College basketball results, highlights: tough opening night for the CCA; UCLA falls in the state of San Diego

After sending an average of eight teams to the NCAA tournament over the years 2016-19, the ACC was on track to land just four teams in the 2020 field, according to the final projection of CBS Sports Bracketology expert Jerry. Palm from the field of 68 teams. The COVID-19 pandemic ultimately led to the cancellation of the tournament and saved the league from the embarrassment of the selection on Sunday.

But ACC’s depth issues were clear and they reoccurred again on Wednesday on opening day of the 2020-21 season. Pittsburgh lost to St. Francis, Pa. Of the Northeast Conference for the first time in 30 inter-program games, while Georgia Tech lost to Georgia State 123-120 in quadruple overtime. Boston College could have made up for some of that embarrassment by successfully knocking down No. 3 Villanova, but the Eagles’ valiant effort fell through as the Wildcats escaped with a 76-67 victory over British Columbia.

The losses to Georgia Tech and Pittsburgh could be dismissed as potentially inconsequential aberrations at the start of a long season. But in a late-start campaign likely to be filled with virus-related disruption, teams with NCAA tournament aspirations like the Yellow Jackets can ill afford such losses.

Leagues looking to improve their national profile like the ACC cannot either. Although Georgia Tech and Pittsburgh both stumbled, an ACC team avoided disaster. Trailing 43-42 at one point in the second half against Charleston, the No.16 North Carolina rebounded to a 79-60 victory. ACC may not return to its 2016-19 form this season. But if the Tar Heels can stay in the top 25 after last year’s 14-19 disaster, the league should be able to muster more than four teams from the NCAA tournament.

The night ended with the loss of San Diego State, No.22 UCLA 73-58, but the opening day of the 2020 season had it all – a McNeese State hooper wearing a mask. A Memphis player trying – and bless his heart, failing spectacularly – to start the season with his jersey upside down. A scheduled game being canceled a few hours before the prognosis due to positive COVID-19 tests.

The 2020-21 college basketball season kicked off on Wednesday, but just like the rest of the bumpy year that is 2020, it was anything but a regular opening day.

Here are the highs, lows and highlights of the opening day action as the season begins.

Aztecs ruin Bruins’ opener

Maybe the state of San Diego should be ranked after all. The Aztecs have lost three starters, including top scorer Malachi Flynn, from last year’s 30-2 team that finished No.6 domestically. But Brian Dutcher’s unranked side looked like they could be a force again in a 73-58 win over No.22 at UCLA. The Bruins are returning almost all of their key players from a team that won seven of their last eight games last season. But UCLA had its depth tested on Wednesday with starting bigman Jalen Hill and Kentucky transfer Johnny Juzang. The San Diego State bench outscored the UCLA bench 21-6, which explains the difference in the final score.

Cade Cunningham leads OSU to close victory

It wasn’t pretty, at least not for the state of Oklahoma, but the Cade Cunningham Cowboys made it on the road Wednesday with a 75-68 win over UT Arlington to open their season. Cunningham, the No.1 domestic rookie in last year’s recruiting cycle and the favorite to go No.1 overall in the 2021 NBA Draft, scored 21 points and added 10 rebounds and three assists to the effort. He was one of three Pokes to double the score, along with Keylan Boone (10) and Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe (11).

After a monster junior season in which he finished second in the National Player of the Year vote and earned All-American honors by consensus, Iowa big man Luka Garza picked up where he left off. was arrested. The 6-foot-11 Garza set the pace for Iowa in their 97-67 victory over North Carolina Central with 26 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks … in just 24 minutes of action in a game well in hand.

Some spectacular finishes

Opening day brought some spectacular finishes, including a buzzer-drummer from Justin Anderson of Loyola Marymount. The real freshman playing his first college game hit a back-up jumper from the baseline at the last horn to bring the Lions to an 85-83 victory over southern Utah.

