Breaking Down Opening Night in College Basketball

John Calipari will be seeing Zion Williamson in his nightmares for the next two weeks at the least. Quentin Grimes was money from the three-point line. UNC avenged an embarrassing loss from last year and UVA continued to win by playing unbelievable defense. Opening night in college basketball had it all and set fans up for another exciting season.

DUKE VS KENTUCKY

One can look at this game in one of two ways. From a Duke prospective, this was more than just a statement. Some foolish experts and college basketball bloggers (including myself) thought that the four top Duke recruits would lose a close game as the veterans on Kentucky combined with their top recruits would be the difference. Like I said, how foolish that seems now.

RJ Barrett could not be contained by whoever Kentucky put on him as he dropped 20 first half points and 33 for the game. Zion Williamson proved that he was more than just a dunker as he dropped 28 points and was stellar on the defensive end. He pulled down seven boards and had multiple highlight reel plays on both ends of the floor. Cam Reddish looked impressive as he dropped 22 points in the blowout win.

From a Kentucky prospective, this was embarrassing. Nobody could hit a three in the first half and the game was over early in the second half when the Wildcats couldn’t make a run. Stanford transfer Reid Travis and guard Keldon Johnson were the only Kentucky players that could score as everyone else seemed to do nothing with the minutes they played.

The second ranked team in the country has a lot to work on if they want to compete for a national championship this year, seeing that they have to go through a team like Duke to win it.

MICHIGAN STATE VS KANSAS

The first game of the day on ESPN was the better game for fans looking for intensity. Unlike the Duke beat-down, this game was never really over until the final seconds.

The Spartans used a spread out attack to stay in the game the entire time. Although they were down double digits for the majority of the game, Michigan State brought the game to within three points in the final minute. They were unable to pull out the win, but there is no doubt that Tom Izzo feels better than John Calipari this morning. Joshua Langford led the Spartans with 18 points, followed by Kenny Goins with 17, and Cassius Winston with 13.

Kansas was ranked as the number one team going into the season and they looked like it until Duke stepped on the floor. Quentin Grimes is worth the hype. The freshman led the Jayhawks in scoring with 21 points and was unstoppable from beyond the arch. Other freshman Devin Dotson complimented Grimes with 16 points of his own. Transfer Dedric Lawson carried the load, playing 38 minutes and dropping 20 points, and big man Udoka Azubuike had 17. The Jayhawks quick offense was too much for Michigan State and they are poised to have another successful season in the BIG 12.

OTHER GAMES

UNC took down Wofford just one year after losing to them at home. Luke Maye led the Tar Heels with 24 points and top recruit Nassir Little made his debut by playing 20 minutes, scoring 7 points.

Gonzaga proved they are a force to be reckoned with as they took on and took down Idaho State and won by 41. A final score of 120-79 and 33 points from junior Rui Hachimura showed the Bulldogs are worth the hype.

In the PAC 12 conference, Oregon smoked Portland St thanks to 22 points by junior Payton Pritchard and 12 rebounds by freshman Bol Bol. UCLA continued the west dominance by beating Fort Wayne 96-71 behind 27 from sophomore Kris Wilkes.

Photo: Courier Journal

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