In the four days since the new top 25 polls were released, we - the chosen sons and daughters of the college basketball Gods - have seen 11 ranked teams taste defeat. We've also witnessed approximately 95 games won at the buzzer or with a made shot in the closing five seconds.
This weekend has a hell of a lot to live up to.
Top 25 Scores
No. 2 Michigan 68, Purdue 53
Media types all over the country were putting the initial touches on their "Does anybody want to be No. 1?" pieces while Michigan trailed Purdue at the break. The Wolverines refused to let their name be added to the list of this week's fallen, however, exploding for a 14-2 run early in the second half to seize control of the game.
With Duke going down to Miami earlier this week, Michigan can likely secure the top spot for the first time since the Fab Five era with a win over Illinois on Sunday. Tim Hardaway Jr. isn't even trying to pretend like he isn't aware of the situation.
"We would be lying to you if we didn't have that in our mind, but we really are trying to do a great job of just trying to get better as a team each and every day," Hardaway said.
Also worth noting: Glenn "Little Dog" Robinson III did this against the team that his father played for and the team he grew up dreaming about suiting up for.
Wear it, Big Dog.
UCLA 84, No. 6 Arizona 73
There's a large chunk of the college basketball world that has been begging for a reason to fall back in love with UCLA. The Bruins sent those folks two dozen roses Thursday night with an impressive 84-73 win over No. 6 Arizona. The win was UCLA's first in Tucson in five years, and their first road win over a ranked team over that same time span.
I'm still not entirely sure how good the Bruins are, but I do know that we're all about to hear them referred to as a "Final Four sleeper" relentlessly for at least the next week or so. There's certainly justification for the mini-hype. Jordan Adams and Kyle Anderson are starting to live up to their year old recruiting pages, Larry Drew is third in the country in assists per game, the Wear twins are playing better than I think any of us would have ever predicted, and Shabazz Muhammad is starting to look like he might wind up being the No. 1 pick in this June's NBA Draft (the Bruins are now 8-0 when he scores at least 20 points).
On the other side of things, some of Arizona's biggest issues are finally surfacing. At the top of that pile is the fact that while Drew had nine assists for UCLA, Mark Lyons had zero for the Wildcats. It's the second time that's happened this season. Lyons, who scored 16 points on Thursday but was just 6-of-17 from the field, has made some interesting comments recently about wanting me to be a superstar. This is more than a slight issue if 'Zona is serious about making any sort of deep run in the big dance.
Despite a pretty tremendous environment provided by their home crowd, Arizona appeared disinterested in playing defense for long stretches, they were (again) over-reliant on the three-pointer, their point guard looked beyond selfish, and they seemed to be depressed for two or three possessions after each time UCLA made a big run-stopping shot.
There are issues surrounding both of these teams, but the Pac-12 being the way it is (not great) makes it harder to get a decent read on how well those issues are being remedied. That's unlikely to change, which is sort of frustrating for anyone who follows the sport and enjoys truing to understand it.
Everyone you know is going to want to take UCLA deep in their bracket two months from now. My inclination as of right now is that this will be a mistake, but then again this week has proven that I have absolutely no idea which teams in college basketball are good...or if any teams are good...or if any teams are bad.
Your co-worker's 5-year-old daughter is going to win your office pool. It's time to go ahead and accept that as a fact.
No. 10 Gonzaga 83, BYU 63
Few players have been more impressive in conference play than Kelly Olynyk, who led the Gonzaga rout of BYU by hitting all nine of his field goal attempts and scoring 26 points. In five WCC games, Olynyk is an unreal 44-of-60 from the field and is averaging 25.4 ppg.
The Cougars are looking like a team that's going to have to pull off a miracle run in the WCC tourney if they want to go dancing again.
Richmond 86, No. 19 VCU 74 (OT)
The last unbeaten in the Atlantic 10 is no more. Richmond overcame a 7-point deficit with 30 seconds left, hit a three just before the regulation buzzer, and dominated the overtime period to deal VCU its first conference loss. Shaka Smart's team is now 16-0 when it forces 15 or more turnovers, and 0-4 when it doesn't.
Making the victory all the more improbable was the fact that Richmond was playing without leading scorer Derrick Williams, who was sidelined by an ankle sprain. The Spiders have now won four of their last five home meetings against ranked opponents.
