Opening Night Game Notes, Who Impressed and “Jamie, We’re Sorry”

Anyone want to guess who impressed? Ha…

There were 12 ACC games being played last night, so I had to do a bit of jumping around. Duke and UNC were never in any real danger so I kind of back burnered those teams, though UNI kept it respectable like I knew they would.

Duke came out on fire, especially senior Grayson Allen, who went 3/3 for 8 points in the first two and a half minutes to set the pace. Trent quickly joined the party hitting a couple from deep. MB3 was all over the place and Duval ended the night with 8 assists and zero turnovers, something I never saw coming. Let’s be honest, there isn’t a ton of value in watching this game, while Elon has a ton of experience in that starting five, they just don’t have the horses to hang with a team like Duke. The Blue Devils worked on a bit of a press early and used some token pressure most of the first half. Coach K ran Allen off of those same baseline screens that made Trajan Langdon and JJ Redick famous.

I quickly went to Virginia Tech and UDM for the simple reason of watching Chris Clarke to see how he was recovering from a torn ACL, he looks fine. He had plenty of explosion and appeared to be in great shape. My attention was quickly grabbed by freshman Nickeil Alexander-Walker, who I did not think could shoot like that. The long lanky frosh went 4-7 from deep on his way to 24 points. NAW looked good in the half court and on the break. His length is silly. Ahmed Hill also played really well, finishing with 19 points even though he only went 1-5 from deep. Hill is an interesting and underappreciated player as far as media coverage, he will be well known by the end of the season.

Once that game was no longer in doubt I swapped over to UVA and UNCG just in time to see the man-bun-less Kyle Guy score 14 in the first half. UVA held Francisco Alonso in check and were able to hold on for a 12 point win. Ty Jerome struggled a bit early, but hit a couple bit shots under the five minute mark, while Nigel Johnson shook off what had been a tough game to essentially seal the deal with a baseline jumper and a couple clutch free throws. The line opened at UVA -20-something, I got in at INCG +18.5 which they covered. Easy money. That team won 25 games last year. Jay Huff didn’t play which made me sad, but he was never really needed. Isaiah Wilkins played very well and looks to be completely recovered from whatever sickness afflicted him during the 2016-17 season.

Wake Forest actually lost to Georgia Southern. I said in my preview that this would be the most entertaining game of the day and was not disappointed. Much like I was not disappointed in Chaundee Brown, that kid is a stud. He hits from the perimeter, he works hard for position in the post and he rebounds the ball. He’s basically everything I thought he was. Doral Moore is on the opposite end of that spectrum right now, he did not show the development I was hoping for. I think he had 4 fouls in 11 minutes, and was really a non factor in the game. Wake was up by 14 early and held a six point lead at the half, but Keshawn Woods was kind of feeling himself, and while he did finish with 25 he took some ill-advised shots that allowed Ike Smith and Tookie Brown to get GaSo back in it. Tookie Brown is a player by the way. The battles between GaSo and GaST are must see TV.  Terrence Thomspon, the graduate transfer from Marshall played REALLY well, posting a near double-double with 9 and 11 while being involved in some way, in seemingly every key play for Wake. Bryant Crawford struggled a bit, but still finished with 19 points. I think Wake will be fine, especially when Olivier Sarr returns from a knee injury, but they can’t be happy about dropping this game.

NC State predictably ran away from VMI. I didn’t watch a whole lot of this game, but as predicted, Markell Johnson played extremely well, logging 14 points, 9 assists, 4 steals and only two turnovers. All five Wolfpack starters ended up in double digits, and they worked Kevin Keatts press a lot so expect to see that in the conference season.

I took a little bit of a snoozer before turning up the game from China between UCLA and Georgia Tech. I gotta say, Ben Fucking Lammers, right? In a game where the Jackets were missing their two best perimeter players, they made the game interesting, though eventually losing by 3. Lammers had a double-double with 24 and 10. Unfortunately for the boys from Atlanta, Kris Wilkes was on fire from deep. If the name sounds familiar, it’s because I said to watch him in the weekend preview. Also, fucking Thomas Welsh just doesn’t miss, baseline, top of the key, doesn’t matter, he’s about as automatic as anyone in the country. I almost fell out of bed when he finally did miss a jumper from the top of the key in the second half.

I had UCLA laying 7.5, and even saw that line climb to 9 later in the evening. I know what some must be thinking, really? Betting against your own team? Well, that’s what they get for making those poor decisions, and I need some new shoes. Don’t fucking judge me.

Fucking hell Marvin Bagley III with a big 2 handed flush before the half. (I am watching the Duke game while typing this)

So who impressed? A lot of the freshman played really well last night. Chaundee Brown had 21 and 9 rips. Obviously MB3 and Duval played well,  NAW from VT had 24-4-4, Jose Alvarado had 12 points 7 rips and 3 assists, including two huge treys to give the Jackets an opportunity to win late.

Grayson Allen, Kerry Blackshear (23 points in 17 minutes), Kyle Guy, Lammers, Keshawn Woods and Tyus Battle all had great games last night as well.

I have yet to watch the UNC, Clemson, Miami or BC games. Again, there is not a ton of value in these games other than some highlight real plays in between the domination. I mean, Maine at BC? Who the fuck wants to watch that? I know BC is going to win, probably by a ton, and I won’t be seeing anything more than Bowman and Robinson hitting open threes. I should put my eyes on Deonte Hawkins though.

So, who disappointed? I’m glad you asked. There really should be a prop bet on when the students and people at Pitt pull some money together to fly a banner over Fort Worth that says:

JAMIE, WE’RE SORRY

The Panthers started their season by losing at Navy in the Veterans Classic. I can’t help but just point and laugh at Pitt. They run one of the best coaches in the country off and replace him with a guy who allegedly has the social skills of a rabid wolverine that spend the morning smoking angel dust. In 18 months they have gone from a 21 win tournament team, to a team picked dead last in the ACC, some talking heads have even said they don’t expect the Panthers to win a conference game this year. As a GT fan I can tell you this Pitt fans, fuck those clowns. Not literally though, even that won’t bring Dixon back.

There were some players that did not show like I thought they would. DeAndre Hunter from UVA looked a little lost at times. Obviously Doral Moore has more work to do. There was a lot of love being tossed at Moses Wright after a huge exhibition game, he played pretty poorly. Parker Stewart, my pick to lead Pitt in scoring, 0-5 with all five attempts coming from 3. Yikes. As I am watching the Duke game, I must say I am disappointed in Marques Bolden, the guy has strep throat and is sitting on the bench. What is that? Just asking for trouble there.

Alright, I am going to watch the ND today, so at the very least I will drop some game notes on that one this afternoon, or tomorrow morning, depending on today’s bourbon intake. I may possibly watch the Duke game. I mean, the Devils are playing a team in Utah Valley University, that just lost to Kentucky yesterday, this game really doesn’t interest me.

I’ll close with this, Alex O’Connell has 8 points in 5 minutes for Duke, just now hitting a huge 3. If they get something out of him this year, I mean, the Blue Devils are almost unbeatable. What a fucking recruiting class.

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