The Wednesday night struggles were in full force for ranked teams. Wednesday night was a great night of college basketball if you are a fan of the underdog. Eight ranked teams were in action on Wednesday and out of the eight that played, five of them took a loss. Two of those teams were sitting pretty inside of the top five in the AP top 25 poll, those being Villanova and Houston. Let’s start out with #5 Houston falling to East Carolina.
#5 Houston Falls to the Pirates of East Carolina
The Wednesday night struggles for the ranked teams started with the #5 team in the country. Kelvin Sampson had his team on a roll coming into Wednesday night’s game against East Carolina. Houston had won eight straight games that they have played in, and questions were looming if Houston would lose a game before the tournament. Well, those questions were answered last night.
🗣️ Bring out the highlights!! pic.twitter.com/Gf47EXlBaT— ECU Men’s Basketball (@ecubasketball) February 4, 2021
Houston went on the road and fell to East Carolina, 82-73. As much as the loss shocked people around the college basketball landscape, the score given up was the real shocker. Houston only averaged 52.7 opponent points per game before Wednesday, and the Pirates put 82 on them. It was a surprising loss to say the least.
East Carolina shot the ball decent, shooting 47% from the field for the game, and 45% from deep. The junior forward Jayden Gardner put in 21 points and secured 15 rebounds in the victory. This was the first win for East Carolina against a ranked opponent in nearly two decades.
Wednesday Night Struggles Continue Down South
We take a trip down to Gainesville where Florida met up with the Gamecocks of South Carolina. Florida came into the week inside the top 25 for the first time this season, and it took one game for them to fall right back out. South Carolina held the Gators to only 26 second-half points.
Neither team really shot the ball well from behind the three-point line. The big key of this game was the aggressiveness on the offensive glass by South Carolina. The Gamecocks won the rebounding battle 43-35 and ultimately won the game, 72-66. South Carolina moves to 5-6 (3-4) on the season while Florida falls to 10-5 (6-4).
#16 Virginia Tech falls victim to Xavier Johnson, Pitt
Virginia Tech was the third-ranked team to lose in the four games that were finalized at that point in time. The Hokies were coming off of a really big win against in-state rival Virginia on Saturday. On Wednesday, Virginia Tech was on the wrong side of the win/loss column.
There was very little defense played in the second half as there was a combined 93 points scored in the final 20 minutes. Pitt’s Xavier Johnson led the Panthers in the upset win. The junior guard was feeling it off the bench, playing 36 minutes and scoring a season-high 32 points. Pitt took the win, 83-72.
Wednesday Night Struggles Hit the Big East Hard
Struggles come and go for certain teams, but it only makes sense that two ranked Big East teams take a loss on a day where other ranked teams are dropping like flies. First, a 10th placed Georgetown team took down a very talented Creighton team. The game was very balanced for both teams, as both Georgetown and Creighton shot the ball pretty well. It came down to who wanted it more, and Georgetown ends up spoiling Creighton’s Wednesday night. Hoyas win the contest, 86-79. Creighton, as of late, has been playing down to their competition.
One of the great games of Wednesday night was #3 Villanova taking a trip to Queens to face St John’s. The Johnnies came into this game with a ton of confidence, winning four in a row and their defense was exceptional. In a game against Jay Wright and the Wildcats, you need to stop Jeremiah Robinson-Earl and Colin Gilespie. The St John’s defense did just that, only allowing a combined 18 points from the two. St John freshman, Posh Alexander has been playing some really good basketball in the winning streak. Alexander had a +/- of 20 when he was on the floor in Wednesday night’s victory against #3 Villanova. He also ended with 16 points and helping force 6 Colin Gilespie turnovers. The Johnnies are rolling.
The landscape of college basketball has changed dramatically this season. The Blue Bloods are struggling, and having a mix of experience with good young talent is what you need to win games consistently. Wednesday was just like any other day in the 2020-21 college basketball season.
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