The first weekend of college basketball provided an ample amount of clutch moments and excitement. Indiana and Kansas gave us an early favorite for game of the year. Kadeem Allen knocked off Miles Bridges and Michigan State to bring the Arizona Wildcats a crucial victory. UConn became the first victim of the upset bug, succumbing to a Wagner team that will likely win the NEC. Duke and Kentucky looked as impressive as expected. College basketball seems to already be in peak form, and the whole season still lies ahead. Let’s take a look at how our writers voted on this week’s top 25.
- Duke (2-0, Last Week: 1) Def. Marist 94-49, Def. Grand Canyon 96-61. The Blue Devils played both Friday and Saturday, the offense looking overwhelming. Grayson Allen leads the way early, averaging 20.5 PPG and 7.5 RPG. The road gets infinitely tougher this week, as Coach K leads his elite roster into a Champions Classic battle with Kansas.
- Kentucky (2-0, LW: 3) Def. Stephen F. Austin 87-64, Def. Canisius 93-69. John Calipari’s newest batch of diaper dandies played well against two lower class opponents, with De’Aaron Fox notching a dozen assists against SFA. The road gets harder with a matchup against Michigan State this Tuesday in the Champions Classic.
- Villanova (1-0, LW: 4) Def. Lafayette 88-48. Fellow Pennsylvania school Lafayette stood no chance against ‘Nova, who stormed through the first half, entering the break up 49-17. Jalen Brunson had 17 points. Villanova matches up with Purdue Monday night in a scintillating contest.
- North Carolina (2-0, LW: 7) Def. Tulane 95-75, Def. Chattanooga 97-57. Justin Jackson poured in 27 points during the Tar Heels’ victory over Tulane, while the team looked dominant against Chattanooga, who are expected to be a solid mid-major this year. They play Long Beach St. and Hawaii this week.
- Oregon (1-0, LW: 5) Def. Army 91-77. The Ducks were led by Tyler Dorsey, who netted 21 points in their win over the Black Knights. Oregon matches up with Baylor and Valparaiso this week in a pair of difficult games.
- Indiana (1-0, LW: 11) Def. Kansas 103-99. On the back of the weekend’s most impressive win, the Hoosiers vaulted five spots in our rankings. The most impressive aspect of their OT win may have been that they played the extra period without Thomas Bryant, who had fouled out, and still defeated the Jayhawks. Tom Crean’s men now host a pair of easy opponents this week.
- Kansas (0-1, LW: 2) Lost to Indiana 99-103. Josh Jackson looked rather underwhelming, but the heroics of Frank Mason and Devonte’ Graham still nearly led the Jayhawks to an impressive win. KU will be fine after this early loss, but they have a quick turnaround, as they now must match up with Duke in the Champion’s Classic.
- Wisconsin (1-0, LW: 6) Def. Central Arkansas 79-47. The Badgers beat UCA in a buy game, with Nigel Hayes’ 14 points leading a balanced attack. Wisconsin plays a difficult game against Creighton this week, in addition to cupcake Chicago St.
- Arizona (1-0, LW: 13) Def. Michigan St. 65-63. A nail biter of a contest ended with Kadeem Allen’s clutch shot, but the real hero for Arizona against the Spartans was Kobi Simmons, as the freshman scored 18 off the bench. The Wildcats get a reprieve this week, with a couple of games in which they should win by blowout.
- Louisville (1-0, LW: 10) Def. Evansville 78-47. Rick Pitino began this season with an easy victory, his team led by talented forward Jaylen Johnson, who contributed 19 points and fourteen rebounds. The Cards can look forward to William & Mary and Long Beach St. this week.
- Virginia (1-0, LW: 12) Def. UNC-Greensboro 76-51. A 22-0 run punctuated a dominant performance by the Cavaliers. No one played over thirty minutes for Coach Bennett, as his team was able to show off their depth. UVA has Saint Francis (NY) and Yale coming up.
- Xavier (1-0, LW: 8) Def. Lehigh 84-81. A tighter than expected game led to a drop for Xavier. Lehigh even had a 58-57 lead at one point in the second half. Still, they held on for the W, and got a combined 49 points from Trevon Bluiett and Edmund Sumner. They’ll next play Buffalo and Missouri.
