College basketball is so far living up to my expectations. Being a huge basketball fan, I have seen many crazy things throughout this year with Indiana’s shocking upset to Fort Wayne before thanksgiving break, to Michigan State’s surprising, underachieving, 2016-17 campaign.
We should tip our hats to Fort Wayne for playing at home against the Indiana University hoosiers and being able to do what they did. Bravo! And to the Spartans, whose season has not started off the way that many had hoped, wait until March, because Hall-of-Fame Coach Tom Izzo will have the diaper dandies ready! You never know, this team could be in the Final Four because anything is possible. And to Duke, who seems like their entire team is hurt, with top Froshies, Jayson Tatum, Harry Giles and Marquise Bolden sidelined with ailments; they are still rolling along. Imagine a fully healthy Duke Squad with all these stars, that would be scary.
Ode to North Carolina: with the usual amount of experience they have steady play from all five positions. They are in a great place to contend not just for the ACC crown but also a National Championship banner in 2017. Nobody is talking about Gonzaga, the West Coast Surfers, but all they did was win the Advocare Tournament last week and their stable of transfers and the big front line will have them in the conversation for their first-ever Final Four appearance.
They have been oh-so-close several times, most recently in 2014, when they lost to the eventual Champions, Duke! Duke could also possibly win it too! There are so many possibilities once tournament season rolls around.
Let’s look at this from another angle. None of these teams will win it. Seasons, teams and competitions change. There is no way to account for this because anything can happen. If Duke does not heal by the tournament, they could fall on the first weekend. If North Carolina suffers an injury at any of their positions, this could spell doom for them. If Sparta cannot figure out how to play and win big games, they will not even make it to the first weekend. They might spend it at home. All of this is pure speculation, a honest opinion of what might happen.
The season is just heating up. On Wednesday night, we will see elite teams Virginia, North Carolina and Indiana face stiff tests. Carolina visits the Hoosiers tonight at 9:15 p.m. in what figures to be an important barometer to the early season preparation. Virginia faces Ohio State. This Big Ten-ACC challenge, which is tied 4-4 heading into Wednesday, is going to come down to who can make the last shot and the last steal to survive. It has the feel of the NCAA tournament, whose games go along to determine seeding in the future. However, as a basketball fan, I just like to sit down and enjoy the talent dotted across the country. These players compete at such a high level for long periods of time that I could not help but wonder what makes it go. These are amazing athletes that everyone should tune in to watch, especially tonight’s fantastic slate of games, because they matter. Another day to look out for is Saturday. There are so many great games on that day as well, including UCLA at Kentucky and Gonzaga taking on Arizona in the annual West Coast showdown.