The Battle 4 Atlantis provided three upsets of ranked teams in the same day: North Carolina lost to Butler 74-66, Oklahoma surprised UCLA with a 75-65 victory and Georgetown remained undefeated, handing Florida their second loss of the season, beating the Gators 66-65 in overtime off of a D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera winning jumper.
We’ll begin with UNC, that got destroyed on the boards by the Bulldogs for the second time in a row, which means that the number five Tar Heels won’t be ranked so high next time the polls come out, while Butler, now at 4-0, will be taken a bit more seriously on a national level. Butler grabbed an insane 29 offensive rebounds, including eight by Cameron Woods and six by Roosevelt Jones, allowing them to win despite shooting just 30.6% from the field.
The Tar Heels did get 18 points from Marcus Paige, but no team can win when their rebounding is so poor on their own end, especially when shooting just 38.6% from the field. Butler ended up winning the rebounds battle 57-40. North Carolina haven’t been beaten that bad on the boards since the 2009-2010 season, and rebounding only 47% of Butler’s missed shots is their second-worst defensive rebounding ratio in the last five seasons.
Georgetown beat #18 Florida thanks to a jumper from Smith-Rivera with just 3.4 seconds left in overtime and Florida leading by one point. The Gators lost in a similar fashion to Connecticut last season early on, with Shabazz Napier being the one to land the crushing blow. That game was a true road game, unlike this visit to the tournament in the Bahamas. Still, it might mean by some divine intervention that they can also do the same thing UConn did last year.
Smith-Rivera scored a team-high 17 points in a wild game with Florida. The Hoyas shot 49% from the field but turned the ball over 19 times. Florida were awful from the floor but stayed alive thanks to 18 offensive rebounds, six of them grabbed by Jon Horford who finished with a double double. This was Florida’s second loss of the season and although this part isn’t as important as what comes next, it shows just how difficult it is for Billy Donovan to replace the exceptional group of players that graduated from this class.
Oklahoma have done a good job since losing to Creighton – beating Northwestern and now handing #22 UCLA their first loss of the season. They needed to shoot 38 times from beyond the arc to get their 10-point win, a new school record, but even while hitting only ten of the shots, they did a very good job of getting to the line, outscoring the Bruins by 14 free throws. Their leading scoeer, Buddy Hield, finished with a game-high 24 points.
Bryce Alford led UCLA with 19 points and Kevon Looney had a massive double double of 16 points and 15 rebounds. This was UCLA’s first encounter with a team you can call serious, and they struggled on both ends of the floor. Their next game is against North Carolina. Being as dominant on the boards as they were against Oklahoma despite the loss should promise them a much happier ending against the Tar Heels.