Buckle up, because sh*t got even more real Thursday night in the land of college basketball.
Indiana – preseason number one and best team in the best conference in the game – fell to Gotty’s Syracuse Orange, 61-50. Clamping down on defense and forcing the Hoosiers into their worst offensive game of the season (points-wise), ‘Cuse was paced by one of the best all-around guards in the country, Michael Carter-Williams. MCW finished with 24 points, 5 rebounds and 4 steals, showcasing a nice inside-outside game that Indiana couldn’t hang with.
Victor Oladipo led all Hoosiers with 16 points, but got no help from Cody Zeller, who finished with 10 points on a horrendous 3-11 shooting. Needless to say, if this is indeed the last time we see Zeller donning a crimson-red jersey, it’ll be a sour note to end on.
Elsewhere in Washington D.C., another Big East school defeated a perceived better team, as Marquette topped Miami, 71-61. Jumping on the board early and often, the Golden Eagles took a 29-16 lead into the locker room, and went on cruise control for the rest of the night. As efficient as Marquette was on offense (the team shot 54% from the floor and had three players score above 14 points, led by reserve Jamil Wilson, who dropped 16), Miami was putrid, shooting only 35%. Or, in other words, they played about as well as you’d expect for a team who loses by 10.
The Western side of the bracket proved much better for the higher seeds. Ohio State eked out another close win, besting Arizona by three points, 73-70. DeShaun Thomas continues an inspired run through the tournament, scoring 20 points on 50% shooting, marking the third straight game he’s reached such a benchmark.
But of all the higher seeds to put away their opponents, Wichita State did it in the most convincing manner, besting La Salle, 72-58. La Salle shot poorly, but what really won it for the Wichita was second-chance points; 21 more boards (10 of which were offensive) led to 11 more shot opportunities for the Shockers, who now find themselves staring down a seasoned Ohio State team on Saturday.