The first week of the 2023/24 NCAA men’s college basketball season is behind us and there were plenty of talking points.
There were big upsets, with James Madison going into East Lansing and knocking off No. 4 Michigan State, as well as big matchups, with No. 12 Arizona defeating No. 2 Duke in Durham.
More great matchups await. Here are some of the top men’s basketball games coming up this week.
Top-ranked Kansas cruised to two opening-week wins, defeating NC Central and Manhattan each by at least 38 points.
That schedule changes immediately as the Jayhawks take on No. 16 Kentucky in Chicago Tuesday night at the Champions Classic before heading to Maui to compete against a stacked field at the Maui Invitational.
They will then come home to host No. 6 and defending national champion Connecticut.
Transfer Hunter Dickinson has acquitted himself well, leading Kansas in scoring (19.5 ppg) and rebounding (8 rpg). Kevin McCullar Jr., K.J. Adams, Johnny Murphy and Parker Braun are also in double figures scoring so far for the Jayhawks.
The Wildcats have not been tested yet either, with two blowout wins under the team’s belt so far. Coach John Calpari’s squad features five players in double figures for scoring as well, led by Antonio Reeves’ 16 points a game.
The beginning of Sean Miller’s second stint at Xavier could not have gone much better. He led the Musketeers to a 27-10 record and an NCAA tournament appearance for the first time in five years, although he has since lost five double-digit scorers from last season’s Sweet Sixteen squad.
This year’s Xavier squad was picked to finish sixth in the Big East and they have gotten off to a 2-0 start thanks to Desmond Claude, who is averaging 18.5 points after moving up from his freshman reserve role a year ago.
Newcomers Abou Ousmane (10 points, 7 rebounds a game) and Quincy Olivari (15 ppg) have also contributed well.
The first test of the season comes at defending Big 10 regular season and tournament champion Purdue, which is off to a 2-0 start of its own.
Pre-season Player-of-the-Year favorite Zach Edey has picked up where he left off, averaging 17 points and 9.5 rebounds, while Braden Smith is averaging 11.5 points and nine assists through two games.
Two traditional powers that took opening week losses meet up in Chicago Tuesday night for the Champions Classic.
The old adage is you want to get Tom Izzo’s boys in November and December rather than February and March, and that held true again as James Madison knocked off the Spartans at home, 79-76.
Izzo’s squad rebounded nicely with an easy win over Southern Indiana. Tyson Walker leads the team with 24.5 points a game and Jaden Akins is chipping in with 8.5 points and 9 rebounds a contest.
Duke lost the opening week’s marquee match, a 78-73 setback to No. 12 Arizona at home Friday night. Pre-season All-American Kyle Filipowski scored 25 points in the defeat, but Duke got minimal offensive contributions elsewhere and were outrebounded, 45-33.
Filipowski is averaging 25 points and 7.5 rebounds and Jeremy Roach is averaging 15.5 points so far.
The fifth-ranked Golden Eagles have gotten off to a strong start, knocking off Northern Illinois and Rider. But Marquette lost reigning Big East Player of the Year Tyler Kolek to an ankle injury late in the win over Rider. The team now heads to Champaign, Illinois on Tuesday night to face a tough No. 25 Illinois side.
Kam Jones leads the way for Marquette as he is averaging 21.5 points a game, while Oso Ighodaro is adding 13 points and 9 rebounds a contest so far.
The Fighting Illini are also 2-0 and are led by Terrance Shannon Jr., a second-team All-Big 10 pick a year ago. He is averaging 15.5 points so far.
This matchup lost a little luster when the Aztecs were beaten at BYU Friday night, 74-65.
However, coming off a 32-7 season where they reached the national championship game, San Diego State will be on everyone’s radar this season.
Jaedon LeDee leads the team, which is missing key contributor Darrion Trammell with a hamstring injury, with 24 points and 8.5 rebounds a game.
Coach Randy Bennett has taken the St. Mary’s Gaels to the second round of two straight NCAA tournaments.
The team has gone 53-16 the past two seasons and is off to a 2-0 start. Preseason All-Big West picks Aidan Mahaney (20 ppg) and Mitchell Saxon (9.5 ppg, 7.5 rpg) are joined by Mason Forbes (12.5 ppg) and Harry Wessels (11.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg) as early-season standouts.