Even though we are only just about a week and a half into the 2022-2023 college basketball season and even though there hasn’t been a ton of big-time games, we still have a lot of exciting storylines. Some teams have looked really good and some have looked unexpectedly awful. Here are some early observations in college basketball.
The preseason #14 team has had a bad start. On opening night they barely squeaked by Arkansas-Pine Bluff with a one point win. The Golden Lions are one of the worst teams in the country (355 out of 363 in KenPom.). TCU then struggled with Lamar and then on Monday night, they lost a buy game at home against Northwestern State. It was the second-biggest win in program history for the Demons. To be fair TCU was without Mike Miles Jr. in that game, but they still shouldn’t have even come close to losing. Hopefully, the Horned Frogs can right the ship.
Florida State started off their season by losing to Stetson on opening night. It was the Seminoles’ first loss to the Hatters since 1975. Stetson was also in the 300s in KenPom at the time. The Noles have since lost to both UCF and Troy, starting their season 0-3. It already looked like it was going to be a comparatively down year for FSU, but no one expected them to perform like this.
We have already seen a lot of big upsets. Multiple ranked teams went down. The aforementioned Northwestern State over #15 TCU, Temple’s first win over Villanova in a decade, UC Irvine dominating Oregon, and Grambling State beating Colorado who then beat Tennessee. In addition, Wyoming, who was just outside of the preseason top 25, lost to Southeastern Louisiana. Michigan almost lost to Eastern Michigan. With all of that in only a little over a week, it looks like we could be in for a very exciting season.
It really is. The Gonzaga-Michigan State game last Friday was a great game. Played on the deck on the USS Abraham Lincoln, it was full of action and very close the whole way. Cool uniforms too. Plus, it was just a really cool thing to watch. I know I am not the only one that missed the games being played on aircraft carriers. Hopefully, the NCAA can come back to that again next season.
Speaking of Michigan State, we all vastly underestimated them. Not many people had them in their preseason rankings, and the ones that did had them at the bottom. They ended up being sixth in the others receiving votes” category in the preseason AP Poll. Since then they have shown us all how wrong we were. They played great against Gonzaga on the USS Abraham Lincoln and almost won. Then on Tuesday night in the Champions Classic, they refused to back down and got a hard-fought win in double overtime against #4 Kentucky. So far to me, Sparty looks like the clear second-best team in the Big Ten.
The Longhorns played their best game in years on Thursday against Gonzaga. The only initial response was just to say “wow.” Forcing turnovers, shooting the ball, passing the ball, they did it all and did it well. The brand-new Moody Center was rocking all night long. It looks like the new arena will be a great place to play in for Texas and difficult for all of their opponents. After a disappointing campaign last year, Texas looks really good early on this year.