The first Sunday of the season was a light slate, as we all expected, as TV isn’t exactly College Basketball’s best friend when competing against the NFL. That said, we did get some intriguing games, with the most notable being Florida finally beating Florida State. Let’s now dive into some takeaways from a light Sunday slate of College Basketball.
The streak is over, Florida finally beats Florida State
Florida ended their 7-game losing streak against Florida State thanks to a win against the ranked Seminoles. The Gators’ defense was superb, blocking shots, getting deflections, and forcing contested shots from the perimeter. Add to that, Collin Castleton dominated inside and Anthony Duruji was basically everywhere. I’m not sold on the up-transfer guard group being good enough to lift this team to a deep Tournament run, but they could prove me wrong by playing with this amount of energy.
Minnesota is the inaugural Asheville Champions
The Asheville Championship was not the best early-season Tournament, but it is a new event and was successful at giving some first-week entertainment. While the field of Princeton, South Carolina, and Western Kentucky wasn’t the best competition, Minnesota deserves credit for winning the event. Yes, they choked the game away twice to allow the game to get to a first and a second overtime, but they kept playing and ended up winning. Payton Willis and Jamison Battle are a decent duo that will keep Minnesota from being completely terrible. They aren’t anything resembling a tournament team but that’s okay so long as they make progress.
Seton Hall is Villanova’s top competitor for the Big East crown
The Pirates came into today as a small favorite against Ivy League favorite Yalem and they blew the doors off them en route to a comfortable win. The Pirates defense has been fantastic, as with the switchability, paired with shot-blocking phenom Ike Obiagu, teams are struggling to get any sort of offense going. The way the defense is set up, paired with a decent offense that has a lot of options, the Pirates certainly look like not only a Top-25 team but one that could push Villanova for the Big East title.
Scotty Pippen Jr might be the SEC Player of the year
Coming into this season, I didn’t really like the pick of Scotty Pippen Jr as SEC player of the year, as while he’d have good stats, Vanderbilt wouldn’t win enough. The last part remains the biggest concern with him winning the award, but we can’t forget how easy he makes scoring look. Against Texas State, he went out and scored 30 points on 17 shot attempts, while going 4-8 from three, and 24 of the 30 were in the second half. There may not be a player who can heat up and score in a hurry like Scotty Pippen Jr in the SEC.
Comeback Bonnies strike again
It’s never a great thing when you have to rely on coming from behind to win basketball games, especially in non-conference play against weaker opponents but that is exactly what St. Bonaventure has done. Credit to St. Bonaventure for pulling these games out, but also, how about playing two halves of basketball next time. Even playing to their normal self in the first half, would save a lot of stress and also help them inflate their analytical ranking. The season of tougher games begins Tuesday as they will play Boise State, a game that will test them but in the end should allow them to get a victory.