The Student Voice of North Allegheny Senior High School

The Uproar

The Student Voice of North Allegheny Senior High School

The Uproar

The Student Voice of North Allegheny Senior High School

The Uproar

To the Hoop

A preview of the NCAA men’s basketball season
John Walsh / SuperFly Photos licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.
The big games are still ahead, but the first week of the college basketball season already has fans drawing early conclusions.

“Grab your Nitroglycerin pills,” college basketball analyst Jon Rothstein constantly reminds fans during the college basketball season. As he should, because in the greatest sport on the planet, expect the unexpected.

So as the 2023-24 season tips off, and the UConn Huskies start their title defense, many teams such as the sixth-ranked Huskies played what are called, “buy” games. A buy game is when a power six team pays a less recognizable team to come to their college town and let them beat up on them for a lot of money. 

This is important because, during this first week of the season, fourth-ranked Michigan State payed James Madison to come to the Breslin Center for what was supposed to be a walk in the park for the Spartans. 

James Madison absolutely dominated the first 30 minutes of the game. Michigan State was still able to get the game to overtime, but ultimately it didn’t matter, as the Dukes pulled off a stunning upset on the first night of the season, winning 79-76.

Aside from that, nothing happened in this first week of the season. What the fans are really waiting for is the first Sonic Blockbuster of the year and the Gavitt Tipoff Games, where two of the absolute best teams from around the country meet up and give us Final Four caliber games. 

The first game we saw in the Sonic Blockbuster series was Caleb Love returning to play rival Duke, but not in Tar Heel blue this time. He wore navy and red, representing the Arizona Wildcats. And Love has always seemed to the be Blue Devils kryptonite, as Arizona took down Duke, 78-73, in an early candidate for game of the year. 

We were also treated to two great SEC and Big 10 battles, the first being in Madison as the ninth-ranked Tennessee Volunteers took down the Badgers on the road, 80-70. Another game from this SEC Big 10 challenge included Texas A&M traveling up to Columbus to play The Ohio State Buckeyes, and the Aggies stood on business, securing a wire-to-wire, 73-66 win. 

The Second Sonic Blockbuster took place in Chicago, where Four of the titans of the sport would all face off in one action packed night. 

The first of the two games featured two top 25 teams that had already lost and were looking to bounce back in huge ways. So when ninth-ranked Duke took on number 18 Michigan State, the stakes were high, as Duke ground out a gritty win.

But the better game took place in the nightcap, as new faces in new places showed out — and off. 

Former Michigan standout Hunter Dickinson led the number one Kansas Jayhawks against the Youth Movement of the number 17 ranked Kentucky Wildcats, and if you want to win in March, you must win in November, and that is exactly what Kansas did, taking down Coach Cal’s kids in a second half come-from-behind win. 

So what implications do these games have on the outlook for conference championship week and March Madness? It means we can eliminate some frauds early, such as Michigan St. who already have 2 losses, which could hurt their NCAA tournament resume.

It makes all of us wonder a couple of things. Can Zach Edey and Purdue exercise their NCAA tournament demons and make it to Phoenix? Will Johnell Davis and Alijah Martin lead FAU on another magical run? Or will Duke dance all the way back to the title?

Guess we’re all just going to have to sit back and watch.

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