The first day of College Basketball is always one of the most exciting days in the sport, but also one of the most hectic days as well. With just about every team in action, it is close to impossible to keep track of everything that happened on the first day of action, but it is worth noting the most important ones. For this, I will just be looking at some of the main takeaways from the first day of College Basketball, enjoy.
Kansas has found its star, answering their biggest offseason question mark
Coming into this season, Kansas was a team with a really complete starting-5, that had really good pieces that fit well together, but the main question was whether or not they had a player who could take over a game. The answer was given in a resounding way, as Ochai Agbaji had 29 points and answered all the necessary questions en route to a comfortable win for Kansas. Agbaji has the shooting, athleticism, and toughness needed to be a great player but this was really the first game where he seemed to put it all together. If he continues to show that level of play, the Jayhawks might legitimately be the best team in the sport, while Agbaji could be a First Team All-American as well.
Duke’s freshman class was somehow underrated
Sure we knew Paolo Banchero was a star but in terms of this freshman class, there were plenty of question marks beyond that. Banchero had a decent but not elite game by his lofty standards, but what made this win come together was Trevor Keels stepping up and scoring 25 points. With Keels stepping up, AJ Griffin proving to get healthier by the day, and Banchero being himself, this freshman class has a chance to be the best one since the Zion-RJ class of 2018. Furthermore, if this type of play can continue, Duke can send Coach K out on top with a National Championship.
The ACC is the worst Power-6 conference
While this was a common thought coming into the season, as the ACC still seemed to be in a down season, the league had a less than a banner day. Sure Duke capped it off with a win, but the rest of the league looked suspect at best. Virginia lost to Navy, which we’ll touch on in a minute, Pittsburgh got blown out by the Citadel, and Georgia Tech lost to Miami-Ohio. While one could argue the Pac-12 might compete for that claim, that league at least took care of its business minus Cal and Washington.
This isn’t 2019, Virginia is not a basketball powerhouse
While this roster had some major concerns, many College Basketball figureheads said not to worry, Virginia will be fine. Well, it took exactly 40 minutes to prove that this team is not very good and the roster concerns were legitimate. Where should we begin with this game, should we begin on the fact Virginia went on a six-minute scoring drought in a tie game or the fact that this Navy team was without two starters. This is just an embarrassing home loss for a Virginia program that has prided itself on being a title-contending team on a consistent basis. Maybe the biggest concern for this team, is that there is no way to fix it for this season. Sure you can play younger players but this season’s team just isn’t going to be good and it’s as simple as that. They can only hope Bennett gets back to finding more good pieces to help this team get back to its winning ways next year.
Malaki Branham needs to be the guy right away
We knew that the Buckeyes had one of the top frontcourts in the sport but the question was whether or not the experienced mid-major transfer additions could be big impact players right away. The answer seemed to be a resounding no right away, as Jamari Wheeler and Cedric Russell combined for 2 points against Akron. Malaki Branham stepped up late with a couple of big baskets and Zed Key hit the game-winning layup on Branham’s pass, as Ohio State escaped with a win. Going forward, Branham needs to not only start but be relied upon to run the offense for this Buckeyes team this season, in order for them to live up to their preseason expectations.
Chet Holmgren might be Gonzaga’s best player
It was just one game, but already Chet Holmgren proved to be a matchup nightmare on the court against Dixie State. Yes, it’s Dixie State, so Gonzaga was experimenting and Drew Timme had an off-night but that would be going without mentioning how good, human unicorn Chet Holmgren actually was. He had 14 points, 13 rebounds, 6 assists, and 7 blocks. He proved that he could run the offense in some sets, be a defensive menace, should he continue to play at this level, he might usurp Timme as the best player on this Gonzaga roster.
Big 12 and Big East avoid trouble
While Kansas was the only team from these leagues to be in a game that resembled any sort of trouble, there were losses all over College Basketball for leagues to take, so it was impressive that both these leagues went unbeaten on Day one. Should these conferences continue to avoid losing buy games, while having their top teams gather big wins along the way, these two leagues both should send around 60-70 percent of their league to the NCA
Bye-bye two bid OVC
It’s hard to overreact to one game, but this seemed like a big loss for the Belmont Bruins as they lost on the road to Ohio. Sure Ohio will be a good team and this loss will probably be at worst a quadrant 2 opportunity. That said, this was not a good sign for the Bruins as their chances of picking up enough quality wins are dwindling. Morehead State also had an opportunity to pick up a big win against Auburn, and not only did they not win, but they got ran out of the gym in the process.
Missouri Valley takes a huge hit
Yes, Drake and Loyola-Chicago, the two favorites in the league both won, but the rest of the league took some rough losses. Missouri State, a team that might be a legit competitor to the league title took a bad loss to Southeast Missouri State, while Northern Iowa took a bad loss to Nicholls State. Sure, Loyola and Drake can dominate and combine to take zero losses to the rest of the league but that’s almost unrealistic. Should either take a loss to one of these two decent teams, that will most likely be a quadrant 2 or 3 loss. Last night’s results also mark the ending of the potential for a 3-bid Valley.
Colorado State should be the favorite in the Mountain West
While this shouldn’t come off as being too much of a hot take, it seemingly has become one as many people riding with San Diego State. While San Diego State looked good, Colorado State looked great, running Oral Roberts out of the gym and doing so without big games from David Roddy and Isaiah Stevens. Jon Tonje isn’t going to play at this level all season long, but he looked like a legitimate offensive threat, while Chandler Jacobs is a perfect fit. While Oral Roberts certainly isn’t great defensively, the Rams making quick work out of a Sweet 16 team was impressive.