The college basketball season is moving into week number three, which means it is time for another edition of Big and Bust. The second week of the college basketball season brought us many surprises and disappointments. The Big East rose to the occasion beating the Big Ten 6-2 in the Gavitt Tip-Off Games, plus many other surprises. Here are the six teams up for consideration in the week two edition of Big and Bust.
Marquette Golden Eagles- Wins: #10 Illinois, Ole Miss, West Virginia
Week 2 Record: 3-1
Shaka Smart has had an outstanding start in his time at Marquette. Marquette’s roster is full of underclassmen while sprinkling in a bit of experience. The Golden Eagles’ week started with a bang when they took down a top-ten Illinois team without Kofi Cockburn. Darryl Morsell concluded this contest with his third straight 20 point game to start the season. Marquette’s identity showed on that Tuesday night; it was their defense. The Golden Eagles forced 26 Illini turnovers in the win.
After beating Illinois, the young Marquette team had their focus on the Charleston Classic, where they would face Ole Miss in the first round. After trailing to Ole Miss by 12, a second-half comeback from Marquette gave them a 78-72 victory in the quarterfinals of the Charleston Classic. Darryl Morsell finished with a game-high 22 points, his fourth consecutive 20 point game. The Golden Eagles being high on momentum went on to face Bob Huggins and West Virginia. Both teams love their defense, which showed for 40 minutes. West Virginia wasn’t able to hit their shots late in the game which propelled Marquette to a championship game birth in Charleston.
The tale of the championship game experience vs non-experience. St Bonaventure and Marquette punched each other back and forth early in the game. After a while, the lack of experience on Marquette showed offensively. The Bonnies dominated the transition game in the first half, leading to a mass amount of points in the paint. Just as expected, St Bonaventure ran away with the game in the second half, winning the championship 70-54.
Marquette showed a lot about who they are in three comeback wins last week. One of the biggest surprises of the season so far is Shaka Smart and the Golden Eagles.
Purdue Boilermakers- Wins: Wright State, #18 North Carolina, #5 Villanova
Week 2 Record: 3-0
Purdue’s two biggest games of the week came on back-to-back nights against North Carolina and Villanova. After watching the Boilermakers in both games, they have stamped themselves as legit title contenders as we head into December. The dominance of Zach Edey in the post, the playmaking of Jaden Ivey, the shooting of Sasha Stefanovic, and the presence of Trevion Williams off of the bench is unfair if you ask me.
The Villanova/Purdue matchup on Sunday afternoon felt like a legitimate Final Four game. Jay Wright’s teams are always composed no matter the opponent. That made for a heck of a game. Purdue had the size advantage down low, which was visible all afternoon. Villanova’s game planning and offensive execution made this a game for 40 minutes. Knocking down the shots they needed, the Wildcats started to fade late in the second half. This is where Purdue went for the kill, going on a 34-17 run in the last nine minutes of the game to secure the win.
Matt Painter has a legit team this year. The fact that Trevion Williams is not starting shows how deep this team is. Super impressive showing this week from the Boilermakers.
Arizona Wildcats- Wins: North Dakota St, Wichita St, #4 Michigan
Week 2 Record: 3-0
Tommy Lloyd inherited a heck of a basketball team from Sean Miller. Arizona starts the season with a 5-0 record, securing an impressive win in Las Vegas on Sunday evening against Michigan. Preseason polls don’t mean much but the Wildcats were picked to finish fourth in the league. After five games of the season, it looks like Arizona can finish second in the Pac 12 behind UCLA, or maybe even compete for the regular-season title.
The Wildcats have shown a ton of athleticism and depth so far this season. Three guys are averaging 15 PPG through five games, one being Christan Koloko. The 7’1″ junior leads the team in scoring, rebounding, and blocks giving his team a spark down low.
It seemed like Arizona was a bit overlooked coming into the season. Five games in and a win against a top-five Michigan team at the time, Tommy Lloyd has this team looking like a top-15 team in the country. Arizona comes into the third week of the season going from unranked to the #17 team in the country.
Maryland Terrapins- Wins: Hofstra
Week 2 Record: 1-1
Even with Maryland off to a 4-1 start to the season, nothing has stuck out to me with this team. I had higher expectations for this Terrapins team than what I have seen. Losing to George Mason this week put the stamp on an underwhelming start in College Park. Maryland nearly went 0-2 this week, sneaking out a victory against Hofstra on Friday evening 69-67.
With new faces coming into the program, there was excitement about transfers Fatts Russell and Qudus Wahab becoming a Terrapin. The biggest thing with Maryland so far this season is their lack of extending leads in games. They let teams hang around until late in the second half. That is not a good look with their strength of schedule nearing the bottom of college basketball.
Nevada Wolf pack- Wins: None
Week 2 Record: 0-2
This has to be one of the biggest disappointments of the season so far. Nevada did not win a game last week, sitting at an overall record of 1-4. Their one win came against an Eastern Washington team that ranks 247th in the KenPom. This season is a disappointment so far for the Wolf Pack because this team was looked at on the same level in the preseason as Colorado State and San Diego State.
Even with Nevada losing to two teams last week that have a joint record of 11-0, these are games Nevada needed to win to solidify their place at the top of the Mountain West.
North Carolina- Wins: Charleston
Week 2 Record: 1-2
This article goes week by week to highlight some of the elite play and some of the disappointing play of college basketball. The Tar Heels theme so far this season has been to come back and win games in the second half. Before this past week, North Carolina trailed at halftime in two of their first three games. They did end up winning those two games in close battles down the stretch.
First-year head coach Hubert Davis and his team took two straight losses to end the weekend. The losses took place in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament against #6 Purdue and #17 Tennessee. With UNC battling early on against teams like Charleston and Brown, getting down against teams like the Boilermakers and Volunteers, it is harder to come back from.
This team has scorers and depth, the Tar Heels need to pick it up on the defensive end of the floor. They have a ton of talent offensively to win games, so defense needs to be the focal point in Chapel Hill.
That just about wraps up this week 2 edition of Big and Bust for the 2021-22 college basketball season. Purdue paved their way as one of the top teams in the country, proving this week that they can play against anybody in the country. One of the biggest surprises for me this season is Nevada. Sitting in a rough spot at 1-4, with their only hopes of making the tournament is an automatic bid.
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