Deacs woke up in the mid-second half to outscore Radford 36-13 the rest of the way.
- Syracuse 100, Seton Hall 76. Andy Rautins dropped seven threes as the Orange rolled in their first Big East game this year.
- Butler 72, UAB 68. UAB really should be a good team, but they simply have no depth, which is why Butler rallied from 11 down at halftime to win this one.
- Dayton 66, George Mason 62. Another second-half comeback by a midwestern mid-major home team.
- Clemson 98, South Carolina 87. Is Clemson for real this year? It’s still tough to say for certain, but this win (along with @ Illinois) makes us think there might just be some legitimacy here.
- San Diego 64, Mississippi St. 61 (OT). It’s probably too little, too late, for the Toreros as an at-large this year.
- Southern Miss 78, Ole Miss 59. Ok, so the SEC West wasn’t perfect tonight.
- BYU 74, Tulsa 68. This was a classic trap game on the road for the Cougars, and they passed, with a top ten ACC team (Wake) coming to Provo on Saturday.
On Tap Wednesday (all times EST). There are several good games, including an ESPN NYE marathon that RTC previewed here. So while you’re planning on how you’ll blow last week’s paycheck on overpriced bottle service in a club where you don’t even belong, watch some games!