The opening weekend of college basketball is over, but as I write this there are games being played as ESPN's College Basketball Marathon continues on. There will be great tournament basketball this weekend and next week, and we will also know A LOT more about Duke and what they are bringing to the table after tonight's tilt with Kentucky.
With that being said it is time for Week One of the Blogger So Dear Power Rankings. Ideally I will get this out on Monday afternoon, following Bracketology Monday morning. As far as articles go it is important to get those in on Monday due to looking at the prior week and the (usual) two games played.
There are already a few changes due to upsets, and if the first two games have shown us anything (across the nation), it could be a pretty fun year filled with parity.
1. North Carolina Tar Heels (2-0)
Next Up: Wofford, @Northern Iowa
The Tar Heels kicked off its year with two victories over Temple and Fairfield over the weekend. UNC blew out the Owls in what some thought would be closely contested game sans Marcus Paige. They followed that up with a 27 point win over Fairfield, but it was probably a little closer than most UNC fans would have liked before a 28-15 final ten minutes wrapped everything up. The offense appears to be clicking already, and junior Nate Briit is a torrid 7/10 from behind the arc already.
2. Duke Blue Devils (2-0) Up 1
Next Up: Kentucky (Neutral), VCU
Much like the Tar Heels, Duke simply took care of business this weekend. Facing off against vastly overmatched Siena and Bryant, the Blue Devils scored early and often. Grayson Allen showed why a lot of people think he will be a breakout player this year with 54 points through two games. Freshman Brandon Ingram also showed he is no slouch with 36 points over two games. We will know a lot more about Duke after their two games vs. UK and VCU this week.
3. Virginia Cavaliers (1-1) Down 1
Next Up: Charleston Classic
Tony Bennett and his Cavaliers get credit for taking on mid-major George Washington at home, unfortunately they do not get credit for losing the game to the Colonials. Basically GW did to the Cavaliers what they are used to doing to other opponents with stifling defense, hard-nosed rebounding, and hitting critical shots when it matters. The Cavaliers will be alright and are still very much national title contenders in my mind, but the losses of Justin Anderson and Darion Atkins will be hard to replace. There is a good chance for the Hoos to bounce back in the Charleston Classic as they face off against: Bradley, either Seton Hall or Long Beach State, and then likely Oklahoma State or Ole Miss.
4. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (1-0)
Next Up: Milwaukee, UMass Lowell
The Fighting Irish crushed St. Francis, PA in a noncompetitive game, and things don't get much tougher this week for Mike Brey either with Milwaukee and UMass Lowell coming to South Bend. Zach Auguste is going to be a beast inside for the Irish, and senior guard Demetrius Jackson is starting to show that it's his time to shine after a 27 point, 8 rebound night as well.
5. Miami-Florida (2-0)
Next Up: Puerto Rico Tip Off
The Hurricanes kicked off their season with two wins over inferior opponents. UT Rio Grande Valley (UT Pan American and UT Brownsville merged together to form UTRGV) was overmatched from the starting whistle en route to an 86-59 Hurricanes victory. Louisiana Lafayette was a better opponent, and it was actually a top 100 KenPom win as the Ragin' Cajuns are the class of the Sun Belt this year. The three-headed monster of Shelon McClellan, Davon Reed (former Wake recruit), and Angel Rodriguez will be fun to watch as the year goes on.
Miami heads to Puerto Rico where it will face Mississippi State (who recently suffered a loss to SWAC opponent Southern), likely top 15 team Utah in the semis, and if they advance on either Butler or Minnesota. It's a tough field and should be a good early test.
6. Louisville Cardinals (1-0)
Next Up: Hartford, North Florida
Despite all the news in the off-season, and more that is bound to come, Coach Rick Pitino and his Cardinals took care of business against Samford on Friday night. Cleveland State transfer Trey Lewis struggled shooting against the Bulldogs, so it will be interesting to see if he can get back on track against Hartford and North Florida. Louisville will need to not sleep on the Ospreys of UNF, as they have already knocked off South Florida and is right around the 100 mark in Ken Pomeroy as well.
7. Florida State Seminoles (1-0)
Next Up: Jacksonville, US Virgin Islands Paradise Jam
Highly touted Dwayne Bacon made his collegiate debut for Leonard Hamilton and the Noles and did not disappoint, scoring 23 points and grabbing 8 boards in just 24 minutes of play. The Noles romped an overmanned Nicholls State, and will face off against Jacksonville before heading to the US Virgin Islands.