- Michigan State (0-1, LW: 9) Lost to Arizona 63-65. Tom Izzo saw a future star in Miles Bridges’ first game as a Spartan, but the freshman’s 21 points weren’t enough to defeat Arizona. The Spartans now must play Kentucky in the Champions Classic, followed by a pair of easy games against Mississippi Valley St. and Florida Gulf Coast.
- UCLA (2-0, LW: 14) Def. Pacific 119-80, Def. Cal St.-Northridge 102-87. The offense is a thing of beauty, led by Bryce Alford’s 25 a game through the first two. But, the Bruins will need to play better defense, especially when Pac-12 play begins. They’ve got San Diego and Long Beach St. on the docket.
- West Virginia (1-0, LW: 16) Def. Mount St. Mary’s 87-59. A balanced attack led the Mountaineers in a largely predictable and uneventful contest. This will likely continue with games against Mississippi Valley St. and New Hampshire coming up.
- Gonzaga (1-0, LW: 15) Def. Utah Valley 92-69. The Zags got four players in double figures, led by guard Silas Melson netting 17. They match up with another premiere west coast school this week in San Diego St. The Bulldogs will also entertain Bryant.
- Syracuse (1-0, LW: 17) Def. Colgate 83-55. Grad transfers Andrew White and John Gillon both looked good, but senior Tyler Roberson led the team in scoring. The Orange play Holy Cross this week before an intriguing battle against Monmouth. Expect the Orange to cruise through both these contests.
- Purdue (1-0, LW: 19) Def. McNeese St. 109-65. An easy win for the Boilermakers was led by Caleb Swanigan’s incredible day; the talented sophomore had 23 points, 20 rebounds, and 6 assists. He’ll need to stay hot against Villanova this week. Georgia St. is also on the schedule.
- Rhode Island (1-0, LW: 23) Def. Dartmouth 84-61. E.C. Matthews returned in a big way, torching the Big Green for 21 points. The Rams are the darling of CPP this year, and they along with Dayton make the A-10 one of the top conferences in the country. A huge tilt with Cincinnati awaits the Rams this Friday night.
- Miami (FL) (1-0, LW: 18) Def. Western Carolina 92-43. A hurricane struck Western Carolina, with the Hurricanes posting nearly a 50-point win. North Florida and Penn will be the next opponents for Coach Larranaga.
- Texas (1-0, LW: 20) Def. Incarnate Word 78-73. Shaka Smart was in real danger this past weekend, but his team held on for the victory. Kendall Yancy saved Texas with some clutch plays late, and poured in 19 points. The Longhorns next play Louisiana-Monroe and Eastern Washington.
- St. Mary’s (1-0, LW: 22) Def. Nevada 81-63. 6’11” Australian Center Jock Landale knocked in 33 points during his first college start. Emmett Naar largely struggled, scoring just 6 points in 35 minutes, but the Gaels still won convincingly. A huge battle with A-10 juggernaut Dayton awaits the team this week.
- Iowa State (1-0, LW: NR) Def. Savannah St. 113-71. The Cyclones looked impressive against weak competition, getting 21 points and 11 assists from lead guard Monte Morris. They’ll play Mount St. Mary’s and The Citadel next.
- Dayton (1-0, LW: 25) Def. Austin Peay 96-69. The Flyers soared over the Governors, proving to AP voters they are worthy of a ranking. Huge games this week against Avery Johnson’s Alabama, and St. Mary’s. Senior stalwart Charles Cooke had 31 against Austin Peay, and will need to be just as good this week.
- Creighton (1-0, LW: NR) Def. Missouri-Kansas City 89-82. While the final margin was not impressive, Creighton was up double digits most of the game, before withstanding a tenacious fury by the Kangaroos. Top ten team Wisconsin awaits Mo Watson and co. in this upcoming slate of games.
Just Missed the Cut: NC State, Maryland, Cincinnati, Florida St., UConn
The season continues to deliver big matchups early on, with the games noted above providing more March-level entertainment for college hoops fans. However, it is still only week two, and most teams have about thirty games left to play. An early victory over a ranked team is something to feel good about, but there is still much to do. In the same vein, a tough or unexpected loss hurts, but there is still the entire season to make up for it. Fasten your seatbelts, college basketball fans, because the entire ride will be breathtaking.