With a Hectic College Basketball Season Out of the Way, What’s Next?


With the college basketball season now over, and conference tournaments starting up, we can look back on why this season has been so hectic. From the absurd amount of upsets to the up and down teams, to the surprising teams, we look back on what has been the most interesting college basketball season of our lifetime.

It all started on Tuesday, November 5, when Kansas played Duke and Michigan State played Kentucky. With all of these teams highly ranked, these games would set the pace for the competition this year on the college basketball stage. With Duke winning their game against Kansas, it was Michigan State’s turn to put up a good win against Kentucky to seal up their number 1 spot atop the AP Top 25, but that didn’t happen as freshman guard Tyrese Maxey went off for 26 points against senior guard Cassius Winston, who only had 21 for the Spartans. This loss for Michigan State would set off a drought, and they wouldn’t be on a good run until the end of the season.

With the bar set high for the competition level this year, fans thought that the Top 25 teams would compete at a high level all year, and this college basketball season would be one for the books. Well, it would be one for the books, but not in the way that some people thought it would be. 

At the beginning of the year, we saw upsets galore. There were at least 3 upsets per week against Top 25 teams, and we saw a lot of Top 10 teams this year go down to opponents, who were paid to go to a team’s home arena to get destroyed, upset high-level programs. For example, Evansville beat Kentucky in overtime in Rupp Arena by 3. This was a shocker as Kentucky just got into the 1 spot on the Top 25 after beating Michigan State the week before. Another example, which shocks me, is when Stephen F. Austin beat Duke in Cameron Indoor Stadium by 2. This game was 2 days after Kentucky got upset by Evansville, which completely shocked me to see that the number 1 and 2 teams both lost to teams that were completely not on their level of play. This wouldn’t be the end of the chaos though, as some teams came out of nowhere to be a top 5 team in the country.

A couple of weeks after these major upsets, we saw some upsets to AP Top 25 teams, but not as big as the previous ones that we just mentioned. A spotlight has seemed to have shined on the brightest on one of the tournaments. The Battle 4 Atlantis was one of the biggest in-season tournaments of the year. With teams like #7 Gonzaga, #5 North Carolina, led by their freshman star Cole Anthony, and Michigan, who came into this tournament unranked, and with a new coaching staff under former Fab Five player Juwan Howard. With each of these teams beating their opponent the first day of the tournament, Michigan was set off to face North Carolina on Thanksgiving Day. With both teams undefeated, we knew this game would be a good matchup. Michigan would go up by 20 at one point in the game, and would never look back as they beat North Carolina that day, and would go on to beat Gonzaga the next day in the championship game. The Wolverines would go on to be the first team from being unranked to #4 in the AP Top 25 ever. 

After this tournament though, Michigan would travel to face #1 Louisville and would lose this game. This would set off a long rough patch of games for the rest of the season, and they would continually drop in and out of the rankings all year. This wouldn’t be the only surprising team of the year, as another 2 teams would surprise everyone with how they performed this year.

San Diego State started out unranked and earned no votes to get into the AP Top 25 until they received recognition of their record in week 5 of the season when they were ranked for the first time in 4 years. They were undefeated at 25-0 until they lost to UNLV at the near end of the regular season. The Aztecs have a couple of impressive wins against teams like BYU, Iowa, and Creighton, but play in a very weak conference where the best team in their conference is Utah State. (19-9 record) SDSU is led by their X Factor junior guard Malachi Flynn, who averages 17.6 points per game and 1.8 steals per game. I personally think that they will make it pretty far in the NCAA Tournament.

Although San Diego State finished their season the way no one expected them to, another team rose to stardom around the same time the Aztecs did, creating one of the most interesting top 5’s the country has seen in a long time.

The Dayton Flyers only received one vote from the AP Top 25 Committee in the preseason, but quickly rose in the rankings after a couple of big wins early in the season. After beating Virginia Tech, sophomore Obi Toppin would lead the Flyers into a game against #4 Kansas in the Maui Invitational championship game. It came down to the final minute, but even with Obi Toppin throwing down a massive dunk which seemed like every other play, Dayton lost to Kansas as an unranked team. This set the bar for how their team should compete, and they showed the nation they could play with the best of the best. After these wins and losses, Dayton quickly moved up in the rankings week after week. The Flyers would eventually make it up to #3 in the nation in the final week of the regular season and would finish first in the A-10 Conference. 

Through the highs and the lows of this season, college basketball has been fun to watch. It’s something about a low caliber team beating a powerhouse that excites you, and makes the whole college basketball fanbase go crazy, but feel great at the same time. Even if your team was a below .500 team, or a 1 loss team like SDSU, you can appreciate how much happiness this college basketball season brought to us. Now, for what’s next. Watch the conference tournaments this next weekend, scout out the teams, make your predictions, and let the madness begin!