College basketball started with many changes

A rollout at Madison Square Garden raised the curtain on the men’s college basketball season Tuesday night, with No. 9 Duke beating Kentucky, 79-71, and No. 3 Kansas topping Michigan State, 87-74, in front of a large crowd.

Ochai Agbaji of Kansas, who led the Jayhawks by 29 points after spending part of the season pondering whether to enter the NBA draft.

Games starting the 2021-22 season look set to be much different from last season because of game changes and players switching teams.

“We’re leading 1-0 now, so let’s see what we can do now,” said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, who will retire after this season, his 42nd at Duke.

Here’s what teams will need to navigate as they chase the championship.

The Bulldogs’ only loss of the last season has come to Baylor in the NCAA championship game.

Despite losing the Final Four to Jalen Suggs, Corey Kispert and Joel Ayayi to the pros, Gonzaga was once again the No. 1 pre-season in the Associated Press poll and in Ranking of Ken Pomeroy.

The Bulldogs return seasoned striker Drew Timme (and his mustache) and veteran point guard Andrew Nembhard. They added Chet Holmgren, a seven-legged player ranked by ESPN as the number 1 prospect in his class, five-star keeper Hunter Sallis and Rasir Bolton, who moved from Iowa State after averaging 15 ,5 points and 3.9 assists last season.

Circle Zags’ game against Duke in Las Vegas on November 26 on your calendar.

Several key players and coaches were not on the field when the season began.

Gonzaga coach Mark Few received a one-game suspension for the Bulldogs’ opening game against Dixie State on Tuesday after he was charged in September for driving under the influence in Idaho. An assistant, Brian Michaelson, guided the Bulldogs along route 97-63.

A few months ago pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence and was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine in lieu of a four-day jail term, according to court documents obtained by The Associated Press.

Striker Jalen Wilson, a redshirt sophomore at Kansas, has been suspended for the first three games of the team’s regular season after being arrested on suspicion of influence driving. Games include Kansas’s opening night 3 win over Michigan State.

Illinois center Kofi Cockburn, preseason player of the year in the Big Ten Conference, was suspended for three games by the NCAA for name, image, and likeness violations. Cockburn will miss games against Jackson State, Arkansas State and Marquette. Cockburn, a 7-foot center, was suspended for selling “institutional-issued clothing and memorabilia” before July 1, when rules were passed allowing college athletes to profit. from their reputation.

Texas Tech will be no guardian TJ Shannon, a high school senior, while the university reviewed eligibility rules after he went through the NBA draft process during the summer before returning to school. Shannon, a pre-season All-Big 12, averaged 12.9 points and 4.0 rebounds last season and was the team’s top scorer.

College men’s basketball figures are once again dominated by veteran teams, especially after the NCAA tournament a year ago granted to winter sports athletes an additional year of eligibility after the pandemic.

For example, the Big East Conference has 28 fifth-year players out of its 11 schools, with each team having at least one. Butler has six, Providence five.

At No. 4 Villanova, keeper Collin Gillespie and forward Jermaine Samuels are back for a fifth year and looking forward to helping newly minted Coach Jay Wright in the Hall of Fame compete for his third national title. program since 2016.

At 24th UConn, forward Tyler Polley and Isaiah Whaley, a reigning Big East co-defensive player of the year, are back for a fifth season.

“There are a lot of boys now who are fifth year boys,” said Gillespie, an American on the global first team before the season. “I think it will be good for college basketball. It will be really competitive in the league and nationally. “

And there are a lot of transfers. Nearly 1,800 Division I men’s college basketball players moved in after last season – a third of the total number of players.

Kansas, No. 5 Texas and No. 8 Baylor in the Big 12 are loaded through the transfer portal, Kansas adds bodyguards Jalen Coleman-Lands and Remy Martin. Coleman-Lands is a prime example of how older players can affect college basketball. The 6-foot-4 guard is 25 years old and is currently in his fourth school after previous stops in Illinois, DePaul and Iowa State.

Chris Beard, the new Texas coach, used the transfer portal to overhaul his squad by adding a host of good, experienced players, including bodyguards Marcus Carr (Minnesota) and Devin Askew (Kentucky); and strikers Timmy Allen (Utah), Dylan Disu (Vanderbilt), Tre Mitchell (UMass) and Christian Bishop (Creighton).

Kentucky, the power of the Southeast Conference that has traditionally relied on freshmen as one and done, got its hands on the portal and addressed flaws from last season, including shooting, leadership. and low level of physical presence. The Wildcats added bodyguards Sahvir Wheeler (Georgia), CJ Frederick (Iowa) and Kellan Grady, the 2,000-point scorer at Davidson, along with a bruised striker, Oscar Tshiebwe (West Virginia).

“I love it,” Kentucky guard Jacob Toppin, younger brother of Knicks striker Obi Toppin, told the SEC Network. “The transfer will be huge for us. We have a group of people where everyone needs to figure out what they need to do to get to the table and I feel like we have different weapons.”

Memphis freshman Emoni Bates reclassified a year to apply for college and was compared to young Kevin Durant, announced in September that he signed with Roc Nation and Raymond Brothers to represent him in NIL transactions.

Hunter Dickinson, a sophomore center in Michigan, said the new rules helped him go back to college instead of going pro because he can now make some money while still in school. .

“The NIL stuff definitely made it possible to make some bread on the side,” Dickinson speak during the Big Ten media days. “I don’t have to go to Chipotle and wonder if I can get another pair of chickens. I’m pretty good at that. ”

Kentucky coach John Calipari said players will now have to learn financial literacy in addition to the nuances of pick and roll.

“The first time they came across money,” Calipari said in October. “I asked some of you, how many of you knew about taxes when you graduated college? How many of you know anything about reviewing a contract? ‘ He added: ‘Well, this is a life skill through this.

Credit…Robert Johnson / Getty Images

There was a time when the big boys like Patrick Ewing, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Alonzo Mourning dominated college basketball and then starred in the NBA.

But the days of active seven-legged boys roaming the paint and being fed basketballs while on the offensive are long gone with pay phones and going to the mall to buy clothes.

Now, the NBA prioritizes mobile, strong players who can stretch the floor with 3-point shots like Durant, Kristaps Porzingis and Joel Embiid. By contrast, it means that college giants like Michigan’s Dickinson, Illinois’ Cockburn and, to a lesser extent, Gonzaga’s Timme aren’t as highly regarded as they were fresh out of college. The three return to school after receiving a prognosis that they will not be enlisting any time soon.

Credit…Gerry Broome / Associated Press

After becoming the first conference cancel the tournament after the season in March 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic, The Ivy League does not participate in the 2020-21 season, which means its players have not competed in games for more than 18 months.

Harvard coach Tommy Amaker thinks the league’s players will become tired and is concerned that they will try to do too much in a short amount of time.

“I guess we’re all going to be somewhat concerned about the health of the players because we’ve been defeated and I’m sure that will happen to a lot of us throughout the year. trying to find Amaker said in a phone interview. College basketball started with many changes

John Verrall

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