A winner by Michael Flowers from Southern Alabama was not technically a buzzer-drummer. But the senior transfer from West Michigan gave the Jaguars a 68-66 victory over Florida Atlantic with their disputed 3-point pullback that only hit the net with a second to go. The moment was especially important for Flowers as it came the day after her father died, according to South Alabama coach Richie Riley.

“He missed about a week to be there for his dad,” Riley said. “I remember telling him he had to put on a show for his dad. I know his dad was smiling and he was proud of him tonight. It shows what kind of a person he is for him to be able to play like he did. tonight.”

Four new starters for Kentucky in easy win

It turns out that the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class included some really good players. Or at least that seemed to be the case as the Kentucky No.10 clinched an 81-45 victory over Morehead State. The Wildcats started four freshmen, and they combined for 46 points. Brandon Boston Jr. led the way with 15 points. Devin Askew and Terrence Clarke each contributed 12 points, while Isaiah Jackson contributed nine points and two blocks.

A dominating victory was expected as Morehead State opened the season No. 320 at KenPom. But it was an encouraging sign nonetheless for a Kentucky team that didn’t use a single player who played significant minutes for the schedule last season.

St. Francis (PA) shocks Pittsburgh

St. Francis (Pa.) Won the Northeastern Conference tournament in Pittsburgh last season before the Red Flash’s best campaign since 1991 ended in loss to Robert Morris.

The program kicked off the new season at Steel City on Wednesday and scored a victory that could have been even more historic than the one it missed in the Northeastern Conference Championship game in March. The Red Flash beat Pittsburgh 80-70 in the season opener for both teams. St. Francis forced Pittsburgh to make 23 turnovers and limited the Panthers to just 6 of 24 3-pointers. The Red Flash are now 1-29 all-time against Pittsburgh.

Illinois shows its depth, its star power

If you’ve heeded my pre-season advice – and why wouldn’t you ?! – then you might have joined Illinois before it was too late with a 15-1 odds for the national title. Wednesday was about as good as it could have been for the Illini. Returning star Ayo Dosunmu scored 28 points, a career-high and five three-pointers, a career-high, but perhaps more impressive, rookie Adam Miller added 28 points and knocked down six of his eight 3-point attempts. points.

We already knew from last season and returning players this season that Dosunmu and big man Kofi Cockburn – who had 18 points and 10 tables – would be a force. But Miller’s scoring ability is a game-changing talent that can elevate this Illini team from very good to potentially excellent. We don’t need to crown this team just yet, of course – North Carolina A&T came in 338th in Matt Norlander’s preseason standings of all teams in the sport – but circle this game. It could be a sign of bigger things to come in Champaign.

DJ Jeffries with Doug Gottlieb Out of the Door

Can you think of a single image that best sums up 2020? Bueller? Bueller? It is true. You can not.

Oddly reminiscent of Doug Gottlieb’s infamous short-back outing against Kansas. And that was a foreshadowing of how the game would go for Jeffries, unfortunately, as he finished 2 of 10 shooting for 4 points. Memphis took the 73-56 victory over Saint Mary’s, and Jeffries managed to add nine tables, a team high.

Scream at that McNeese state hooper wearing a mask

McNeese State Guard Ra’Shawn Langston wore a mask during the Cowboys’ opener, leading the team in assists (3) and finishing second in scoring (10) in an impressive performance out of the bench.

He was the only player on the floor wearing a mask, but you know somewhere Dr Anthony Fauci is smiling proudly. Sign of the times.

Adding star transfer to Virginia shines in debut

Sam Hauser, Marquette star turned Virginia star, scored 19 points on 7 of 9 shots on Wednesday in his debut with the Cavaliers in fourth place, including a perfect 3-for-3 on the 3-point line. His 19 points were just short of Trey Murphy III’s team record of 21, and his eight rebounds were team highs as UVA opened its season with a blazing 89-54 beat against Towson. Towson missed nearly twice as many shots as in the game (18 of 49).

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