Top 10 Surprises of the College Basketball Season So Far
Kentucky Wildcats Take a Tumble
We’ve seen the defending champions stumble, a perennial power house tumble and some kid we never heard of get tweets from LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, because he scored 138 points. And it’s just first weekend in December.
As we approach the holiday stretch it’s time to take a look at the top 10 surprises of the college basketball season so far.
Surely the Duke Blue Devils playing well is no surprise. But the way the Blue Devils dominated top five teams has made many question if they and not the Indiana Hoosiers, are the best team in the nation.
More stunning than Duke’s dominance is how shaky the Kentucky Wildcats have looked coming out of the gate. Perhaps we were so used to coach John Calipari just reloading his one-and-done team, that we assumed they would play great. But these freshmen are finding it difficult to gel.
The Georgetown Hoyas weren’t even ranked and were picked to finish fifth in the Big East Conference. After an impressive win over the UCLA Bruins and overtime loss to Indiana the Hoyas are ranked and now considered a sleeper in the Big East.
Speaking of the Big East. Wow, with Pitt and Syracuse announcing their departures, everyone knew the conference was in trouble. But few thought the Big East would implode as swiftly as it did when Notre Dame, then Rutgers and finally Louisville, its top football and basketball program, decided to leave.
The shake up was part of the larger conference realignment madness. Expect more moves before the season ends. But these are the top surprises so far.
No. 10 Illinois Fighting Illini Ignite
With a new coach, this was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the No. 22 Illinois Fighting Illini. But surprise, the Fighting Illini are 8-0 after an impressive win against Georgia Tech.
No. 9 Georgetown Hoyas Emerge as Beast in Big East
Dismissed and perhaps disrespected, the No. 20 Georgetown Hoyas were unranked and picked to finish fifth in the Big East Conference. But that was before they upset the UCLA Bruins and pushed the No. 1 Indian Hoosier to overtime.
No. 8 ACC-Big Ten Challenge Weeds Out the Weak
The match ups have weeded the pretenders from the contenders as the Duke Blue Devils have emerged as a force and North Carolina as a farce.
No. 7 Rutgers Bolts for the Big Ten Conference
Maryland's move to the Big Ten Conference was a surprise, but Rutgers going too was a shocker. It was also another body blow to the Big East Conference.
No. 6 North Carolina Tar Heels Struggle
Having two early losses is not a disaster. But it's how the No. 14 North Carolina Tar Heels loss, especially to Indiana. We didn't expect a beat down.
No. 5 The Big East Conference Implodes
The Big East Conference may not be dead, but it's certainly in intensive care, clinging to life. The departures of Notre Dame, Rutgers and Louisville have left the conference at its weakest point ever. And as horrible as things look, you get the feeling the worst is not over.
No. 4 NCAA's Flip Flop on UCLA Bruins Shabazz Muhammad
What that heck was that? He's banned, he's not. Geez, the NCAA's embarrassing handling of Shabazz Muhammad's eligibility exposed the loopholes and discrepancies in college rules and regulations. At least we got some cool Free Shabazz T-shirts out of it.
No. 3 Duke Blue Devils Dominate
Ok, so the Duke Blue Devils kicking butt is not surprise. But manhandling teams in the top five? Didn't see that coming. Watch out Indiana, the Blue Devils are knocking at the door of for that No. 1 spot.
No. 2 Kentucky Wildcats Stumble Out of the Gate
Anytime to reload a team with freshman you expect to struggle. But we all just assumed that Kentucky Wildcats coach John Calipari would work his magic and his newbies would be off and running. Not so. The Wildcats are struggling and should fall out of the top ten.
No. 1 Jack Taylor Scores 138 Points
Even if you've heard the story or watched the footage fifty times, it's hard to wrap your mind around one person scoring 138 points in a game. Jack Taylor went from being an obscure player for the some Baptist college to being featured on morning news shows.