Early Observations from College Basketball’s Week 1

During the first week of college basketball’s regular season, there were a number of newsworthy outcomes to consider come March.

BY MATT DE SARLE

Conventional wisdom would tell you that a resume can be refined over time so that a candidate can mature into the opportunity when the time is right. Well, conventional wisdom doesn’t exist in college basketball.

A resume can gain that decisive bullet point three or fourth months before the opportunity becomes available. Conversely, teams that want to enter March Madness can have a deal-breaking loss in November. (In the job recruitment analogy, this would be the drunken Facebook post from years ago that will keep you from your dream job).

November 2022 is having an impact on the March Madness 2023 selection committee.

Close Upsets in the first week of College Basketball’s Regular Season

The number 14 ranked TCU Horned Frogs were trailing throughout its first game against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. The Golden Lions were ranked to finish 11th best in its own conference, according to preseason SWAC rankings (voted on by coaches and sports information directors). TCU followed that flat performance by only beating Lamar by 12 points (only outscoring them by 2 points in the second half).

Graduate student guard Shaun Doss Jr. is someone no high major team wants to see in a 1 vs. 16 matchup. He is averaging 20 points per game in this early season.

Upset Losses in November that could cost College Basketball Teams Tournament

Oregon was ranked 21st overall headed into the season, before the Ducks were stunned in its second game against UC Irvine. The Anteaters were projected to finish fourth overall in its Big West Conference.

Temple Owl fans were so impressed with their upset victory over Number 16th ranked Villanova, they actually stormed the court twice.

Things could get rocky in the Mountain West come selection Sunday for at-large hopefuls, thanks to this early season loss submitted by the Summit League. The Jackrabbits sprung an upset win on the Boise State Broncos. Both programs have been relevant with success in recent years. However, this season could have been predicted to be a regression for the Jackrabbits. They lost the number fourth overall transfer in the offseason, when Baylor Scheierman took his talents to Omaha to join the Creighton Bluejays. South Dakota should it still has postseason aspirations by beating the defending Mountain West club.

Watch highlights here courtesy of GoJacks.com.

College Basketball Thoroughbreds Galloping Out to a Lead

The Number 3 ranked Houston Cougars have rewarded AP voters for the vote of confidence by crushing the competition in the early going. They beat Northern Colorado and Saint Joseph’s by 47 and 36 points, respectively. Although these teams are borderline Kenpomery top 200 teams, there are plenty of power 5 schools taking on worse competition.

Sons of NBA Players in College Basketball 2022-2023

Here’s list of sons of NBA dads we’ve spotted in college basketball for the 2022-23 season.

If we have missed any, please tweet us at CBBEyeTest.

CLICK BELOW FOR PAST YEAR’S ROSTERS OF SONS OF NBA PLAYERS:
2020-2021
2021-2022

Mike Miller had serious game over his 17 year NBA career including 41% from 3pt. His son Mason Miller is a freshman at Creighton and could be a dangerous sharpshooter off the bench.

Photo courtesy Creighton Athletics

Sons of former Chicago Bulls Ron Harper and Scottie Pippen have graduated from the college basketball landscape, but there are still some Windy City remnants.

DJ Rodman is a junior with Washington State.

Jabri Abdur-Rahim is the son of former lottery pick and Grizzlies great, Shareef Adbur-Rahim.

Penny Hardaway is actually coaching his son with the Memphis Tigers. Jayden Hardaway has earned his minutes over the years and is now a regular rotation player with the Tigers.

Juwan Howard has two of his kids on the Michigan Wolverines squad.

Junior Jace Howard rocks number 25, a number his father sported in the NBA.

Juwan Howard’s younger son, freshman Jett Howard lit it up in his NCAA debut.

The 1990s Eastern Conference is well represented in this list. Dikembe Mutombo’s son Ryan Mutombo continues a big man family legacy at Georgetown.

Former Indiana Pacers guard Harold Workman’s son Bryce plays D1 ball.

Jameer Nelson Jr. is a junior guard and plays guard for Delaware.

Photo courtesy bluehens.com/sports/mens-basketball/roster

Jamal Mashburn’s son is following in his footsteps, in more ways than one. Jamal Mashburn Jr. has also followed a Pitino coach.

In fact, Mashburn Jr. played for Rick Pitino’s son Richard at both Minnesota and now with New Mexico.

New Mexico basketball has two sons of NBA players in the rotation. Eddie House’s son Jaelen House is another scoring guard on the team.

Here’s another random, 1990s sir name, nostalgic, NBA nugget: Marčiulionis.

Do you remember that name?

