Jan. 30, 2017
"The Stack" 1-25-17
The Stack is back on this Wednesday and while we don’t have a lot to talk about, man what a night of college basketball last night! Might that be the only thing we talk about? Perhaps, but let’s see what’s in “the stack” for today, Wednesday, January 25th:
Top teams go down in college basketball Tuesday night
Monday night was a big night in the basketball world, both in the college ranks and the pros. NC State won at Duke for the first time since 1995 and the two teams destined to meet head on in the NBA Finals (Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers) lost to subpar teams on the road. The Warriors inexplicably lost to the Miami Heat 105-102 and the Cavaliers lost to the Anthony Davis-less New Orleans Pelicans 124-122. It was going to be tough for Tuesday night to top that.
Guess what? It did. I’m not sure how many people were looking at Kansas losing two games this week (I know I was as was my good friend Travis Kriens), but they went into Morgantown and couldn’t handle the pressure defense that West Virginia loves to employ. “Press Virginia” they call it. Get it? If not, you will here soon. West Virginia took down Kansas 85-69 handing Kansas their fourth straight loss in Morgantown. Never before had Kansas lost four straight road games to the same conference opponent. That streak has now ended. The Mountaineers upset the #2 Jayhawks. Kansas’ next opponent: Kentucky…in Lexington. That ought to be fun…maybe not.
Speaking of Kentucky, they also lost on the road. This loss happened at Tennessee where the Volunteers stuck the game plan that head coach Rick Barnes put together and said they had to sticky to if they wanted to beat the #4 Wildcats. The Volunteers did, topping Kentucky 82-80. This is a big program win for Barnes who is in his second year at Tennessee. Not sure if it will do enough for their tournament hopes, but it is something to build on. Kentucky will be just fine. They’ll beat Kansas this weekend.
And if you thought the number one team in the land wouldn’t suffer a setback Tuesday night, you were sorely mistaken. #1 Villanova blew a fourteen point second half lead and lost on the road at Marquette 74-72. Villanova got just six points from their bench. Watching ESPN’s Sportscenter, college basketball analyst Seth Greenberg said he is very concerned about Villanova, because of their lack of bench depth. They need to be able to score more than six points in a game. This bears watching as we get closer to March. I’ve long had Villanova in my Final Four, but if they can’t find more production I may have to take them out. For Marquette, this is now two big wins over Creighton and Villanova in their last two games. The win over Creighton isn’t nearly as big with their starting point guard out, but it is still a good win over a ranked team. They’ll be in the latest bracketology when that is unveiled on Thursday. This is the first time since 1976 that #1, #2 and #4 have all gone down on the same day I do believe. Man I love college basketball. Is it March yet?
And the tremendous games and finishes weren’t limited to just college basketball. The pros saw a pretty good one too in Phoenix where the Suns came back from a big deficit to take the lead on a questionable foul called against the Minnesota Timberwolves 111-110. That lead was short lived as Andrew Wiggins nailed the game winning jumper to lift the Timberwolves to a 112-111 victory. This is a big victory for the Timberwolves. What a clutch shot by Wiggins.
Oh and the UConn women won their 94th straight game last night with a 91-44 victory on the road at East Carolina. When will their run stop? Most likely no time soon. This is an impressive streak.
Yup, I think that pretty much wraps it up for today.
Coming up later this week: Reaction to top stories and headlines in the sports world