Eleven weeks of flawless basketball and then, on one tragic Saturday, it all came screeching to an ugly halt.It’s been a long time since every undefeated team in men’s college basketball lost on the same day – 10 years in fact – but Saturday saw Duke, Florida and Pittsburgh all lose on the road to unranked teams.
Well, Duke’s loss almost made sense. After all, it was fighting fate by trying to reach its best start (18-0) in the university’s illustrious history, and it was doing it against one of history’s most tortured athletic institutions: Georgetown.
And, on a personal note, the Blue Devils deserve to lose for putting the ball, with the game on the line, in the hands of a rookie point guard instead of lottery-pick J.J. Redick.
I don’t care if Redick, who already had 41 points, suddenly got hit by a truck on the court – you give him the ball if you want to win the game. Period.
Florida’s loss was almost expected. Despite their spectacular season to date, no one – outside of Gainesville – really believed in the Gators.
Fact: They haven’t beaten a ranked team all season. Fiction: “Quality” wins over Syracuse and Wake Forest makes Florida a legitimate contender. To make the story straight, Syracuse and Wake Forest are institutions still receiving too much airtime because of two very rich alumni: Carmelo Anthony and Dwayne Wade.
Besides, even surviving Tennessee Saturday would have only delayed the inevitable. The Gators still have two games against Kentucky, and anyone who saw Rajon Rondo’s season-saving shot against South Carolina knows the Wildcats may never lose again.
And as for the final giant-killing, if you can call it that. Was Pittsburgh even undefeated? Honestly, as of three seconds ago, I was totally unaware there was a sports team in the city aside from the Steelers.
This loss is the most logical of the three, however. Hypothetically, had they not lost, their 16-0 record would still not have been good enough for the No. 1 ranking. Regardless of record, the Panthers are not the best team in the nation.
But after this weekend, I know who is. Welcome to the top, Connecticut.