Eight ranked teams played unranked foes on Tuesday. Four lost — and a fifth needed a buzzer-beater to win (Michigan).
- South Carolina was once 4-7, slumping through a nonconference slate that included losses to Stony Brook, Wofford and Wyoming.
- Kansas State, a surprise Elite Eight team a season ago, started the season almost in the top 10 but earlier this month found itself only 10-4 (0-2 Big 12), out of the polls and missing injured star Dean Wade.
- Northern Illinois hadn't defeated a ranked opponent in almost 46 years.
- Alabama had lost three of four.
Yet all four won. Good thing conference play offers a chance to turn around a season.
After the Gamecocks and Wildcats continued their climbs with upset wins on Tuesday, Northern Illinois added a third stunner. South Carolina beat No. 16 Auburn, 80-77. K-State shocked No. 14 Texas Tech, 58-45. Northern Illinois knocked off No. 14 Buffalo, 77-75. Alabama then added a fourth upset, routing No. 20 Mississippi, 74-53.
Suddenly, South Carolina is 10-8 overall and 5-1 in the SEC. Kansas State is 15-4 and now 5-2 in the Big 12. The Gamecocks are half a game out of first place in the SEC. K-State is tied with Kansas for first in the Big 12.
Only a loss to LSU on Saturday kept South Carolina from winning seven in a row. In the win against Auburn, Chris Silva finished 11-for-12 from the field and made 10 of 11 foul shots to score 32 points — and he had 14 rebounds.
In another SEC surprise, Alabama routed the Rebels by 21 points. The Tide shot only 38.5 percent but finished had 20 offensive rebounds.
In the MAC, Northern Illinois picked up the game-winner in the closing moments when Noah McCarty scored. It made for Buffalo's second loss of the season, dropping the Bulls to 17-2 overall (5-1 MAC).
It was the Huskies' first win against a ranked opponent since February 3, 1973.
In the Big 12, K-State started conference play with losses to Texas and Texas Tech. Since then, the Wildcats' five-game winning streak has wins vs. West Virginia, Iowa State, Oklahoma, TCU and now the Red Raiders.
At first glance, seeing the Wildcats' 58 points in the box score doesn't look like much. But K-State shot 46.3 percent from the field. The Texas Tech defense was allowing foes to shoot only 34.9 percent coming in.
Dean Wade's return has helped K-State's comeback. Out with a foot injury since middle December, Wade has returned to help boost the Wildcats.
He had only two points in 22 minutes against West Virginia before taking off for 20 points at Oklahoma and 16 against TCU. He then scored 13 against Texas Tech.
Last season, Wade played in only 8 minutes during Kansas State's run to the Elite Eight after he sustained a stress fracture in his left foot.
This year, Wade's return has K-State thinking another NCAA tournament run is coming.
But for one night, K-State was only one of four spoilers of ranked teams.