The Hell Week of College Hoops

11 Feb

We have all heard about “Hell Week” when college students pledge a fraternity.  Well the week of February 4-10 was pretty much hell week for anyone ranked in the top 25.  Over the past seven days there were a total of 20 games and 14 different teams in the top 25 that suffered a defeat.

Here is how the crazy week that was shook out.

On Monday, #9 Syracuse handed #25 Notre Dame a 63-47 loss ending a two-game skid.

Tuesday saw the first shocking upsets of the week and two top teams in the country go down.  First #3 Michigan needed overtime to beat #10 Ohio State 76-74.  That was followed up by a shocking beat down in Fayetteville as Arkansas took out #2 Florida 80-69 in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score indicates.

Hump Day had a quartet of ranked teams take a fall, including one of the biggest upsets not only of the year but in recent memory.  #5 Kansas, holder of the Big 12 crown for eight years running traveled to Fort Worth to take on TCU.  The Horned Frogs were 0-8 in the conference and two years removed from a 1-15 Big 12 season.  The outcome should have been a foregone conclusion, except someone forgot to inform TCU.  TCU left with a stunning 62-55 win for the ages.  #12 Michigan State went into the Barn in Minnesota and knocked off the Gophers 61-50 for a hard-to-come by Big Ten road win.  In the Big East, Providence shut down #17 Cincinnati for a 54-50 win.  Finally in the Missouri Valley Indiana State is slowly entering the conversation for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.  They hosted #16 Creighton and just over a week after knocking off then #15 Wichita State they routed the Bluejays 76-57, making the MVC race even more interesting.

Thursday saw the #1 team in the country Indiana go down at the hands of a faltering Illinois 74-72 as they failed to cover Tyler Griffey on an inbounds play, leading to the game-winning layup at the buzzer making Indiana the fifth straight #1 team to go down.  In the SEC Texas A&M stuck again, a little less than a month after going into Rupp Arena and beating Kentucky they hosted #21 Missouri and pulled a 70-68 upset.  Out west #19 Oregon had struggled offensively since losing freshman point guard Dominic Artis to injury.  The Ducks had lost two straight before welcoming Colorado to town.  The offensive woes continued as they fell to the Buffaloes 48-47.

Saturday had the biggest slate of games and a half dozen ranked teams stumble.  The day began with Michigan’s Tim Hardaway, Jr. and Wisconsin’s Ben Brust exchanging clutch jumpers as the Badgers knocked off the #3 Wolverines 65-62 in overtime.  Three other teams suffered their second loss of the week as Creighton was beaten by MVC disappointment Illinois State75-72.  Cincinnati was taken out by #23 Pittsburgh 62-52 and for the second time in four days Kansas was knocked off on the road, this time by the surging Oklahoma Sooners 72-66.  To finish up the day UNLV got a much needed win as it tries to right itself in the Mountain West beating #15 New Mexico 64-55.  Then there was this little game between #12 Louisville and #25 Notre Dame, Louisville had an eight point lead with 54 seconds left, and then Jerian Grant arrived, scoring 12 straight points for the Irish sending the game into overtime.  The game went on and on and on into five overtimes before Notre Dame prevailed 104-101, thanks in part to rarely used Garrick Sherman who finished with 17 points and six rebounds despite not entering the game until overtime.

The week finished up with four top 25 games and three of them lost, and the other #4 Duke barely escaped Boston College by a point.  Indiana bounced back from the loss at Illinois by defeating Ohio State 81-68. Illinois finished off its big week by shutting down Minnesota 57-53 and in the last top 25 game of the week #7 Arizona were unable to stop the California back court of Justin Cobbs and Allen Crabbe who combined for 52 points in a 77-69 win.

For weeks the number 1 team in the polls had struggled to stay on top and last week it finally trickled down to the rest of the poll.  In the aftermath of “Hell Week” of college hoops the pledge class was cut by more than half as only 11 of the pledgees came out unscathed.

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