Photo courtesy smcgaels.com/sports

The second generation NBA talent discussion has an international flair as the son of Sarunas Marciulionis has been imported from Lithuania to St. Mary’s basketball. Augustus Marciulionis is a 6-4 freshman with the Gaels.

Pete Nance has transferred to UNC to join head coach, and former NBA player, Hubert Davis.

According to IUHoosiers.com, Trayce Jackson-Davis is the “son of for Indiana Pacers standout Dale Davis and Ray and Karla Jackson.”

Photo courtesy iuhoosiers.com

https://iuhoosiers.com/sports/mens-basketball/roster/trayce-jackson-davis/15620

The Fab 5 even makes a cameo on this list. Juwan Howard is another former NBA player who is coaching his son currently.

Jace Howard is a sophomore at Michigan University. Photo courtesy: mgoblue.com

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Eye Test Breakdown of AP Top 25 Preseason Basketball Rakings

BY MATT DE SARLE

The AP Top 25 ranking is king in college basketball and dictates whose resume is worthy of the tournament, so its preseason ranking is also very important to dissect as the 2022-2023 campaign begins.

Here are some initial considerations about the AP Preseason Top 25 and specifically its top 10.

10. Arkansas Men’s College Basketball Preview 2022-2023

The Razorbacks deserve to be here if you take into consideration especially its tournament success over the last two years. However, they have lost a lot of talent to graduation and the NBA draft in those two years. Head coach Eric Musselman is becoming the Pete Carrol of college basketball. The years go by but his energy appears ageless and he brings back a secondary of wings who can defend the full playing surface. The Razorbacks lose their first, second and fourth overall scorer from last season including JT Notae’s average of 18.3 points.

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9. Creighton Men’s College Basketball Preview 2022-2023

This may sound like a surprise but the Creighton Bluejays might actually be underrated at this spot. This is a good looking team with a coach’s dream for a starting five. Point guard Ryan Nembhard is the straw that stirs the drink. You haven’t heard much buzz about the Bluejays because Nembhard missed a majority of last season with injury. However, he plays with the steady confidence and control of his older brother (Andrew Nembhard) who now cracks the rotation as a point guard for the Indiana Pacers.

“I’m just excited to be back. It’s been a long journey, but I’m ready to go,” Nembhard said in a post-practice media availability recently posted by the Creighton YouTube channel.

Creighton touts a 7’1″ center in Ryan Kalkbrenner who has great hands and score in multiple levels. Kalkbrenner can run the floor, shoot the three, and post you up. Sophomores Trey Alexander and Arthur Kaluma contributed to a solid season for Creighton last season and return as dual threats. Head coach Greg McDermott has an opportunity to win the Big East this season with an eye to a 2 or 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament with a preseason ranking that actually makes sense.

Ryan Kalkbrenner and Ryan Nembhard headline a sneaky good Creighton team.

8. UCLA Bruins Men’s College Basketball Preview 2022-2023

If you believe Tyger Campbell is one of the nation’s best point guards, you have reason to believe in this team. However, the Bruins lose a collective 32 points per game in scoring from guards Johnny Juzang and Jules Bernard alone This will be a great opportunity for the next swingman waiting in the wings, Jaylen Clark. Clark was a regular rotation player last season and shined with a 25 point year high. Head coach Mike Cronin enters his fourth season as the Bruins head man, so the hard-nosed wrinkle to the UCLA tradition should be firmly in place. One of the newcomers for UCLA this season has matured overseas. Italian Abramo Canka has international experience playing in several leagues. Of course, it wouldn’t be UCLA without a little Hollywood factor to the script. McDonald’s All-American Amari Bailey brings a resume of being a top 5 recruit according to ESPN, but also some TMZ articles about he and his mother’s popularity.

Jaylen Clark has a huge opportunity this year at UCLA.

7. Duke Blue Devil’s College Basketball Preview 2022-2023

Duke didn’t just commit to the youth movement in college basketball with one-and-dones, but it doubled down. This went from a program that rarely acquired freshman phenoms for one season to now leading the nation in that category. Duke has 3 of the top 10 ESPN top 100 recruits. That includes number one overall ranked Derek Lively and number two overall recruit Dariq Whitehead. Couple that youthful energy with the dawn of Jon Scheyer’s first year as Duke head coach replacing the legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski.

Duke couples to the two highest ranked freshmen for the 2022-2023 season.

