New York City Bureau
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Good luck to all the prognosticators this year.
2013 has shaped up to be a year of absolute hysterics when it comes to ranking one team over another. The Big 10 itself has proved that they're are no unbeatable opponents, and while Indiana might have had a huge victory over Michigan State in East Lansing, that doesn't necessarily mean they won't turn around and lose to an Iowa or an Ohio State next week. We've come to that point in February where bracketology has started, and during a season like this, everyone guess is only worth the paper it's printed on.
The beginning of the season for most major conference schools is usually a mix of in-state cupcakes, maybe a holiday tournament somewhere, and possibly a nice non-conference game that was scheduled by ESPN. The cupcake games are meant to give the opposing school a nice little payday and give their players a chance to play in a big gym. The holiday tournaments are usually more of a crapshoot (Hell, the tournament at the Atlantis Casino is in a hotel ballroom) but the cream usually rises. Their have been some serious upsets though that might be worth looking back on when it comes to making out your bracket. Sure most great teams improve as the season progresses, but these upsets shouldn't have had a chance in hell of happening.
3. 1/19/13 South Florida 61 (11) Georgetown 58
I saw a discussion on twitter recently where it was asked if this years South Florida squad could be the worst team in the history of the Big East. They're up there for sure, but what would ultimately keep them from being on the top of this dubious list is this win against Georgetown. With the Hoyas now surging after a win against Syracuse and some members of the college basketball press calling on them to get a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, I think it would behoove the selection committee to consider this upset when seeding Georgetown. Otto Porter may very well be the best player in the Big East conference and they'll be a tough out no matter what they're seeded. Still, USF? Like Charles Barkley would say, "They're turr-ible".
2. 11/14/12 Florida Gulf Coast 63 (2) Miami (FL)51
Before the "U" were the darlings of college basketball and blowing the doors off teams like Duke, they stumbled, badly. Florida Gulf Coast is currently in their second season of being in Division I basketball, and hosted Miami at their home gym in Ft. Myers, FL. Miami only shot 29% for the game and clearly didn't bring their "A" game to the Gulf Coast. After the upset, Florida Gulf Coast Coach Andy Enfield commented, "We knew we had to go out and play hard" said Enfield, "These guys are a lot bigger and stronger. We beat them with heart." Miami surely stepped up it's play since then, but they are trending downward after two close victories and a defeat at the hands of Wake Forest. Perhaps Coach L can motivate them with an Al Pacino like speech where he yells, "This Team Has NO Heart!"
1. 11/19/12 Columbia 75 Villanova 57
Where to begin with this one. It's fair to say that Villanova is one of the biggest Jekyll and Hyde teams in the land. This is a team that's capable of beating Syracuse and Louisville, yet can lose to a middle of the Ivy League team like Columbia. How could this possibly happen? I've seen Columbia play in person this year, and they are mediocre. The Wildcats did shoot 29 % for the game, but the Lions only shot 33%. Villanova did turn the ball over 12 times, and couldn't figure out Columbia's 2-3 zone. This is an upset of the highest level, and if Villanova's bubble gets burst on selection Sunday, the one word everyone should say to the disappointed players and fans is, "Columbia". One loss doesn't make a season, but losing to Columbia at home by damn near 20 points is just a team simply not showing up.
We have much more of a season to go, and there could be plenty of upsets in conference tournaments. So think of these 3 games as fluid, and could be changed by the end of the year.
Well, except Nova losing to Columbia.