Kentucky is not the only top-ranked team to have suffered an embarrassing loss in the regular season.
With that being said, it does suck when your team is embarrassed early in the year, especially to a team like Evansville
The reaction on social media to the loss hasn’t been surprising. Of course, all of the other fan bases are making fun of us, so if you get into a Twitter fight with a Tennessee fan, just be ready for the “Evansville” reply.
But, inside the BBN, the response on social media has been 50/50.
A fair amount of people are losing their minds and overreacting, while some fans are staying level-headed and know that when March comes around, the Cats will be right in the mix.
If the Calipari era has taught us anything, it’s that the losses in November and early December (embarrassing or not) don’t really matter.
Now, they certainly help if you win, but they don’t hurt nearly as much as they would in January or February.
A loss like last Tuesday will probably come back to haunt Kentucky with seeding come tournament time, but it will definitely help the team.
With that, let’s take a look at embarrassing losses by some top teams and where their season ended.
No. 1 North Carolina/Northern Iowa: November 21, 2015
Kentucky lost to a sub-.500 UCLA team early in 2015-16, but Kentucky’s loss was not nearly as bad as this one.
Justin Jackson dropped 25 points for the Tarheels but their next leading scorer was Kennedy Meeks and Brice Johnson both with 10.
Northern Iowa’s starting five combined for 69 of their 71 points that night, including 11 three-pointers, which gave them the 71-67 win over the Tarheels.
So close, just as they were to a national title that year.
Season results: NCAA Tournament Runner-Up, Record: 33-7
No.4 North Carolina/Santa Clara: January 19, 2004
Santa Clara’s most prominent alum is former NBA MVP, Steve Nash, but this game happened far after Nash’s time, and the Broncos were now a borderline .500 team.
Santa Clara outright won this game 77-66 as the rebounding battle shows, as the Broncos controlled the glass 40-37 overall, and dominated on the defensive boards 24-16.
Following this game, the Tarheels won 19 of their next 20 including three ranked opponents and went on to win Roy William’s first national title.
Season Results: NCAA Champions, Record: 33-4
No. 8 Michigan State/Wright State: December 30, 1999
Coined the “Upset of the Millenium”, a Wright State team that finished the season 11-17, beat the eventual national champion, Michigan State Spartans, 53-49.
In the words of Tom Izzo, the Spartans, “were totally outplayed from start to finish.” However, the Spartans weren’t outplayed many times following this game, going 23-3 en route to a national title victory over Florida.
Season Results: NCAA Champion, Record: 32-7
Syracuse/Rutgers: January 29, 2003
Carmelo Anthony is considered to be one of the greatest freshmen in college basketball history, but on January 29, 2003, he was not the best player on the floor.
That title belongs to Jerome Coleman who scored 31 points (12-23 FG) and helped an eventual 12-16 Rutgers team to upset the Orange.
Jim Boeheim and Company followed this game with a victory over No. 2 Pittsburgh and won 14 of their last 15 games, including a national title victory.
Season Results: NCAA Champion, Record: 30-5
No. 23 Butler/Evansville: November 27, 2010
Evansville may have just won their first game against a No. 1 AP team, but they are no stranger to upsets, beating an eventual NCAA Runner-Up Butler team 71-68 in overtime back in 2010.
The game was close but Butler’s 17 turnovers cost them the game. This Butler team turned it around and was a shot away from winning a title over Duke.
Season Results: NCAA Runner-Up, Record: 28-10
What did we learn?
In all of this, these losses don’t mean much. Like I said, really all they do is embarrass you, humble you, and make you better (Dang, I should be a head coach).
Kentucky will be just fine.