It was a fairly quiet week on the upset front, which means there are many more lurking in the shadows ready to pounce this week. For the surprises this past week, though, the favorites must start to bounce back quickly as we enter the stretch runs in conference play come February.
Gone are the dog days of December when an ugly loss could almost be forgotten by the time March arrives. For the teams that got an unexpected blemish like Iowa State’s curious loss to Texas Tech, the ship must be righted immediately. Here are the teams that suffered blows this week and what it means for each moving forward.
I’ll admit it. I was on the “Dayton may not lose again this regular season” bandwagon. And then they played those pesky Davidson Wildcats who always seem to have something up their sleeve this time of year. Dayton was run out of the building by a hot-shooting team at home, but the bigger concern was the Flyers’ ball security. Sixteen turnovers made their equally strong shooting night for naught.
They bounced back with a win over Richmond, so this team is still a fringe top-25 squad, but a bevy of turnovers in a tournament game could mean a quicker exit than expected in the Big Dance.
The Pirates are a tough team to grasp. The week after beating Villanova and Creighton, they’ve now lost three straight to Butler, DePaul, and again to Butler. It’s almost panic time.
At 13-6, the Pirates have some quality wins, but those are cancelled out by the bad losses in both the Big East and the non-conference slate. The loss to DePaul was telling of the entire January slide as a whole as Seton Hall took sixteen three pointers, making only one. If the Pirates keep relying on the three so heavily, the upsets are bound to keep coming.
It’s hard to call a Big 10 loss for the Hawkeyes an upset, but the loss to Purdue on Saturday was a bad one. What it means longer term, though, is a little tougher to judge. Iowa had just come off a blowout loss to Wisconsin, and the game against Purdue was simply a dismal shooting performance.
The Hawkeyes shot 32 percent from the floor and on top of that were in foul trouble from the opening minute on. The game against Wisconsin on Saturday will tell us which way Iowa will go after the bad loss.
This was the shocker of the week as the Cyclones fell to lowly Texas Tech on the road. They allowed the Red Raiders to get to the free throw line at will and took 31 three pointers. Yes, 31 three pointers.
Tournament teams: you live by the three, you die by the three. If there’s a trend in the upsets the past week its that teams have decided that poor shooting nights will get better if you step behind the arc. That’s simple not true most of the time. Teams like the Cyclones best be on the lookout when the tournament format comes around.