College basketball picked up right where it left off this weekend with a slew of upsets and craziness that no one anticipated. So much so that I don’t even know where to start when it comes to winners and losers but I’ll try my best to give you a snapshot of the first weekend.
It came to a point this weekend where I felt as if I was watching the first day of the NCAA tournament and should be checking my bracket. The underdogs were pulling off upsets all over the country that no one seemed coming. Bo Ryan’s Wisconsin Badgers might have been a little hungover from their trip to last years championship game as they lost to Western Illinois. UCLA lost to Monmouth on Friday and almost lost to Cal Poly last night to start their season. Bobby Hurley had a rough debut as his Sun Devils lost to Sacramento State. Even Radford was able to get the best of Georgetown. NC State lost to William & Mary in a game that was a blowout at halftime. Finally, Illinois lost to North Florida to open their season.
This was an amazing amount of upsets. Fans of underdogs got exactly what they wanted during the first weekend. If this is any indication of how the season will go then we are in for one hell of a ride.
The New Kids
This weekend was our first chance to see the gems of the freshman class at work and they didn’t disappoint.
Thomas Bryant had 11 points and 9 rebounds against East Illinois but made some impressive plays including an emphatic slam dunk worthy of a post board in my room. Lots of excitement around him in Bloomington.
Ben Simmons played his typical game scoring 11 points while snatching 13 rebounds and 5 assists in his debut for LSU. He makes flashy plays and smart plays all game while filling the stat sheet in every possible way. Simmons’s running mate Antonio Blakeney scored 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Tigers. This combo could fly under the radar in the SEC with Kentucky grabbing a lot of attention.
Jalen Brunson added a quiet 12 points and 4 assists in his debut for Villanova. Look for his numbers to increase as he finds his niche on a team loaded with talent veterans.
Kentucky freshman Skal Labissiere poured in 26 points and five rebounds in their second game on Saturday.
The freshmen strutted their stuff in the first weekend as they look to show off their skills in front of their new fanbase.
All the games were played this weekend without any major injuries which is a win for everyone. These student athletes put so much time and work into preparing for the season so it was great to see everyone play and stay healthy through the first weekend. Hopefully this trend continues!
Butler scored 144 points in their opening night win against The Citadel. This is insane as some teams strive to score half that in a game. Even Purdue put up 107 points on a Vermont team that has been in the NCAA tournament recently. While the shot clock plays a factor into the number of possessions the defense was atrocious in some games allowing these teams to put up some insane point totals. Hope this was just an aberration with a few lopsided match-ups.
Other than the abysmal defense played in some games over the weekend there was really no other losers. Basketball is back which means that the offseason is finally over and we can start watching games of our favorite teams and others! And we can start preparing our sneaky teams for our tournament brackets, but if this season is full of some of the upsets we saw over the first weekend then my bracket will be in trouble anyways. Tuesday will be a big day as well with Kansas playing Michigan State and Kentucky playing Duke. Those are some premium match-ups that will be a barometer for those teams to start the season.