Around the Top 25: College Basketball (Week 1)
College basketball opened play this week and the wild road to March has already featured some exciting matchups between the nation’s best teams.
One of the highlight games of the week took place in Columbus where many thought it would be an average opener for a No. 17 ranked Ohio State team against Akron. That simply was not the case.
It was not a situation of the Zips making up ground in garbage time, as they held multiple leads over the Buckeyes throughout the second half.
With seconds to play, Akron’s Ali Ali converted a four-point-play to put Akron up 66-65.
It took a buzzer-beating layup from Ohio State’s Zed Key to win the game and ultimately escape an opening night upset.
The most highly anticipated matchups of the opening week of hoops took place at Madison Square Garden in the State Farm Champions Classic.
The first game featured No. 3 Kansas taking on a surprisingly unranked Michigan State team.
Kansas flexed its muscles in this one, letting the Spartans come close a couple of times but always controlling the lead. Senior Ochai Agbaji scored a career-high 29 points and was efficient from the floor shooting 9-of-17 for the Jayhawks.
In the nightcap, No. 9 Duke battled it out with No. 10 Kentucky in a thrilling back and forth affair.
The Blue Devils helped start off head coach Mike Krzyzewski’s farewell tour with a 79-71 win over their fellow blue blood.
Freshmen Trevor Keels and Paolo Banchero led the way each scoring 20 plus points and shooting well over 50% from the field.
Most other top-25 teams cruised to easy victories in their opening matchups, like No. 1 Gonzaga who defeated Dixie State 97-63 or No. 5 Texas who was victorious over Houston Baptist 92-48.
Even a team just inside the top-25 in No. 20 Florida State put up extremely high offensive numbers, scoring triple digits in their 105-70 victory over the University of Pennsylvania.
The No. 21 Maryland Terrapins had a slight scare against a decent George Washington squad. Maryland trailed by a point at halftime but were able to come out of the break on an 8-0 run to lead the rest of the game for good, narrowly escaping its off night with a 71-64 victory.
Some matchups to look forward to featuring top-25 teams include SMU taking on No. 13 Oregon and the highly anticipated battle between No. 4 Villanova and No. 2 UCLA.
The Wildcats and Bruins will meet in a thrilling non-conference matchup which presents one team the opportunity of securing a signature win that could be talked about when seeding for the NCAA tournament in March.
Another top five matchup coming up on the docket is No. 5 Texas taking on No. 1 Gonzaga. Many believe the Bulldogs are untouchable, but the Longhorns will put that theory to the test Saturday night.
It’s been a fun first week of college basketball and the top-25 is only going to be shaken up from here with all the high-volume matchups coming.
Maclain Young is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Contributors
Second Year / Broadcast Journalism