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Bracket Bits: Opening weekend takeaways

Dave2015How about some upsets, incredible scoring, and a couple of quality road wins to highlight the opening weekend of college hoops?  We had them all.

A few quick takeaways …

Biggest upset: Western Illinois over Wisconsin. Although there were several options, the Leathernecks taking down the Badgers at the Kohl Center is tops here at Bracketville. For starters, Wisconsin rarely loses at home. Second, Western Illinois was 3-13 in the Summit League last year and 8-20 overall.  The Leathernecks were also picked to finish near the bottom of the Summit again in 2015.  Congratulations to coach Billy Wright and his WIU team for providing us one of the weekend’s biggest shockers.  Also considered … Radford over Georgetown, William & Mary over NC State, Monmouth over UCLA, Sacramento State over Arizona State, and Montana over Boise State.  We also considered North Florida over Illinois, but the Ospreys are a likely NCAA team and Illinois was a bit depleted by injuries.

Quality wins: Let’s call it a tie between Chattanooga winning at Georgia and Belmont winning at Marquette.  It’s way too early to start talking at-large bids for traditional one-bid leagues, but these are the types of victories that could open up possibilities down the road. Also considered … Baylor dominating Stephen F. Austin.  Opinions about the Bears varied this preseason, but Baylor controlled a very good SFA team that should be a tough out come March.  It’s also worth noting that Valparaiso controlled its game against Iona on Sunday – a quality non-conference grab for the Crusaders.

Scoring machines: A quick shout-out to the Butler Bulldogs and Cincinnati Bearcats. Butler put up 144 points against The Citadel on Saturday. The 144 points broke the school record of 115 points against DePauw in 1965 (for a regulation game).  After scoring 71 first-half points, BU added 73 in the second twenty minutes.  As for Cincinnati, the Bearcats rolled to pair of wins by piling up 97 points against Western Carolina and 106 versus Robert Morris. Through two games, UC is averaging just over 100 points per contest. Let’s also not forget to mention the 28 teams (Butler and UC included) that tallied at least 100 points in a game since Friday. It’s a small sample size, but we certainly saw some offense in the first three days of the college hoops season.

Final thoughts …

  • Colorado looked solid in its loss to Iowa State. Keep an eye on the Buffaloes in the Pac-12 race.
  • Texas looked like a team in transition against Washington. Former VCU coach Shaka Smart is instilling his system and style in Austin.  It may take a little while. We’ll see.
  • Colorado State posted a better-than-you-think win at Northern Iowa.  UNI is tough at home and will be one of three teams competing for second place in the Missouri Valley.
  • Let’s also mention Fresno State, which beat Pepperdine at home. The Waves should be in the mix in the WCC, so it was a nice start for the Bulldogs against a quality opponent.  Overall, a good first weekend for the Mountain West, which saw San Diego State beat Illinois State, another player in the MVC race.

Enjoy the upcoming week.  What a start.

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