Bits and pieces from the first weekend of the college hoops season and a look ahead to Week 2, highlighted by Tuesday's ESPN Tip-Off Marathon and seven intriguing neutral-site tournaments.
Caught My Eye in Week 1: A Little of This, A Little of That
1) At-Large Berth Builder: Bucknell wins at Purdue, 70-65.
2) Baylor freshman center Isaiah Austin made an impressive debut in the Bears' season opening 99-77 win over Lehigh. In just 17 minutes of playing time, Austin scored 22 points on 10-of-12 shooting from the floor. He also had 4 rebounds and 2 blocked shots.
3) The Big East Bottom: Rutgers lost 56-52 at home to Saint Peter's, while Providence struggled to beat NJIT, 64-63.
4) The Danny Hurley era at Rhode Island got off to a shaky start, a 67-55 home loss to 2012 NCAA Tournament Cinderella Norfolk State.
5) Florida State loses at home to South Alabama. Come on 'Noles, we want you to have a great season (except when you play the Gophers).
6) Glad to hear it appears the Gophers will redshirt freshman Charles Buggs. Though I don't doubt Buggs could provide some valuable, energetic and productive minutes, this makes a ton of sense to me with all the athletic wing players the Gophers have on this year's roster. Does anyone else think Buggs is Paul Carter's Doppelganger?
7) In addition to American, Gophers nonconference opponents Toledo (Loyola-Chicago), Tennessee State (BYU), Florida State (South Alabama), South Dakota State (Alabama), and Lafayette (Saint Francis-NY) lost their season openers.
8) Mixed bag for the MAC: Kent State logs an impressive 66-62 home win over trendy Drexel, but Akron (one of the MAC favorites) falls to Coastal Carolina, 74-70.
9) Nate Wolters' stat line in South Dakota State's 70-67 loss @ Alabama: 30 points, 10-15 FGs, 5 3-pointers, 3 assists, 3 rebounds, 3 steals.
10) One man's opinion: Other than tournaments like the Maui Invitational, Battle 4 Atlantis, Great Alaska Shootout, etc., let's just get rid of neutral-site games. College basketball games were meant to be played on home courts in front of rabid fans. Home team, visiting team. ... a simple concept. Sadly, I know we'll never return to those days.
11) We all knew replacing Draymond Green would be difficult for Michigan State, but nevertheless I was disappointed with the Spartans' performance vs. UConn in Germany. One of the alpha dogs from the Big Ten needs to beat a UConn program that is reshuffling the deck after Jim Calhoun's retirement, and the APR mess (NCAA tourney ineligibility) he left behind.
ESPN Tip-Off Marathon
The schedule for Tuesday's marathon, which actually starts late Monday night (CT):
10:59 p.m. Monday -- West Virginia @ Gonzaga
1 a.m. Tuesday -- Davidson @ New Mexico
3 a.m. -- Houston Baptist @ Hawaii
5 a.m. -- Stony Brook @ Rider
7 a.m. -- Northern Illinois @ Valpo
9 a.m. -- Harvard @ UMass
11 a.m. -- Temple @ Kent State
1 p.m. -- Detroit @ Saint John's
3 p.m. -- Butler @ Xavier (this will not count in the A-10 standings)
6 p.m. -- Kansas vs. Michigan State
8:30 p.m. -- Duke vs. Kentucky
Seven prominent exempt tournaments get underway this week. Here's how I see the championship games turning out.
NIT Season Tip-Off: Michigan over Kansas State
Charleston Classic: Colorado over Auburn
Puerto Rico Tip-Off: Tennessee over NC State
2K Sports Classic: Villanova over Alabama
Coaches vs. Cancer Classic: Notre Dame over Florida State
Paradise Jam: New Mexico over UConn
Hall of Fame Tip-Off: Ohio State over Washington
Mano-a-Mano Report: The Top 8 Conferences
Week 1 results of the top eight conferences going head to head. I've added the Atlantic 10 (A-10) and Mountain West (MWC) to the six BCS conferences. ... ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac 12, and SEC.
Georgetown (Big East) over Duquesne (A-10)
Kentucky (SEC) over Maryland (ACC)
Syracuse (Big East) over San Diego State (MWC)
Texas (Big 12) over Fresno State (MWC)
UConn (Big East) over Michigan State (Big Ten)
1. Big East (3-0)
T-2. Big 12 (1-0)
T-2. SEC (1-0)
4. Pac 12 (0-0)
T-5. ACC (0-1)
T-5. Atlantic 10 (0-1)
T-5. Big Ten (0-1)
8. Mountain West (0-2)
Week 2 Games to Watch (non-tournament)
West Virginia @ Gonzaga (Monday), Butler @ Xavier (Tuesday), Davidson @ New Mexico (Tuesday), Duke vs. Kentucky (Tuesday), George Mason @ Bucknell (Tuesday), Kansas vs. Michigan State (Tuesday), Long Beach State @ USC (Tuesday), Temple @ Kent State (Tuesday), Tennessee State @ South Dakota State (Tuesday), Wichita State @ VCU (Tuesday), Wisconsin @ Florida (Wednesday), Illinois State @ Drexel (Thursday), North Carolina @ Long Beach State (Friday), South Dakota State @ Marshall (Saturday), Belmont @ Stanford (Sunday), Florida vs. Middle Tennessee State (Sunday), Richmond @ Gophers (Sunday).
Last Week: South Dakota State over Alabama (L, Alabama won 70-67)
Week 2: Auburn over Murray State in the quarterfinals of the Charleston Classic
Tag(s): Gopher Basketball