With the Champions Classic taking place a week later than usual this year, the 2022-23 men’s college basketball season began Monday without the headlines of past campaigns. However, according to ESPN Stats & Information, it was the first time each individual AP top 25 team had played on the same day. This resulted in the unique opportunity to get a feel for almost every single relevant team in the sport on the first day of the season.
Which newcomers will have a bigger impact than expected? Which returnees are ready for the big leap? Which top 25 team looks like it might be going through some growing pains?
ESPN’s Jeff Borzello, Myron Medcalf and John Gasaway got their first clues on each of these questions — and more.
who Not Play deserves the biggest headlines
We’ll have to wait for the collegiate debuts of at least five potential NBA draft lottery picks: Arkansas freshmen’s Nick Smith Jr., Duke’s Dereck Lively II and Dariq Whitehead, Villanova’s Cam Whitmore, and UCLA’s Adem Bona. Four of the five missed Monday’s games through injuries while Bona was held out due to an NCAA issue. (In addition, three of the aforementioned teams are in the midst of a change, with Duke and Arkansas bringing in a slew of newcomers and the Blue Devils and Villanova both replacing legendary coaches.)
Joining that quintet of players on the injury list was reigning consensus international of the year Oscar Tshiebwe (right leg) and his Kentucky teammate, All-SEC point guard Sahvir Wheeler (right leg). The Wildcats still drove past Howard, of course. But it could be a few weeks before we see some of the sport’s biggest programs in full force. – Borcello
Baylor has had no troubles in the season opener, scoring over 100 goals in a big win over Mississippi Valley State.
Baylor sets the pace for the offensive
Sure, it was against Mississippi Valley State, but there’s still time to overreact. With a 117:53 victory, Baylor recorded what is probably its most efficient offensive game in 2022/23. This was actually a 16-10 contest (in favor of the Bears) after 10 minutes into the game. Then Scott Drew’s group woke up and went into halftime 61-21. Adam Flagler passed the Bears with 21 points and four 3s in 25 minutes. (Glad I picked him for Big 12 POY. He’s got that in the bag!) When the final horn blew, Baylor was scoring 1.48 points per possession. That officially qualifies as an Extreme Scoring event (1.45-plus.) Well done bears! – gas path
After a 95-63 season-opening win over the Bison, John Calipari commends the Wildcats for defending hard and snapping rebounds relentlessly.
Kentucky can actually shoot this season
This could change everything for a program that is producing back-to-back shocking results, with a 9-16 campaign in 2020-21 followed by a loss to Saint Peter’s Peacocks in the first round of last season’s NCAA tournament as a 2-seed.
Kentucky has shot under 35% of 3 for three straight seasons. But in Monday’s lopsided 95-63 win over Howard, transfer from Illinois State, Antonio Reeves (6-on-12) and CJ Fredrick (2-on-5), who were injured last season, helped the Wildcats 46 to the Completion % Clip from the 3-point line. Jacob Toppin continues to improve while five-star recruits Chris Livingston and Cason Wallace appear poised to make an early contribution. If Kentucky gets healthy (it was Monday without Tshiebwe, Wheeler and Daimion Collins) and stays hot beyond the arc, the Wildcats could become America’s most challenging matchup.
“We’re tough to play against,” said Kentucky coach John Calipari after Monday’s win. “If you have an Oscar, he’s going to grab these balls, which we don’t get.” – Medcalf
success on the farm. 🌲
— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) November 7, 2022
Stanford should consider having transfers more often than once every 11 years
In his first game in a Stanford jersey, Davidson signing Michael Jones went off with 31 points in the Cardinals’ 88-78 win over Pacific. Jones is a real rarity in Palo Alto, California. He is the first transfer to speak for the Stanford men’s basketball team since former Santa Clara player Andrew Zimmerman did so in 2011-12. If his debut is any indication, Jones could give Jerod Haase’s program a boost as it seeks its first NCAA tournament offer since 2014. The 6-foot-5 senior was the picture of eventing against the Tigers, scoring 12 points inside the arc, nine outside of it and 10 on the line. – gas path
Jett Howard scores 22 points and loses five 3-pointers as Michigan rolls 75-56 in the opener.
When Howard scored 30 points in the Wolverines’ exhibition win over Ferris State last week, I took it with a grain of salt. This was an exhibition game, after all. But he showed Monday’s performance was no fluke. Michigan coach Juwan Howard’s son had 21 points, five 3s and five assists and was one of only two Wolverines in double figures. If Michigan is to be a factor in the Big Ten’s title race, it needs to find perimeter production (read: shooting) to make room for Hunter Dickinson to operate inside. This is a team that finished 11th in the Big Ten in 3-point shooting last season. But Howard looked like one of the best freshmen in the nation on Monday. If he can perform consistently, the Wolverines will be a lot more dangerous offensively than I expected. – Borcello
https://www.espn.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/34973902/overreactions-takeaways-observations-day-1-2022-23-men-college-basketball-season Men’s college basketball 2022-23 – Overreactions from Day 1