Week 1 College Basketball Recap

(Photo by: Adam Hunger/Associated Press)

(Photo by: Adam Hunger/Associated Press)

Connor Easterday

The college basketball season kicked off last week, and it was not friendly to the Top 25 teams. All of Michigan State, Kentucky, Kansas, Villanova, Florida, and Florida State received massive upsets. By the time the dust settled on opening week, ten of the teams in the preseason poll lost. Utter brutality for the top dogs. This should cause some massive shake ups in the upcoming Top 25 rankings.

Some of these upsets are easy to explain, and will not matter at the end of the day. Some of them are problematic, and should cause a commotion behind the scenes. But none of them were as bad as unranked Evansville defeating the number one team in the nation, Kentucky. Evansville, a middling team stewing in the gutter of the Missouri Valley conference. A team with one three-star, and two one-star players headlining their past five years of recruiting. A team without a single nationally televised game in the history of their program, where tickets cost $10 a pop. This is the team that beheaded the blue-blooded assassins led by future Hall-of-Famer, Coach Calipari, and one of the greatest recruiting classes of the decade. And if you thought it couldn’t get any better, you were wrong. Because Evansville’s Head Coach is none other than Walter McCarty. The same player who wore the blue Kentucky uniform for three years. The same player who will forever be known as a legend who hit the three-pointer that completed Kentucky’s 31-point comeback over LSU. So what does this mean for Kentucky? Who should we fault? Coach Cal has placed the blame on himself. After the loss, he was quoted saying, “I think when you, you’re not competing every day to bring that out, you’re not going to play that way. That’s on me, not on them.” Does this loss signify the starting point of a disastrous 2019-20 campaign? No, probably not. However its not to be brushed over. A major upset at this stage will be remembered by the time March rolls around, and teams are being seeded for the tournament.

(Photo by: Andy Lyons/TNS)

Looking on the other side of the coin, the ACC powers have been flat-out dominating. Duke, North Carolina, Louisville, and Virginia have all, not only been winning, but cruising through their first couple games of the season. The Blue Devils started out their season by defeating the Kansas Jayhawks in an intense, sloppy, defensive battle. They then went on to pummel Colorado State and Central Arkansas by a combined 85 points. Freshman wing, Cassius Stanley has been playing out of his mind, shooting 82% from the field and 50% from beyond the arc. These are astonishing shooting figures for a guy who is more known for attacking the rim. The heart and soul of the 2019-20 Duke Blue Devils comes from Tre Jones, however. The sophomore Point Guard who has been dazzling in the first three games of the season, showing up on both sides of the floor. Duke isn’t the only ACC team who has seen success early on, though. Virginia, the 2019 NCAA Champions have put on a defensive clinic in their first two games. The Cavaliers have held their opponents to 68 points…combined. Yes, you heard correctly. Virginia only gave up 34 points in each of their first two games. One of which, coming against ACC rival, Syracuse. This is not unheard of for the Tony Bennett-coached Virginia squad. They did win the National Title last season. However, there were some questions about this team after losing their three best players to the NBA. Clearly, they’re on a mission to prove the doubters wrong. Through it all, Tony Bennett remains calm. After the mauling of Syracuse he was asked how good this team can be defensively. Bennett responded, “Not sure, but I know we have to be good defensively. That will be very significant for us to see how good we can be. But I think our team understands that defense will be a very important aspect of it.”

(Photo by: Sujal Manohar/The Chronicle)

Memphis has had quite an interesting go-ahead to their season as well. Recently hired Head Coach Penny Hardaway has taken ahold of this program quickly, acquiring one of the best recruiting classes we have seen in years. This class is led by the number one recruit in the nation, James Wiseman. A lanky, 7’1 behemoth with a knack for creating space to score in the paint. The freshman’s season seemed like it may not have been starting off too hot when he was ruled ineligible to play due to a circumstance in 2018, when Hardaway provided $11,500 to help Wiseman’s family make the move to Memphis. However, both Hardaway and the Memphis program have decided to give the NCAA a cold shoulder, and play Wiseman anyways. Whether Wiseman will eventually be forced to sit out, or not is unknown at the moment. However, this is undoubtedly a situation worth keeping an eye on.

(Photo by: Craig Mitchell/Associated Press)