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  • College Pride Press Top 25: Week Two

     

    The first weekend is in the past. As per the usual, there wasn’t a ton of drama. Most teams played schools from lower conferences, which served as punching bags and measuring sticks. Though some teams struggled to work through growing pains, such as Kentucky, there shouldn’t be a lot of stock placed in teams based on their games from the first weekend. That is, except for Texas A&M. Without arguably their best player, the Aggies made a statement in their blowout over West Virginia. However, despite the tough loss, the Mountaineers still have a number before their name. Let’s see where the rest of college’s elite rank up in this week’s edition of the CPP Top 25:

     

    1. Duke (2-0, LW: 1) def. Elon, 97-68; def. Utah Valley 99-69. So far, so good. Duke got off to a strong stark with a pair of blowout wins at Cameron Indoor. Marvin Bagley has been as advertised, efficiently averaging 24.5 points and 10 rebounds a game. The Champions’ Classic and a duel with Michigan State await Duke this week. Southern is also on the schedule.

     

    1. Michigan State (1-0, LW: 2) def. North Florida 98-66. Last year, Michigan State’s close win over UNF was not without controversy. This season, no such issues. Miles Bridges had a double-double to lead Coach Izzo’s squad in their opening win. They meet Duke in a titanic tilt on Tuesday, then play Stony Brook over the weekend.

     

    1. Arizona (2-0, LW: 3) def. Northern Arizona, 101-67; def. UMBC, 103-78. Big time offensive production has propelled the Wildcats thus far. Allonzo Trier and co. have been unstoppable. Deandre Ayton has been a beast down low. The Wildcats have CSU-Bakersfield next on the schedule.

     

    1. Kansas (1-0, LW: 4) def. Tennessee State, 92-56. The poor Tigers had no chance against KU. It was Lagerald Vick that paced the way with 23 points, though he was one of six Jayhawks in double figures. Hopefully, Coach Self and his players enjoyed their warm up, because they have to play Kentucky on Tuesday. They’ll also entertain South Dakota State on Friday.

     

    1. Wichita State (1-0, LW: 5) def. UMKC, 109-57. Like Kansas, the Shockers also put six players in double figures on their way to a rout. They also went 13-23 from deep and hit over 60 percent from the field. Wichita State will only play once this week in a home game against the College of Charleston on Monday.

     

    1. Villanova (1-0, LW: 6) def. Columbia, 75-60. While the Wildcats won decisively, they did not completely overwhelm Columbia. Still, behind Eric Paschall and Jalen Brunson, Villanova is at 1-0. They’ve got two home games lined up for next week, though neither opponent, Nicholls State and Lafayette (PA), should give them much trouble.

     

    1. USC (1-0, LW: 9) def. Cal State Fullerton, 84-42. The Trojans only gave up 15 points in the first half of their victory. For USC, the massive win is a tiny step towards validating their lofty ranking. Next up for USC is North Dakota State, who they play on Monday before traveling to Vanderbilt for a big matchup over the weekend.

     

    1. Kentucky (2-0, LW: 7) def. Utah Valley, 73-63; def. Vermont, 73-69. Coach Calipari’s unit looked undeniably shaky in both of their wins. They fell down 9 at the half against Utah Valley and then let Vermont have a shot to tie the game at the end of regulation. However, UK remains unscathed. Kansas awaits on Tuesday. East Tennessee State is also up next.

     

    1. Florida (0-0, LW: 8) Florida did not play on opening weekend. This is the main reason for the team falling a spot in our rankings. They make up for that with three contests this weekend. All three are at home, and all should be cakewalks. The opponents will be Gardner-Webb, North Florida, and New Hampshire.

     

    1. Cincinnati (1-0, LW: 10) def. Savannah State, 107-77. The Bearcats allowed Savannah State to hang around for a bit, but proved their superior talent toward the end of the game. Mick Cronin has got his team scoring like mad, but the defense needs improvement. Cincy should be 3-0 with Western Carolina and Coppin State as the next opponents.

     

    1. Miami (FL) (2-0, LW: 12) def. Gardner-Webb, 77-45; def. Navy, 89-55. How’s a triple-double sound to start the year? Bruce Brown posted one against Gardner-Webb for the Hurricanes. Miami didn’t struggle with Navy, either. The schedule doesn’t get much tougher for Miami, as they next only have to worry about Florida A&M.

     

    1. North Carolina (1-0, LW: 13) def. Northern Iowa, 86-69. There are still a few UNC detractors amongst our voters, thought Carolina picked up a solid win against UNI this week to begin silencing doubters. Luke Maye was the star, scoring 26 points. He and the Tar Heels deal with Bucknell in a home game on Wednesday.

