College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, February 12, 2011
Jordan Taylor scored 21 of his game-high 27 points in the second half, fueling a Wisconsin run that brought the Badgers all the way back from a 15-point deficit to defeat Ohio State, 71-67, ending the Buckeye's unbeaten streak at 24 straight.
Ohio State entered the Kohl Center seeking to remain the only undefeated team in college basketball, but, like so many times before, left the building shaken and defeated. The Buckeyes haven't won at Wisconsin in over a decade.
In an ironic twist, Wisconsin also knocked off #1 Ohio State back in October of this past football season, when the Buckeyes of the gridiron were also undefeated.
Taylor was 8-for-13 from the field, including five three-pointers. He also added four rebounds and seven assists, scoring in double figures for the 23rd time in 24 starts this season.
The Badgers are unbeaten in Big Ten action at home this season, and haven't lost there since being handled by Notre Dame, back in November in a 58-51 loss. Ranked #13 nationally, they're sure to move up in the standings come Monday afternoon. They are 9-3 in the conference, still trailing the 11-1 Buckeyes.
The last time a Division 1 team finished undefeated was in 1975-76 - well before the players on the floor today were even born - when Bobby Knight coached the Indiana Hoosiers to a national championship.
NOTABLE: Unnoticed by most fans of college hoops, Cleveland State's senior guard, Norris Cole is having a heck of a season, leading the Vikings to a 22-5 record and scoring a career high 41 points in Saturday's 71-67 win over Youngstown State. Not only did Cole put up big offensive numbers, he also crashed the boards with impunity, hauling in 20 rebounds and fell just short of a triple-double with 9 rebounds. Cole was 11-for-22 from the field with 5 threes and hit 14-of-17 free throws.
Cleveland State is 11-4 in the Horizon League, just a half game behind Valparaiso, at 11-3, but the conference is top-heavy, with Butler and Wisconsin-Green Bay both 10-5 and Wright State lurking at 10-6.
Big Least? #4 Pitt knocked off #9 Villanova, 57-54, keeping the Panthers clearly in the Big East lead, at 11-1. Notre Dame - who gave Pitt their only loss - trails the Panthers by two games at 9-3 and is followed by Georgetown and Louisville, both 8-4. With Pitt running away from the field, it poses an intriguing question, whether the Big East is really all that great and just how many teams should receive nCAA tourney bids?
The top four appear solid, but there's a gaggle of seven teams behind them all between 7-5 and 6-5, with Syracuse at 7-6. This bunch includes Villanova, West Virginia, St. John's, Marquette, Cincinnati and Connecticut, all looking very much like second or third round NCAA fodder.
Separation Days Top 25 upsets have pretty much ceased over the past two weeks. On Saturday, all twelve ranked teams which faced unranked opponents won their games, providing further separation of the Top 25 from the rest of college basketball.