AGAINST THE ODDS: 2011-12 College Hoops Upsets

An Auspicious Start to a Potentially Record-setting Season!

The 2011-12 college basketball season is upon us. The media pundit’s are predicting a stellar season, as many/most of the ballyhooed players return to loaded Big Six conference teams. The “experts” hunger for and expect a return to “normalcy” in college hoops as most of the elite teams have the additional stability of returning star veterans to go along with their platoons of incoming Top 100 recruits. In other words, the prognosticators see less commotion, disruption, and less wins by the non-Big Six leagues and teams. Furthermore, with no expected competition from the NBA, given the lockout, the media is preparing for a Banner Year in NCAA Div I Basketball!

Slow your roll, Roadrunner… I think NOT!

IMO we shall witness a uptick, a spike in the numbers of Kyle Whelliston’s so-called “Red Line Upsets”* (RLUs) by non-Big Six teams, despite the relative “stability” which has been presumptively conferred upon the Bigboy programs.

I go on record predicting a spike in RLUs reaching an all-time high – approx 17% of the Div I (only) games between the Big Six vs non-Big Six teams. RLUs over the last 3 seasons**:
2010-11 Upsets 165/1333 (12.4%)
2009-10 Upsets 149/884 (16.9%)
2008-09 Upsets 111/846 (13.1%)

My belief and prediction are predicated upon and bolstered by:

1) The smug, overconfident, and pompous airs of the Big Sixers…their Beauty Contest mugshots for the routine and predictable Pre-season Polls rankings and Pre-season Bracketology seedings (ho-hum…another BB season, another Elite Eight prediction, [snap, snap] another rum punch & scone, Rodchester.). The predictable lovefest & rollout of all the Big Six “usual suspects” for rankings, awards, and pre-season publicity, by the media puppets. “Business as usual”.

2) Overly optimistic media predictions and the above noted overconfidence of the Big Sixers brought about by the NBA Lockout and being the “only show in town”, coupled with the concurrent lull in the 1 & Done migration to the NBA by underclassmen. This temporary “retention” of talent has fostered a Mirage. An illusion of a return to yesteryear, an illusion of the dominance and superiority of the Big Sixers, and the illusion of progress and stability. In the middle of the desert, even a mirage of Cleveland looks like progress.

3) The continued need to utilize the hoards of talented Frosh by the majors. They have abdicated teaching and development of players in the pursuit of high level talent and the 1 and Done recruits. They are now dependent on playing the unschooled, raw youth movement to appease the boosters and fanbases. As such the Big Sixers field teams with poor, or at best suspect skill levels. It is akin to a team with all apprentices and no journeymen…as such quality and performance suffer. The Frosh have talent, but face a steep learning curve in collegiate hoops. It takes time and experience to conquer the learning curve.

4) The other 24 conferences have continued on at their regular snail’s pace and have continued developing upper classmen players, as per their normal regimen. Non-Big Six experience continues to have the edge in recent years over the untested, unproven, and unseasoned young talent of the majors .

Thus the stage is set for an unprecedented spike in non-Big Six upsets over the majors this season. It’s going to be a Stellar Division I college basketball season, indeed!

For tabulation purposes I am including all 24 non-Big Six conferences and teams: yes – that means Gonzaga, Memphis, and Xavier as well. Although they are “special” and are generally ranked, they live in non-Big Six conferences, and their numbers will be included – whether ranked or not. Additionally, the numbers from any “breakthru” teams (Belmont, Wichita St, Utah St, VCU, Butler, etc.) will also be used in my compilations.

Lastly, although not a part of the RLU stats, I will note the upsets during the brief exhibition “season”. Contrary to the ravings in the media that such tilts are of “no consequence”. I say “Bullshat”. Whether these games count for the record is one thing, but the fact that the “Mighty has fallen” is ALWAYS of consequence and is one of the best proven indicators of the fallacy of the “Beauty Contest” Rankings and Seedings systems, which are currently in use in NCAA Division I Basketball.

Regular Season

15 Nov 11 Morgantown, WVA Kent State beats West Virginia, 70-60

13Nov11 Nashville, TN Cleveland State upsets No. 7 Vanderbilt 71-58
11Nov11 LA Loyola Marymount over UCLA 69 – 58

09Nov11 Starkville, MS Diggs leads Akron to 68-58 win at Mississippi St
Exhibition Season

Eshaunte Jones’ 3-pointer with 1 second left lifted Division II Northern Kentucky to a 77-74 exhibition win over West Virginia on Friday night.

04 Nov 2011 Exhbt Des Moines, IA Bulldogs Drop Exhibition to Quincy 84-74

A short-handed Drake Bulldogs men’s basketball team was unable to overcome a hot start by the visiting Quincy Hawks, falling 84-74 in an exhibition Saturday at the Knapp Center. The Bulldogs dressed only five scholarship players because of widespread injury and two suspensions.

02 Nov 2011 Exhbt Indpls, IN Northern St over Nat’l RunnerUp Butler 53-50

Northern State’s Alex Thomas made his only 3-pointer at the buzzer, beating Butler 53-50 in a Wednesday night exhibition game. While not a “Red Line Upset” (RLU), this is none-the-less a BIG upset as the Bulldogs have been the Media Darlin’s for the past 4 years or so and have played in the Div I title game the last 2 years.

26 Oct 2011 Exhbt Tucson, AZ Seattle Pacific over #16 Arizona 69-68
Arizona ranked too high? You called it! Ranked way too high, like ought NOT be in the Top 35…
The lil’ cats LOST TO DIV II Seattle Pacific (Princeton Offense) last night! Yeah we know, it was ONLY AN EXHIBITION GAME. That, my friends, IS THE POINT! A Top 20 team that can’t beat a Div II Team, at home???

* Kyle Whelliston, Publisher; Blog: The; the leading online authority and champion of the 24 non-BCS (non-Big Six) Conferences. A college basketball blogsite covering the NCAA Division I basketball. The term Red Line Upset is a trademark of the, and denotes a differentiation in status amongst Division I Basketball conferences and their teams. See