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What on Earth is happening to power conference programs this season? It seems like everywhere you look, low-end schools in big-time leagues are getting absolutely whipped by lesser competition. And on Turkey Day, with only 14 games on the schedule, this was once again the underlying theme.
Aside from Connecticut and Florida State, a total of seven schools from the six power conferences went home with losses on Thursday. The kicker is that five of those came at the hands of Indiana State, St. Louis, Dayton, Harvard and Fairfield. While it's easy to chalk this new trend up to early-season struggles, foreign locations, and maybe even inexperience, it's entirely conceivable that schools like Texas Tech and Boston College are simply just this awful, regardless of conference affiliation.
The Pac-12 right now has a lot to do with this parity movement, and it's foolish to assume that underachieving programs like UCLA, Utah and Washington State, among others, are going to miraculously start winning basketball games. Upsets, from a favorite vs. underdog standpoint, are commonplace in college hoops. But schools well below the red line still shouldn't be winning quite this many games as often as we've seen. We can hold off on the panic button until some of the nation's elite programs start falling, but early-season unpredictability could translate into a comparably-unpredictable opening weekend come March.
The local guys
Dayton handed Wake Forest its first loss of the year after a late 3-point barrage (Winston-Salem Journal)
Utah first-year coach Larry Krystkowiak: "We haven’t proven we’re very good at taking care of the basketball when we’re not pressed." (Salt Lake Tribune)
Who won it best
Indiana State - Talk about a blast from the past. The Sycamores were out-shot by Texas Tech from the field, but sat back and allowed the Red Raiders to self-destruct when it mattered most. Good move. Indiana State is now 5-0 on the year and gets a stout test in Minnesota later today.
Who lost it worst
Central Michigan - Suffered a 29-point drubbing at the hands of New Mexico State in the Great Alaska Shootout. The Chips, who are still supposed to contend in the MAC this season, gave up 24 offensive rebounds and an absurdly-high 49 free throw attempts.
- A stud last year when UCF stormed out of the gate, Clanton was huge on Thanksgiving in a win over Charleston. The 6'8" junior filled out the box score nicely with 28 points, 14 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 steals and 2 assists. He also chipped in a pair of 3-pointers and shot above 70% from the floor for the first time all season. Not a bad day.
By the numbers
46 - The number of shots attempted by Indiana State from the free throw line and three-point line combined. Texas Tech? 18.
It was tweeted
This really happened