Ladies and Gentleman today is a glorious day. Opening night of the 2017-18 College Basketball season is here, and with it come a number of matchups worth watching. Many of top 25 teams are in action including Duke, Kentucky, Michigan State, Arizona, and Kansas among others. Unfortunately, none of these powerhouses play a quality opponent. However, there is still a ton of intrigue surrounding these games because of the amount of 5 star recruits making their debuts.
It is worth tuning in to see Duke freshmen like Marvin Bagley III and Trevon Duval flex on mid major teams like Elon. People also forget that the last time Duke and Elon met, Grayson Allen tripped the fuck out of some scrub.
Other Storylines to watch for include a new look Kentucky team as always, and the the sophomore campaign of Miles Bridges. Just like last year, Kentucky boasts a team full of 5 star recruits including Kevin Knox (SF), Hamidou Diallo (SG), Jarred Vanderbilt (PF), Nick Richards (C), PJ Washington (PF), and Quade Green (PG). Pray for Utah Valley.
Michigan State has a 5 star of their own in Jaren Jackson (PF), and a great supporting cast with Nick Ward, (C), Cassius Winston (PG), and Josh Langford (SF). However, all eyes will be on Miles Bridges (SF). Bridges passing a up a spot as a high lottery pick may be dumbest thing I’ve ever seen a human being do. Tom Izzo begged him to declare for the draft, but he decided he’d rather come back and punk on the Big Ten for another year. Don’t get me wrong I’m happy he did, but North Florida sure can’t be.
The only ranked on ranked matchup of the night features #25 Texas A&M vs #11 West Virginia. The Mountaineers return a player of the year candidate of their own in Jevon Carter. The guy has been in college forever and legit looks 40. College kids don’t have hairlines like that. The NCAA better take a second look at his birth certificate because the dude may actually be Benjamin Button. But along with carter, most of West Virginia’s starting lineup from last year is intact, outside of the loss of Nathan Adrian. On the other hand, Texas A&M possesses what is probably the best backcourt in the country. Robert Williams (PF) passed up a possible lottery selection to return for his sophomore season. They’ll also be bringing back stars, Tyler Davis (C) and DJ Hogg (SF). Much of Texas A&M’s struggles last year boiled down to not having a legitimate point guard. This year will be different when 2016 top 100 recruit, JJ Caldwell, is finally eligible in a few games. I do not have a pick for this game because I will undoubtedly be wrong. But this game figures to be the best of the night.
UCLA will also take the floor for the first tonight against Georgia Tech. What should’ve been a solid matchup will be watered down by Josh Okogie and Tadric Jacksons’s suspensions yesterday, and Liangelo Ball and Co.’s arrest. Nevertheless, there’s still a lot to like about this game, partly due to the amount of questions that remain. You have to wonder what is going on with those kids in China. Lavar has most definitely left Liangelo for dead in Chinese jail #FREEGELO. Bill Baller Brand doesn’t accept mediocrity. But what happens to 4 star recruits Cody Riley and Jalen Hill? It sucks that they won’t be on the floor tonight, but are they even alive? That I don’t know. Without them, UCLA still has a far superior roster to Georgia Tech, Inlcuding 5 stars Jaylen Hands (PG) and Kris Wilkes (SF). They also return stars in Aaron Holiday (PG) and Thomas Welsh (C). A UCLA team that’s already leading the league in steals, will not need Ball, Riley, or Hill, to cruise to victory tonight.