-We had one game postponed, and two others that were cancelled because the court on the air craft carrier had too much condensation on it. There are thousands of basketball games played every year, and college basketball has been around for over 100 years. To the best of my knowledge, these are the only two games in history that have been cancelled because the court on the air craft carrier was too wet. It is rather unfortunate because these were games of note. If Georgetown, Florida, Ohio State and Marquette all finish the season the way we expect them to, these were games the committee would have looked at.
The one air craft carrier game that was played between Syracuse and San Diego State, was postponed, and was poorly played at its rescheduled time. Syracuse got the win, and it will likely be a notable win because San Diego State appears to be very good, but it was a sloppy game, and the conditions of the game were more of a detriment than an asset.
I have a lot of respect for those in the Navy, but basketball and boats just don’t mix. Rather than play on the ship, I say in the future we invite the Navy to dock their boat and come into town to watch the game.
-Baylor’s win over Lehigh was the performance that impressed me the most. That’s not saying much because great teams are defined by the great things they do, and it’s hard to do something great in the first week of the season when most good teams are playing cupcakes. Still, Lehigh is a team that made the NCAA Tournament last year (albeit as a #15 seed), upset Duke in the Round of 64, and pretty much returned all their players (although they were dealing with injuries). Baylor crushed them. Isaiah Austin was hurt in the game, but he had over 20pts in just over one half of basketball. Lehigh isn’t a top 25 team, but they aren’t pushovers and Baylor beat them soundly. That’s more than anyone else was able to do.
-Connecticut looked impressive against Michigan State, but unfortunately for them it won’t help them make the NCAA Tournament. Still, this UConn team is nothing to sneeze at.
-UCF, another team that is ineligible for the postseason, looked very impressive in their season opening road win at South Florida. South Florida, who many feel is a tournament caliber team, sure didn’t look like it on Saturday.
-Perhaps the biggest surprise so far is South Alabama’s win at Florida State. The Seminoles were in the rankings, and I was among those that thought they were underrated. Well, it’s hard to argue that after they lost to what appears to be a middle-of-the-pack Sun Belt team. Everyone starts out at zero, and perhaps South Alabama is far better than what anyone currently realizes, but I doubt it.
We’ve seen shockers in the first week of the season before, and they often fade into the background. Santa Clara took down North Carolina the year the Tar Heels won the national championship. Gardner Webb, of course, beat Kentucky a few years back. Mercer has taken down heavyweights like USC when they were in the rankings. So, it could just be another early season hiccough that in a few weeks we’re not even talking about or thinking about anymore.
-Bucknell won at Purdue, but that isn’t too surprising. Some say it’s a bad loss for Purdue. I’m more inclined to think it is a good win for Bucknell. They finished first in the Patriot League a year ago (ahead of Lehigh, who advanced to the Round of 32), and have all their starters back, so they’re capable of putting together an at-large caliber resume.
A few results that were probably off the radar….
-Drexel, who I believed to be an at-large team, failed to win their opener at Kent State. Kent is not an easy place to play, but an at-large team should be able to win there.
-La Salle took down Delaware at home. Delaware finished the season very strong last year and pretty much had all their starters back, and is expected to finish at or near the top of the Colonial. That’s a nice start to the season for La Salle.
-George Mason took down Virginia at home. That is perhaps the nicest win by a Colonial team so far.
MARATHON ACTION (November 12th and 13th)
-WEST VIRGINIA AT GONZAGA. It’s the season opener for West Virginia. Gonzaga blew out Southern Utah in their first game, but it’s hard to tell too much from that. Many feel this is one of the better teams Gonzaga has ever had, so it will be interesting to see what they can do against a stronger opponent. For West Virginia, it would be a huge road win on their resume.
-DAVIDSON AT NEW MEXICO. Of all the games in the marathon, this is the one that intrigues me the most. It is between two tournament caliber teams that have limited chances at quality wins, which makes this a hugely important game for both teams. It should be a rowdy atmosphere at the Pitt.
–NORFOLK STATE AT SETON HALL. I know this is a buy game, but Seton Hall may want to be on upset alert. They’re not very good, and Norfolk won decisively in their opener against Rhode Island.
-RHODE ISLAND AT VIRGINIA TECH. Tech can improve to 2-0.
-HOUSTON BAPTIST AT HAWAII. Not much is expected out of either team, but both come into the game at 2-0.
-DUKE VS KENTUCKY. Kentucky won their opener against Maryland, but it was a very sloppy affair. I think Kentucky will end up having a great year, but right now they’re not playing cohesively due to having so many new players. Duke, on the other hand, looked pretty solid. Both these teams will likely be protected seeds, so it’s a chance at a quality win.