Baylor and Kansas dead-heat for fifth best team in preseason rankings

AP voters totally took the easy way out here and punted on who is better, Baylor or Kansas. Of course, these programs enter the season as the last two national champions. They have battled for the Big 12 crown in heated competition more recently (after KU’s long-standing dominance of the conference). Kansas coach Bill Self will miss the first four games because of a self-imposed suspension by the school, because of NCAA infractions. After this total sharade, the poor guy will have to make his return to the sidelines to coach the Jayhawks in the Bahamas. Both the Jayhawks and the Bears have each lost a professional lineup of stars from their national championship seasons. Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua, Flo Thamba, LJ Cryer, and Adam Flagler remain from the 2021 Bears national championship team. Ironically, that will probably be more incumbent playing minutes for this 2023 postseason than the 2022 championship Jayhawks will return. The 2022-2023 Kansas Jayhawks most important returning players are likely Dajuan Harris Jr. and Jalen Wilson. Drake transfer Joseph Yesufu is also probably likely to see more minutes in his second season with the Jayhawks. The Baylor Bears win the recruiting race based on rankings. Shooting guard Keyonte George ranks sixth overall in the nation while the Jayhawks highest recruit is fourteenth overall in forward Gradey Dick. Baylor loses Matthew Mayer to the transfer portal but probably gets a more physical replacement at forward in BYU’s Caleb Lohner. KU’s transfer news is headlined by the addition of Kevin McCullar Jr. from within the conference. He averaged 10 points and 4.6 rebounds last season for Texas Tech.

4. Kentucky Wildcats enter season ranked top 5 despite 2022 upset

Saint Peter’s magical run as a 15 seed started with a defeat at the hands of the Kentucky Wildcats. Yet, Rick Pitino and the Kentucky Wildcats still enter the 2022-2023 season as a top 5 ranked team. West Virginia transfer Oscar Tschiebwe headlines a talented roster. Tschiebwe was a runner up last year for the Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award (to Keegan Murray). However, he probably should have won it based on his gaudy numbers and striking similarities to Malone’s game. Pitino is known to moan on Selection Sunday after the SEC hosts its championship game late in the day and his team is punished for a 5 or below seeding in the field. This time, his program is given the benefit of the doubt entering the season with a top 5 ranking. It’s hard to imagine that Pitino would have to prove himself, but this season feels like a “show me” year with it being nine years since Kentucky has made a Final Four.

3. Houston Cougars 2022-2023 College Basketball Preview

True college basketball fans everyone should celebrate the Cougars top 5 ranking. It was earned through hustle, defense, and overcoming adversity. Houston was the walking wounded last year but still managed to put a scare in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Guards Marcus Sasser and Tramon Mark were two of the Cougars who missed most of last season. However, their return brings a scoring punch to a program that’s already proven it knows how to defend and earn hustle baskets. Speaking of which, Reggie Chaney returns for a fifth year as a graduate student. The Houston Cougars should have one last swan song in capturing the American Conference crown before leaving for the Big 12 next season. Sasser and Jamal Shead headline the conference’s preseason all-conference first team.

2. Gonzaga Bulldogs Reload in Transfer Portal to Prepare for 2022-2023 Season

Drew Timme is back. That continues a legacy of long-tenured Gonzaga stars who commit to Spokane and make a run at a Final Four. And when you think of the Gonzaga Bulldogs basketball history, you don’t often think of transfers coming in and having a major impact. But that tide has changed. Gonzaga is now not only a desirable location for star freshmen like the former Bulldog Jalen Suggs. The university is also now a coveted program to pull into major conferences (as re-alignment goes wild). It’s also a destination for transfers. Chattanooga transfer point guard Malachi Smith will fill the void left by Andrew Nembhard leaving. And LSU big man Efton Reid is going to bring some size at 7 feet to help bolster an otherwise lacking interior. There are nine sophomores on this current Gonzaga Bulldog roster, so it’s hard to predict whether Mark Few’s club can be expected to mature into a #1 seed in this year’s tourney (as has been the standard).

1. UNC Tar Heels enter season ranked #1 overall

The band is back together. North Carolina and coach Hubert Davis made a surprising run in last year’s NCAA Tournament, finishing as the runner-up. Starting guards RJ Davis and Caleb Love return to run-it-back. Even Leaky Black sneaks back into a group that includes Puff Johnson, Armando Bacot, and a lot of reasons to be optimistic about the returning talent. They also add forward Pete Nance, whose game has blossomed at Northwestern despite getting crushed by Big 10 competition in recent years. However, North Carolina’s 2022 regular season featured some head-scratching moments with an absolute lack of defense. Hopefully, this team doesn’t have a hiccup with the momentum they’ve gathered and regress to their mean where they had nine (some very bad) losses in the regular season. UNC barely has a top 50 recruit with 6-1 guard Seth Trimble scratching the list at #46.