No. 23 Ole Miss 62, Tennessee 56
You're about to start hearing a lot more about Marshall Henderson. I'm just letting you know.
The Rebel star is as animated as any player in the country, and is a threat to let the ball fly any time it's in his hands. His on-court antics and propensity for pulling from just about anywhere on the floor have earned him the nickname "Bizarro Jimmer," which was first coined by USA Today's Dan Wolken.
Bizarro Jimmer led Ole Miss to its first 5-0 start since 1927 (and just its second ever) by going off for 24 points in the second half to help the Rebels rally from a 25-18 halftime deficit. At one point during a key stretch late in the game, Henderson buried a huge three to finally put Ole Miss on top, the crowd went ballistic, Henderson made a crazy face for the camera, Tennessee called timeout, and then Pitbull started blaring throughout the arena. That previous sequence can better and more concisely be descried as THE GREATEST PARTY OF ALL-TIME.
But seriously, people are about to start willingly watching Ole Miss basketball because of this kid.
Other Scores of Note
Belmont 64, Morehead State 63
Morehead State led for just about every moment of the game besides the one that matters the most. Belmont's J.J. Mann hit back-to-back three-pointers, including the game-winner, to help the Bruins overcome a 14-point second half deficit and remain the only unbeaten in the OVC. They'll travel to Eastern Kentucky for a rematch with the second-place Colonels on Saturday.
Florida State 60, Clemson 57
Tie game, clock winding down, Florida State ball...you get negative three guesses as to who's taking the shot.
This was one was a bitter pill to swallow for Clemson, which led by three with 40 seconds to go. The Tigers shot 52.2 percent in the first half, and were up 29-21 at the break. Florida State outscored their guests 18-10 from the free-throw line.
Sacred Heart 87, Bryant 76
Bryant, which has put together one of the more remarkable turnaround stories in college basketball this season, finally tasted defeat in NEC play. The Bulldogs still lead Sacred Heart and Robert Morris by a game in the conference standings.
Virginia 74, Virginia Tech 58
Erick Green erupted for a career-high 35 points, but couldn't save his Hokies from suffering the most lopsided defeat in this series since 2007. Perimeter defense continues to be a bugaboo (Michelle from Destiny's Child voice) for Tech, which allowed an opponent to hit at least eight three-pointers for the 11th time this season. Virginia has now won three straight over their in-state rivals for the first time since 1947.
Oakland 89, IUPUI 71
Oakland's Travis Bader was so impressed by Virginia's 11 three-pointers that he decided to match the feat all by himself. The nation's leader in three-pointers made buried 11-of-18 from beyond the arc on his way to a 47-point performance, the highest single-game total by any player in Division-I so far this season.
Murray State 47, Tennessee Tech 39
Score listed and placed here strictly for juxtaposition.
Northern Arizona 67, Northern Colorado 65
Neither team has a winning record either overall or in Big Sky play, so you know this game is listed here for a special reason.
Here it is:
It's not the best buzzer-beater of the year, but it's 100% the best "leaving a guy who desperately wants a high-five hanging" of the year.
Montana State 79, Weber State 74
Weber State pretty clearly got caught looking ahead to Saturday's game at Montana, and wound up tasting defeat in the Big Sky for the first time. At 9-0, Montana is now the league's only undefeated team left.
UNLV 62, Wyoming 50
A balanced UNLV attack led the Rebels to their 11th straight home win over the Pokes. Wyoming (15-3, 2-3) continued to struggle with backcourt production since the suspension of Luke Martinez, as not one of its guards managed to score more than seven points. That needs to change soon, as again they're finding themselves in a situation where their sparkling record and lackluster resume are not matching up.
Arizona State 98, USC 93 (OT)
Arizona State escaped what would have been a bad loss to USC even though they allowed the Trojans to send the game to overtime with a three-pointer at the regulation buzzer. When coaches think about whether or not to foul with their team leading by three and on defense in the game's final seconds, they need to remember how they feel when the roles are reversed and the opposition chooses not to foul. Isn't that such a relief? Don't you feel like you actually have a chance? Why give the same gift to the the team you're playing right now? Foul, foul, foul, foul, foul.