One of the reasons why most of us love sports is the sheer uncertainty of what every season holds. I mean, who could have possibly predicted the Carolina Panthers of the NFL to progress from a mediocre unit to a 15-1 team this past season? This mercurial nature of sports holds no less true in this current college basketball season, riddled with numerous upsets and no teams emerging as truly dominant.
For starters, five teams ranked number 1 have lost prior to February. The last time this happened, the year was 1949, when the NCAA comprised of 8 teams and Loomis was years away from even its 50th anniversary. Southern Methodist University, the only remaining undefeated team, isn’t even eligible to participate in the postseason come springtime because of academic fraud and unethical conduct.
Upsets always prove entertaining to watch. Some of the greatest upsets come on the college basketball court. Recently, 15 teams in the Associated Press (AP) Top 25 have taken the L in the past couple weeks. Just last week, the Georgetown Hoyas (11 wins and 7 losses) handed Xavier their second loss of the season in a thrilling game that would see Georgetown win by 9. Another major upset occurred in the Oklahoma State-No. 3 Kansas matchup. Jawun Evans of State lit up the Jayhawks for 22 points, 8 assists, and 6 rebounds, further making the case for himself as one of the top freshmen in the country. Last but not least, No. 19 ranked Iowa State outlasted No. 1 ranked Oklahoma, with Georges Niang pouring in 22 points, and Abdel Nader and Monte Morris chipping in 20 points apiece for the Cyclones. Keep in mind these upsets occurred in the same week, only scratching the surface of a season that has been, and will be filled with exhilarating underdog victories.
If any team had to come out on top of the AP rankings though, Oklahoma would fit that mold. The Sooners are lead by senior guard Buddy Hield, who is averaging an impressive 26 points and 6 assists a game. At the time of writing, Oklahoma sits at 15-2.
North Carolina comes in a close second. 2nd in the NCAA for points per game, this team has worked well as a unit to generate shots. Marcus Paige, the leader on the floor for the Heels, has been a terrific playmaker in his ability to find open men. Brice Johnson continues to astound, pitching in a 39 point, 23 rebound performance earlier this month against Florida State.
Despite recently winning the NCAA National Championship, Duke has not been having the best season, losing key contributors Jahlil Okafor, Tyus Jones, and Justise Winslow. The defending champs are fresh off of a 3 game losing streak, suffering losses to Clemson, Notre Dame, and Syracuse, all of which are unranked in the AP Top 25. As a result, the Blue Devils have dropped to 20th in the AP rankings. Sophomore guard Grayson Allen has been a bright spot in this somewhat disappointing season, leading the Blue Devils in points (20.1), assists (3.6), and field goal percentage (49.2%).