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:
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.