5 Teams That Exceeded Expectations to Open Season
5 Teams That Exceeded Expectations
The 2012-13 college basketball season opener came and went, and let me tell you, it was a good one. On the very first day of hoops, we almost saw the No. 3 team in the nation get beat by an unranked opponent in the Kentucky vs. Maryland game. So, looking back at the season opener, who are the five teams that exceeded expectations?
Michigan dropped 100 points against Slippery Rock, as its offense drained the three-ball at a rate of 63.2 percent. The No. 1 Indiana Hoosiers almost eclipsed the 100 point mark as well, going off for 97 points against Bryant University.
Although both of these top five teams had very impressive performances, everyone expected them to, especially against cupcake competition.
Both Baylor and Lehigh had some high scorers in the 99-77 point game in Baylor’s favor. Lehigh’s C.J. McCollum dropped a game-high 36 points. Not a bad way to start the season. Whereas, Baylor’s Corey Jefferson had 26 points in the game and freshman phenom Isaiah Austin had 22 points in just 17 minutes before leaving with an injury.
Players all over the country disappointed, while others stepped up in the very first game. We found out that Nerlens Noel is not Anthony Davis. However, we will give him the benefit of the doubt since it was his first game in college.
Although all of the winners of these teams played great ball, they did not really exceed expectations, at least compared to the five teams on this list.
So, read on to see five teams that exceeded expectations to open the season.
Creighton Blue Jays
Creighton may have came into this game by being ranked, but it had a very impressive win over North Texas regardless, by winning 71-51. The Blue Jays proved that they were easily one of the best mid-majors in this one.
North Texas’ Tony Mitchell was able to score 19 points in the contest, but the Blue Jays’ Doug McDermott got the first and the last laugh, by scoring 21 points and coming up with the victory.
The Mean Green may have been unranked coming into this game, but they are easily one of the most talented teams in the Sun Belt Conference, and have a future NBA lottery pick on their team in Mitchell.
George Mason Patriots
Getting tired of the mid-majors yet? Well, there is still one more yet to come after George Mason.
George Mason took on a Virginia team that was supposed to finish somewhere near the middle of the pack in the ACC. Once bubble season is in full throttle, people will look back to this game as a pretty good win for the Patriots.
The contest was pretty close all of the way through, but George Mason’s Byron Allen came up clutch in the final minute of the game.
This game definitely wasn't the biggest victory in the world for George Mason, but a win is a win and it always looks good for a mid-major school when it beats a team in a powerhouse conference, like the ACC.
South Alabama Jaguars
South Alabama showed that they were the real deal by knocking off the No. 25 Florida State Seminoles on the road.
This early in the season, you would expect this game to be a tuneup for the Seminoles, but South Alabama clearly had different plans.
FSU was a team that had huge victories over North Carolina and Duke last season...twice, but in the opening night of the 2012-13 college basketball season, the Seminoles could’t even beat a mid-major out of the Sun Belt Conference.
Maryland may have lost its season opener, but it took Kentucky to the wire and really showed signs that it will be a team that makes some noise this year. When the final whistle was blown, the Wildcats came up on top in a 72-69 point victory.
Although they lost, the Terrapins got to see how tough their team is. At halftime, Kentucky was leading 49-36. The second half was a completely different story, with Maryland holding Kentucky to just 23 points in the final half.
A loss is a loss, but when you almost beat a team that has had so much hype going into the season, you have to feel a little good about yourself.
Did anyone expect Connecticut to be this good? I mean they only lost one of the best basketball coaches of all-time in Jim Calhoun and a couple of players to the NBA.
However, the Huskies’ guards and the rest of the team came to play in Germany against the No. 14 Michigan State Spartans.
The Spartans lost their best player over the offseason in Draymond Green, but they were still supposed to be very talented this season. Not saying that they won’t be, but Connecticut was the better team in this one.
No one looked better in this game than the Huskies’ Shabazz Napier, who dropped 25 points.
Connecticut head coach Kevin Ollie did a fine job of preparing his team. The Huskies may have entered by being unranked, but they just showed the country that they will be a threat this season.
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