NCAA Madness: 5 Upsets That Will Shake Up the Top 25 This Weekend
Conference basketball is up to its usual tricks once again. After No. 25 Miami dominated No. 1 Duke on Wednesday night, for the fourth consecutive week there will most likely be a new team at the top of the rankings.
Who will that team be? With another enormous slate of games scheduled this weekend, many with national implications, there are quite a few options.
Will No. 2 Michigan be able to pass a road test in Champaign against Illinois? Can Syracuse survive a Villanova team that just defeated No. 5 Louisville? Is an improving Oklahoma team going to sneak up on Kansas like Iowa State almost did two weeks ago?
Here are the five upsets that will cause chaos in the top 25.
No. 12 Minnesota at Wisconsin
Neither team is coming into this contest playing their best basketball. Wisconsin has dropped its past two games, including a 49-47 loss at home to No. 13 Michigan State. Minnesota is on a three-game losing streak, most notably because of its 55-48 loss at Northwestern.
The key in this game, as it is most of the time with Wisconsin, is tempo. The Badgers will try to keep the game in the 50s, while the Gophers want it in the 70s.
With the game being played in Madison, this doesn't help Minnesota one bit. In Wisconsin's 12 home games, the Badgers haven't given up more than 60 points all season.
The Gophers struggled with tempo Wednesday night against the Wildcats. When the game slowed down to Northwestern's pace, the Wildcats' defense prevailed and the Gophers couldn't gain any momentum in the second half. Minnesota only made five shots outside the paint in those 20 minutes.
This is certainly not a good sign for the Gophers when they have only two days to prepare for Wisconsin in back-to-back road games.
With the Kohl Center being one of the toughest places to play in the Big Ten, Wisconsin should take this one.
Wisconsin 64, Minnesota 55
No. 11 Kansas State at Iowa State
Kansas State fell just short of causing even more chaos to the top five next week after their 59-55 loss against Kansas on Tuesday. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, they have a tough road test in Ames against the Cyclones Saturday afternoon and are ripe for an upset.
Both teams are coming off of losses, and while Kansas State's loss was more understandable than Iowa State's to Texas Tech, it's a lot easier coming home after a loss than going on the road.
The Cyclones are undefeated at home this season with wins against Big 12 foes Texas and West Virginia. Iowa State likes pushing the ball up the floor, and they are particularly good at doing so at home, averaging 84.4 points a game.
While Kansas State does have 11 players that average playing at least 10 minutes a game, they will have to find a way to keep up with the Cyclone offense. Iowa State is ranked 11th in the nation when it comes to points and rebounds, but they are also 14th in assists and get easy baskets.
If the Wildcats have any form of a hangover from their loss against Kansas and fall behind early, it will be tough to catch the Cyclones.
Iowa State takes control and holds on for the win.
Iowa State 77, Kansas State 72
No. 5 Louisville at Georgetown
This game will be a true test of Louisville's discipline.
The Cardinals are on a two-game losing streak and have given up 49 foul shots in that stretch. On the flip side at the free-throw line, Louisville has had several attempts as well, but only shot 57.5 percent in their two losses combined.
Head coach Rick Pitino wasn't pleased after the first loss to Syracuse over the weekend. According to Nick Coffey of The Cardinal Connect, Pitino's press conference was short and he clearly showed his frustration.
Now Louisville must travel to Washington D.C. for a noon tip against a Georgetown team that just won at Notre Dame by 16.
Georgetown's chemistry is starting to come together as conference play continues to heat up. The Hoyas have won three of their past four and shot the ball just under 50 percent from the floor.
In a game that will most likely be lower scoring, the Cardinals cannot afford to miss their easy opportunities at the free-throw line.
This game will be close for 40 minutes, but the Hoyas convert down the stretch for the win.
Georgetown 59, Louisville 55
No. 3 Syracuse at Villanova
While Syracuse is undefeated in Big East play and has knocked off two ranked teams in a row, the timing of this game does not fit well for the Orange.
Syracuse defeated Louisville and Cincinnati in two impressive nail-biters, but how much energy do they have left?
The Orange are still shorthanded because James Southerland is sidelined due to an NCAA investigation, according to Sports Illustrated. Syracuse will need to continue to rely on the scoring of Brandon Triche, C.J. Fair and Michael Carter-Williams.
Syracuse won the first meeting against Villanova 72-61, which was also the Orange's first game without Southerland.
However, Syracuse has looked flat at times without Southerland's 13.6 points and 5.2 rebounds a game. That is something the Orange cannot afford with a Villanova team that is playing well on the defensive end. In the Wildcats' past five games, they have held their opponent to 40 percent shooting or less, including their first game against the Orange.
With Villanova coming off of their upset win against Louisville, Syracuse can't afford to be sloppy with an 11 a.m. tip on the road.
Villanova wins in a thriller.
Villanova 63, Syracuse 62
No. 2 Michigan at Illinois
Michigan is in perfect position to move into the No. 1 spot in the rankings with a win at Illinois. However, this Fighting Illini team matches up well with the Wolverines.
The biggest strength for this Michigan team is their speed and athleticism in the full court over 40 minutes. The Wolverines had another slow start against the Boilermakers on Thursday, but wore them out and shut them down defensively in the second half of a 68-53 victory.
Illinois has the guard play and the speed to keep up with Michigan. While it's nearly impossible to stop Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Glenn Robinson III all in the same game, the Illini can contain them and at least take away some of their easy baskets in transition.
When Michigan went on the road against a solid perimeter defending team at Ohio State, the Buckeyes defeated the Wolverines in large part because of their excellent defensive play. Burke, Hardaway Jr. and Robinson III combined to shoot 12 of 36 from the field and turned the ball over seven times.
The Illini hit a bump in the road with three consecutive losses recently, but they got back on track with a 20-point win at Nebraska on Tuesday behind D.J. Richardson's 30 points. If Illinois starts hitting jump shots between Richardson and Brandon Paul, it opens up the height advantage the Illini have in the post.
With a five-game gauntlet coming up for Illinois, it's time for the senior, Brandon Paul, to put on a show in Assembly Hall against the No. 2 team in the country.
Illinois 76, Michigan 70