Madness came relatively early this year, with the top-ranked team falling last night in stunning fashion. Soon fans and analysts will learn to stop pretending to have it all figured out, because in college hoops, no one does. It’s what makes college basketball such a unique and entertaining product. This is only November, as surely we are in store for plenty more chaos. Here’s 3 things you need to know from Tuesday’s games:
Kentucky Suffers Historic Loss to Evansville
The Wildcats fell to the Purple Aces last night 67-64 in one of the more epic upsets in recent memory. ESPN’s BPI gave Evansville just a 4% chance to win in Rupp Arena. And it’s not as if Kentucky lost to a blueblood or even an inferior SEC program at that. They lost to a team picked to finish eighth in the Missouri Valley Conference at home as 25-point favorites.
Evansville, who is coached by former Wildcat Walter McCarty, was led by K.J. Riley (18 points, four rebounds) and Sam Cunliffe (17 points, six rebounds). Immanuel Quickley and Tyrese Maxey were the only Wildcats to reach double-figures with 16 and 15 points, respectively. John Calipari’s squad will be fine down the road and will probably run the table in the SEC. But right now, his team has serious issues. Those are mainly on-ball defense, poor rebounding and their lack of offensive production from guys not named Maxey and Quickley. The ‘Cats still have plenty of time to figure things out though, as they usually tend to do under Coach Cal.
James Wiseman Posts Quiet Double-Double in Loss
The projected number one overall pick in June’s NBA Draft put up 14 points and 12 boards in the loss to Oregon. Looking at the box score, he was pretty impressive, going 5/8 from the field in just 22 minutes of action. At times he looked like a freshman, but his size and explosiveness for being such a big dude is unique. He also has a feathery, left-handed touch from mid-range.
Shakur Juiston posted a double-double of his own for the Ducks, with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Payton Pritchard’s dagger three with just over a minute left sealed the win for Dana Altman’s team.
Memphis still plays Ole Miss, Tennessee and Georgia in the non-conference before AAC play. It will be interesting to see how Wiseman’s situation with the NCAA will be handled, and whether the Tigers will be slapped with a postseason ban for playing the freshman phenom. Regardless, Memphis will be a force to be reckoned with in the American.
Michigan, Coach Howard Pass First Test
In the first true “test” for the Wolverines and newly-titled head coach Juwan Howard, Zavier Simpson engineered a stellar performance (17 points, nine assists, three rebounds) in the win over Creighton. Isaiah Livers led the team in scoring with 22 points on 4/7 shooting from beyond the arc. Senior Jon Teske chipped in 17 points and seven rebounds, as well.
While talent on this year’s roster was never a question, many doubted how successful Howard would be as a collegiate head coach. Tuesday night’s win should’ve shown that won’t be an issue this season. The Wolverines travel to Louisville on December 3 for the annual ACC/B1G Challenge.
Other Key Results/Performances:
- #21 Xavier survives Missouri in OT, 63-58
- #22 Auburn edges South Alabama 70-69 with last-second layup
- Wagner’s Curtis Cobb III drops 40 points in win vs Wesley
- Georgia’s Anthony Edwards scored 29 points in win vs The Citadel
- Minnesota drops to 1-2 with 64-56 loss at Butler
- Miami beats UCF 79-70 in Orlando
- Tennessee storms back from 9-pt halftime deficit, beats Murray State 83-62
- Seattle’s Myles Carter had 37 points and 15 boards in win vs Pacific Oregon
- California edged UNLV 79-75 in OT
- Oklahoma beat Oregon State in Portland 77-69