KENT, Oh. -- Just a reminder that you have until Friday morning at 7-ish Eastern time to enter the Mid-Majority ARRRGH essay contest. We did the great NCAA moments during Finals Week, now it's time to recall the most frustrating mid-major collapse, defeat, buzzer-beating dropped decision you can think of. One-point loss in the NCAA Tournament? Blown 30-point lead? Missed free throws? The choice is yours. Just go about 100-200 words and, as sports journalists are always asking players, "describe how it felt." Drop your masterpiece in the feedback form,
and we'll announce the winner on Monday.
The reward is the most rare prize in all of Hoops Nation, a stuffed Bally
that says "Boing" when you bounce him. You'll be one of only, like, 10 people to have one. So enter now!
Today's Boubacar is brought to you by the letter W and the number 4 ('cause that's how many upsets there were last night). Wofford.
Quick, name all 11 teams in the Southern Conference! Whenever I'm challenged to do this, I always forget Wofford. Not that I can be blamed for that. Since joining the SoCon out of the independent ranks 10 years ago, the Terriers have done virtually nothing to distinguish themselves. No winning records, no seasons with more than 14 wins, never an RPI better than 216.
Until last night, that is. Before 7,500 fans and an ESPNU audience in the hundreds, Wofford spoiled Purdue's second tilt in the Las Vegas Classic by defeating the Big Ten Boilermakers 69-66
. The Terriers (5-4, 1-1) scored the last six points of the game, sending the tiny school from Spartansburg, S.C. to its first road win of the season, first win over a Big Ten school, and only its third win over a power-conference squad in its history (Cincinnati last year, Auburn in 2004).
The best part of this is Wofford's game story
, which calmly recounts the bare-bones details of the game, forgets about Shane Nichols' game-winning layup with 2.1 seconds to go or the intercepted Hail Mary that led to the icy-ice free throw, and makes no mention of the fact that Wofford fans should totally go crazy right now
. But that's what champions do -- act like they've been there a thousand times before. Love it. Wichita State.
Gregg Marshall hasn't had the easiest time with his new Valley charges, starting out 5-4 and having trouble finding good shooting, perimeter defense and forced turnovers. They came into a back-end of a home-and-home with LSU on a two-game slide, having lost to plucky Texas-Arlington and at lucky UMKC. Fans at the Roundhouse were asked to perform a yellow-out last night, but you wouldn't blame them for feeling a little blue.
But the Shockers fought their way to a 27-20 halftime lead, and Coach Marshall must have provided the best halftime jolt since the Nutty Professor gave out Flubber sneakers. LSU managed just 23 points in the second half, and Wichita opened the throttle with a frightening 15-4 run that put the game out of reach. It was Marshall's 200th win, so he gets a painted basketball out of it, and the wide 67-47
spread far eclipsed the piddling four points
that WSU won by last year in this matchup. Take that, Turgeon! Wolf Pack.
Nevada is finally coming around after a slow start, and a large part of that might be all the home cooking they're getting. After starting the year with four of six on the road (2-4), they've achieved a four-game win streak at the friendly confines of the Lawlor Events Center and built a 6-4 overall mark. Last night's victim was MWC entrant Colorado State, and the victimizer was senior Marcellus Kemp, who scored 28 points and got to the line a lot (11-for-13 FT).
Colorado State is remarkably awful (losses to directionals North Dakota State and Northern Colorado... maybe non-D1 Western State has a chance next week), and this was an upset in conference terms only. And the Rams had won the previous three meetings back in the Nineties, so there's something in that. But we'll say it again: if $18 million (CSU's athletic budget) can't buy you a good basketball team, don't come crying to us. Leon Williams, Ohio.
We know he's unstoppable inside, but he's pretty good outside of the continental U.S. as well. Last night at the Rainbow Classic, the Bobcats' 6-8 senior notched his fourth double-double (24 and 10) at the expense of Saint John's, who, last time we checked, is in the Big East. Williams is now averaging a double-double for the year with 16.7 ppg and 10.1 rpg, making him one of only 19 players in America to achieve double digits in both stats.
It was a crazy ending -- 18 combined points were scored in the final 30 seconds to bring the final to 71-69
, Ohio. The game-winning play was a W-to-W connection: relative newcomer Bubba Walther heaved a fullcourt lob to Williams
, who laid it in to make the O-Zone say O-Yeah.
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