No. 3 Duke, No. 4 Auburn, No. 5 Butler Among Favorites Upset on Saturday

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJanuary 18, 2020

Louisville guard Lamarr Kimble (0) and forward Malik Williams (5) celebrate at the end of the team's NCAA college basketball game against Duke in Durham, N.C., Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020. Louisville won 79-73. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Gerry Broome/Associated Press

The upsets seen in 2019-20 college basketball season continued Saturday.

No. 5 Butler, No. 4 Auburn and No. 12 West Virginia all fell shortly after No. 2 Baylor and No. 9 Florida State narrowly avoided upsets of their own. Each of the losses came on the road against unranked teams.

Then came another stunner: No. 3 Duke falling at home to No. 11 Louisville.

With Butler and Auburn losing, Top Five teams have lost to an unranked opponent 14 times this season already.

Here is a full rundown of the upsets that occurred Saturday, along with an in-depth look at how the underdog managed to prevail in each instance.

            

Louisville 79, Duke 73

Just when the Blue Devils were starting to challenge for the No. 1 ranking again, Clemson and Louisville come along in the ACC and serve up back-to-back losses to Duke for the first time since the 2017-18 season.

Even more surprising, it wasn't star forward Jordan Nwora or Dwayne Sutton dooming the Blue Devils. It was a freshman coming off the bench and catching fire. David Johnson lit up Duke for a team-high 19 points, seven assists, three steals and two blocks. The guard had never played more than 19 minutes before seeing the court for 20 minutes in an overtime victory against Pitt on Tuesday. Against Duke, he played a career-high 27.

While his emergence has given head coach Chris Mack a dynamic weapon to deploy for the rest of the season, the more pressing issue on Saturday is how coach Mike Krzyzewski's club completely lost control at home in crunch time.

After tying the game at 63 with 6:35 remaining in the second half, Duke went ice cold on offense, getting outscored 16-10 down the stretch and hitting just four field goals in the final six minutes.

"It was the most physical game we've played in years," Coach K said afterward, putting a positive spin on things. "Louisville played really hard, and in the last 30 minutes of the game I thought we played our hearts out. Our kids fought like crazy and learned a lot, and I hope got better."

As far as home losses go, Duke could do a lot worse than a supremely talented Cardinals team in the grand scheme of the season. In the moment, the loss drops the Blue Devils to 15-3 on the year and 5-2 in the ACC, good for second place behind conference co-leaders Florida State and Louisville.

Nwora finished with six points and eight rebounds, while Sutton added 13 points and five rebounds. For Duke, freshman guard Cassius Stanley led all scorers with 24 points and 11 rebounds. Center Vernon Carey Jr. tallied 12 points and six rebounds.

     

DePaul 79, Butler 66

One of the most impressive upset wins of the day belonged to the DePaul Blue Demons, who crushed the No. 5 Butler Bulldogs 79-66 despite having lost each of their first four Big East games this season.

Butler was 3-1 in Big East play and 15-2 overall, with its only losses coming against Baylor and Seton Hall. The Bulldogs did show some deficiencies in a 78-70 loss to Seton Hall their last time out, though, which may have provided DePaul with the opening it needed.

The Blue Devils jumped on the Bulldogs early and held a 10-point lead at halftime thanks to a three-pointer at the buzzer by forward Romeo Weems:

DePaul continued to pour it on throughout the second half and held the advantage both in terms of the score and highlight-reel plays, including this monster jam by forward Jaylen Butz:

The true star of the game for DePaul was NBA draft prospect Paul Reed, who was head and shoulders above the rest with 23 points on 8-of-9 shooting and nine rebounds.

The Blue Devils also locked down the Bulldogs defensively by allowing them to shoot just 40.4 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from three. By contrast, DePaul shot 47.7 percent from the floor and 58.8 percent from beyond the arc.

DePaul also held Butler's leading scorer, Kamar Baldwin, in check. While Baldwin did lead the Bulldogs with 16 points, he went just 6-of-16 from the field.

With a conference win finally under its belt and a 13-5 overall record to its credit, DePaul will look to continue to roll Wednesday against No. 25 Creighton, while Butler will attempt to get back on track against No. 14 Villanova on Tuesday.

             

Florida 69, Auburn 47

While DePaul outclassed Butler for much of their game, the margin was even greater in Florida's 69-47 trouncing of No. 4 Auburn.

The Tigers had only one player, Danjel Purifoy, reach double figures in scoring and could not find their offensive rhythm all game long, as they shot a season-worst 25.5 percent from the field, including 4-of-23 (17.4 percent) from long range.

Florida shot a red-hot 50.0 percent from the floor and 47.1 percent from deep, and it was led by forward Omar Payne, who paced all scorers with 19 points and added 11 rebounds in a double-double performance.

The Tigers have now lost two games in a row after starting the season 15-0, as they fell 83-64 to Alabama in their previous outing.

Saturday marked a second consecutive poor offensive performance that resulted in a loss by 19 points or more, and Jake Weese of the Auburn Plainsman provided a look at what went wrong for the Tigers:

While Auburn went 8-of-11 underneath the basket, it shot just 1-of-17 from the top of the circle, which gave Florida a massive advantage.

The Gators improved to 12-5 with the win and have now won five of their past six games. They are also a factor in the SEC with a 4-1 conference record.

Jeff Goodman of Stadium noted that Florida could be a dangerous team come tournament time, especially because of Payne's play:

Forward Kerry Blackshear Jr. shot just 4-of-14 from the field for Florida, but he ended up with 11 points and a game-high 16 rebounds. He played a major role in the Gators dominating Auburn 44-29 on the glass as well.

Purifoy led Auburn with just 10 points, and Austin Wiley, who went 4-of-10 from the field for nine points, was the only Tigers player to make at least 40 percent of their shots.

Auburn will have a chance to snap out of its slump Wednesday when it hosts unranked South Carolina, while Florida will go up against LSU in a road clash Tuesday.

                

Kansas State 84, West Virginia 68

Kansas State fans haven't had much to celebrate this season, but that changed Saturday when the Wildcats shocked No. 12 West Virginia in dominant fashion.

The Wildcats led 42-25 at halftime and never took their foot off the gas, leading to an 84-68 home win that ended a four-game losing streak.

Kansas State had lost six of its previous seven games and was 0-4 in Big 12 play before the win, while WVU was 14-2 before the loss and was riding a three-game winning streak.

The Wildcats were anchored by guard Cartier Diarra, who led all scorers with 25 points and filled up the rest of the stat sheet with six rebounds, four assists and two steals.

Kansas State shot the ball remarkably well as a team, converting 59.2 percent of its field-goal attempts and 50.0 percent of its tries from three. West Virginia shot 44.6 percent from the floor and just 27.3 percent from deep in defeat, and no player scored more than 11 points for the Mountaineers.

West Virginia will look to rebound Monday against Texas, and Kansas State will attempt to keep its momentum going Tuesday at No. 6 Kansas.

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