This past weekend of NCAA Men’s Basketball can be summed up in one word: shocking! Not one, not two, but three AP Top-5 teams went down over the course of a couple of days, leaving the likes of Wisconsin, Louisville and Duke licking their wounds as they head into a new week. Let this installment of the College Campus Tour begin.
Coming into Saturday’s showdown against UNC, Louisville was the nation’s No. 5 ranked team. They left Chapel Hill, North Carolina with their second loss of the season. The Cardinals held a 13-point lead with under nine minutes to go and attempted to cling to a one-point advantage with mere seconds left in regulation. However, Coach Rick Pitino’s squad let an ACC victory slip away when Tar Heels point guard Marcus Paige drove the lane and hit a game-winning layup with 8.5 ticks left on the clock. “It stings as much as any game I’ve coached,” declared Pitino after the disheartening defeat.
Literally moving approximately 30 miles to the southeast, Raleigh, North Carolina was the site of the weekend’s next major upset. The Wolfpack of North Carolina State came into Sunday’s bout with a fairly impressive 11-5 record and wins in two of their first three conference games. Few if any, however, thought they would knock No. 2 Duke from the ranks of the unbeaten, especially in the convincing manner in which they went about doing so. Led by 21 points on the back of a season-high five treys from junior guard Trevor Lacey, N.C. State gave the Blue Devils a sound 87-75 punch to the gut.
Traveling up the Atlantic Coast, the location for Sunday evening’s surprise outcome was Piscataway, New Jersey, where Rutgers came out of virtually nowhere to mount the biggest upset in school history over No. 4 Wisconsin by a final of 67-62. The Scarlet Knights were bolstered by a 21-point performance from senior Myles Mack to go with a 20-point surge from big man Kadeem Jack. Needless to say, the fan base went into an absolute frenzy after the tremendous accomplishment.
In the Badgers’ defense, they were going to battle without leading scorer and rebounder Frank Kaminsky. Nevertheless, those who wish to contend for a national championship have to find ways to win regardless of the adversity they are facing. Simply put, Wisconsin failed the stress test versus Rutgers.