PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Grayson Allen, Duke
Allen picked up right where the Final Four left off, scoring 54 points as Duke opened up the 2015-16 season with wins in back-to-back games against Siena and Bryant. Allen added eight assists and eight boards in the two wins, turning the ball over just three times and posting shooting splits of 51.6/41.7/94.4.
There’s absolutely not way that Allen can keep up this pace — those are J.J. Redick numbers, and Allen isn’t J.J. — but that should give you an idea of just how impressive he was in the two wins. He’s not the quickest dude in the world, but he’s strong, his strides are absurdly long and he can explode to the rim off of one foot. You saw the two dunks he had against Siena. That’s his game. He’s attacking the rim, and given the new emphasis on freedom of movement and the like, Allen is going to spend a lot of time at the free throw line. If he keeps hitting them, he’s going to have some impressive numbers.
THE ALL-‘THEY WERE GOOD, TOO’ TEAM
- Kris Dunn, Providence: Dunn was awesome in the opener against a good Harvard squad. He put up 32 points, six boards, five assists, eight steals and two blocks. He was totally dominant on both ends of the floor.
- Caleb Swanigan, Purdue: Playing without A.J. Hammons in the first two games of his college career, Swanigan posted a pair of double-doubles as Purdue impressed in two blowout wins, averaging 12.5 points, 12.0 boards and 2.0 assists.
- Joel Berry and Nate Britt, North Carolina: Through two games, UNC’s point guard pair is averaging 30.5 points and 7.0 assists with eight combined turnovers. More importantly, they’ve also shot 12-for-20 from three.
- Jack Gibbs, Davidson: The build-up to the game was all about 7-foot-6 freshman Tacko Fall of UCF, but Gibbs was the star once things tipped off, going for 35 points, five assists and five boards in the win.
- Kyle Kuzma, Utah: As a freshman, Kuzma scored 103 points, grabbed 55 boards and played 252 minutes all season long. In his first game as a sophomore, Kuzma went for 23 points and 12 boards in 25 minutes.
TEAM OF THE WEEK: Western Illinois
This was, by far, the biggest upset during the season’s opening weekend: Western Illinois knocking off then-No. 17 Wisconsin in the Kohl Center. We know Wisconsin is in rebuilding mode this season, but Western Illinois is not supposed to be good. They’re supposed to be bad, even by Summit League standards. They’re supposed to finish at the bottom of that conference.
And they went into Madison and knocked off a team that came within a handful of possessions of winning a national title seven months ago. It used to be that no one could win in the Kohl Center. Now Western Illinois is doing it?
THEY WERE GOOD, TOO
We’re going to recognize all the mid-major programs that went on the road and knocked off a power conference foe this weekend.
- William & Mary: The Tribe went to Raleigh and beat N.C. State by 17 points on the season’s opening night. That win should look good come March. Bill & Mary are among the favorites in the CAA.
- Chattanooga: The Mocs went down Georgia looking for a game to steal. And they got it, beating a Bulldog team that will likely end up in the NCAA tournament in double-overtime. The Mocs are the favorites in the SoCon.
- Monmouth: Monmouth flew across the country to play UCLA and USC. They get the Trojans next week, but for now they’re 1-0, having gone into Pauley Pavilion and knocked off the Bruins in OT.
- Belmont: I hesitate to call this an upset — a young Marquette was favored, but this veteran Belmont team is really good. Ethan Hadds led the way with 24 points in a thrilling, 83-80 win.
- North Florida: The Ospreys put up 93 on a banged-up Illinois team in their opener in Springfield, Illinois.
- Alabama State: You really have to love seeing a SWAC team pick up a win over a high-major opponent. They play so many road games in November and December to fund the athletic department. The Hornets knocked off Virginia Tech on Saturday night.
- Radford: Radford went into DC and knocked off Georgetown in double-overtime on Saturday afternoon thanks to this game-winning three.
- Sacramento State: For the third time since 2009, Sacramento State won a buy game, going into Tempe and leaving 1-0.
SET YOUR DVRS
- 24-hour Tip-Off Marathon begins Monday night
- Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.: Duke vs. Kentucky
- Tuesday, 8:00 p.m.: Wichita State at Tulsa
- Tuesday, 9:00 p.m.: Georgetown at Maryland
- Tuesday, 10:00 p.m.: Kansas vs. Michigan State
- Thursday, 9:30 p.m.: Boise State at Arizona
- Friday, 9:00 p.m.: Xavier at Michigan