We’re just over a week into a new college basketball season, and three teams are already 0-5, a top-5 and a top-10 team have lost to unranked foes from the Big East, and Duke is in the news everywhere you turn.
Here are three things we’ve learned so far in the 2021-2022 college basketball season:
Kentucky can score
Last season one of the many reasons UK was so awful was because they couldn’t score, frequently conking out at around 60 points and with putrid shooting percentages. Well that problem’s fixed now, since every missed shot turns into an offensive rebound for Oscar Tshiebwe it seems like, and a whole lot of the 3s are sinking through the net. It takes a special Kentucky offense to put 100 points on any D1 team, and they did it in just the second game of the season. The Duke loss doesn’t change anything about this team—they are legit.
The Big Ten has “struggled”
Notice the quotes, because this is Week 1 and everybody’s going to be a whole lot different at the end of the season. Nonetheless, it hasn’t been a banner week for what was last year’s strongest conference. #4 Michigan got edged by Seton Hall in Ann Arbor Friday night in a stunner, and #10 Illinois out-rebounded Marquette 50-30 but still lost by a point thanks to a late layup from the Golden Eagles. Not to mention #17 Ohio State needing a buzzer-beating layup to squeak past Akron at home. These teams aren’t really “struggling”, and neither is the conference, but it has been an interesting and unexpected first week for B1G.
UCLA picking up where they left off
UCLA received a very, very lofty preseason ranking when the AP voters put them at 2nd in the preseason poll. Last year this was a bubble team that barely squeaked into the First Four, barely squeaked by Michigan State in overtime in that First Four game to reach the First Round, then ran all the way to the Final Four and almost beat the number one 31-0 team in the country in overtime. While they returned all the talent and added some, many fans are wondering whether they are still looking at an 11-seed and not the number two team in the country in 2021-2022. Well, the Bruins are determined to show they are the latter and are for real, because on November 12th they sent #4 Villanova out of L.A with a loss in overtime (what is it with the Bruins and overtime games?). All eyes turn to Gonzaga-UCLA II: The Sequel premiering on the 23rd. You won’t want to miss it.