This Week in College Basketball: Week 1

By Dennis Berry

College Basketball Observations: Week 1

This is what I hope turns into a weekly part of the Best Basketball Blog during the season. I will give a weekly recap of some games and news from college basketball. may get one when you decide to play basketball. I hope to come up with a better title for this piece too.

We are already through the first weekend of college basketball. There was plenty to take in. Here are some notes on what I saw over the weekend.

Carrier Classic

This was not only a great match up of North Carolina versus Michigan State, but just an overall great event. The setup on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson was well done. The backdrop around the court, the ship, San Diego skyline, and harbor, looked great in HD. It did not appear that weather, mainly wind, bothered either team.

Thoughts on Each Team

Michigan State appears to be another tough, scrappy Tom Izzo team. They need to find some shooters though. The Spartans are strong in the paint with Draymond Green (13 points, 18 rebounds) and Adreian Payne, but they have to find someone who can hit from the outside.

North Carolina is at their best when they can get out and run. They can get points with half court sets, but when they get out and run they are dangerous. It appears that toughness in the paint will be a problem for the Tar Heels. Michigan State got 19 offensive rebounds against them. With Tyler Zeller and John Henson on the court, that should not happen to them.

Remember Belmont

Belmont is good, as most figured they would be. They won 30 games last year. Nine of the 11 players from last year return. They are an experienced team and they have talent in their freshman class. So it should not be so shocking to see they gave Duke a scare Friday night. Duke won 77-76, but Belmont should the team that should be taken seriously this year. Come March they will probably be a team that will be picked by many to pull some upsets in the NCAA Tournament.

Kentucky Gets a Curfew

Friday morning did not go the way Kentucky fans thought it would. They woke up to news that Stacey Poole Jr., who is just decided to transfer from UK today, was in a car accident at 2:30 am. Then reports came out that Terrence Jones, a preseason All-American, was also in the car at the time. Although he did not break any rules, Jones should have shown better judgment then being out that late before a game, in this case the season opener against Marist. Jones did play, but did not start.

John Calipari also announced that his team would have a curfew for the rest of the season.


It did not take long for the upsets to start coming in. First it was Akron upsetting Mississippi State. The Bulldog's, who were picked by many to be a NCAA Tournament team, offense looked sluggish and out of sync. Renardo Sidney still looks out of shape and All-SEC point guard Dee Bost made poor choices and forced shots.

Head Coach John Calipari of the Kentucky Wildcats during the second half of the Kentucky Wildcats game versus West Virginia Mountaineers in their third round game of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship at the St Pete Times Forum in Tampa, FL.

Friday night brought another upset as UCLA lost to Loyola Marymount. The Bruins, who were ranked 20 coaches/ 17AP, shot only 13% from the three point line. Their defense was poor as the Lions shot 67% from behind the arc.

The most surprising upset though belongs to Cleveland State beating Vanderbilt in Nashville. The Commodores were ranked in the Top 10 coming in and getting the most hype ever for the program. They were done in by poor shooting (45% from the field, 23.5% from 3) and turnovers (20).

Injury Hits Louisville

First it was Wayne Blackshear to a shoulder injury. Then Sunday they lost Mike Marra for the season after he tore his ACL against Lamar. The loss of Marra makes the Louisville bench even shorter.

Back on the Sidelines

Last week we saw two coaches return to the sidelines for the schools. St. John's Steve Lavin and Texas A&M's Bill Kennedy. Lavin coached his first game after prostate surgery and Kennedy returned from a leave of absence after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. Glad to see both of them back.

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