On a given weeknight in November and December, there could be dozens of college basketball games, making it tough to keep up.
Through the mess of blowouts, games against NAIA schools, and the occasional good matchup, there is often a game or two that doesn’t go as planned. It’s typically a “buy game” where the visiting school somehow pulls out a win. Friend of the site and Ben Goren’s dad Jon Rothstein calls this “the epitome of brutality” — a phrase that doesn’t make a ton of sense, but hey, it doesn’t have to. It’s like calling a college basketball team a Fortune 500 company. You get the sentiment and that’s enough.
That is what inspires this post, where we highlight the game or games each night that end in totally unexpected fashion (or, if it’s Pitt or Washington State or whatever, somewhat expected fashion).
Our first edition:
Montana 83, Pittsburgh 79 (OT)
Pitt loses a buy game to Montana. The epitome of brutality.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) November 14, 2017
The Panthers let Jamie Dixon go to TCU in the 2016 offseason, hired Kevin Stallings (a move maybe three people on Earth liked, and two of them had the last name Stallings), went 16-17 last year, and are now 0-2 with losses to Navy and Montana.
The program does not seem to be on the right track.
Michael Oguine was the hero for the Grizzlies. He had 29 points, six rebounds, and five assists, and went 10-22 from the field.
Montana led for much of the second half, but nearly blew it with a lack of focus at the end of regulation. Up two with under 30 seconds to go, the Grizzlies were called for a 10-second call trying to bring the ball up the court. Pitt’s Shamiel Stevenson promptly tied the game up, sending it to overtime.
Ahmaad Rorie scored six in the extra session and Montana never trailed, ruining the Panthers’ home opener.
Morgan State 63 USF 53
South Florida loses a buy game to Morgan State. The epitome of brutality.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) November 14, 2017
It takes a MEAC team to really surprise you when USF loses a game.
Enter Morgan State, ranked 322 in KenPom and coming off a 17-point loss to Binghamton.
Lapri McCray-Pace had 15 points and made three of his four three-point attempts to lead the Bears, who led by six at the break and as many as 14 in the second half.
The Bulls barely avoided brutality in their season opener, slipping by Florida Atlantic by a point. Next up, they face NMTC darling Stetson, a team that KenPom gave a 49 percent chance of victory coming into today. Once USF’s page is updated to reflect this loss, the Hatters may be favored.
Milwaukee 74 Iowa State 56
Iowa State loses a buy game to Milwaukee. The epitome of brutality.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) November 14, 2017
According to Kenpom, Milwaukee had a 7% chance of winning this game. However, it was the Cyclones’ chance of victory that was slim to none.
In his first game against a Division I opponent, Pat Baldwin took the Panthers into Ames to knock off Iowa State. In doing so, Milwaukee became the first mid-major to take down the Cyclones on their home court since Northern Iowa did it in 2011.
A balanced scoring attack featuring four scorers in in double figures spurred the Panthers on to a convincing win. The difference came on the defensive end, though. Milwaukee held Iowa State to 38.1% shooting, and allowed just 24 points in the second half.
It’s still early, but the returns have been positive for a program that is looking to bounce back from an 11-win season. Their next games are against Concordia College (Division III), Florida International and Elon before facing in-state adversary Wisconsin next week.
Wyoming 75 Oregon State 66
[It’s late and we’re assuming Jon went to bed, so just pretend he did The Tweet]
UPDATE: He gave us this at 1:38 a.m.
Mountain West sleeper Wyoming beats Oregon State by nine. Somewhere, Larry Shyatt is smiling. Heck of a win for Allen Edwards and the Cowboys.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) November 14, 2017
While many on the East Coast were off in slumber, brutality raged on into the night. Wyoming picked up a win over Oregon State, representing a fourth conference to provide brutality to its opponent. And yes, Oregon State is not what some might call “good”, but there’s no reason to scoff at a win over a PAC-12 team.
Hayden Dalton led the Cowboys with 22 points, and is averaging 26 points per game through two contests. Justin James had 19 and Alan Herndon had 16 to round out the Cowboys in double figures.
Wyoming is off to a nice start to the season with wins over Chattanooga and Oregon State so far. They’re ranked in the top-100 of Kenpom, and will get another chance for a solid win when they take on South Dakota State on a neutral floor next Monday. Can they potentially be a dark-horse Mountain West contender? We’ll see.