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Stunner: Not-so-shocking hoop upsets

February 25, 2009 | 12:39 pm

It may be time for a moratorium on headlines proclaiming every third college basketball victory this season "stunning" or "shocking."

It happened again Tuesday night, when No.1 Pittsburgh visited Providence and ... lost a regular-season Big East basketball game in late February.

Yet, the teaser on the MSN.com front page told a different story: "No. 1 stunner: Pitt falls."

Wait a minute. It wasn't like Notre Dame snapping UCLA's 88-game winning streak. Pittsburgh had been No.1 for, what, a week? And Providence, with the win, improved its record to 17-11.

It's been happening all year. A different team rises to No. 1 and then loses, and we're supposed to be "stunned" or "shocked."

In my mind, the only real "shocker" so far this year was Boston College upsetting No.1 North Carolina on Jan. 4 because the game was in Chapel Hill and North Carolina at the time was being proclaimed as invincible.

North Carolina began this year as the first unanimous preseason No.1 in the history of the Associated Press poll and almost even-bet money to become the first team since Indiana in 1976 to complete an undefeated season.

But then the Tar Heels lost, and have lost twice more since ... shocking!

There have been six changes at No.1 in the AP since early January. And shouldn't there be a limit as to how many times a team can get shocked in one year?

Pitt was already No.1 once before this season, before the Panthers were "stunned" at Louisville.

Let's face it: There are no dominant teams out there, no Lew Alcindor-led behemoths, no 1976 Indianas.

Twelve of the 16 schools in the Big East have winning records. Providence had already defeated Syracuse this year, and Cincinnati. It's not as though the Friars fell off the back of Dr. Naismith's peach truck.

We get it, begrudgingly, sort of, kicking and screaming. It's the Internet age, stupid. Everything has to be teased with a countdown or a question mark.

BRITNEY SPEARS TO BECOME A ZULU WARRIOR?

Click ... "No, but she has a new album coming out!"

Fool me 10 times ... shame on me.

It would be nice though, in sporting matters, if we could curb some of our enthusiasm and ration our exclamation points.

You know, save them for the real whoppers:

"BEN HOWLAND HAS TWO TIME OUTS LEFT AT END OF GAME!"

"USC HOOP GUARDS SEEN DINING TOGETHER AT DOWNTOWN EATERY!"

Sometimes, but not very often, a game warrants a bold-type statement.

Stanford, a 41-point underdog, upsetting USC in football back in 2007?

OK, now THAT was a shocker!!

-- Chris Dufresne

 

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