Thoughts from Week 1
1. North Carolina will try and exploit its height advantage at every opportunity. However, they need to cut down on the turnovers. I saw a lot of their big men bring the ball down, which is a fundamental no-no. Larry Drew showed nice court vision and efficiency but isn’t Lawson or Phil Ford – yet. Tyler Zeller is going to get pushed around once the Heels play opponents with quality inside personnel – unless he improves his tenacity he might sit a lot.
2. All Evan Turner did the first game of the season was get a triple-double. True, it was against the Alcorn State Fighting Cannon Fodder but that’s impressive for a season debut. The Buckeyes are going to put some points up this year.
3. Syracuse struggled from the outside in the opener and could have showed more patience against Albany but played a pretty flawless game against Robert Morris. Brandon Triche showed greater command of the offense and their defense has forced a whopping sixty turnovers in two games. If freshman DeShontae Riley can provide an extra big body off the bench the Orange could sneak into the Sweet 16 this year.
4. Once again, Cal is struggling under the weight of early expectations. They allowed Murray State, a preseason also-ran in the Ohio Valley, to shoot fifty percent for the game and Patrick Christopher had to key a late run to save the Bears’ bacon. Berkeley’s bunch needs to prove they can stand prosperity.
5. John Wall will make a huge difference once he debuts for Kentucky (especially in turnovers), but Eric Bledsoe’s unexpected scoring prowess has to give Wildcat fans another reason to smile (as if they needed more). The only concern after one game appears to be three-point shooting, which probably won’t make a difference until they face quality competition.
6. Seton Hall was taken to the wire by a St. Peter’s team that was picked to finish in the middle of the pack in the MAAC. OK, so you could blame it on opening-night jitters. But only 53 points from a Pirate team that averaged 74 last season? Could be a long year in South Orange.
7. This may be the only time Alcorn State makes the Musings twice in the same column (which is probably a good thing). After surrendering the second triple-double in Ohio State history they gave up 130 points to Arkansas, who were led by Rotnei Clarke with 51.
8. The best matchup of the first two days was the “Dr. Seuss” game with Creighton and Dayton. Both teams made half their shots and were even in nearly key category save for a slight edge in offensive rebounds by the Flyers. Great effort on the road by the Bluejays, who should challenge yet again for an NCAA bid.
Week 1 BP Top 40
3. Michigan State
5. North Carolina
11. Georgia Tech
13. West Virginia
20. Ohio State
22. Mississippi State
24. Northern Iowa
26. Texas A&M
27. Oklahoma State
30. Brigham Young
31. Kansas State
34. Florida State
36. South Carolina
40. Utah State