To give you a sense of how this season is going in college hoops, a top five team lost on Thursday night and it wasn’t even the wildest thing that happened in their conference.
Here are the three things you need to know:
1. I’M NOT THAT WORRIED ABOUT OREGON AFTER THEY LOST AT COLORADO
The No. 4-ranked Ducks went down in Boulder on Thursday night in a game where they never really seemed to get a foothold. Colorado was up eight late in the first half, pushed that lead to 15 midway through the second half and never let Oregon get within a single-possession down the stretch.
I’m chalking this up as one of those things more than an indictment on the Ducks as a whole. There are three reasons for this:
- The Colorado-Utah road trip is the most difficult in the Pac-12, the proof being that Oregon has never beaten Colorado in Boulder. That includes the seasons where Oregon reached the Final Four and the Elite Eight. It’s just a tough place to play.
- Colorado is also a good team. The Buffaloes are borderline top 25, and if they can hold off Oregon State this weekend, they might actually crack the AP poll. Not only were the Buffaloes favored to win in Vegas, they were projected to win by KenPom.
- Oregon entered the night third nationally in three-point shooting. They were 3-for-18 from three. Sometimes shots don’t fall.
2. MICHIGAN STATE IS ROLLING RIGHT NOW
The Spartans jumped all over Illinois in the second half of Thursday night’s game, knocking off the Illini by 20. It is the sixth straight win for the Spartans since they were embarrassed at home by Duke in late November. Their last three wins were of the blowout variety, and one of those three came without Cassius Winston in the lineup. It looks like the Spartans are starting to put it all together and figure some things out.
The timing couldn’t be better, either. The Spartans host archrival Michigan on Sunday afternoon.
3. FRESH OFF OF A LOSS TO FULLERTON, UCLA WENT INTO WASHINGTON AND BEAT THEM
In the weirdest result of the night, UCLA went into Washington and knocked off the Huskies, 66-64. This came just five days after the Bruins lost at home to a Fullerton that had not beaten anyone in the top 300 prior to their win in Pauley Pavilion.
Like I say on Monday, the Bruins actually have some talent on their roster. What they are lacking is buy-in, and this win backed that theory up.
There are two things that are worth noting from this game. For starters, Washington’s Jalen McDaniels fouled out with 16:51 left in the second half. He had just three points and four turnovers and also was whistled for a technical foul after he whipped a ball at a UCLA player while sitting on the bench. That’s not exactly ideal.
The other thing that is worth noting is that freshman Jake Kyman turned out to be UCLA’s zone-buster. He entered Thursday having scored 18 points on the season, shooting 4-for-13 from three. On Thursday night, he had 21 points and shot 7-for-12 from three.