Another Saturday of college basketball action narrowed down the field of undefeated teams, as Iowa State lost to Northern Iowa and Purdue lost a big ranked battle with Butler, although Duke and Kentucky losing for a second time this season probably grabbed more attention, as usual. SMU, Oklahoma, Xavier, Michigan State and South Carolina are the remaining undefeated teams.
The Cyclones, winning their first nine games of the season, fell in Des Moines to the Panthers 81-79. They shouldn’t feel too bad, with Northern Iowa taking down their second top 5 team of the season (Iowa State ranked #5 going into this game). They couldn’t handle Wes Washpun with 28 points and 11 rebounds, as 3-pointers simply didn’t drop for the Cyclones, shooting just 3-of-17 from beyond the arc. Georges Niang did have a huge game with 30 points, but it felt like he was on his own.
Playing in Indianapolis, Purdue (#9) lost 74-68 to number 17 Butler. It’s the first loss for the Boilermakers this season, but it’s not that much of an upset. Butler held a 16-point lead with six minutes to go and nearly let it slip away from them, as two free throws from Tyler Lewis with less than 21 seconds left in the game finally put the game to bed. He finished with 17 points, 4 assists and 4 steals while Roosevelt Jones led Butler with 19 points. Caleb Swanigan led Purdue with 25 points.
Kentucky lost for the second time this season and to Ohio State of all teams, 74-67. Except for Jamal Murray with 33 points, nothing was working for Kentucky in New York, which was more like a home game in Lexington with the crowd filled with blue, supporting Kentucky as they were pushing in the second half to try and climb out of the hole they fell into during the first half. But the Buckeyes playing slower basketball without focusing on just one player once again showed this Kentucky team is talented, but not that special.
Another team that’s good but not that special is Duke, losing in overtime to Utah, also in New York. Utah remember losing to Duke in last season’s Elite Eight, although they didn’t say anything about revenge. They simply executed it with a 77-75 victory, led by Kyle Kuzma with 21 points and 19 from Jakob Poeltl, also grabbing 14 rebounds. Luke Kennard scored 24 points for Duke off the bench, but their 3-point shooting (8-of-28) doomed them, at least for this game.
Other ranked teams that lost were #12 Villanova to #8 Virginia (86-75), #22 UCLA to #11 North Carolina (89-76) and #16 Baylor to #24 Texas A&M (80-61). Michigan State cruised against Northeastern 78-58, Kansas ripped through Montana 88-46, Oklahoma beat Creighton 87-74 and Maryland had no problem with Princeton, beating them 82-61. Xavier, completing the top 10, manhandled Auburn 85-61 to remain perfect.