Teams that have impressed/ disappointed in the first month of the season
This article is looking at the results of the first month of the season and seeing what teams have played well this season to the surprise of many, I then will look at the teams who have gotten off to rough starts and are disappointing so far this season, I will do five teams from each category.
Five teams who have surprised
Michigan: The Wolverines went to the National Championship last year, however, they lost three of their top four leading scorers so most everyone had Michigan outside the Top-15 and a couple of people didn’t even rank them in the preseason. This team has overachieved to a great extent already this season. First, they went into Villanova and beat the defending champions 73-46, they’ve since won the Hall of Fame Classic by beating Providence 66-47. This past week they then beat two ranked teams at home, as they beat North Carolina 84-67, then beat Purdue 76-57. Ignas Brazdeikis has been sensational to start the season, as he leads the team in scoring, Charles Matthews has been a consistent scorer, while Jordan Poole has made the step forward most expected. On the defensive end, Jon Teske has become one of the best shot-blockers in the country, while Zavier Simpson has is maybe the best defender in the country, as he shuts down opposing guards with ease. This defense has been sensational thus far, that added with an improved offense and you have a really good team.
Wisconsin: The Badgers have been a pleasant surprise to start the season as they have started 7-1, with that one loss coming to Virginia in the Battle 4 Atlantis Championship game. Ethan Happ has been an All-American player thus far this season, as he is scoring, rebounding and passing at a high level. His skills make him one of the toughest guards in the country. D’Mitrik Trice has also been sensational to start the season, as he’s averaging more than 17 points per game while shooting 58 percent from three. Brad Davison does all the little stuff to help them win. Their big three, combined with a solid bench has allowed this team to go from unranked in the preseason to Top-15 in the country.
Texas Tech: This team has been impressive to start the season, as they are 7-0, which includes wins over USC, Nebraska, and Memphis all on neutral courts. Jarrett Culver has been spectacular to start the season, as he is averaging 19 points per game, while he looks poised to get drafted this season. Transfers, Matt Mooney and Tariq Owens have provided the veteran experience they have needed to be good. The biggest surprise might have come from Davide Moretti, who has emerged as the teams starting point guard, filling in almost seamlessly for Keenan Evans. This team didn’t come in with a lot of talent in the preseason, however, they are tough on the defensive end, and have enough offensive talent to score at a high level.
Ohio State: Ohio State has started the season 7-1, which includes wins at Creighton and at Cincinnati already, while they started the season number one in the new NET ranking. Kaleb Wesson has taken the step needed to be a great player, as he is averaging 14.5 points per game. Senior CJ Jackson provides the scoring and experience needed to run the point guard position effectively. The freshmen duo of Duane Washington Jr. and Luther Muhammad have been great thus far this year. The Buckeyes also have multiple guys who can lead this team in scoring that currently come off the bench. This team has been great thus far this season and head coach Chris Holtmann is one of the best coaches in the sport.
Furman: The Paladins have been great so far this season, as they are currently undefeated, which includes wins on the road at two of last years Final Four teams in Loyola-Chicago and at Villanova. The Paladins season has been filled with special moments thus far this season. The Paladins went on the road and beat Loyola-Chicago 60-58, with the game being decided on a game-winning posterization by Clay Mounce. Guard, Jordan Lyons tied an NCAA record when he hit 15 threes against North Greenville. The Paladins then went on the road and beat Villanova 76-68 in overtime. These results have now gotten Furman into the AP Top-25, while they are now currently the favorites to win the Southern Conference.
Five teams who have disappointed
North Carolina: The Tar Heels entered into this season with National Championship expectations, however, thus far this season they haven’t looked good. They started 5-0 but they then struggled in Las Vegas by losing to Texas, then needing a second-half charge to beat UCLA. The Tar Heels looked good for about 10 minutes at Michigan but they then got run off the court by the Wolverines, eventually losing 84-67. Roy Williams has not seen great play from preseason ACC Player of the year Luke Maye, while Williams refuses to start projected Top-3 pick Nassir Little, which is very dumb in my opinion. This team is far from a finished product and will probably rebound to finish in the top-3 in the ACC but their start to the season has been pretty bad.
Villanova: The defending National Champions lost four of their top-six scorers to the NBA, so the expectation was that this would be a down year for Villanova, however, no one could have seen a start this bad coming. The Wildcats played Michigan at home as part of the Gavitt Games and they lost 73-46, which showed the first flashes of what was to come. They then turned around and lost a home game to a Furman team that wasn’t even projected to finish in the top-two of the SoCon preseason. The Wildcats rebounded next week to win the AdvoCare Invitational, which I guess showed some light in what has been a dark start to their season.
Florida: The Gators were a pretty consensus Top-25 team heading into the preseason, and personally I thought this team had a chance to be a backdoor Final Four level team. The thought was that KeVaughn Allen and Jalen Hudson would both be elite scorers, while the point guard production out of Andrew Nembhard would be good, and then they would get just enough from their bigs to win games. Well thus far this year, Hudson and Allen have been terrible, Andrew Nembhard and other role players have been decent but that’s not enough to win against good opponents. Thus far this season the Gators have one double-digit averaging scorer and that has been Deaundre Ballard, which is less than ideal. The Gators right now have lost at Florida State by 21, and to Oklahoma and Butler in the Battle 4 Atlantis, which has led to a 4-3 record on the season.
Miami: The Hurricanes started the season as well as you could have wanted as they went 5-0, they had a good shot to beat Seton Hall in the Wooden Legacy to move to 6-0, however, since then it has been a disappointment for the Hurricanes, as they lost 83-81 to the Pirates, then followed that up with home losses to Rutgers and Yale. This team has been hurt by the FBI Investigation as Dewan Hernandez has yet to play this season, he was expected to make a big impact inside. Meanwhile, they are very undersized and have trouble against teams with more size at the guard position.
Oregon: The Ducks started the season as a Top-15 team in the preseason, however, with a 4-3 start to the season, this team lands on the disappointment list. This team lost to Iowa in the 2K Classic, however, they rebounded to beat a good Syracuse team, so it wasn’t a total bad result for the Ducks. The bad part of the season then came when the Ducks lost back to back games, first against Texas Southern 89-84, then losing 65-61 at Houston. Bol Bol and Payton Pritchard are the only real threats on offense, while playing three bigs with Paul White, Kenny Wooten, and Bol Bol all at the same time is a big issue floor spacing and also defensively. This team thus far this season doesn’t look like a tournament team, much less a Top-15 team like the preseason polls had them.