NCAA: Five Top 10 teams pick up losses

Florida’s Erik Murphy launches a triple.

It’s been a rough week for the NCAA Top 10 clubs as five have taken hits to their records, four to unranked teams. On Saturday it was a top down affair with No. 1 Michigan falling to No. 3 Indiana, No. 2 Kansas losing to Oklahoma St., No. 6 Syracuse dropping a Big East contest to Pittsburg, No. 10 Oregon lost its second game of the week on Saturday to California after falling to Stanford on Wednesday, and No. 9 Butler fell to St. Louis on Thursday.

The marquee match up of the week was No. 1 Michigan hitting on the road to visit No. 3 Indiana in a huge Big Ten contest. Indiana spent the better part of the early season as the No. 1 team in the country before losing their spot on the perch when they lost to in-state rival Butler. They worked their way back up the ladder, but then fell to Big Ten opponent Wisconsin two weeks ago. With wins over Northwestern, Penn State, a big win over ranked Michigan State, a 37-point win over Purdue on Wednesday, and now a solid win over No. 1 Michigan, the Hoosiers are poised to retake their spot as the No. 1 team in the NCAA.

No. 4 Florida will challenge Indiana for the top spot after two big wins over South Carolina and Ole Miss.

Indiana opened the contest putting on a shooting exhibition, knocking down five of their first six shots, including four of four from behind the arc. Michigan started slow, as seems to be their style as of late, but when your opponent is burning through points it’s easy to blink and be down 15, as was the case on Saturday. The Hoosiers kept on the pressure, but started shooting a bit more like humans and not shooting machines and Michigan started chipping away at the margin. Trey Burke, a candidate for National Player of the Year, drained a triple at the horn to complete the come back, sending the teams to the dressing rooms at the break with Indiana holding a 36:32 advantage.

Michigan was able to pull even at 40, but Indiana then ran off 11 unanswered. The Wolverines countered that run with a 2:11 run of there own, but still couldn’t get over the hump to take the lead. From there the squads traded smaller scoring runs, but then Michigan started forcing long-range shots, while Indiana found their range again. When they missed, pre-season player of the year, Cody Zeller was flying over everyone grabbing rebounds and finishing things off with backboard rattling slams. When Zeller wasn’t dunking or canning fade-away jumpers, he was out hustling the entire Michigan team after loose balls or down the court to stop fast breaks. Zeller finished the day with 19 points and 9 rebounds, was 8 of 10 from the floor and 3 of 4 from the charity stripe. Also providing both offensive and defensive spark for the Hoosiers was Victor Oladipo, who contributed 15 points from both inside and outside the paint.

Burke lead all scorers with 25 points, dropping in 4 of 12 from outside the arc and 9 of 24 inside. Tim Hardaway, Jr. contributed 18 to the Wolverines.

No. 2 Kansas dropped a thriller to Oklahoma State at home, snapping a 33-game home winning streak and the Nation’s longest streak of the season, 18 games, with an 80:85 loss. The defeat gives the Jayhawks a 19-2 record overall, 7-1 in the Big 12. The loss keeps Kansas at the top of the Big 12, the win improves Oklahoma State’s record to 15-5, 5-3 in the Big 12.

No. 6 Syracuse traveled to 17-5 Pittsburgh and found their scrappy style of play to be so disruptive it threw off their game to the point of missing shots and rebounds the fairly consistent Orangemen have no problems with. Said Syracuse skipper, Jim Boeheim, of Pitt, “They’re the best team we’ve played, without any question, it’s not even close.” It was a close, low-scoring contest in the first half, with the clubs only tallying 52 points total in 20 minutes of play, with Pitt taking a 25:27 advantage into the break. They found the hoop more in the second half, with the Panthers outscoring their hosts 30:38 during the second 20.

No. 9 Butler took to the road to take on unranked Saint Louis and took one on the chin with an 18-point loss to fall to 17-5 (18-5 with Saturday’s win over Rhode Island).

No. 10 Oregon lost twice this week, 76:52 at Stanford on Wednesday and 58:54 at California. The losses drop Oregon to 18-4 on the season.

On the positive side, No. 4 Florida picked up two wins this week with a 75:36 rout of South Carolina on Wednesday and a 64:78 road win over Ole Miss Saturday. This week’s action improves Florida’s season record to 18-2, 8-0 in the SEC.

No. 5 Duke got a pair of victories this week starting with a 70:75 road win over Wake Forest on Wednesday and another win away when they traveled to Florida State and came up with a 60:79 win to up their record to 19-2, 6-2 in the ACC.

No. 7 Gonzaga became the first team in the country to pick up 21 wins when they got two road wins this week. On Thursday they beat up on Loyola Marymount 43:88 and on Saturday the survived a major challenge from San Diego, but came up with the ‘W’, 63:65. The win improves their record to 21-2, 8-0 in the West Coast Conference.

No. 8 Arizona also got two road wins this week, starting with a 53:57 win over Washington on Thursday and a 65:79 win over Washington State on Saturday. The wins put the Wildcats at 19-2 on the season, 7-2 in the Pacific 12.

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