The opening weekend of the 2013-14 college basketball campaign is in the books, and with it comes the first in-season Associated Press Top 25 poll.
While not much has changed over the first three days of the new season—every Top 25 team that played won its initial contest—things are expected to heat up shortly.
It’s time for many of these programs to test their mettle against one another.
Let’s take a look at the recently released AP Top 25 poll, recap some of the top action from this past week and highlight a few matchups on the horizon that will drastically impact the standings.
|2||Michigan State (22)||1-0||1549||2|
Kentucky has stayed the course as the country’s No. 1 team, with the Wildcats handling business and keeping busy against UNC Asheville and Northern Kentucky.
UK will have its hands full on Tuesday, however, as head coach John Calipari’s boys are set to face off with No. 2 Michigan State in the Champions Classic.
This Chicago-based event will have a severe impact on the polls, as the winner of MSU vs. UK will almost certainly be atop the Week 3 rankings.
Calipari said the Spartans would be a stiff test for his young squad, via Diamond Leung of MLive.com. "When I said it's not fair for a team like ours to try to play an event like that, it's true," Calipari said. "I mean, we've got all freshmen and sophomores. You don't play in that kind of event two games in."
While Calipari sees it as unfair for his inexperienced team, ESPN's Jay Bilas sees it as something great for the game when you can get such high-profile matches this early in the season, according to Larry Vaught of the Advocate Messenger:
This is the kind of thing that college basketball needs, because too many people have bought into this narrative about football, in football every game counts. Well, it does in basketball, too. ...
I think this is the kind of thing we need more of, where top teams play earlier in the season, because they're games that you can learn from and recover from, and it's good for the game overall. So I think having the contrast of the tremendous talent, young talent, that Kentucky has got, with the, sort of the older, more experienced players (at Michigan State), it would be fun to watch.
Fortunately, more teams than just the Spartans will be on display in the Windy City, as No. 4 Duke and No. 5 Kansas are also set to clash that evening.
These two powerhouses will finally have a chance to display their talented young rosters that feature arguably the two best freshmen in the nation.
The Blue Devils’ Jabari Parker will be looking to upstage the potential No. 1 NBA draft pick, Andrew Wiggins of the Jayhawks.
The remainder of the week is relatively tame with no games between Top 25 teams until the weekend, when No. 10 Ohio State takes on No. 17 Marquette.
The Buckeyes and Golden Eagles both made the Elite Eight last season and have high aspirations for 2013-14.
While March Madness is still a long way off, the first weekend of college basketball has set the stage for the rest of the year, and it should only get better from here.