NEW YORK - FILE: Assistant coach Bernie Fine of the Syracuse Orange looks on from the sidelines during their game against the Connecticut Huskies during the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 12, 2009 in New York City. According to reports on November 27, 2011, Syracuse University has fired assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine over allegations of child molestation. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
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It can happen in a matter of seconds. A once-promising season can turn into a crumbled mess of uncertainty, all because of one stupid, frustrating, unfortunate injury to a key player at the wrong time. Notre Dame felt this all too well last week when Tim Abromaitis tore his ACL, abruptly ending his collegiate career and effectively knocking the Irish down a rung or two as a national threat.
And yesterday, another national player of the year contender went down, as Minnesota's All-Big Ten forward Trevor Mbakwe looked to have blown out his right knee in a game against Dayton. The official severity is unknown (he'll have an MRI today), but seeing Mbakwe on crutches, with ice packs on his knee shortly thereafter had to be a painful sight for Gopher Nation. If the initial vibe that we got is any indication, then it's very likely the Gophers will be without their best player for the rest of the 2011-12 season. Brutal stuff.
Rather eerily, Mbakwe actually overtook Abromaitis for the No. 18 spot last Monday in our POY power rankings, which is a testament to the talent and potential these two entered the year with. And now, not only have both (probably) fallen out of the race for good in the same week, but each of their respective teams could be doomed by the time conference play rolls around. We're rooting hard that the MRI won't find any ligament damage, but quite honestly, it's hard to imagine this ending well for anyone involved.
The local guys
* Butler coughs the ball up 21 times as Tom Crean's Hoosiers get a monumental victory (Indy Star)
* Glass cleaners for hire: Pitt gives up EIGHT offensive boards in the final 1:40, wins big anyway (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
* Again, this is just awful: Minnesota stud forward Trevor Mbakwe could be out a long time with a knee injury (Pioneer Press)
* It doesn't look like Washington State has gotten over the loss of Klay Thompson quite yet (Coug Center)
* Scorers for hire: BC starters Humphrey and Anderson combine to shoot just 5 for 29 in a losing effort (BC Interruption)
Who won it best
Santa Clara - Somehow managed to upset Jay Wright's Wildcats despite grabbing just 18 rebounds and sending only TWO players to the foul line all game. The Broncos hit 11 triples and fought back from a seven-point deficit with 1:11 remaining to notch their second notable win of the year (New Mexico).
Who lost it worst
Temple - Made just one field goal in the final four minutes of a loss to Bowling Green. The 3-2 Owls are one of ten Atlantic 10 schools that have already dropped at least two games, and still have Villanova, Texas and Duke remaining on their non-conference schedule.
- Integral in a surprise win over Minnesota, Dillard turned in a career day with 19 points, 10 assists, seven steals, three blocks and one rebound. The transfer from Southern Illinois currently leads the Fliers in points, assists and steals, and looks to be one of the most impactful new faces in the A10 this season.
By the numbers
9 - Total number of Rhode Island players that recorded an offensive rebound against Cleveland State. The Rams finished the game with 18, and yet still shot under 40% as a team and lost by 26 points.
It was tweeted
This really happened
From Saturday: UNLV's court storm after knocking off No. 1 UNC (H/T Mocksession)