Early Surprises of the 2019-2020 College Basketball Season
The 2019-2020 College Basketball season, has already seen its fair share of early surprises and disappointments. But it still quite early as it’s not even December yet. The opening night of the season saw plenty of surprises as the underdogs prevailed in the Champions Classic. Heck, we have already seen the number one ranked team get upset twice in the first two weeks. Now it being feast week, some teams will be looking to flex their muscles in plenty of intriguing match-ups in tournaments in both Maui and the Bahamas. Let’s dive into the biggest surprises so far this season.
Kentucky’s High’s and Low’s
Yes, we are talking about a Wildcat team that saw the highs of beating the number one team in the country as they took down Michigan State in the Champions Classic on the opening night of the season. Freshman Tyrese Maxey looked like a true superstar leading the Cats to the victory. Yet their mojo didn’t last very long as they suffered, what might be the biggest upsets of the season to this point as they Evansville Aces rolled into Rupp Arena seven days late and took down Kentucky on their floor. The Wildcats have rebounded nicely since then, but it can’t be taken away that they still seemed to be a little way off. Plenty of season to go, but they are one of the early disappointments.
Florida needs to find a way to score
The Florida Gators might not be one of the top dogs in the odds board for the National Championship for this season, but they have a strong group of players that could fly under the radar come march. They look built for the long run, but a 12-point home loss against Florida State may have pushed them to the question mark category. They have players that echo their historic past, but the offensive production just doesn’t look to be there yet. There is still time, but Kerry Blackshear Jr and Andrew Nembhard will need to step up if the Gators want to challenge the top teams.
Arizona is young but could be great
The Wildcats may have a young rotation, but that hasn’t stopped them so far, as they have won their first six games. That includes a pretty impressive 90-69 victory over a competitive Illinois team. Arizona has left their home floor yet this season, so we will have to wait for further judgment. However, they will get a real test in December when they visit Baylor. Zeke Nnaji and Nico Mannion could prove to be two of the best freshman in the country and is one of the early surprises this season.
What is the deal with the Spartans?
It sure looked to be high hopes for Head Coach Tom Izzo and the Michigan State Spartans entering the 2019-2020 season as they were the preseason number one team and looked built for a national championship run. The loss against Kentucky to start the season may have deterred some from the early hype, but they were able to respond including a gritty road win at Seton Hall. There are moments where this team looks like a true title contender, and then there are times when they struggle like their opening game in Maui against Virginia Tech. They may be 3-2, but they have plenty of games on the schedule to prove that they are still the favorite come March.
Gonzaga might have something to say
The Gonzaga Zags will head to the Bahamas for the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament unbeaten at 6-0. They will have plenty of games in that event to prove themseleves as they open with Southern Miss, before chances of playing either Oregon or Seton Hall. The Zags should be able to hold their own, in what is likely the highest contested Feast Week tournament this season. Behind a very strong frontcourt, Gonzaga could be in for a big year. As Filip Petrusev is becoming a household name, and with him being paired with a healthy Killian Tillie, this team will be dangerous come March.