I opened the season with an easy college hoops winner last night as the Duke Blue Devils failed to be tripped up by Elon University (last Grayson Allen tripping joke for the year. Well, at least for this column…) Duke looked cohesive and fluid last night, easily assimilating their massive array of freshman talent with their senior leader in an impressive opening night. Yes, they were heavy favorites and the real test comes Tuesday (Michigan State), but juxtaposed against LAST YEAR’S subpar performance against Elon (which featured the incident-I-will-not-mention…), it was a GREAT opener.
The opener was not as great for Bob Huggins and his Mountaineers. I stayed away from an official pick on last night’s game against Texas A&M in Germany, finding the Duke game to be easier money, but will say I am not at ALL surprised to see Texas A&M lay one on them. A&M will be sneaky good this season and could push Florida and Kentucky for SEC supremacy.
There isn’t a top-tier game like the A&M/West Virginia game tonight, but there are a bundle of ranked teams in action getting a quick tune-up before the bigtime inter-conference matchups begin over the next few weeks.
Today’s College Basketball Pick:
Notre Dame Fighting Irish -9 at DePaul Blue Demons
Notre Dame seems to be in this spot every year; a few solid veterans have graduated, some talent returns, but expectations nationally are a little tempered. And then Mike Brey fills in a few new players, everyone plays smart, takes care of the basketball, makes open shots, and more importantly, CREATES open shots for others, and they end up winning at least a few games in the NCAA Tournament.
I think we will see that story, Part IV, this season. Bonzie Colson returns in the Jerian Grant/Demetrius Jackson/Steve Vasturia/Beachem/Augustine role. He might wind up being the most successful of the bunch, at least collegiately. He has a real shot to be the ACC Player of the Year and an All American. But Colson certainly isn’t alone. Point guard Matt Ferrell will run the show, and look for Rex Pflueger to emerge as a big time player in his junior season, and freshman D.J. Harvey will be an inside/outside force.
DePaul has been the bottom of the barrel in the Big East nearly since its inception. This season should be no exception. They are unveiling a brand-spanking new $173 million dollar arena tonight, but even fancy new digs won’t help beat a veteran and talented Notre Dame squad. Notre Dame won 26 games last year, and the two years prior they made the Elite Eight. This is one of the more underrated programs in the nation. I expect them to begin the season with a flourish tonight.
Today’s NCAA Basketball Pick: NOTRE DAME FIGHTING IRISH -9