The continually evolving and redefined lunacy to this college basketball season was perfectly depicted on Thursday night. It’s been a wild three-month ride so far. Ranked teams are falling nightly, with the AP Top 25 poll taking on more victims on a weekly basis than maybe it ever has in one season.
Yet the upsets and shocking outcomes keep our jaws unhinged. There is no rest from the ridiculous. We think it can’t get wilder than Kansas losing at Oklahoma State, but then Xavier gets taken down by Georgetown. Indiana gets chopped by Penn State, which eventually seems cute once fourth-ranked Iowa gets beaten by PSU. Nebraska wins at Michigan State. Texas A&M goes from a top-five team to a four-game losing streak.
There are literally dozens of other examples I could use. Point is, we keep looking up almost every night and seeing an outcome that doesn’t provide a clearer picture but instead slings more swaths of paint onto the disheveled canvas. This college basketball season is a Pollock, and on Thursday night, we got the biggest color explosion yet.
Minnesota, which had not won a game in more than two months and was 0-13 in the Big Ten, beat No. 6 Maryland.
The Gophers won 68-63.
It’s the sport we’ve come to confusingly accept. In the wildest, most chaotic college hoops season maybe ever, this result even stands out as one of the most ridiculous turn of events over the past few months. Minnesota won despite shooting 6-of-30 from the field in the second half.
The win ends Minnesota’s longest losing streak in nearly three decades. The Terps were a 10-point favorite but played like an underdog.
Nate Mason led the Golden Gophers with 18 points. Joey King came off the bench to score 15. In the postgame interview on Big Ten Network, King had tears on his face as he reflected on the victory and thanked Minnesota fans for continuing to come see the team despite not winning a game since mid-December. It was a powerful moment, and some of the best college sports can offer.
WATCH: Incredible emotion here from @GopherMBB senior Joey King, who talks about upsetting No. 6 Maryland, 68-63. https://t.co/CL9HLTcB3K
— Minnesota on BTN (@MinnesotaOnBTN) February 19, 2016
Maryland got a game-high 28 points from Rasheed Sulaimon, but the team shot 21-of-55 from the field.
The loss will be catastrophic to Maryland’s eventual NCAA Tournament seeding. All hopes of a No. 1 go out the window with this outcome. A No. 2 could still happen, but Mark Turgeon’s team will probably need to win the Big Ten tournament in order to achieve it. Let’s be clear: That can absolutely happen. Maryland’s talent is there. It is oddly not playing up to its ability, and to see the team get stuck in the mud against Minnesota wasn’t out of character for this group.
The key could be getting star sophomore point guard Melo Trimble back on track. Trimble has not been himself lately. He had six turnovers, four fouls and was 3-of-11 against Minny. It had been almost two full years since the Terrapins suffered consecutive losses. Now they’ll try to avoid a three-game skid with a home game against Michigan on Sunday.
This mess of a season is giving everybody a chance to push through the wreckage and climb to a better spot. The hilarity is based in the reality that almost no teams are proving capable of finding high ground.