By Joel Alderman
For less than 24 hours, Yale’s 45-44 win over UConn Friday night qualified as the upset of the week in college basketball. But this afternoon (Dec. 6), little known NJIT defeated #17 Michigan, 72-70, at Ann Arbor, so the Bulldogs will have to share that honor.
If Yale’s victory was a shock, then the achievement of NJIT was the after shock, to borrow from earthquake terminology.
Unlike Yale, however, which is famous all over the world, most people are not even aware of NJIT, what its letters stand for, or where it is located. But now America’s basketball fans will be learning that its name is the New Jersey Institute of Technology, and it is based in Newark, N.J.
What is so remarkable about beating Michigan, ranked #17 in the country, is that the Highlanders have only been a Division I program since 2006, and they are the only team among the division’s 351 that is not in a conference.
Until now, NJIT’s greatest claim to fame was something they would rather forget. In 2008 its basketball team failed to win a game, going 0-29.
One of the 29 opponents to beat them was, ironically, Yale. Now the Bulldogs and the Highlanders have a lot in common. They are both in the national spotlight for knocking off highly favored opponents on the road in this still young college basketball season.
Two definite shockers within 24 hours. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Unless, of course, you are UConn or Michigan.