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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Monday, April 15, 2024

Moments ‘til Madness: What to know from Opening Week

The biggest results from week one of college hoops.

"Moments 'Til Madness " Column Graphic
Graphic by Gretta Goorno

Looking at the schedule for the first week of college basketball, there wasn’t much to be excited about. But even with the very weak slate of games, we still got to see some great battles that will definitely affect seeding come March.

James Madison University stuns No. 4 Michigan State University

On just the first day of play, we had what could end up being one of the biggest upsets of the regular season. To be honest, this seemed to be more of an MSU loss than a JMU win. The Spartans couldn’t get anything to fall, shooting an abysmal one for 20 from three and 26 for 72 from the field. This issue continued when it was time to go to the line, with MSU bricking three free throws in overtime. While this was only the first game of the season, it’s a little concerning to see how lackluster their offense looked against a mid-major opponent like JMU. Tom Izzo and his team better hope they can figure things out before Tuesday when they play No. 2 Duke University.

No. 12 University of Arizona defeats No. 2 Duke University

What was predicted to be the best game of the week was almost definitely the best game of the week. This top 12 matchup did not disappoint, with the two teams being tied with just 47 seconds left to go in the game. Kyle Filipowksi continued his play from last year, putting up an impressive 25 points. On the other hand, every starter for Arizona reached the double digits in points; one of them being University of North Carolina transfer Caleb Love, who wasn’t very efficient, but he did make some crucial plays down the stretch to help seal his second win as a Wildcat. Don’t expect much movement for Duke in the AP Poll, but Arizona should fly up to at least the top eight or so with their quality performance against the Blue Devils.

University of Maryland drops back-to-back games in the Asheville Championship

On Friday, Maryland fell to the decent Davidson College, which isn’t great, but is understandable for the first week of the season. The problem came when they backed this up with another loss to a mid-major opponent in the University of Alabama at Birmingham on Sunday. Again, UAB is a solid non-Power 6 team like Davidson, but starting the season 1–2 before conference play is never good. Now, the Terrapins have a lot of ground to make up if they want to be playing in March.

No. 9 University of Tennessee gets the victory against University of Wisconsin

With Wisconsin receiving votes in the AP Top 25 poll, Friday night was a huge test for the Volunteers and they didn’t disappoint. The big surprise was University of Northern Colorado transfer Dalton Knecht, who dropped 24 points and looked like possibly the best player on the top-10 Tennessee team. Tennessee’s head coach Rick Barnes will need Knecht to continue to be a quality first or second option, as the main struggle for the squad last year was their scoring. As a consistently elite defensive team, Tennessee could end up being a favorite to make the Final Four for the first time in school history.