And now we enter the best time for sports all year. You have the NFL season about halfway through; NBA games are about a month in, as is the NHL and now NCAA basketball rolls around the corner. Before you know it, it’ll be March and everyone will be picking Duke to win the championship. I wrote this article on Nov. 8, so if I don’t mention a certain game, it likely occurred after that date.
College basketball officially tipped off (pun intended) Nov. 6. This includes the start of the season for your very own North Dakota State Bison. The season started with a tough road loss to New Mexico State by a score of 73-56. I’m not worried. We have a young team that’s destined for a long tournament run in the near future. There actually isn’t a single senior on the NDSU basketball roster, so greatness won’t come right away. Just be patient. Sophomore forward Rocky Kreuser showed promise in Las Cruces, New Mexico, putting up 23 points and 5 rebounds. Kreuser also shot 5 of 6 from 3-point range and 9 of 11 overall. This guy is going to be a monster. He’s 6-foot-10 and can shoot lights out from beyond the arc. Watch out for him to make a big impact this season.
Before you know it, it’ll be March and everyone will be picking Duke to win the championship.
As important as Bison basketball is, the talk of the college basketball world was the Duke versus Kentucky game. Going into it, Kentucky was favored by two points. RIP to that spread. Duke dominated from start to finish and won 118-84. Kentucky was ranked second in the nation prior to the game while Duke was fourth. The four-star freshmen, RJ Barrett, Zion Williamson, Cam Reddish, and Tre Jones, combined for 89 points, more than the Wildcats scored as a team. This team just played the second-ranked team in the country like it was a non-conference game. We might be witnessing what very well could be the best college basketball team ever. Better than Phi Slama Jama. Better than the Fab Five. Better than the 2014-15 undefeated Kentucky team. When you get three of the top five recruits and throw in the 17th one too, you may have a chance to win every game. What impressed me the most is how much chemistry they had. Barrett, Williamson and Reddish are all capable of being the “go-to” guy. However, they were generous with the ball, took high percentage shots and played tremendous defense. If they play as well as they did on Tuesday, they won’t lose a game.
Michigan State versus Kansas was a much closer game. Coming down to the end, the Spartans hit a 3-pointer with 35 seconds left to cut Kansas’ lead to three. However, the Jayhawks managed to pull away with a 92-87 victory. Kansas freshman Quentin Grimes had a solid performance along with Memphis transfer Dedric Lawson. Michigan State looks to improve from last season’s disappointing finish. Star guard Cassius Winston struggled shooting the ball but did dish out 11 assists in the contest. Kansas was No. 1 and will fall to No. 2, while Michigan State suffered a slight fall from the top 10 to No. 11.
It wouldn’t be right of me to not include mentioning the Minnesota Golden Gophers basketball team. I am a giant Gopher basketball fan. Besides the Vikings, I would say Gopher basketball is my second favorite sports team to watch. However, they just haven’t been the same since the departure of Andre and Austin Hollins. A promising season two years ago was ultimately ended by a tough loss to Middle Tennessee. I still try to forget about that. I remember watching that game, and the utter disappointment I was feeling was unmatched. Last year was supposed to be a great season. However, the departure of defensive monster Reggie Lynch absolutely killed the team. On top of that, Amir Coffey couldn’t stay healthy, and right now he’s arguably the best player on the team. Losing former First-Team All Big Ten point guard Nate Mason is going to hurt. However, Isaiah “Jellyfam” Washington showed he can lead this team. I am excited to see what he can do this season. He showed flashes of starting material last season, but he just needs to take better shots. Jordan Murphy is entering his senior year, so if we’re going to make a tournament push, this is the year to make it happen. I really hope this team lives up to its potential and doesn’t disappoint like they have in the past.
Overall, it’s clear that Duke is the team to beat this year. There are going to be some crazy games this year, and it puts me on the edge of my seat just thinking about it. It’s only a matter of time before the madness begins.
As far as the year goes for the Bison, we’re a young team. That being said, I don’t see a tournament appearance this or even next year, but possibly in a few years. Be sure to come out to the home games and get rowdy with the crowd.