ROUNDBALL DAILY

DAILY DISH: Harvard, Central Florida upset big names in Bahamas

Brandyn Curry and Harvard held Florida State to 36 percent shooting in a 48-41 win. (Photo: www.gocrimson.com)

“The Battle 4 Atlantis” has become a bracket-buster paradise, as Central Florida and Harvard both came away with stunning upsets of UConn and Florida State, respectively, to advance to the championship game in the Bahamas on Saturday. UCF knocked off UConn behind a 20-point, 7-rebound, 7-assist performance by Marcus Jordan, (Mike’s kid), and an enveloping 2-3 zone that had the Huskies more baffled than a trigonometry quiz over the final 15 minutes. UConn scored just 13 points in that span, blowing a 50-33 lead and bowing out, 68-63.

The Huskies looked like the ‘Showtime’ Lakers compared to Florida State, which did not score until the 8-minute mark of the first half, (The Seminoles trailed Harvard 7-0 with 8:05 left in the half), and didn’t do much after that, falling 48-41. Head coach Tommy Amaker has done an incredible job with Harvard, and he has the Crimson in position to make a Cornell-like run in the NCAAs come March.

Saint Louis wasn’t quite Harvard-like in its upset victory over Villanova, but the Billikens played great defense and used a 20-2 run to outclass the Wildcats, 80-68, in the semifinals of the 76 Classic on Friday. Rick Majerus’ team already owns a home win over Washington, and has put itself in a good position to earn an at-large bid if they continue to play well in the Atlantic 10. Much like Harvard, Central Florida, and Missouri, which have earned plenty of early-season ink, the Billikens have won with great defense. That will make them a tough out all season long.

It’s early, but things are not looking good for the Big East. No. 4 UConn, No. 9 Pittsburgh,  No. 20 Cincinnati and No. 22 Villanova have all lost to unranked foes, with UConn and ‘Nova falling to  Central Florida and Saint Louis, respectively, on Friday. Only four Big East teams- Louisville, Providence, Marquette, and Syracuse- have been able to make it through Thanksgiving weekend unbeaten. Throw in Missouri’s annihilation of Notre Dame, and West Virginia’s home loss to Kent State, and it’s been a fairly tough week for the Big East.

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