-STONY BROOK AT RIDER. Neither team is expected to be an at-large caliber team, but at the moment neither has lost a game.
-NORTHERN ILLINOIS AT VALPARAISO. Valpo is the hands down favorite to win the Horizon League, but has little margin for error if they want to be in the at-large picture.
-HARVARD AT UMASS. This game would have been much more intriguing had two of Harvard’s best players not left school. UMass will likely be a force in the Atlantic Ten. This is their season opener.
-DETROIT AT SAINT JOHN’S. Season opener for Saint John’s. Detroit is a dangerous opponent.
-BUTLER AT XAVIER. Both teams are in the Atlantic Ten, but this will not count as a conference game. The game was scheduled for the marathon prior to Butler joining the league. The two will meet again in the final game of the season. Both come in at 1-0.
-MICHIGAN STATE AT KANSAS. Two highly ranked teams that are likely to be protected seeds, so it’s an opportunity for a quality win.
-VERMONT AT UCONN. I’ll throw this one on there because Vermont won their first game, and if they win this one they’ll be on the map…..for now.
-GEORGE MASON AT BUCKNELL. I talked about these teams above. They face each other tonight in what is a big early season game for both teams.
-WICHITA STATE AT VCU. Huge game between two tournament hopefuls, and in VCU’s case, a soon to be top 25 team.
-GEORGIA STATE AT BYU. As it has been mentioned, Georgia State cannot play in the Colonial Tournament, so their only hope for the NCAAs is an at-large. They looked fairly decent against Duke. A win at BYU would be big on their resume.
-FORDHAM AT PITT (Monday)
-BUFFALO AT FLORIDA STATE (Monday). Hopefully the Noles do better this time around.
-PRESBY AT CLEMSON (Monday)
-NORTH DAKOTA STATE AT INDIANA (Monday). Both teams come in at 1-0. North Dakota State is no match for the Hoosiers, but they should be able to make quite a bit of noise in the Summit League.
-MONMOUTH AT NOTRE DAME (Monday). Both teams 1-0.
-YALE AT SAINT JOSEPH’S (Monday).
-FAIRFIELD AT VIRGINIA (Monday). Fairfield may give Virginia a fight. They don’t want to start the year 0-2.
-YOUNGSTOWN STATE AT GEORGIA (Monday). Both teams 1-0.
-SACRED HEART AT RUTGERS (Monday). Rutgers is looking for their first win.
-NORTH FLORIDA AT MEMPHIS (Monday). Season opener for Memphis.
-MOREHEAD STATE AT MARYLAND (Monday). Maryland will try and bounce back after losing to Kentucky.
-LAMAR AT KANSAS STATE (Monday)
-COPPIN STATE AT TEXAS (Monday)
-TOLEDO AT MINNESOTA (Monday). Minny can improve to 2-0.
-SFNY AT ILLINOIS (Monday). Both teams 1-0.
-ALABAMA A&M AT IOWA STATE (Monday). Both teams 1-0
-TROY AT TEXAS A&M (Monday). Both teams 1-0.
-UC SANTA BARBARA AT ILLINOIS STATE (Monday). They’re below the radar, but I think this is a good Illinois State team.
-IUPUI AT MICHIGAN (Monday). Both teams 1-0.
-PORTLAND STATE AT OREGON (Monday). Both teams 1-0.
-NORTHERN ARIZONA AT UNLV (Monday).
-MISSISSIPPI VALLEY STATE AT CINCINNATI (Tuesday).
-UNC WILMINGTON AT RICHMOND (Tuesday). Both teams 1-0.
-COASTAL CAROLINA AT OLE MISS (Tuesday). Both teams 1-0
-MCNEESE STATE AT LSU (Tuesday). Both teams 1-0.
-TEXAS SOUTHERN AT NORTHWESTERN (Tuesday)
-ALCORN STATE AT MISSOURI (Tuesday).
-SELA AT MARQUETTE (Tuesday)
-ALBANY AT WASHINGTON (Tuesday)
-LONG BEACH STATE AT USC (Tuesday). Both teams 1-0. LBSU was strong a year ago, but pretty much lost everyone from that team.
-PEPPERDINE AT CAL (Tuesday)
-SAN DIEGO CHRISTIAN (nondiv1) AT SAN DIEGO STATE (Tuesday)
-UC IRVINE AT UCLA (Tuesday). Both teams 1-0