Every week we seem to witness a new shocking upset in the world of college basketball. So far this week it has been two top-10 teams that have fallen victim to an unranked opponent. The No. 5 Florida Gators didn’t suffer a painful loss to just anyone, it came at the expense of their in-state rival Florida State.
Notre Dame was also upended by a familiar, geographic foe. Surprisingly, it wasn’t Butler, Indiana or Purdue. This time it was Ball State.
Here is a brief list of a few teams that should be on upset alert this weekend.
Valparaiso at Purdue
Tate’s Take: Staying with Purdue, the Boilermakers have only been consistent at one thing… being consistently inconsistent. After getting past the Betty Crocker cream puffs, many considered Purdue to be a real threat this season. That is until they entered the Battle 4 Atlantis preseason tournament.
There is where they met Tennessee and Western Kentucky, losing to both by a combined seven points. Purdue seemed to get its act together by handing a 25-point shellacking to No. 2 Arizona in the last-place consolation game. Since, Purdue has defeated No. 17 Louisville in convincing fashion and is on a four-game winning streak.
Up next is yet another Indiana-based program with a deep history of success: Valparaiso. Fighting off Isaac Haas without Alec Peters will be a tall task, but an upset is more than possible with three players averaging double digits and Valpo being the only undefeated team remaining in the Missouri Valley Conference.
St. John’s vs. Arizona State
Tate’s Take: Undefeated through seven games, the Sun Devils are without question one of the more surprising teams in the country thanks to head coach Bobby Hurley. Stud guards Shannon Evans and Tra Holder lead the way and the team has faced pretty good San Diego State and Kansas State teams. The kicker may be the rout past Xavier in Las Vegas.
Problem is, outside of Georgia native Romello White, Arizona State is thin up front and St. John’s is the complete opposite. Though the Red Storm maybe not be the most disciplined team and a little inconsistent, it’s talented, physical and athletic. Shamorie Ponds is a handful and won’t be denied. A really good group of role players surround Ponds as the difference makers here will likely be Remy Martin and Marvin Clark II. A win for Chris Mullin would be a huge confidence booster.
Oklahoma vs. Southern California
Tate’s Take: How dare we start off with anyone other than arguably the most impressive player in college basketball (including Duke’s Marvin Bagley III). The name is Young, Trae Young. While the play-style comparisons to Stephen Curry may be a bit premature, try watching a full OU game this season without hearing them.
Clearly the best shooter in this freshman class and maybe even on the college level, Young’s tough to deny even when distributing the ball. Though he’s not enough, so expect a huge game from Khadeem Lattin on the road forming one of the Big 12’s most underrated and underappreciated inside-outside tandems.
USC’s talented roster is as good as advertised on paper, but tends to make careless and unforced errors frequently. I like Lon Kruger over Andy Enfield if the game will be decided closely while still early in the season. Even on the road in a neutral site, but still USC’s backyard of Los Angeles.
Oklahoma State vs. Wichita State
Tate’s Take: The Shockers have become the new modern-age Gonzaga. A successful program with a plethora of underrated talent and some of the best transfers around. After getting bounced by Notre Dame in a Maui Invitational thriller, WSU bounced back with a very impressive road win versus Baylor. After squeaking past South Dakota State earlier this week, Wichita State needs to work on its defense, which is typically a staple among Greg Marshall-coached teams.
The Shockers may be accustomed to hostile environments but not many are more inhospitable than Gallagher-Iba Arena where the Pokes are extremely tough and very unkind to top-ranked programs. Though Okie State is still trying to figure out who it is from a chemistry standpoint, not many walk out of that arena with a number added to the left side of the results column.
If Jeffrey Carroll gets hot, Wichita State may be calling Markis McDuffie back to suit up sooner than later. Expect the state of Oklahoma to be celebrating huge wins together this weekend over ranked programs.