College Basketball Preview

Alas, the long anticipated college basketball season has finally arrived. With the thick of
the season still in front of us, many fans are thrilled and hopeful for their favorite teams.
The chatter of the college basketball offseason was, as it always is, the intriguing
recruiting trail. As usual, this year’s class featured many talented prospects such as RJ Barrett,
Cam Reddish, and 7 foot 3 inch monster Bol Bol. But this year was different. Many prospects
were practically celebrities before they stepped foot on the court, specifically Duke’s Zion
Zion Williamson shocked viewers on a day-to-day basis during his high school career,
leaving people speechless from his incredible dunks. Zion gathered up such a large following
that he quickly assumed celebrity status. In fact, Zion had accumulated 1.6 million instagram
followers before his first collegiate contest, which happens to be over one million more followers than NFL MVP front-runner Patrick Mahomes II. And don’t worry about Zion disappointing, as
he has averaged a remarkable 20 points and ten rebounds a game. Sophomore Duke fan Andrew
Mao does not see the prodigy slowing down any team soon. “Williamson is a huge, fast tank that
can shoot from all angles,” says Mao. Mao even projected Zion to be awarded the Wooden
Award, which goes to the “most outstanding” player, at the end of the season.
From the 2018 recruiting trail a “superteam” of sorts was born. That superteam goes by
the name of Duke, and according to 247Sports, now houses four of the top 15 recruits of the
2018 class, three of them being in the top five. The fabulous freshman annihilated Kentucky by
34 points in the State Farm Champions Classic, and went on to later beat number eight ranked
Auburn by six points. Freshman Reilly O’Neill has certainly enjoyed watching the team so far
“Duke’s play style is fast paced and electric,” O’Neill says.
However, the exciting Duke team ran into a buzzsaw in Gonzaga, a veteran squad with
high aspirations for the 2018-2019 season. Gonzaga is lead by Junior forward Rui Hachimura, a
six eight forward from Japan, who has posted an impressive twenty three points a game thus far.
O’Neill also has high praise for Rui Hachimura, predicting him to bring home the Wooden
Award when it is all said and done.
Despite Duke and Gonzaga being offensive juggernauts, they may find some trouble later
on from more stout squads. The University of Virginia basketball team is more physical than
ever, allowing an average of only 49 points across six games. Sophomore Ryan Hockstein, an
avid UVA fan, believes that UVA’s physicality may be enough to slow down the offensive
steamrollers. “Just like every year, UVA has a lockdown defense”, Hockstein says
Local team’s Georgia Tech and Georgia have gotten off to almost opposite starts, with
Georgia Tech picking up four big wins and only one loss to add to it, from a Tennessee team that
may surprise the world come March. On the other hand, Georgia has already posted three losses
through the first six games, with one of those coming at the hands of sleeper Georgia State, who
demolished the Dawgs by an astounding 24 points.
One particularly fun aspect of college basketball is its borderline non-existent level of
predictability. For example, the University of Baltimore County slaughtered the number one seed
University of Virginia by 20 points in the very first round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball
Tournament. That being said, it is time to make some sleeper predictions. As of right now, two
teams that we may be sleeping on just a little too hard are the Texas Longhorns and the
Georgetown Hoyas.
Texas currently grips a 5-1 record that features a phenomenal win over then seventh
ranked UNC. In addition, Texas’ only loss comes from nine ranked Michigan State. Kerwin
Roach II has been the success story swirling around Austin after dropping 32 points against
UNC. However, Roach is not a one trick pony, as the senior is average a respectable six
rebounds and six assists in addition to scoring a resounding 18 points a game.
Georgetown also holds a 5-1 record, with an impressive win over Illinois, who fell to
Gonzaga by just six points. Despite a slip up over Loyola Marymount, Georgetown continues to
impress, specifically freshman guard James Akinjo and senior big man Jessie Govan. The pair
have combined for an average of 36 points a game, and have lead this offensive heavy team to a
splendid record.
Make sure you keep your eyes on Texas and Georgetown when March rolls around.