     

    1. Notre Dame (1-0, LW: 14) def. DePaul, 72-58. Notre Dame picked up a road win over a major conference team, and even though it was DePaul, that’s impressive for the opening weekend. Temple Gibbs led the way; he’s primed and ready to break out. The Irish will play twice in the upcoming week, though both games should be easy wins.

     

    1. Texas A&M (1-0, LW: 22) def. West Virginia, 88-65. The most impressive win of the opening weekend was definitely A&M’s rout of WVU. Perhaps the most enlightening aspect? They did it without Robert Williams. Next up is UC-Santa Barbara, which should be another notch in the win column for the Aggies. Start taking them seriously now.

     

    1. Seton Hall (2-0 LW: 16) def. Farleigh Dickinson, 90-68; def. Monmouth, 75-65. Both games were blowouts, as even the win over Monmouth wasn’t as close as the score would indicate. The Pirates seem to be playing well early on, which is important considering their next contest will be against Indiana. NJIT is also on the docket for this week.

     

    1. Xavier (1-0, LW: 19) def. Morehead State, 101-49. Sixty-two. That’s the number of points the Musketeers scored in the first round. Trevon Bluiett led the hot-shooting squad with 25 points in only 22 minutes. J.P. Macura added 18 in the same amount of playing time. Rider is first up for Xavier this week, but then they play a tricky road game against Wisconsin.

     

    1. Minnesota (1-0, LW: 17) def. SC-Upstate, 92-77. Jordan Murphy paced the Golden Gophers in their win with an absolutely insane game, posting 35 points and 15 rebounds. Monday will be a big test, as Minnesota hits the road to play Providence. They then return home for contests with Niagara and Western Carolina.

     

    1. Louisville (1-0, LW: 15) def. George Mason, 72-61. The Cardinals had to grind it out against the Patriots, though still emerged with an 11-point win. Deng Adel led the way from the wing, netting 20 points. David Padgett got a win in his first game as head coach. He’ll look for number two against Nebraska-Omaha later in the week.

     

    1. Gonzaga (1-0, LW: 18) def. Texas Southern, 97-69. It’s a tough road for Texas Southern; they don’t play a home game until 2018. Josh Perkins ensured they found no solace in Spokane, pacing the Bulldogs with 6 made threes. Gonzaga has a pair of winnable home games against Howard and Utah State over the next seven days.

     

    1. Purdue (2-0, LW: 23) def. SIU-Edwardsville, 105-74; def. Chicago State, 111-42. Neither opponent presented any resistance to the Boilermakers beginning their season on the right foot. Carsen Edwards scored 25 against hapless Chicago State. It’s going to get tougher from here on, beginning with a game against Marquette on the road. Fairfield is also on the schedule.

     

    1. West Virginia (0-1, LW: 11) lost to Texas A&M, 65-88. Ouch. Not the way you want to start a season, especially when you have dreams of a Final Four. WVU returns from Germany to lick their wounds and forget the beating from the Aggies. Pity American and Morgan State, who will feel the wrath of the Mountaineers in games this week.

     

    1. Virginia Tech (2-0, LW: 20) def. Detroit Mercy, 111-79; def. The Citadel 132-93. Boy, that’s a lot of offense. They got 66 points in each half against The Citadel, put three players at over 20 points, and shot nearly 70 percent. It surely won’t be that easy against A-10 team St. Louis in their next contest.

     

    1. St. Mary’s (1-0, LW: 24) def. St. Francis (PA), 85-68. The Gaels didn’t struggle much in their opening weekend win, as Calvin Hermanson led them past their opponents from the NEC. They will play three times this week, against New Mexico State, Cal State Fullerton, and then San Jose State, which will be on the road.

     

    1. UCLA (1-0, LW: 21) def. Georgia Tech, 63-60. It was a hard-fought win for the Bruins, who were led by freshman Kris Wilkes. The bigger story is the saga of LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill, and Cody Riley. It’s unknown at this point how long UCLA will be without them. Central Arkansas and South Carolina State both come west for UCLA home games.

     

    1. Northwestern (1-0, LW: NR) def. Loyola (MD), 79-75. Northwestern had a double-digit lead at the half, but needed some tenacity to hold off a furious rally from the Greyhounds. Still, 1-0 is 1-0. The Wildcats will be back in action three times this week, all at home. The opponents are Saint Peter’s, Creighton, and La Salle.

     

    The undeniable headliner of this week will be the Champions’ Classic, which takes place in Chicago on Tuesday. Though it is still early in the season and teams are far from finished products, it will still be interesting seeing how these elite teams match up. Other than that, there are few other games of note, with the biggest perhaps being Minnesota visiting Providence. Fear not, however; after this week comes the time of early-season tournaments, where ranked teams will be thrown against each other from Hawaii to the Bahamas. Until then, check back at College Pride Press to get the lowdown on your favorite sport!

     

     

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