In case you’re just catching up with us after a football weekend, we covered Friday night’s games — the real Opening Night — in a special ATB that evening, while RTC contributor Zach Hayes put together an Opening Night edition of his 10 Scribbles series to share some of his initial thoughts on most teams’ first games of the year.
Your Watercooler Moment. This is something we don’t see much and it may be a long time before we see something like it again, so Butler’s banner unfurling from Saturday night was this weekend’s best moment. Jump ahead to the 2:20 mark if you’re the impatient type (a shorter alternate version is also available).
- Emmanuel Negedu. Hey, if you can literally come back from the dead and contribute 8 points, 6 rebounds, a steal and a block in your first game as a New Mexico Lobo merely a year after you were resuscitated, you deserve all kinds of props. Can’t root for this guy enough.
- Chris Singleton. Quite possibly the best defensive player in the country, Singleton pulled off a very difficult triple double by going for 22/11/10 stls on Sunday against UNC-Greensboro. Oh, he also added four blocks just for show.
- Illinois Backcourt. Bruce Weber’s backcourt of Demetri McCamey, DJ Richardson and Brandon Paul off the bench was outstanding on Saturday against Southern Illinois. The three combined for 43 points and 16 assists in that game, and in three games this season all of them are shooting over 50% from the field and 40% from deep. With the solid play inside of the two Mikes (Davis and Tisdale), the Illini look very strong right now.
- Kyrie Irving. As good as advertised, with 17/4/9 assts to prove it against Princeton on Sunday. Everything seemed completely natural and smooth with very little wasted motion.
- Matthew Bryan-Amaning. MBA’s been getting a lot of hype all offseason, but we weren’t completely sold due to his inconsistency over the last three years. After a 28/13 performance against McNeese State on Saturday, we might be coming around. As a side note, the Huskies had an inconceivable 67 rebounds in that game.
- Matt Howard’s Foul Trouble. Sure, we know the game was against Marian College, but the fact that Howard failed to commit a single foul in 23 minutes of action is encouraging. Without Gordon Hayward around, Brad Stevens must have his star big man on the floor most of the time this season, so committing nearly four fouls a game again isn’t going to work.
- DJ Cooper. Keep an eye on Ohio University again this year — the MAC champions who took out Georgetown in last year’s first round NCAA game return MAC POY candidate Cooper, who debuted the 2010-11 season with a strong 25/5/7 assts/3 stls evening.
- James Rahon. SDSU’s transfer guard from Santa Clara hit three straight threes in the mid-second half to give the Aztecs breathing room to win a true road game in front of a packed arena in Long Beach. If the Aztecs can get solid guard play to match their dominant post play, Steve Fisher could have a MWC juggernaut on his hands.
- Jeremy Hazell. Seton Hall might be able to put together a surprisingly good season if it can continue to get the types of games it got from Hazell today. 28 points on 8-11 FG and 8-8 from the line is extremely efficient, something that Hazell hasn’t always done well.
… and Misses