Texas Southern shocks No. 25 Michigan State 71-64, maybe the biggest upset in a year full of them
Not to be outdone by Michigan’s loss to NJIT, Michigan State lost to 1-8 Texas Southern at home.
Another Big Ten team has lost a stunner: No. 25 Michigan State fell to Texas Southern, a 1-8 squad from the lowly SWAC, in overtime, 71-64.
Texas Southern went into East Lansing having only beaten Lamar, a team that itself is only 1-6 against D-I competition. In their three games before Saturday, they had lost by 26 to Baylor, by 25 to Florida, and by 40 to Gonzaga. They just beat Michigan State, a team ranked as one of the top 25 in the nation. That’s incredible.
MSU led most of the way, going up by eight with under eight minutes to go. But the Tigers surged, taking the lead on a Jason Carter 3-pointer that capped a 7-0 run with 1:26 to go. The Spartans forced overtime on a Javon Bess free throw, but were outplayed there, as the Tigers led by as much as eight.
One-time 5-star recruit Chris Thomas had the game of his career — the well-journeyed player dismissed from Marshall’s program before the year had 22 points, and was joined by Malcolm Riley with 20. Michigan State just didn’t shoot well — 39.3 percent from the floor, 4-for-21 from deep.
When Michigan lost to NJIT as a 24.5-point favorite, that was the largest upset in seven years. Michigan State was also a 24.5-point favorite entering the game, so the two in-state rivals are now tied for the most ignominious upset in quite some time.
Ken Pomeroy had given the Highlanders a 3 percent chance of pulling off the upset in that game, but MSU had a 98 percent chance of victory Saturday, so by his numbers, MSU takes the lead for most embarrassing loss.
Many would’ve said that the Big Ten was the best conference in college basketball entering the year. However, nobody would argue that the conference Texas Southern comes from, the SWAC, is the worst in college hoops. (It isn’t really close, either.)
For what it’s worth, the Tigers are probably one of the better teams in there: They won the conference last year, losing a play-in game. But a slew of guarantee games on the road against power conference teams had them 1-8 before today. Now they’re 2-8.
Now, it’s tough to say the Big Ten has any right to be the nation’s best conference. Between MSU’s loss today, Michigan’s losses to NJIT and Eastern Michigan (and others) and Nebraska’s loss to Incarnate Word, even the conference’s supposed best teams are struggling to win games against schools nobody has heard of. And that’s a very bad sign.