College Hoops Player of the Day for DAY, Month, 2010
The 19th-ranked Texas Longhorns stormed into East Lansing, Michigan and upended the #12 Spartans by a 67-55 score that had Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo shaking his head as he walked off the court.
The Longhorns' win was the first by a non-conference opponent on the Spartans' home floor since 2003, when Duke took their measure. Texas unceremoniously ended a 52-game streak with tenacious defense - holding the Spartans to 29% shooting and forcing 16 turnovers, very uncharacteristic of a team that's practically been a fixture in the final four under Izzo.
Team high-scorer Jordan Hamilton led the onslaught with 21 points, eight boards, three assists and three steals, and freshman Tristan Thompson had his best game of the season, scoring 17 points and wiping the glass for a game-high 15 rebounds. A 6'8" forward, Thompson recorded his third double-double of his budding career as the Longhorns upped their record to 10-2.
Michigan State slumped to 8-4, though all of the losses have come against ranked teams - Connecticut, Duke, Syracuse - and now Texas. It's a concern for the Spartans as they have no more games in which to prepare for Big Ten play, which commences on January 31 when #17 Minnesota comes calling.
Notable: There have been a spate of losses this week by ranked teams. In addition to the Spartans with four losses, there are four other teams with three losses that were raned in the top 25 this past Monday. On Tuesday, #11 Kansas State lost to UNLV, 63-59, which ironically was excused from the rankings last week. The Wildcats are now 9-3 after top scorer Jacob Pullen and senior starter Curtis Kelly were suspended for allegedly receiving some free duds from a local clothing store.
#21 Illinois was dumped by #9 Missouri, 75-64, after the Tigers blew open a close game in the closing minutes. The Fighting Illini are also 9-3. #18 Tennessee is just 7-3 after losing three straight games and #20 Florida is 9-3, all of which raises the question, what do the pollsters have against 11-0 Cincinnati and 10-1 Louisville? Maybe the fact that there are already six Big East teams in the rankings swayed some of the votes to lesser teams.
At the end of the season, watch how many Big East teams get invited to the NCAA tournament. It sill likely be at least eight and maybe as many as 10.