First round opponent Hofstra is ranked 96th currently in KP, so if the Noles can get by the Pride it will likely take on South Carolina in the semis. The other side of the bracket will likely produce Tulsa, a team that will be overlooked this season, but returns nearly all of its players from a successful 2014 campaign.
8. Pittsburgh Panthers (0-0...kinda) Up 1
Next Up: St. Josephs (...of Indiana), Detroit
Pittsburgh has yet to play a game in its 2015 season. They opened up the year against Gonzaga in Japan, and actually led 37-35 before court conditions rendered the game unplayable. This is a good sign for Panthers fans, and I think the ACC overall, as it indicates Pitt may be ready to put its disappointing 2014 season in the rearview mirror and get back to where Coach Jamie Dixon expects. DII St. Joseph's will obviously be a walkover (insert rant about why you play non-Division I opponents when there are 350 to choose from), and Detroit likely won't pose much of a challenge either.
9. Syracuse Orange (1-0) Up 1
Next Up: St. Bonaventure, Elon
Syracuse took care of business against pesky Lehigh on Friday night in a low-scoring 57-47 affair. Outside of Trevor Cooney, Michael Gbinije, and freshman Malachi Richardson, the rest of the Orange was essentially non-existant, combining for 14 points. DaJuan Coleman continued to struggle with fouls, picking up two before the 16 minute mark, and that will be something to continue to monitor as the year goes on. St. Bonvanture is a decent team, ranking 103rd in KenPom, so it could be a closer affair than most Orange fans want.
10. North Carolina State (1-1) Down 2
Next Up: IUPUI
N.C. State probably had the worst start to the season of any ACC team. Not only did they lose to William & Mary (not all that embarrassing of a loss really, but rather the margin of 17 points), but also lost senior Terry Henderson to an injury that will sideline him for 6-8 weeks. The Pack bounced back nicely against South Alabama on Sunday night, but need better efficiency and consistency out of Beejay Anya and Cat Barber if they want to make some noise this season.
11. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (2-0) Up 2
Next Up: Green Bay
There is actually a case to be made for the Yellow Jackets over Syracuse and N.C. State at this point. They defeated Tennessee last night to get a nice win over an SEC team, and it seems like all the close losses last year may go in Brian Gregory's favor this year. The Yellow Jackets could surprise this year and I think they will be in single digits in these rankings pretty soon.
12. Clemson Tigers (2-0)
Next Up: Texas Southern
The Tigers kicked off their year in style with two dominant victories over North Carolina Central and UTSA. They have allowed 85 points total through two games and add another cupcake to the schedule against Texas Southern on Thursday night. The defense will always be good under Brad Brownell, so if the Tigers can continue to get the offense out of Donte Grantham (8/13 from 3's this year), and Jaron Blossomgame that they have so far they may surprise.
I actually like this Clemson team a lot and wouldn't be surprised to see them join Georgia Tech as surprises from the ACC.
13. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (2-0) Down 2
Next Up: Richmond
We all know what the Deacs' did in its first two games and it is mercurial right now to say the least. They barely defeated a bad UMBC team (lost to St. Johns by 22 last night), and then bounced back from an 11-point halftime deficit at Bucknell to get a much needed road victory. It's hard to be upset with the 2-0 start, especially when you consider a lot of minutes are going to walk-ons right now. Once Cornelius Hudson and Codi Miller-McIntyre get back from their respective absences I like Wake Forest to join Clemson and Georgia Tech as strong lower-level teams in the ACC.
Big game against Richmond tomorrow night to try to get to 3-0 headed into a strong Maui Invitational field next week.
14. Boston College Eagles (1-0) Up 1
Next Up: Central Connecticut, Harvard
Boston College got a nice season opening win over St. Francis, NY and suddenly find itself out of the basement of the ACC thanks to Virginia Tech's ineptitude! Florida transfer Eli Carter will help make the Eagles competitive, and freshman Jerome Robinson may be the best freshman in the conference nobody knows anything about, going for 19 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists in his collegiate debut.
Central Connecticut shouldn't cause any problems, but the Harvard game could be a tight one.
15. Virginia Tech Hokies (0-1) Down 1
Next Up: Jacksonville, VMI
Oh boy where to start here...Buzz Williams and his Hokies suffered probably the worst loss of the early season with a shocking 85-82 defeat at the hands of Alabama State (ye of SWAC fame). Wake Forest suffered a similar defeat last season to MEAC team Delaware State, and I gotta tell you, it's not very fun.
I would say that they have two cupcakes coming up, but until I see a W in the column I will not assume anything of the Hokies right now.