Down Goes College Basketball’s Number 1 Team, Again

Jared Goodman

The undefeated and undisputed best team in college basketball, Purdue Boilermakers, headed to New Jersey last week for their matchup against the 4-4 Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Led by sophomore Jaden Ivey, along with Trevion Williams and 7 foot 4 Zach Edey, Purdue was feeling good about their chances to walk away victorious. However, Ron Harper Jr. and his Rutgers squad had a different plan – to spoil Purdue’s first time in school history as the #1 team. 

Rutgers held a 1 point halftime lead, but things were not looking good for them when a Sasha Stefanovic three pointer gave Purdue a 10 point lead with just under 9 minutes left to play. However, Rutgers was determined and cut the deficit down to just 2 points with a little over 2 minutes to play. Then, a costly turnover by Jaden Ivey allowed Ron Harper Jr. to hit a jump shot with 14 seconds to play, giving Rutgers a 1 point lead. Purdue was forced to use the last timeout of the game to draw up a play, and it proved successful as Trevion Williams was able to give Purdue a lead, leaving just 3.4 seconds on the clock. 

At this point, Rutgers fans were devastated as they thought their upset would fall short. Ron Harper Jr., on the other hand, was not ready to give up. He caught the inbounds pass with and dribbled up to half court before he had to shoot a halfcourt prayer as time expired. Fans watched as the ball found its way through the net, propelling Rutgers over #1 Purdue. Ecstatic Scarlet Knight fans rushed the court at Jersey Mike’s Arena and celebrated their team’s victory. 

With this upset, we are just 6 weeks into the college basketball season and have seen the 4th team reach #1 in the AP Poll. First, Gonzaga fell to Duke, then Duke lost to Ohio State, and now, Purdue’s loss to Rutgers. As a result of the #1 team falling again, the reigning champs, the Baylor Bears, have reclaimed their seat atop the college basketball world.

Despite losing 4 starters in Davion Mitchell, MaCio Teague, Jared Butler, and Mark Vital, Scott Drew has managed to rebuild quickly. Their most recent win was an impressive one, defeating #9 Villanova by 21 points. Baylor looks dominant so far and will look to continue their undefeated start into conference play.