After an exciting finale to the college basketball season this past spring, students and fans all around are excited about what the upcoming season has in store.
Opening night for college basketball is set for Nov. 6, as many teams have lofty expectations for their respective programs.
“College Basketball, [in my opinion], is the best sports league,” freshman psychology student Russell Harrison said. “Every game is important, and more than likely it always comes down to the last few minutes of the game.”
Coming off their 77-74 thriller victory over the Villanova Wildcats in the National Championship game, the defending champion North Carolina Tar Heels, and Head Coach Roy Williams will have a series of problems to address before their first game. The Tar Heels lost several players, including leading scorer Justin Jackson to the NBA Draft, and Joel Berry, the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player, and with a broken hand, Berry is expected to miss several weeks.
The Duke Blue Devils are the preseason favorites to win the National Championship this year according to ESPN. Duke will have to adjust to a new starting lineup, with four starters leaving for the NBA Draft, including All-Americans Jayson Tatum and Luke Kennard, both being lottery picks. However, according to 247Sports, the Blue Devils have the number one recruiting class, led by 6’8 Marvin Bagley. The Blue Devils also return senior Grayson Allen, who is a preseason All-American.
“College Basketball is different from the NBA in this aspect,” freshman psychology student Louis Zanders said. “Coaching at powerhouse programs makes your job easier because you get the best players.”
“I have always loved collegiate sports, especially College Basketball,” freshman political science student Travis Ancion said. “There is just a noticeably different passion within the players. Every game means something.”
There are several storylines coming into this College Basketball season. Most notably, the recruiting scandal at Louisville that included the termination of longtime head coach Rick Pitino, and the possibility of this being Jim Boeheim’s last season as the head coach of Syracuse. Boeheim has been the head coach of Syracuse’s basketball team since 1976.
“You hate to see established coaches like coach Pitino go out in the fashion that they do,” Zanders said. “I just hope that the scandal is so detrimental, that it hurts his legacy as a basketball coach.”
Last year’s NBA Draft class was believed to be the “best one in years,” by many college basketball experts. Many others consider this year’s class to be just as, if not more, talented and deeper than its predecessor.
“Last year’s draft class is expected to do some great things,” Harrison said. “But I’m really excited about the talent this year’s class will bring.”
Missouri freshman Michael Porter, Jr. is considered by many to be the number one overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. NBC Sports predicted Michigan State sophomore Miles Bridges to be Player of the Year, after averaging nearly 17 points a game and eight rebounds in his freshman season.
FAMU’s first game will be Nov. 6 against Johnson University at the Lawson Center, followed by a Nov. 10 game against Grand Canyon University.