There is chaos at the top of the polls. No more unbeaten teams. Isn’t it a little early in the season for that? Oh well.
Duke and Michigan both suffered their first loss of the season this weekend. Elston Turner scored 40 points at Rupp Arena -- against Kentucky. Doug McDermott scored 39 for Creighton. The Missouri Valley looks tough at the top. And we’ve got a gripe with the Cousy Award committee.
Here are five things we learned this weekend:
We started the week with four undefeated teams in college basketball. Wyoming (14-1) lost to Boise State on Wednesday. The next night, then-No. 4 Arizona (we warned you they had been playing with fire) was knocked off in a Pac-12 road game at Oregon.
That left No. 1 Duke and No. 2 Michigan as the only unbeaten heading into the weekend, and since both teams had dangerous conference games on the road, guess what?
Kent Benson, Scott May and the rest of the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers can break out the champagne again. College basketball hasn’t had a team run the table since the Hoosiers finished 32-0 that year. We didn’t expect it to happen this year and the task seems to get tougher every season. Kentucky couldn’t do it last year. UNLV got to the Final Four unscathed in 1991 before losing.
Duke lost at North Carolina State on Saturday, and the Blue Devils appear to be a weaker team with Ryan Kelly injured. Fortunately for Duke, the ankle injury to Seth Curry does not seem serious or coach Mike Krzyzewski would need to do some cosmetic surgery on the Devils.
And don’t worry about Michigan. The Wolverines got off to a slow start at Ohio State, rallied and still almost won. Trey Burke’s potential go-ahead three-pointer in the final seconds seemed to be going down, then came out of the basket, and Ohio State ultimately held on for a 56-53 victory.
Previously No. 3 Louisville jumped to the top of the polls on Monday, hours before the Cardinals were to play against surprising Connecticut at the XL Center in Hartford. Duke fell to No. 3, Michigan to No. 5 and Arizona to No. 7.
Elston Turner's huge day for Texas A&M led to a rare home loss for Kentucky.
Elston Turner's Rupp moment
Texas A&M guard Elston Turner and his Aggies teammates proved it is possible for a Southeastern Conference team to come into Rupp Arena and beat one of coach John Calipari’s Kentucky teams.
It’s pretty rare, so Turner better take time to smell the roses. Why wouldn’t he? He not only dropped 40 points on the Wildcats, he did it in the building where Calipari had never lost a conference game. Make Calipari 24-1 now at Rupp in SEC games since he became coach in 2009-10.
Turner hit 14-of-19 shots and went 6-for-10 from three-point range as A&M stunned Kentucky 83-71 on Saturday. Kentucky fell to 10-5 overall and 1-1 in the SEC. The Wildcats were lucky to escape with a 60-58 win at Vanderbilt two days earlier.
SEC standings = Bizarro World
It’s only two games into the conference season in the SEC, but somebody needs to take a screen shot. There are five teams tied at the top with 2-0 records -- but Kentucky and Missouri are not among those five.
No. 10 Florida is right there and the Gators still appear to be the team to beat at this point. But what’s up with Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Auburn and Mississippi State sharing the top spot with Florida? We already told you what Texas A&M did to Kentucky. Missouri lost at Ole Miss 64-49. That tells you how much the Tigers miss leading scorer Laurence Bowers, who has a sprained MCL in his right knee. Ole Miss fans started chanting “Big 12 rejects” during the game Ouch.
Auburn has wins over LSU and South Carolina. Mississippi State has SEC wins over South Carolina and Georgia after going 5-7 in non-conference games. Frank Martin’s first season as coach at South Carolina (10-5, 0-2) isn’t going well so far.
Check out Ken Davis' latest college basketball power rankings at FOXSports.com.
Missouri Valley is tough at the top
Call the Missouri Valley a mid-major conference if you want, but the top half of the conference is strong. We’re not just talking about Creighton, which obviously is a major program playing in a mid-major. Beyond the Bluejays, Wichita State has been a top 25 team this season and Sunday the Shockers lost their first conference game, falling to 4-1 in the Valley and 15-2 overall.
The loss came at Evansville (11-6, 4-1), a team that began the season with a 58-49 loss at Notre Dame and had other non-conference losses to Murray State and Butler. Wichita State has had injury problems all season. Forward Carl Hall (13.9 ppg, 7.6 rpg) broke his right thumb in practice in mid-December. The Shockers had won six straight without him until Sunday. Forward Cleanthony Early, who had 39 points against Southern Illinois on Wednesday, fouled out with only 16 points against Evansville.
And keep an eye on Indiana State (10-6, 3-2), a good team that will pull an upset or two in conference play.
By the way, Creighton All-America forward Doug McDermott scored 39 Friday as the Bluejays crushed Missouri State 74-52. “I was just in a zone,” he said. Isn’t he always?
Cousy Award committee snubbed Napier
Shabazz Napier has certainly been playing like one of the 20 best point guards in the country.
Connecticut point guard Shabazz Napier was on the list of candidates for the 2013 Bob Cousy Collegiate Point Guard of the Year Award that was released in December. Napier was not on the list of 20 finalists released on Thursday. That’s kind of hard to believe.
Napier shares the ball-handling duties with Ryan Boatright on a 12-3 UConn team that upset Notre Dame Saturday and beat Michigan State in the season opener. UConn coach Kevin Ollie has two guys who can handle the ball, push the tempo and defend. So he uses them both.
Hopefully, neither is being penalized. Napier leads the Huskies in scoring (17.5), is second in rebounding (4.5), second in assists (60), first in steals (33) and is UConn’s top three-point shooter (40.3 percent) and free-throw shooter (83.1 percent) among players with more than 15 attempts. At Notre Dame on Saturday, when the Huskies won 65-58, Napier led UConn with 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting, made 3-of-5 from three-point range, had five rebounds, four assists and one steal in 39 minutes.
We’re not saying he’s the best point guard in the nation, but with those numbers he’s got to be in the top 20. Last year, the Cousy committee took Tyshawn Taylor of Kansas off the list of candidates at this point in the season, but put him back on the list of finalists. If this is a trend, it’s a bad one.