We knew before this weekend that UCLA was a mess. A 78-69 loss to San Diego State on Saturday just reinforced that or made it more obvious. Not sure which. But we will stop attacking the Bruins for a while. There’s plenty of material. Kentucky’s 55-game home winning streak ended. And Florida State lost to Mercer (seriously).
Of course, the saddest story of the weekend was the death of former Utah and Saint Louis head coach Rick Majerus at the age of 64. It doesn't feel appropriate to add him to this list, but his legacy is certainly not forgotten.
1. No more sleeping on Virginia Tech and Erick Green
Virginia Tech was picked to finish 10th in the ACC, but the Hokies are 7-0 after an 81-71 victory over a previously undefeated Oklahoma State team Saturday in Blacksburg, Va. The last time the Hokies were 7-0 was the 1982-83 season. By beating the No. 15 Cowboys, Tech picked up its first non-conference win over a ranked team since 1995 against Virginia at the Roanoke Coliseum.
New coach James Johnson is off to an amazing start and so is senior guard Erick Green, who is averaging 24.9 points per game. He had 28 Saturday, including eight crucial free throws in the final 76 seconds of the game, despite playing only 26 minutes because of early foul trouble.
“He’s one of the best guards in the country, one of the best point guards in the country, bar none,” said Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford, whose Cowboys have lost to Tech four times over the last three seasons. Earlier in the week, the Hokies defeated Iowa 95-79 in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.
“I think people were sleeping on us because of the coaching change and because of the players that left,” said Green, who is Tech’s only notable senior.
2. Florida State, what’s up with that?
This is almost too much to believe. But after a complete investigation (reading the game story on three different Internet sites), it seems this result is real: Mercer 61, Florida State 56. Yes, Mercer of the Atlantic Sun Conference. This game was Sunday in Tallahassee, home of the defending ACC champions. The last time Mercer (4-4) defeated Florida State was 1954, but the Bears did defeat ACC member Georgia Tech last season.
“We’ve got a group of veteran kids who believe what they can do together at a high level,” Mercer coach Bob Hoffman said.
And FSU coach Leonard Hamilton has a team that is 4-3 after back-to-back losses at home (first was to Minnesota).
Nerlens Noel and Kentucky's new group of freshman aren't finding the same success as last year's crop.
“We’ve got a long way to go,” Hamilton said.
No. 6 Florida is next on Wednesday -- in Tallahassee.
3. Kentucky has to push the reset button
Coach Cal’s team lost to Baylor Saturday, 64-55. That’s a big deal -- the Wildcats are now out of the AP top 25 for the first time in Calipari's tenure. But it gets bigger. Now Kentucky has a two-game losing streak, and the defeat ended a 55-game winning streak at home.
Yeah, this happened at Rupp Arena. Pretty wild, huh? The Wildcats are 4-3. They’ve already lost more games this season than all of last season. They shot 30 percent, their lowest ever under John Calipari.
“That’s what happens when you have a bunch of freshmen out there,” Calipari said.
Wait a minute, I thought Kentucky had a bunch of freshmen last season too. Where did they go?
And Baylor leaves you scratching your head too. The Bears are in a lose-win mode. The Bears lost to Colorado, beat St. John’s, lost to College of Charleston and then beat Kentucky. Northwestern is next for Scott Drew’s team.
4. Cincinnati plays good defense
In fact, the Bearcats (7-0) might have the best defense in the country. Don’t take my word. Listen to Alabama coach Anthony Grant, after a 58-56 loss to Cincinnati on Saturday. First, Grant has a lot of respect for Bearcats coach Mick Cronin.
“I think he does a great job with this team,” Grant said. “When you look at the program that he’s been able to build since he’s been here I think he’s got his footprints and his staple on the program. I also think when you look at it, they’re the best defensive team in the country right now with what they’ve done and they’re an explosive basketball team. He’s got a deep basketball team and I think they’re going to be really, really good.”
Check out Ken Davis' latest college basketball power rankings at FOXSports.com.
Cincinnati forced 16 Alabama turnovers, including 10 in the first half.
5. Drexel couldn’t be more disappointing
About a month ago, I picked Drexel to win the Colonial Conference and go to the NCAA tournament. The Dragons will dominate their conference, I wrote. Could still happen, I suppose. But a 75-66 loss to Rider on Saturday dropped Drexel to 2-5.
The Dragons opened the season with consecutive overtime losses to Kent State and Illinois State. They beat Penn but then fell to Saint Mary’s (by 12) and Xavier (by four). There are some tough opponents there, but Bruiser Flint’s team has four starters back from last year’s 29-7 season. We expected better.
The good news for Drexel? Every team in the Colonial already has at least three losses.
Information from Associated Press reports was included in this report.