It was only fitting that the end of Wednesday was capped off by one of the biggest upsets in college basketball history. TCU, who hadn't even come close to winning a conference game in their first eight tries with the Big 12, beat consensus 1 seed Kansas around 11:20PM eastern, ending a couple of days of huge upsets. Florida was beaten badly Tuesday by an Arkansas team who had an RPI of 100+. Wichita State continued their slide by losing to an awful Southern Illinois squad. Earlier Wednesday, 4 seed Cincinnati lost to a bad Providence team. 20-3 Creighton was obliterated by an Indiana State fighting for an at-large. UNLV lost (again) to a team they shouldn't be losing to. To try to make sense of all of this insanity, here are some notes and analysis from this week.
Rock Chalk Brick Hawks
If you were expecting consistency from anyone this season, Kansas should have been the team to look to. The loss to Oklahoma State is understandable. The Cowboys are playing better as the season progresses and may end up contending for a Big 12 title. But TCU? Wow. What is happening to the Jayhawks? For starters, Elijah Johnson has hurt this team this week. His shooting has dropped off from last season, which is fine. It happens to a lot of good players. You can make up for it in other ways. But instead of deferring to a surging Ben McLemore, he's putting up even more shots. And missing more, going 6-26 for the field in their last two games. And turning the ball over more (he's averaged four turnovers over the past five games). And getting into foul trouble (he fouled out last night). I would say Bill Self should shave his minutes slightly, but reserve Nadiir Tharpe is playing just as poorly and beyond that there just isn't much (any) depth at guard. If these kinds of performances keep happening in the back court, the Jayhawks will be ripe for a 2nd round upset against a mid-major team with elite guard play (Belmont, anyone?).
Yes, Indiana State has a few blemishes on their resume this season, but who on the bubble doesn't? The four losses to RPI 100+ teams aside, the quality wins are really starting to stack up for the Sycamores. They've beaten Ole Miss, Miami, Wichita State, and Creighton, all of whom would be at-large teams if the season ended today. As Miami continues to surge to the 2-3 seed range, this makes Indiana State's resume all the more impressive. When comparing other bubble teams with big wins and bad losses, one thing should stick out that separates ISU from the likes of Virginia, Villanova, and Air Force: three of their four key wins have come away from Terre Haute. If they can simply beat the teams they should beat for the remaining six games of the MVC schedule, I don't see any way they can be left out come selection Sunday.
Thursday Bracket Updates
- Kansas falls to the 2 line. Indiana replaces them as the 1 seed in the South Region.
- After beating Creighton, Indiana State moves out of the "last four in" category.
- Cincinnati, Creighton and UNLV all dropped a seed line after Wednesdays losses.
- After reevaluating Minnesota's resume, they were moved to a 5 seed despite Wednesday's loss to Michigan State. Due to bracket procedures, they had to be bumped up one seed line to a 4.
- Belmont was bumped down one seed line to an 11 due to bracket procedures, but they are still a 10 seed on my S-Curve.
- Ole Miss moves from an 11 to a 10 after last nights road win at Georgia
Key games to watch on Thursday
- Indiana at Illinois
- Clemson at Virginia
- Belmont at Murray State
- NC State at Duke
- Missouri at Texas A&M
- Washington at UCLA
- Maryland at Virginia Tech
- Cal at Arizona State
- Colorado at Oregon
- Pepperdine at Gonzaga
* Teams with at-large/seeding implications in bold
Growing up outside of Richmond, Virginia in the heart of ACC Country, college hoops was set into the fabric of Rusty Tutton at an early age. A 2008 graduate of VCU, he lives in the Fan District of Richmond and works full-time in higher education.