It's been about seven years since I had a special night. Savor it, Brandon Paul.
TOP 25 SCORES:
No. 3 North Carolina 73, Miami 56
No. 4 Baylor 75, No. 18 Kansas State 73
Illinois 79, No. 5 Ohio State 74
No. 6 Michigan State 95, Iowa 61
Providence 90, No. 14 Louisville 59
No. 19 Florida 70, Georgia 48
No. 22 San Diego State 73, Chicago State 65
No. 23 Creigton 63, Northern Iowa 60
No. 24 Seton Hall 94, DePaul 73
GAME OF THE NIGHT: Baylor 75, Kansas State 73
The 4th-ranked and unbeaten Bears answered any questions people may have had about their toughness in a 75-73 road victory over No. 18 Kansas State.
Baylor withstood a late 11-2 K-State run as well as 30 points from Rodney McGruder to move to 3-0 in the Big 12 and 16-0 overall. The Wildcats had a chance to win or force a tie in the game's final seconds, but BU's Quincy Acy deflected an inbounds pass down the court and time expired during the chase for the loose ball.
"That's the biggest thing, that sometimes people question our team's toughness," Baylor head coach Scott Drew said. "Tonight, I think we showed, mentally, how tough we've been."
Perry Jones III led Baylor in scoring with 17 points, while Acy and Brady Heslip added 13 apiece. Jones and Acy shot a combined 14-for-18 from the floor. Still, it was probably point guard Pierre Jackson's 10-point, 11-assist performance that was the most valuable for the Bears.
Baylor had just 10 turnovers in the final 31 minutes and shot 53.7 percent for the game.
"Our depth is our biggest strength," said Drew, who boasts five players averaging double figures in scoring. "Our leadership and depth allow you to overcome a night when you do have foul trouble."
UPSET OF THE NIGHT: Providence 90, Louisville 59
The Friars had been 0-4 in the Big East, are one of the thinnest teams in the country, were playing without second-leading scorer Gerard Coleman, and they defeated the No. 14 team in the country by 31 points.
And it wasn't that close.
It is beyond the proverbial panic point (alliteration) for a Louisville team that has lost 4-of-5 since beginning the season 12-0 and climbing to as high as No. 4 in the polls. The Cardinals have already lost two Big East home games and were just humiliated on the road by what had appeared to be the worst team in the league.
I have no idea what's going on at U of L, but if it doesn't change quickly the Cardinals are going to go from apparent national title contender to bubble team in the span of about a month.
PLAYER OF THE NIGHT: Brandon Paul, Illinois
This was the easiest selection of the season thus far.
Paul scored a scored a career-high 43 points - the third best game ever for an Illinois baller - and led his team to a 79-74 upset of No. 5 Ohio State. Paul scored the last 15 points for the Illini, including an off-balance 3-pointer with 43 seconds to play that put them up 74-71. He then buried four straight free-throws to put the game on ice.
Sometimes it's just your night.
Bryce Cotton, Providence - Hit 10-of-12 free-throws and all five of his 3-point attempts to score 27 points and lead Providence to a monster upset of Louisville.
Rodney McGruder, Kansas State - Scored 30 points in K-State's two-point loss to No. 4 Baylor. Classic McGruder.
Taylor Brown, Bradley - Scored 28 points and snagged 12 rebounds for Bradley, which fell to Drake 82-74.
Fuquan Edwin, Seton Hall - Scored 24 of his career-high 28 points in the first half and the Pirates rolled to a 94-73 victory over DePaul in their first game as a ranked team since 2001.
Draymond Green, Michigan State - Went for a game-high 22 and nine in the 6th-ranked Spartans' 95-61 rout of Iowa.
IMAGE OF THE NIGHT:
Again, sometimes it's just your night.
TEN TO END:
1. Louisville's 31-point loss to Providence was the 24th-worst in program history and the second-worst under Pitino, trailing only a 90-53 defeat at Notre Dame in 2009. That team went on to enter the NCAA Tournament as the No. 1 overall seed. This one will not.
2. The most remarkable aspect of the Ohio State/Illinois game? (I know, so thanks for asking) A grand total of zero bench points were scored. That's right, the ten starters accounted for all 153 points scored in the game.
3. Fran McCaffery: established enemy of the chair since Tuesday night.
4. North Carolina continued to roll with a 73-56 win over Miami, but star Harrison Barnes scored just six points on 2-of-12 shooting. Barnes had scored 20 or more points in each of Carolina's last three games.
5. There's no question that San Diego State was looking ahead to its Saturday showdown with UNLV on Tuesday night. To put it kindly, the Aztecs went through the motions in a 73-65 win over 0-15 Chicago State.
6. Pittsburgh, Villanova and Louisville currently sit among the bottom five in the Big East standings. Seton Hall and Notre Dame are tied with Cincinnati for second place.
7. It was a good sign for Creighton that it was able to beat a good Northern Iowa team despite getting just 14 points from star Doug McDermott. McDermott entered the night as the nation's second-leading scorer, averaging 25.2 ppg.
8. Harvard got 18 points and 15 boards in a closer-than-expected 70-61 win over Monmouth. Not that they won't win the Ivy League, but the Crimson have looked a tad vulnerable in recent weeks.
9. Florida State beat Virginia Tech 63-59 in what should be renamed the "Bubble Bowl" from here on out. Or "Bubble Classic," whatever, I'm not particular. Bernard James finished with 18 points, 15 boards and three blocks for the Seminoles.
10. Washington flirted with disaster for about 38 minutes before ultimately defeating Seattle, 91-83. I feel like I'm constantly seeing the Redhawks pulling upsets or playing good teams close, and then when I check their record they're always 2-27 or something. You are a mystery, SU. A sweet, sweet mystery.