College Basketball: Unbeaten no more

Photo via under the Creative Commons License

Ty Kobylakiewicz, Fall Editor

This past Saturday, 17-0 Michigan and 16-0 Virgina rolled into town as the only unbeaten Division I teams standing. The Michigan Wolverines were scheduled to go up against the Wisconsin Badgers on January 19th, at 12:00pm ET while the Virginia Cavaliers were scheduled to face off against the No. 1 Duke Blue Devils at 6:00pm ET. With Duke’s devastating loss to Syracuse (95-91), the No. 2 Wolverines needed to secure the win against the Badgers to seal the No. 1 spot.

The Wolverines struck first with a quick up and under layup from Michigan’s guard Jordan Poole. With the Badgers answering right back with a three, the Wolverines knew they were going to have to earn this win on the road. With :45 seconds left to go in the first half, Michigan guard Zavier Simpson drilled a three pointer to give the Wolverines a 27-25 lead heading into halftime. During the whole second half, the Badgers were a completely different team with continuous buckets from Ethan Happ (Forward) who finished with 26 points and 10 rebounds. The Badgers were leading the Wolverines 57-54 with exactly 1 minute left to play in regulation. Michigan needed a three after trailing by 6 with only :15 seconds left, but instead, Nate Reuvers (Wisconsin Forward) came up with a nasty rejection leading to a fast break dunk giving the Badgers an 8 point lead with :09 seconds remaining in the game.

The Wisconsin Badgers shocked the Wolverines as they were handed their first loss of the season making Michigan 17-1.

The next matchup was one you shouldn’t have missed. The Virginia Cavaliers were hoping to walk out of Cameron Indoor with their hopes of a perfect record still alive. Instead, the Duke Blue Devils had other intentions. Early in the game, with the game tied at 3 a piece, Virginia Forward Mamadi Diakite swatted Duke Forward Zion Williamson leading to a missed three from Duke’s RJ Barrett. Just like the upset that occurred earlier, the game was very back and forth until one team went on a rampage in the second half. The highlight of the game arguably had to be when it was a 4 on 1 fast break and Zion Williamson drove through all defenders leading to a dunk and the foul. The dunk was so sensational, it left Duke’s head coach, Mike Krzyzewski in awe. With the Blue Devils and Cavaliers playing with such intensity and hustle, this game was bound to be a nail biting ending.

At halftime, the Blue Devils only led the Cavaliers by 5 (37-32). The game was even better knowing that both teams knew how much this game meant. With roughly 6 and a half minutes left in the second half, Zion Williamson got his revenge. Virginia guard De’Andre Hunter drove to the hole making a nice move against the Duke sophomore Javin DeLaurier. As the ball left Hunter’s fingertips, Williamson came flying out of nowhere, blocked the ball with such power making it soar back out to another Virginia guard.

Virginia trailed by 3 with two minutes left in regulation (63-60) when Duke Forward RJ Barrett drove strong to the basket drawing the foul on a made basket. Along with the Blue Devils and their fans, it seemed like there was no stopping them. There was :24 seconds left to play and the Blue Devils were on top 69-63. For Virginia, valuable seconds were ticking away and needed to get a shot off. Virginia guard Ty Jerome threw a quick pass to Kyle Guy which led to a huge made three cutting the lead to just 3. Unfortunately, the Blue Devils caught a break and came out on top 72-70.

Overall, these two highly intensified and exciting games were ones you shouldn’t have missed. If you enjoy games like these, make sure to tune in for March Madness where the best Division I teams battle it out in action packed games.