Normally Upset Alert picks upsets over an entire week, but this weekend is so full of juicy matchups that we have plenty to choose from over the next few days.
Top-10 teams will be road warriors on Saturday and Sunday as Duke, Villanova, Notre Dame, Wisconsin, and Utah all make difficult trips. A road loss by the Blue Devils, who fell to Notre Dame this week, would hardly be an upset. The others? Well, you’ll just have to read on.
Here are four teams that need to be on Upset Alert this weekend as they play in very losable contests.
No. 8 Notre Dame
The Fighting Irish had one of the biggest wins of the season this week with the victory over Duke, and Jerian Grant has to be a Wooden Award frontrunner. If Notre Dame can take down unranked Pittsburgh, it will likely jump into the top 5. That being said, a Jamie Dixon team at home is still a Jamie Dixon team at home.
It’s an age old theory, but it’s tough to follow up an emotional win at home, especially against a well-coached team on the road. The Irish’s four-guard offense is effective and fun to watch, but Pitt has a bruiser down low in Michael Young who can take advantage of the lack of frontcourt size he’ll face. The luck may very well run out on Saturday.
No. 5 Wisconsin
I know what you’re saying. The Badgers dismantled the Hawkeyes just ten days ago by a score of 82-50. Not that much can change in less than a week and a half. But this is college basketball, and two teams can play two totally different 40-minute contests the second time around, and we see it at least once every year.
Iowa let a road win slip away from it against an underrated Purdue team and fell out of the top 25, but the Hawkeyes aren’t done for yet. They can rebound with anybody and don’t beat themselves with turnovers or bad shots. Anything less than a workman-like performance from the Badgers on the road could spell trouble.
No. 7 Villanova
Villanova plays a .500 Depaul team on Saturday. Has Upset Alert gone mad? Probably. But that’s more because we are just 45 days from Selection Sunday. I’m still of the belief that the real Depaul team is the one that started Big East play 5-2 and not the one that couldn’t buy wins in the non-conference and lost two straight this past week.
Playing on the road is especially brutal in the Big East given how strong the middle of the pack is this season. The Blue Demons are back home against Villanova, though, and the Wildcats have already shown the capacity to turn in a dud like they did last week against Georgetown. Depaul pulls off the shocker and gets back over .500 on the season.
No. 11 Utah
Believe it or not, they play basketball in the west outside of Gonzaga, Arizona, and Utah. In fact, USC and Colorado played a phenomenal game in the wee hours of Thursday night with the Trojans falling in triple-overtime. USC hosts Utah as the losers of five-straight games, but, believe it or not, it’s improved in each of those games. The Trojans have had a better shooting percentage and won the rebounding battle in four of their last five games. Keep that up and a win is bound to happen at some point.
USC isn’t a bad team. It’s just on the verge of being decent and hasn’t gotten a break yet. That changes on Sunday with an upset win at home.