Is carnage too strong a word to use to describe amateur athletics results? No. NO. A Thousand Times, NO!
And carnage it was; a veritable explosion of carnagey things exploded onto the national mindgrapes this weekend. Ranked team after ranked team losing, except for the ones that weren't or didn't.
I watched alot of the games from this weekend, and a good chunk of them were super entertaining, and some of them were horrific blowouts and/or embarassments for ranked teams.
Jesus! Jesus! --Let's start with (#8) Marquette's embarrassing Friday night loss to the University of South Florida, on the strength of Jesus Verdejo's 22 points. I didn't see that game, because what network in its right mind would show a game so obviously destined to be a blowout? Of course, it turned out to be a nailbiter with the USF
Orange Pickers, Epcots Bulls winning by one point, 57-56, giving them their 3rd win in the Big East, putting them right up there with powerhouses Notre Dame, and [sigh] Georgetown. Marquette can credit the USF Bull defense for their below 17% shooting from behind the 3-point line, but that doesn't explain going 10-23 from the charity stripe. If they could have managed 50% at the line, the laws of mathematics strongly suggest a win from the Eagles.
Seminal Seminoles -- Sticking with Florida teams who upset someone better than them, Florida State came back on a Clemson (#10) team that probably thought they had the game in hand, and took a win from a Clemson team that is trying to prove that they aren't all about cupcakes and freaky rivalry wins. Giving up a 19-point lead to Florida State is not the way to do that. Did you know that the 3rd leading scorer in the ACC this year is F State's Toney Douglas? Neither did I. They also have a guy named Solomon Alabi, who is going into my mental list of cool college basketball names.
Devils Trump Will Smith Love -- Miami almost, almost knocked off Duke tonight, but couldn't quite do it. That said--Duke looked all sorts of out of sorts, and if they are planning on relying on Greg Paulus to win them games (as they did tonight) then they should be worried. Bobby Knight talked tonight about how Duke seems to be a team that doesn't deal with an aggressive, physical team very well. I'd start looking for aggressive, pressure-defenses in the Missouri Valley Conference that could beat Duke now, and maybe win your workplace pool come March (because you know Duke isn't getting anything below a 3 seed.)
Professor X, Back in the Wheelchair --We are not done with the bottom half of the Top 10 losing. Everyone's favorite non-dark horse dark horse, Xavier, got beat in the A-10, as had to happen. But to Duquesne? Duquesne? (I'm not expressing shock--I'm just having trouble spelling Duquesne.) Out of the all the recaps I've linked to so far, I really have to recommend Alan Robinson's recap of this game. He throws out a number of crazy statistics about how unlikely this win was. My favorite--Duquesne did not have a field goal over the last 7:44 of the game. And WON. Given that Xavier has lost to Duke and Butler, but has achieved enough to be in the Top 10, this game leads to big questions about A-10 berths in March. It is the type of loss that the NCAA committee will use to give a very good team a very bad seed (say "Hello" to a #5 seed, Xavier)
Husk That Corn, Bitches -- Texas lost to Nebraska, for its 3rd straight loss. Time to stop talking about the Longhorns.
Can't Get Defense From an Orange -- Villanova pissed all over Syracuse, scoring 102 points, and winning by 17. Both of these teams are ranked in the Top 25. One of them, apparently, should not be. Before the Big East season started, I would have said that team was Villanova. I was wrong. Hilariously, Coach & Bespectacled Ferret Jim Boeheim blamed Syracuse's loss on their offense, and not their defense. Bad idea, coach. (Quick moment here: I was watching another game where the commentators were talking about this game, and one of the guys kept pronouncing Syracuse as "Sarah Hughes"--incorrect. It is Sear-A-Kuse. C'mon fellas. Listen to your Diction for TV teachers.) I should also mention that I don't think either of these teams are all that great, and could be knocked off by an unheralded Big 12 or Mid Major team.
Jason King Is a Joker -- Back in November, Yahoo Sport's Jason King said this: "No. 2 Connecticut, No. 3 Louisville and No. 4 Pittsburgh...right now, Notre Dame is better than all of them." It was laughable then. It is fucking hilarious now. #15 UCLA became the 7th straight team to beat Notre Dame, and they did so easily, winning by 26. No one will be surprised when Notre Dame loses in the First Round...of the NIT. Awww, SNAP! [Update: Jason King still has a job at Yahoo Sports, apparently]
Other stuff: UConn won a game against Michigan that was super entertaining--watch out for Michigan as soon as next year, as coach Beilein gets recruits who play his system well (remember that crazy West Virginia team with Kevin Pittsnogle and Mike Gansey? Imagine that system with NBA quality guys). Memphis DESTROYED Gonzaga. I watched that one, and couldn't believe how shoddy the vaunted Gonzaga defense looked against the Tigers. Tyreke Evans might be the best freshman in the country, but I know he can be forced into bad decisions. Memphis is not as unbeatable as this result suggests. Gonzaga is that easily beat. Don't hitch your horse to that Pacific Northwest, mushroom munchin' pony. Oklahoma, the quietest Top 3 team in recent memory, survived a scare from Colorado. I have talked to friends who follow College Basketball, who have yet to see Blake Griffin play this year. He reminds me of Karl Malone, if Karl Malone weren't a dick; he reminds me of Tyler Hansborough, if Tyler had coordination; he's the best big man in the game.