This season's start definitely wasn't the opening night we had last year. That evening saw Nate Wolters go off. It saw South Alabama upset a ranked team. And it had more upsets than we could count, that kept us working into the wee hours of the morning.
So welcome to 2013-14, the tame season. Not that there isn't excitement out there, but keep in mind that a lot of the players that made last season so great have moved on, leaving what you could term a void at the top of the talent pool.
Just look at the fantasy teams that we debuted last night, and keep in mind that most of us got almost all the players in our top 10, and only Parks had to draft a player rated lower than 20 on his list.
If you think it is easy to rank players, go try, then look at about 10 other rankings, and then try again. You won't find consensus, especially when you take out the players who play in those major conferences.
The teams we cover at Mid-Major Madness have talent, and some really good players, but as of right now, we don't have the players who are garnering national attention. With the exception of Cleanthony Early, I didn't see many other mid-major players getting votes for All-American status.
Are there going to be magic moments this year? You bet. Just don't expect them to come from the same players night in and night out.
What everyone is talking about over their morning coffee:
Not that Bruce Weber needs any help in getting people to doubt him, but losing to Northern Colorado at home is just more fuel for the fire. Derrick Barden (of Rubit's Cube fame) was the star for the Bears, going for 16 and 17 and getting help off the bench from Tate Unruh. This was the biggest upset of the night, as Northern Colorado isn't even expected to compete for the Big Sky crown this season.
Barden performance was a 37 on the Game Score scale that we used last season (and that Wolters broke at one point). Not bad for opening night.
Side of bacon:
The Terriers got a big game from freshman Wayne Martin off the bench (17 points, eight rebounds, two steals, two assists and a block), and a nice night from Jalen Cannon (14 and 10) to steal a win over Miami in overtime. The Hurricanes are down a few players from the ACC championship team of last season, but this is still a nice win for a program that is building in the Northeast.
- KenPom favorite Alan Williams was not drafted in our fantasy league. I think that might have been an oversight by all of us. He had 27 point and 17 rebounds in helping UCSB down Hawaii Pacific
- It was a five minute stretch that downed Davidson against Duke last season. This year, there was no contest. De'Mon Brooks had a nice performance (24 points, 7 rebounds) but there was little help against the Blue Devils. Wildcats lose 111-77.
- Northern Kentucky made things interesting against a reeling Purdue team, ultimately losing by one, 77-76. Jordan Jackson had 24 points and eight rebounds.
- On the podcast this week, I didn't think that Lipscomb had any chance against Belmont, given how the Bruins just churn it out year after year. I was wrong about that. The Bisons pushed Belmont to the limit, but ultimately lost 87-83. JJ Man had 21 points for Belmont while Carter Sanderson had 21 off the bench for Lipscomb. One day, I will get to Nashville for this game.
- Kendrick Perry does what Kendrick Perry does. He had 20 points, seven rebounds, five assists, three steals and a block in a 73-57 win for Youngstown State over Kennesaw State.
- Welcome to Division 1, Grand Canyon State. Loyola Marymount needed a late push from Anthony Ireland (6 points and an assist in the final four minutes, 14 points overall) to beat the newcomers 78-75. The Antelopes had two turnovers in the final minute to help the Lions escape with the win. Killian Larson led Grand Canyon with 18 points and nine boards.
- Drexel's Damion Lee airballed a 3-pointer that could have tied the game in the final minutes against UCLA, but the ranked Bruins escape at home with the 72-67 victory. The game started at midnight Eastern time, which might explain why the Dragons were a little sluggish at the end of the contest. Who schedules these things? It also doesn't help that that Dragons haven't found that inside scorer. Starters Dartaye Ruffin and Kazembe Abif combined for just 14 points in 74 minutes.
- We might have been a little high on New Mexico State going into this season. Western Michigan takes them out in the first game of the year, and both Daniel Mullings and the man, the myth, the legend, Sim Bhullar, were nonfactors for the Aggies. David Brown had 25 points, five rebounds and two assists in the 70-64 win out in Hawaii.
- Who is this St. Mary's team? Hard to say without Matthew Dellavedova leading the Gaels, but the very short-benched squad took out the highly touted Louisiana Tech 83-70 on opening night. Raheem Appleby scored 18 points, but shot 8-for-20 from the floor and made just one of his six 3-point attempts. Brad Waldow led the Gaels with 28 points and eight boards.