College Hoops Recap: Duke and Michigan Lose

Every Monday I write a recap of the previous weekend’s college basketball action for the CBS Charlotte website. You can find links to this content on the freelance page of my website. This week’s article can be found by clicking the following link:

Five Things: NC State Takes Down Duke & Calipari Has His First SEC Home Loss

Here are some observations that didn’t make it into the CBS column:

N.C State hands Duke its first loss

“Unbelievable! Did you see that?!” Dick Vitale utters those phrases all the time while calling a basketball game, but on Saturday he used them after spotting someone in a wheelchair among the mass of fans storming the court after North Carolina State upset Duke. “My heart goes out, I hope he’s OK,” Vitale added.

As it turns out, he is. His name is Will Privette and he’s a senior at N.C. State. In an interview with USA Today, he shares the details from what he calls “the dumbest thing I’ve done in college.” Privette talks about how N.C. State’s star player saved his life after he was thrown from his wheelchair amid the chaos:

C.J. Leslie was in the middle (of the crowd) and he saw me. I knew him from being around campus. He pushed everyone back and told everyone, “Get back, get back.” Once everyone moved and realized what was going on, he picked me up and I’ve described it as like how you’d hold a baby. Once I realized I wasn’t in trouble any more, I started to scream, like “Wooooo! Let’s go!” C.J. held me for a little bit because we lost my wheelchair in the sea of people. He held me for a couple of minutes. I was screaming and yelling.

This reminded me of the female student who rushed the field on crutches when Baylor beat Oklahoma in football last season.

As far as the game itself, Duke’s Mason Plumlee is a beast. He stuffed the stat sheet in the loss—15 points, 11 rebounds, four steals, and two blocks—while displaying an array of post moves and taking it strong to the hoop. Many fans were hesitant to give him credit, probably because he plays for Duke and was easily confused with his older brother, Miles, the past few years, but he’s having a great senior season. The youngest Plumlee brother, Marshall, saw a few minutes of action on Saturday as well. If my family has taught me anything, it’s that when it comes to hoops, the middle son is the most talented.

Michigan, the last unbeaten, goes down

It would have been great for Michigan to beat Ohio State on Sunday and take over the No. 1 spot in the polls, but the impressive comeback after an atrocious start was just as important. Teams with championship aspirations can’t get blown out, and Michigan made sure that didn’t happen. However, the “hero ball” in the closing minutes was disappointing.

Michigan fell to No. 5 in the polls, though as we know these things don’t matter like they do in football. They resemble the football rankings, however, in that they often don’t make sense. Louisville took over as No. 1 mostly because their loss was longer ago than a bunch of the other one-loss teams’ losses. The Cardinals have some nice wins, but Duke’s resume is superior and the Blue Devils beat Louisville on a neutral court in November.

Kentucky drops SEC home opener

Is Kentucky in danger of joining Florida and North Carolina, two schools that recently failed to make the NCAA Tournament the year after winning it? It’s still too early to say, but perhaps UK fans are starting to realize how spoiled they’ve been under John Calipari. Freshmen often take time to grow—and sometimes it takes not just part of a season but an entire year. I think this group will get better and I would guess they’ll make the dance, but maybe this is Calipari’s first class that isn’t immediately ready for the NBA.

Mountain West hoops

Allow me to use this opportunity to link to Jamaal Franklin’s dunk from last week. Let me also say that if you’re not watching Mountain West basketball, you’re missing out. Just because it’s not on ESPN doesn’t mean it’s not happening. If you get CBS College Sports Network, tune in Wednesday night for UNLV at San Diego State; it should be a good one.

Leave a comment

5 Comments

  1. Chris Sanders

     /  January 15, 2013 at 11:22 am

    “It would have been great for Michigan to beat Ohio State on Sunday and take over the No. 1 spot in the polls, but the impressive comeback after an atrocious start was just as important.” This seems like a bit of a homer statement. Just as important? I think they came out very flat for a big road game. It’s possible that was due to being the presumptive #1 in the polls or that they were playing in a tough road arena or maybe it was just bad luck. Regardless of the reason I’m not a believer in the idea of a “good loss” in a situation like this as anything more than rationalization.

    Reply
    • Fair point. I was thinking about UNC’s 33-point loss to FSU last year. After that game I could write off the Tar Heels as national championship contenders. You can point to Michigan coming out flat but the bottom line is they lost by 3 on the road to a very good team. That is worse than winning, but it’s not a major cause for concern. Michigan was not going to go undefeated so it’s easy to look at road games against the conference’s other top teams as potential losses.

      Reply
  2. Chris Sanders

     /  January 15, 2013 at 11:42 am

    Since the undefeated teams are now all gone, do you think the two winless teams left, Grambling and Maryland Eastern Shore, will win any games in 2013?

    Reply
    • Interesting question. Ken Pomeroy tackles this issue and actually thinks there is a good chance Grambling goes winless! He says they have a 57% chance of not winning a game this season. They have been getting crushed this season. Pomeroy gives Maryland-Eastern Shore just a 3% chance of going winless. Saturday is a big day for both teams. Grambling plays Jackson State (1-14, 0-6) at home and Maryland ES plays Delaware State at home, a team it lost to by “only” 10 earlier this season. So to answer your question, I do think Maryland ES will win a game this season; if Grambling loses by a fair amount on Saturday, I would predict they’d go winless.

      Reply
  3. Oldest Brother

     /  January 15, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    “If my family has taught me anything, it’s that when it comes to hoops, the middle son is the most talented.” — that statement is comical. As for the two defeated teams, both play in terrible conferences so I would guess they’d each pick up a win at some point, but maybe not.

    Reply

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