An incredible win for Bucknell
It is definitely the biggest upset in Bucknell's 109-plus years of basketball.
Until someone can remind me of a bigger one, we're going to call it the biggest win in the Patriot League's 15-year history, too.
There have been some big wins in those 15 years, but none that we can recall over a team ranked as high as the Pittsburgh Panther team that Bucknell knocked off last night in a shock the nation 69-66 win.
Shock the nation wouldn't seem to be hyperbole. The game is this morning's "cover story" on ESPN.com's college basketball section.
In the AP story on ESPN's site, Bison coach Pat Flannery was asked to put the win into perspective. He couldn't
:"I don't know where to put it," Flannery said. "You don't play these games on your schedule without thinking you can come in and beat them. I felt like we could come in and play with them. I'll put it in perspective when I calm down."We will try to give Flannery an assist here. Put it at the top of the list Pat.
Flannery's 1994 Lebanon Valley team won the NCAA D-III title. That might come close on his personal list. For Bucknell, though, there is nothing close.
That is not to say they have not upset some name foes in the past. In the 1995-96 season, Flannery's team knocked off a pretty good San Francisco team on the road in its season-opener and later that season the Bison upset Alabama in a game the Bucknell media guide refers to as "one of the school's biggest victories of all time."
But neither of those teams were ranked at the time. Nor was the Princeton team Bucknell beat in the '96-'97 season.
A look at Bucknell's all-time series records shows some victories that would seem like big name wins today -- Temple, Wyoming, Villanova, South Carolina, La Salle, St. Joe's, Fresno St., Arizona St.-- but most of those wins (with the obvious exception of last week's win over Saint Joseph's) were long ago, in a very different era. For example, BU has beaten Temple five times (and lost to the Owls 29 times), but the last time it happened was in 1959, when the Ben Kribbs coached Bison went 16-7. That team also had a win over Pittsburgh, by the way. They beat Rutgers, too and had two wins over Penn State. It's also the team that beat South Carolina.
None of those wins were on the same magnitude as last night's though. As one poster over on the Holy Cross message board put it, "If BU wins the league, that win is a 'get out of 16 seed free' card."
The Hoops Junkie quickly jumped on the Bucknell bandwagon, saying this morning:
This, my friends, is a team that has Sweet 16 written all over it.We won't know until later today what this does for the Bison's RPI, or the league's for that matter, though with Patriot League teams winning five out of six Sunday, even Army's loss to No. 318 Cornell shouldn't keep it from improving. (UPDATE: see post below for the latest RPI numbers).
Here's what some others have to say about the Bucknell win:
In the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Dave Mackall writes:
So, you think Pitt was untouchable against the blur of non-conference schools parading into Petersen Events Center during the past three seasons?Ray Fittipaldo, in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, remarked:
Think again . . .
Bucknell led for nearly the entire first half as the Bison's inside game gave Pitt fits. Both teams shot at a high level over the first 20 minutes -- the Panthers putting up the best numbers (61.1 percent) compared to 59.3 for the Bison.
Pitt also held the edge in rebounding, 13-8.
But the score is what mattered most, and Bucknell was in control.
Bucknell, from the Patriot League, pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the college basketball season last night by beating No. 10 Pitt, 69-66, at the Petersen Events Center . . .We already posted links to the box score below. We will update with more later today, along with more on the rest of the league action from Sunday.
Bucknell shot better than 51 percent from the field and forced 18 Pitt turnovers. Fifteen of those turnovers came in the first half as the Panthers fumbled away pass after pass.