Wednesday night in college basketball had plenty of twists. One of the sport’s longest conference losing streaks ended, Purdue decimated another top-25 opponent at home and Butler secured an important Big East home win thanks to the heroics of senior guard Kamar Baldwin.
1. Vanderbilt snaps 26-game SEC losing streak with upset win
The streak is finally over.
During a week in which athletic director Malcolm Turner parted ways with the program after only one year at the helm, Vanderbilt notched its first SEC win in almost two seasons with a 99-90 home upset of No. 18 LSU.
Winless in the SEC last season, this is Vanderbilt’s first conference win since a road win at Ole Miss (March 3, 2018).
Saben Lee (33 points) and Maxwell Evans (31 points) both had big nights to pace the Commodores. Vanderbilt shot 57 percent (35-for-61) from the floor and had little issue scoring on an LSU team that was previously unbeaten in SEC play.
This win isn’t going to salvage head coach Jerry Stackhouse’s first season. Vanderbilt still has worlds to go before they become regularly competitive in the SEC. Knocking off the undefeated conference leader is a major step in the right direction. During a week (and a season) in which the Commodores could have easily called it quits and went winless in league play for a second straight year, Vanderbilt earned one of the more unlikely upsets of the past few weeks.
Vanderbilt’s upset win isn’t quite on par with Stephen F. Austin beating Duke at Cameron or Evansville upsetting Kentucky at Rupp. But it might amount to at least the feel-good conference upset of the season.
2. Purdue claims another blowout home win over No. 17 Iowa
Purdue earned a blowout win over No. 17 Iowa on Wednesday night with a decisive 104-68 Big Ten home victory.
Shooting a ridiculous 19-for-34 from three-point range, the Boilermakers scored 61 points in the first half and never looked back. Following an impressive comeback road win to close out Northwestern over the weekend, Purdue continued a strong stretch to improve to 6-6 in Big Ten play.
Senior forward Evan Boudreaux was 4-for-6 from three-point range to pace the Boilermakers with 18 points. Boudreaux was one of five Purdue players to score at least 13 points in the balanced effort.
Walk-ons were subbed in with over four minutes left. Broadcasters wondered, “where has this team been all year!?” Purdue generally looked like a team that should be in the top 25 with the way they played on Wednesday night.
But the question still remains after another blowout home win: is Purdue a legitimate threat going forward? Or are they just really good at home?
We’ve seen the Boilermakers run past quality teams at home plenty of times this season. Purdue already has 29-point home wins over Virginia and Michigan State. Wisconsin fell victim in West Lafayette by 19 points a few weeks ago. Iowa is just the latest in a string of blowout home wins for Matt Painter’s crew.
So, while Purdue deserves credit for another decisive Q1 home win, it remains to be seen if this win can help them establish a consistent presence away from home. Only 2-5 in true road games this season — with underwhelming wins against Ohio and Northwestern — Purdue will get a major road test on Saturday when they face Indiana. Rivalry matchups on the road are always a giant test. We’ll see if Purdue can sustain the recent momentum in Bloomington to earn its biggest road win of the season.
3. Kamar Baldwin’s buzzer-beater lifts Butler past Villanova
The night’s only matchup between top-25 teams ended in dramatic fashion.
Kamar Baldwin calmly buried a stepback three to lift No. 19 Butler over No. 10 Villanova for an important Big East win.
With the victory, Butler moves within a game of the Wildcats for second place in the conference. The middle of the pack remains crowded in the Big East. This is also the type of home win the Bulldogs needed if they want any chance at a Big East regular-season title.