NC College Basketball Review
Week 1 of the NC College Basketball Season is in the books. Here’s a look at how each Division I team across the state faired.
The Mountaineers are out to a 2-0 start. They have defeated Toccoa Falls 135-34 and Bridgewater 95-57. Star guard Ronshad Shabazz has averaged 24.5 points per game along with five assists per game. ASU next plays Iowa state on the 16th. The Mountaineers are heavy underdogs in this one and will be their first true test. Let’s see how they look against some real competition before deciding on their legitimacy.
So far Campbell is 1-1. They beat Columbia International 108-44, but then lost by eleven to Penn State. Chris Clemmons is on fire averaging 33 points per game, good for second in the entire NCAA. He is literally carrying the Camels on his back. The Camels next matchup will be a true test to where the stand early in the season when they play UNCW on the 18th.
Bob McKillop’s Wildcats look hungry, starting 2-0 on the season. Even better, both wins came against quality opponents, Charleston Southern (110-62) and UNCW (108-81). The trio of Peyton Aldridge (27.5 points per game), Kellan Grady (23.5 points per game) and Jon Axel Gudmundsson (21.5 points per game) have the team firing on all cylinders. They come into the next game at Nevada as an underdog, look for the Wildcats to pull the upset in this contest.
To no surprise, Duke has started the season 3-0 beating the likes of Elon and Utah Valley. They had their first true test of the year Tuesday night against Michigan State. They passed. Marvin Bagley; who has been nothing short of spectacular so far, left this affair early in the first half. Regardless, the Blue Devils had no issues getting past the Spartans behind senior Grayson Allen’s career-high 37 points. Next up is Southern on the 17th. Look for the Devils to stay out of the loss column at least until the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
Aside from exhibition games, the Pirates have only played in one contest so far. They defeated Coppin State 76-50. Even in that game, ECU really had no standout performances. Jeff Lebo’s squad plays Radford next on the fifteenth.
The Phoenix are 1-2, but the only real surprise is the loss to Furman. They need to find some scoring desperately. Their current leading scorer is Tyler Seibring, who averages a meager 13.7 points per game. Look for Elon to get back on track versus Florida International on the seventeenth.
A brutal start to the schedule has the Bulldogs at a 0-2 to start the year. Loses to Miami and Florida were inevitable and the Bulldogs didn’t put up much resistance in either game. The small bright spot is near double-double man D.J. Laster at 14.5 points per game and 9 rebounds per game. Gardner-Webb’s next game is no pushover either. They play UCF on 11/15, let’s see if the Bulldogs come out with some energy and pull out a quality win.
To slight surprise, the Aggies are 1-1 and didn’t get embarrassed by Clemson. Femi Olujobi has come out hot, scoring at a 27 per game clip. A&T’s next game is against Citadel on 11/15. If they can string a couple of wins together, the Aggies may be a surprise dark-horse to get earn an automatic bid into the tourney.
The Bulldogs have come out to a .500 start with a balanced attack throughout. The next game is against Vanderbilt on 11/17. They are a heavy underdog in this one versus an SEC school, but let’s see if the Bulldogs are able to hang around and have a shot at an upset.
North Carolina Central
Central is off to a disappointing start with losses to UIC and Evansville. The lone bright spot is near double-double man Raasean Davis (14 points per game and 9 rebounds per game). The Eagles need to find some more scoring as they have only averaged 55 points a game to start the year. Look for the Eagles to turn it around in the next contest against UT Martin on 11/15.
Carolina has only played once so far this season, an easy win over Northern Iowa. Luke Maye came out to a solid 26-10 line to start the year. Next up for the Heels, a game against Bucknell Wednesday Night. We won’t learn much about the Heels until they play the PK80 Tournament next week.
At 1-1 the 49ers have come out playing well. Their only loss was to no slouch in Oklahoma State, a fifteen point loss. The 49ers have a balanced attack led by Jon Davis at 15 points per game along with 6 rebounds and 6 assists per game. Next up they have Charleston on 11/18. They will be the underdogs in that game but will be a good indicator test of where the 49ers sit as a team this year.
Greensboro lost their first game of the year to Virginia. It was a close contest at 48-60, but the Spartans couldn’t score enough points to make it really interesting. Marvin Smith led the team with a 12 and 9 performance. Wesleyan is next on the schedule, let’s see if the Spartans can get a little more offense going against a lesser opponent.
New coach Kevin Keatts has the Wolfpack playing well and beating the teams that they should be beating. They have a very balanced attack and seem to want to play hard for Keatts. Also, the Pack received the good news that guard Braxton Beverly is cleared to play and add more depth to the lineup. The first true test to see how good State will be this year is against #3 Arizona on 11/22.
To my best estimation, the Seahawks are right where they should be at 1-1. They lost to a talented Davidson team and beat up on Wesleyan. The Seahawks have ridden Devontae Cacock’s 21.5 points per game and astonishing 16.5 rebounds per game. Jordan Talley has chipped in nicely adding 18.5 points per game. Outside of those two, not many contributions are noticeable. Let’s see if someone can step up as a third option and help propel the Seahawks to new heights. Their next game is against Campbell on 11/18, look forward to this one as two of the topmost unknown players in the state go at it in Chris Clemmons and Devontae Cacok.
My biggest disappointment so far has been the Demon Deacons. Wake Forest started out the season with losses to Georgia Southern and Liberty. The Deacons are lead by Bryant Crawford at 20 points per game and Keyshawn Woods at 19.5 points per game. In all honesty, it’s the same story as last season. They need to find their defense because they have given up a ton of points to lesser teams. Look for the Deacons to take out some frustration against Drake on 11/17.
A grueling early-season schedule has already seen the Catamounts play Clemson and Cincinnati. As expected, they’re 0-2. Not much can be determined regarding this team yet as they’ve played far superior opponents. They have no real production to speak of from an individual and simply need to score more. Let’s see if they can get something going against a lesser opponent in Hiwassee College Wednesday Night.
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