(Courtesy of Bryson Gordon-GTCC, GreensboroSports.com College Basketball writer)
If you are like me, you have enjoyed every moment of this NFL season, and even this Bowl season in college football, but if you have not been keeping up with college basketball, you are missing out on one of the most fun seasons to watch in a while. I am here today to sum up the short season so far into five takeaways that I have noticed from watching some basketball thus far.
1) There is no dominant team this season.
There is absolutely no team like Kentucky was last season. The number 1 ranking has been a revolving door, which has already been occupied by three teams in only two months, and soon will be a fourth after Michigan State lost this week. Kentucky has struggled to hit its stride, UNC suffered a couple of early upset losses to Northern Iowa and Texas, but have beaten the like of Maryland, who is a top 5 team. And playing without its best player, MSU has looked like a lost dog. I am sure that by March, one team will separate itself from the rest, but for now, the top spot is wide open.
2) Injuries have been the killer
Injuries affect all athletes at some point, but in this short season, several of the top teams have suffered injuries. Duke has played without Amile Jefferson for several games now, and lost to Utah in his absence. Michigan State has played recently without Player of the Year candidate Denzel Valentine, and are 1-1 in his absence. Iowa State, a preseason consensus top 10 team is without its top guard Naz Long who will be out for the year with a hip injury. And of course UNC is currently without Kennedy Meeks, and played six games without Marcus Paige.
3) Freshman Ben Simmons is the real deal.
If you have not heard the name, go ahead and write this down, Ben Simmons. He was the number one recruit coming into this season, and has put up sensational numbers on a lackluster LSU team. Simmons is currently averaging 19 points, 13 rebounds, and 5 assists. He has put up 43 points in one game, and has eight double-doubles. His best comparison is a young, and a little rawer LeBron James. Look for Simmons to be the number one overall pick in the next draft.
4) The ACC is still the best conference, but the Big 12 is breathing down its neck.
UNC, Duke, Virginia, Miami, and Louisville are the class of the ACC this season, but out of the top 13, the Big 12 has just as many teams (three) as the ACC. Oklahoma looks primed to end Kansas’ streak of 11 straight Big 12 championships, behind Buddy Hield. And Iowa State, even without Naz Long, still is a top 15 team in the Country. The crown for best conference in the Country is still the ACC’s, but by the end of the season, that could change.
5) Buckle Up
If you haven’t followed this season yet, and are waiting for football to end, that is okay. But when you start watching, buckle up for one heck of a ride. The upsets, the great endings, the injuries, the unsuspected blowouts, be ready for them all. All of these things make college basketball my favorite sport, but with no dominant team this season, we are primed to see more upsets, even more than we have already seen.
If you have been watching, and have more takeaways feel free to comment below, and I will tell you what I think!