Saturday, January 19, 2008

No. 1 Down and No. 4 Follows

Sometimes you get those annoying houseguests, those that do more than make themselves at home, but end up owning the house. Two such visitors showed up in the homes of top 5 teams on Saturday, and each made themselves very comfortable in picking up cozy upset victories over their higher ranked opponents.

The No. 1 ranked Tarheels hosted the Maryland Terrapins, and looked to defend an 18 game winning streak. But some guests just can’t take a hint, and don’t know when to leave, despite all the hints. UNC’s Tyler Hansbrough gave a 17 point 14 rebound performance, but the visitors insisted on hanging around. In the end, the Terps left on their own terms, with Bambale Osby scoring a go ahead bucket, with 21 seconds remaining, to seal Maryland’s 82-80 upset road victory.

The victory was unexpected, and must have come as quite a shock to the home team. Maryland screams “fear the turtle”, but mostly gave nothing to fear. They went in to Chapel Hill with a record of 12-7, going 2-2 in the ACC. This was a team that suffered embarrassing losses to Virginia Commonwealth, American University, and Ohio. Coming in, they weren’t given a second thought, but going out, they leave the Tarheels and their fans a lot to think about.

Let’s Take It To The Hardwood

The USC Trojans and UCLA Bruins extended their rivalry, this time taking it to the hardwood of Pauley Pavillion. The home Bruins were 4th ranked in the country, and appeared to be peaking. UCLA had suffered just one loss on the season, falling only to Texas, while they awaited the return of key players. All players were present on Saturday for the cross town battle, but the visitors had more desire.

This was the first time super freshmen Kevin Love and O.J. Mayo shared the college floor, and neither did disappoint. Love finished with 18 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 steals for the Bruins. And though Mayo added 16 for the Trojans, with only 2 first half points, it was USC’s other freshman, Davon Jefferson, that went for 25. The Bruins fought back, after trailing early in the second half, but the Trojans held off the run and were able regain the lead and 72-63 victory.

USC had been inconsistent, jumping in and out of the top 25 all season. They suffered conference losses to Stanford, Cal, and Washington State, leaving Washington as their lone conference victory. Questions began to surround coach Tim Floyd and a basketball program that was picked as a Pac 10 contender. Today’s victory acts as a big step forward and a message to the rest of the conference, as the Trojans gave a look of preseason expectations.

How did the Trojans manage to upset the Bruins in Pauley? Floyd gave the Bruin offense a variety of different defensive looks, and held the team to 33% shooting, while the Trojans shot over 60% from the field. That’s how it’s done.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

THEY WON ?? OMG I watched some of that USC game it was weird. YAY USC!!!!!!!