The week of upsets continued on Thursday as, for the second night in a row, a pair of top 15 squads took one on the proverbial chin.
TOP 25 SCORES
No. 5 North Carlina 100, Elon 62
Rutgers 85, No. 10 Florida 83 (2 OT)
Vanderbilt 74, No. 14 Marquette 57
No. 17 Kansas 89, Howard 34
No. 18 Michigan 71, Penn State 53
No. 24 Harvard 67, Boston College 46
GAME OF THE NIGHT: Rutgers 85, Florida 83 (2 OT)
It feels like there have been far more classic double overtime games than single overtime games this season. Can I get a stat check on that, Bill? What's up? I don't have a stat guy? Well, I'm not gonna check on it.
Florida had ample opportunity to put this game away and could not, a poor sign for a team that absolutely has Final Four talent. Another poor sign? Patric Young having just six points (and about as many offensive touches) with less than two minutes to go in regulation. You'd think the fact that Kenny Boynton lit up the scoreboard and the Gators still lost to an average(?) Rutgers team would tell the Florida players something, but at this point I'm not sure the message will ever get through.
You've gotta let the big dog eat.
UPSET OF THE NIGHT: Vanderbilt 74, Marquette 57
It was October, 2011 throwback night at the Bradley Center as Vanderbilt finally looked like the team that was in the top ten of every preseason poll and Marquette played the role of unranked Big East also-ran.
The Commodores opened up a 31-6 lead over the game's first 11 minutes and really never let the outcome slip back into jeopardy. They zoned the Golden Eagles constantly and dared them to make outside shots, a challenge Marquette was not up to.
This is a danger zone for a Marquette team that was 10-0 and rolling before an injury to Chris Otule and a pair of mysterious one-game suspensions to team-leaders Junior Cadougan and Darius Johnson-Odom. The Golden Eagles begin Big East play by facing four ranked teams - Georgetown, Syracuse Pitt and Louisville - in their first six games.
PLAYER OF THE NIGHT: Eli Carter, Rutgers
The freshman gave one of the more impressive individual performances of the young season, hitting clutch shot after clutch shot and scoring a career-high 31 points in the Scarlet Knights' upset of Florida. Carter's contested three-pointer sent the game into a second overtime, where he would go on to bury the eventual game-winning jumper.
Will Barton, Memphis - The All-American candidate continued his stellar season with a 27-point, 13-rebound performance in a 64-47 win over Robert Morris.
Tim Hardaway Jr., Michigan - Hit 10-of-11 shots from inside the arc and scored a game-high 26 points as the 18th-ranked Wolverines opened Big East play with a 71-53 win over Penn State.
Marcus Jordan, Central Florida - Scored 26 points in UCF's 80-70 win over Stetson.
Chris Gaston, Fordham - The nation's leading double-double man picked up another one by scoring 23 points and grabbing 17 rebounds as Fordham beat Georgia Tech, 72-66.
Tony Wroten, Washington - "Murder T. Wrote" dropped 26 points and grabbed nine boards as the Huskies opened Pac-12 play by beating Oregon State, 95-80.
IMAGE OF THE DAY:
I'm not entirely sure what sport Cal and USC were playing Thursday night. The Bears won, though, 53-49.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "The teammates I had just didn't want to work hard." --Mike Rosario in Oct., 2010 on his decision to leave Rutgers. Rosario now plays for Florida. Florida lost to Rutgers Thursday night.
FIVE TO END:
1. Howard's leading scorer in its 89-34 loss to No. 17 Kansas was Prince Okoroh...with seven points.
2. UCLA had 13 possessions on Thursday night where it had the opportunity to take the lead against Stanford, and the Bruins came up empty all 13 times. One of those possessions was the very last one of the game, as the Cardinal opened Pac-12 play with a 60-59 victory.
3. Belmont exacted some revenge on Marshall by beating the visiting Thundering Herd 79-74 in the second matchup between the pair this season. The loss is a fairly sizable blow to Tom Herrion's team's at-large hopes.
4. North Carolina looked fairly unbeatable in its 100-62 demolition of a decent Elon team. The Heels have now won 25 straight at home, the program's longest streak since 1994.
5. The WCC schedulers didn't do BYU any favors by sending them to Saint Mary's for their first-ever conference game. The Gaels dominated the second half on their way to a 98-82 win.