David Roddy, Colorado State, Mountain West Conference Tournament

These five college basketball games should be on everyone’s watch list.

It’s almost time everyone. We’re almost there. College basketball season is almost underway and I’m here to tell you the 5 best games of night one.

5. No. 3 Kansas vs. Michigan State

Although the outcome should be fairly predictable it’ll be exciting to watch Gabe Brown and Joey Hauser show off against one of the better teams in college basketball in Kansas.

The seniors who have typically been role players in their collegiate careers will finally get their chance this year to show out and who else is better to light up the stats sheet against than Kansas. You also have the star freshman from Rolling Meadows, Illinois in Max Christie. Christie needs to be an everyday baller for Sparty as one of the top freshmen in the country, Christie looks to take it to the next level.

Kansas is a team stock full of scoring talent. Remy Martin, Joseph Yesufu, Ochai Agbaji, Jalen Wilson (out), David Mccormack, Jalen Coleman-Lands, and Cam Martin (Division 2) all averaged 11 or more points a game last season. The Jayhawks are looking to bounce back from a season that wasn’t terrible but wasn’t up to the Kansas standard. The high motored offense will want to put on a show and what’s a better time than the first game of the season?

4. Morehead State at Auburn

Auburn has an incredible lineup featuring four transfers in Wendall Green, KD Johnson, Walker Kessler, and Zeb Jasper. Along with a top-tier freshman in Jabari Smith. Morehead State will rely on the OVC Freshman of the Year Johni Broome and knockdown shooter Skyelar Potter.

This will be a very interesting game script because both teams can light it up from anywhere on the court and both teams can also hold the other to less than 70 points. This will be a well-coached matchup between one of the better coaches in the country and perhaps the most underrated coach in the country.

3. Akron at No. 17 Ohio State

Akron is coming off a terrific season but lost their best player Loren Jackson has left to play pro in France. They do return Bryan Trimble who’ll be key in the Zips’ success this season. They also add Xavier Castaneda who on a good night can put up 20 and five. KJ Walton is an athletic guard who looks to enjoy his last year of eligibility.

The Buckeyes will try to compete for a Big Ten championship and their stars EJ Liddell and Justice Sueing will have them ready on day one of college basketball. Liddell will be a matchup nightmare for Akron as he is for most games against Big Ten opponents. Sueing will have a tougher task than Liddell this game because Akron’s guards are small and shifty.

2. Oral Roberts at Colorado State

Max Abmas and his first test will be going up against a top-tier Colorado State Rams team. Abmas will need to be a leader along with being one of the best scorers in the country yet again. Oral Roberts will surely miss Kevin Obanor but they’ll have to make do with what they have – NBA level scoring out of Abmas and a solid second option in Kareem Thompson.

Colorado State has an emphatic amount of energy going into the season and they want to make a statement win against the Golden Eagles. Isaiah Stevens and David Roddy are two of the best mid-major players and they’re focused on trying to win the Mountain West Conference this season. James Moors has a high ceiling and it’ll be interesting to see how much he’s grown and fitting him against a smaller ORU team should be a fun matchup.

1. No. 9 Duke vs No. 10 Kentucky

What else would you expect? Two of the most historic teams in college basketball take on each other on the first night at Madison Square Garden. Kentucky is 2-6 when they’ve played against Coach K-led teams and they want to make that record less of an eyesore in his probable last time coaching against the Wildcats.

Kentucky basketball only returns two players that are starting-caliber from last year’s team in Davion Mintz and Keion Brooks. Sahvir Wheeler, Kellan Grady, Oscar Tshiebwe and CJ Fredrick are the transfers to watch on this experience-heavy UK team. TyTy Washington, Daimion Collins, and Bryce Hopkins play important roles as well.

As per usual with Duke, you get a few top recruits to replace the ones that left. Coach K wants one final hoorah, so AJ Griffin, Paolo Blanchero, Trevor Keels and Jaylen Blakes will work their hardest to give him just that. The Blue Devils return a few solid role players Jeremy Roach, Wendell Moore, and Mark Williams will pair off with the freshmen as they give it all to get the natty and the push starts with the Champions Classic where they’ll face a tough task in Kentucky.


Featured image from The Rocky Mountain Collegian