College basketball did us all a favor by preparing the world for the College Football Playoff on New Year's Eve. And Saturday afternoon's slate of games didn't disappoint, with three top-10 teams suffering losses and a lot of other entertaining action across the country.
Here are the biggest winners and losers from New Years Eve's hoops action:
Loser: Tobacco Road schools
Duke was ran out of the gym in Blacksburg, falling 89-75 behind the Hokies' big 3-point shooting day. But they weren't the only Tobacco Road team to fall. Minutes after the Blue Devils lost, North Carolina followed suit shortly after with a 75-63 loss of its own to Georgia Tech.
Both lost to unranked teams. Both were in the top 10 of the AP rankings. That never happens.
Well, maybe not never. But it rarely happens. It's only the third time in history the two have lost on the same day while being ranked in the top 10. The last time it happened? Mar. 1, 1989, when Georgia Tech was the team which knocked off UNC that day as well.
An historically bad day for the Tobacco Road teams as those four haven't lost on the same day since Jan. 11, 2014.
Winner: ACC havoc
If it's chaos you want, there's plenty to go around in the ACC. The top-4 projected teams in the conference -- Duke, North Carolina, Louisville, and Virginia -- have started conference play with a combined 1-4 record. Duke, UNC, Louisville and Virginia all suffered losses on Saturday.
The only win thus far in those top four teams was Virginia's 61-53 win over Louisville on Wednesday.
It could only get more wild from here. Louisville gets a pesky Notre Dame this week, North Carolina travels to Clemson, and Virginia Tech's upcoming game with Florida State could have big implications in the ACC race as well.
If you're rooting for havoc, you've already got it in the ACC. And conference play just opened this week.
Winner: Dwayne Bacon's draft status
Dwayne Bacon, Florida State's second-year star, continued his breakout sophomore campaign with his best performance of his career. He scored 29 points to shock Virginia 60-58 on its home floor -- with 26 of those coming in the second half.
Oh yeah, he hit what turned out to be the game-winner, too.
Bacon has a fellow teammate, Jonathan Isaac, who gets much of the NBA draft attention. Draft Express has him as a top-10 prospect. But if we're talking about a prospect with experience and projectability, Bacon certainly deserves to be in the discussion. He's the No. 43 prospect in the 2017 NBA draft, according to Draft Express.
Winner: Villanova's entire 2016 calendar year
The reigning national champion Villanova Wildcats just completed the best calendar year maybe ever. They won a national title. They will begin the 2017 year with a No. 1 ranking. And it's currently on a 20-game winning streak. In terms of wins, the 38 wins in 2016 is more than any other team in Division I history.
Villanova handed the tenth-ranked Creighton Bluejays its first loss of the season 80-70. And it did so on the road in a tough environment in Omaha. The top-ranked Wildcats went 38-3 in 2016. That type of success is pretty hard to come by and may never be duplicated.
Loser: North Carolina
UNC's loss to Georgia Tech was so head-scratching, it needs more context. The Tar Heels closed before the game as as 18-point favorites against Georgia Tech and Josh Pastner. They left town with a 75-63 loss. That's a 30-point spread difference.
If you don't gamble, you should know: That's not a good thing.
Although it was a road game, many Georgia Tech fans spent their day watching their football team in the TaxSlayer Bowl in Jacksonville. According to the News and Observer, UNC fans outnumbered Georgia Tech fans. There were even chants of "de-fense" when UNC was on defense, and the "Tar ... Heels" chant.
Now I'm not going as far as to say this was a home loss, but this could be considered a neutral court loss at worst. And it's just a bad loss all the way around.
Winner: Steve Vasturia's heroics
Notre Dame's Steve Vasturia spent a great deal of the Irish's game at Pitt in foul trouble, and had no real rhythm. Not until Notre Dame needed him, that is.
The Irish wing came in clutch in regulation, nailing two free-throws with 25 seconds left to send the game to overtime. And when his team fell behind in the extra session 77-75, Vasturia was there once again to step in for his team, drilling this game-winner with 2.5 seconds left:
ND came from behind to win it 78-77. The Fighting Irish, now 12-2, have quite an impressive body of work with its only losses come to Villanova and Purdue. They can thank Vasturia for keeping that nearly spotless record -- and a top-25 ranking -- alive.
Indiana's OG Anunoby is one of the top defenders in the Big Ten. Heck, he may be one of the best in the country. He can guard several positions and he's long, rangy and bouncy.
He got a chance to showcase his athleticism in a 77-62 loss vs. Louisville and showed why scouts love his game so much. There's a Louisville defender right in the middle of his way like a road block, and he kindly elects to take the high road by soaring up over him.
Loser: Duke's consistency without Grayson Allen
Grayson Allen was stripped of his captaincy, Coach K announced. And he didn't even play.
Duke provided a pretty lackluster performance against Virginia Tech. On the road or not, the Blue Devils had 10 days of rest before this game to open the ACC slate. They laid an egg.
As Matt Norlander pointed out, Duke looked completely lethargic and disinterested on the whole.
Although Allen's absence should have been the biggest contributor to Duke's struggles, there were many more issues that surfaced against Virginia Tech. With several other ACC foes falling on Saturday, the Blue Devils missed an opportunity to separate themselves from the pack.
The Huskies dropped another one today, this one at the hands of the Tulsa Golden Hurricane. UConn took Tulsa to overtime, but lost 61-59 and fell to a 5-8 overall record.
Per ESPN Stats and Information, this is the first time since 1968-1969 that UConn has suffered eight losses before Jan. 1.
With Alterique Gilbert and Terry Larrier out for the year, it likely won't get any better anytime soon for Kevin Ollie's team.