We finally have basketball to talk about! What a crazy world we live and have suffered through since March when the thing that every college hoops fan holds sacred was snatched from their plates just as they were sitting down to feast.
Well, the wait is over, the first week of college hoops is in the books and it did not disappoint. Here are my observations from Feast Week.
Mike young continues to impress
The first and easiest story from week 1 in the ACC is that Mike Young is a hell of a coach and Whit Babcock should receive a lifetime contract. The Hokies were able to shake off a TERRIBLE first half in their opening game against Radford and never looked back. Hunter Cattoor drilled four second-half triples and VPI was able to escape.
In-game number two, I really expected Villanova to slap the Hokies around, especially since Jalen Cone would not be playing. Instead, Keve Aluma, a transfer from Wofford who followed Young to Blacksburg, looked like a first-round pick and just ate up the Wildcats’ front line. Aluma ended the game with 23 and 8 while Nahiem Alleyne provided 20 points off the bench.
To wrap up the week, the Hokies controlled South Florida in a game that was never really in doubt. Though I do like some of what I saw from USF freshman guard Caleb Murphy.
Moving forward, I do not know if this type of play by Virginia Tech is sustainable as we saw some similar early season results last year. However, the fact that the Young just went 3-0 in the first five days of the season without arguably his best player just prove that this man was the perfect successor to Buzz Williams.
georgia tech falls flat…twice
It’s now year five of the Josh Pastner era and it didn’t take long for the crazies to come out. The long suffering fan base from a basketball hot bed has not seen an NCAA tournament team since 2010 and had high expectations heading into the season. The return of a backcourt that includes Jose Alvarado, Mike Devoe and Bubba Parham along with Moses Wright and Jordan Usher up front did indeed warrant such confidence.
However, as stated in a conversation with a fan on twitter:
I mean, nailed it. The Georgia Tech offense looked like a folded up lawn chair. Zero movement and zero flow after both were principles in the offense when Pastner first arrived. The lack of a defensive anchor in the middle after years of stout play at the pivot was also evident. Moses Wright is not a five but the other options at that position have not played well.
I picked Georgia Tech to finish fourth in the league in the preseason but right now it looks as if they shall return to their rightful place in the 8-11 range unless something very drastic changes. That said, I am amused by my own bias as I think Villanova, Virginia and Kentucky will all be fine after losing in week 1 while I think the Jackets will not be. Whether or not that is a week 1 overreaction I do not know. I do know that there is one stark difference better the first three teams and the fourth. Y’all are smart, you can figure it out.
Some fans are already calling for Pastner’s head which obviously won’t happen. The other thing to consider is that the man just signed a trio of top 150 players. The 2021 class will easily be Pastner’s best but will that save him? Probably not, but combined with the lack of money might.
lack of a crowd at cameron is going to be a thing
I said prior to the season and again during Duke’s first half against Coppin State that the Blue Devils may be the most impacted by the lack of a crowd. The game against Coppin State solidified that belief as Juan Dixon’s team took it to the Blue Devils for the first ten minutes of the first half. Duke turned it on the finish the half up by 17 but relinquished much of the lead to start the second half.
The Blue Devils are a program unlike any other when it comes to feeding off of their crowd. If you have never been to Cameron it is both a magical and hideous place depending on your stance when it comes to the Blue Devils. You hate that your team never wins there but also wish that your team of choice played in such a raucous environment where you as a fan can have such an impact.
At the end of the day, Duke will be fine. Matthew Hurt looked comfortable and freshmen Jalen Johnson (19 and 19) and DJ Steward (24 points) looked absolutely fantastic. This team is loaded.
Other quick hits:
- If you haven’t purchased stock in Dre Davis, do so immediately. Also, don’t be fooled by David Johnson’s first two games and expect more game three type performances.
- We were all robbed by the Earl Timberlake injury, which will take a few weeks to recover from. He will get on the floor, he will be on sportscenter. We just have to wait a bit longer, act according.
- Waiting until Wednesday to watch Scottie Barnes is similar to those videos where people place treats on their dog’s nose and make him wait.
- Tariq Ingraham is going make Wake Forest better than any of us anticipated,
- Pay attention to Clemson. The Tigers just beat two power five schools in the first week. This team looks balanced and deep.