BOZICH: The Five Biggest Upsets In College Hoops This Season
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Another day, another court storm. Somewhere you can find players dancing on a press table.
By my count, seven teams ranked among the top dozen in the current Associated Press college basketball poll have already been beaten this week – and we still have some delightful matchups to come on Saturday and Sunday.
Before I could go to sleep Thursday evening, I had to update this post to credit Virginia for undressing No. 3 Duke, 73-68. Let's not forget to salute Tennessee-Martin for winning at Murray State as a 19 1/2 point underdog.
Am I forgetting somebody? Probably. Too much craziness to remember them all.
Gonzaga, you survived BYU. You're Number One. But you're on the clock.
That sent me to the videotape with this question:
What are the five biggest upsets in college basketball this season?
We could debate this for hours. Days. Weeks. You get the picture.
I decided to tighten the criteria. I limited the discussion to conference games. There are a lengthy list of candidates – and the contenders grow every day. Ask the Michigan Wolverines about the their lonely trip to Penn State. Or Indiana about its difficult visit to Tubbyville. Or Coach K ... (just don't mention the court-storming).
Here are my top five. But the floor is certainly open for debate:
5. Southern Cal 89, Arizona 78, Feb. 27.
Intimidation Factor: Barely Level 2. USC announced a crowd of 4,207, only 41 percent capacity in the lovely Galen Center. The Trojans draw larger crowds than that to watch Matt Barkley take out his mouthpiece.
Pomeroy Meter: Ken Pomeroy calculates a win probability for every Division I basketball game. For some reason, the formula gave the Trojans a 30 percent chance to win this game. Considering USC lost at Arizona by 24, that seemed generous to me.
Odds Are: The Men of Troy were 7 1/2-point underdogs. But let's be honest: Arizona fancies itself a Final Four contender. USC isn't certain why it has a basketball program.
Why It Happened: The Trojans made 61 percent of their two-point attempts. They also hit 6 of 10 three-pointers and outrebounded Arizona by 11. Bingo. Oh, and Lane Kiffin hired a couple of assistant coaches to his sinking program. Kiffin is still the football coach, isn't he?
Why It Shocked Me: USC fired Kevin O'Neill as its head coach Jan. 14 – and with good reason. The Trojans were 7-10 when O'Neill got the ziggy with losses to UC-Irvine, Nebraska and Georgia. I thought they had packed it in. Wrong. Evidently, O.J. Mayo is walking through that door.
4. Wake Forest 80, Miami 65, Feb. 23
Intimidation Factor: Level 8. Wake Forest isn't as gaga about basketball as the Demon Deacons were when Tim Duncan was in town, but the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum seats more than 14,407 and the place was more than 83 percent full. Basketball matters at Wake. And it should. I don't care how well Frank Haith recruited, there's no reason for Miami to have a better program than Wake.
Pomeroy Meter: The computer formula gave Wake Forest a 14 percent win probability -- and that's in front of the home folks.
Odds Are: Another home dog -- also by 7 1/2.
Why It Happened: The Hurricanes defense slipped into Sleep Mode. Wake made nearly 53 percent of its two-point shots and hit 7 of 12 three-point shots. That's not The Miami Way -- if Miami has a way. Maybe only Butler does.
Why It Shocked Us: Miami had won its first 13 ACC games, dusting off Duke, North Carolina and Virginia -- everybody but the Heat, really. Wake has been talking about a coaching change -- and it should.
3. USF 61, Georgetown 58, Jan. 19.
Intimidation Factor: Level 4. The refurbished Sun Dome seats 10,411, the place was more than 40 percent empty. Not much reason for the Hoyas to suffer real paranoia about that.
Pomeroy Meter: Don't ask me to explain it, but Pomeroy's numbers gave USF a 40 percent win probability. It was early in conference play. Maybe the Bulls were still getting extra credit for the way they finished last season. If they played again, I'm guessing the number would be closer to 14 percent. In fact, the probability of the Bulls winning their final road game at Cincinnati is 8 percent.
Odds Are: You don't have to be Otto Porter to believe that Hoyas by 3 1/2 sounds really, really ridiculous today.
Why It Happened: The Bulls took care of the basketball. They turned it over five times. Georgetown threw it away 15 times. That 10-possession gap is all the Bulls needed to turn the Big East upside down -- for one night.
Why It Shocked Us: The Hoyas have not lost another Big East game, winning 10 straight. The Bulls have not won another Big East game, losing 10 straight. This one makes less sense every day. If you know the answer, please share.
2. Penn State 84, Michigan 78, Feb. 27
Intimidation Factor: Level 3. The Nittany Lions announced a crowd of 8,892. I watched a chunk of that game, and I'd like to have the folks who counted that crowd count the money in my change jar. Even with that generous accounting, the place was still more than 41 percent empty. That's why I love Penn State in the Big Ten -- basketball fever.
Pomeroy Meter: Penn State had a little better shot than New Albany High School – 9 percent – but not much.
Odds Are: You got 13 if you took Penn State, and you were sure you needed every one of them.
Why It Happened: Penn State launched 20 three-point shots and made half of them. The last time I saw John Beilein he was still screaming at his defenders. And he should have been.
Why It Shocked Us: Penn State had lost 19 consecutive games against Big Ten opponents, including all 14 this season. It seems like the Wolverines were ranked Number One about 15 minutes ago. Weren't they?
1. TCU 62, Kansas 55, Feb. 6
Intimidation Factor: Level 7.5. The Daniel-Meyer Coliseum was rocking with 7,412 fans, more than 200 over listed capacity. That sounds daunting, but it was still TCU basketball. I'm guessing Kansas had plenty of support.
Pomeroy Meter: Before the game, this was barely above forfeit level. The Horned Frogs were given a 3 percent win probability. One, two, three.
Odds Are: Rock Chalk -- Jayhawks by 17.
Why It Happened: I'm surprised the Big 12 didn't drug test the Jayhawks after the first half. Bill Self's team threw in 3 of 22 shots, falling behind 22-13. Paul Pierce was seen hiding his eyes.
Why It Shocked Us: The Horned Frogs have played 14 other conference games and really haven't come close to winning any of them. In fact, TCU has lost its last six games by an average of more than 19 points. The Horned Frogs' win probability in their final three games is 28, 2 and 9.
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