College Basketball: Florida State and 5 Teams that Disappointed to Open Season
College basketball tipped off its season on Friday night, and from a general fan’s perspective, the first slate of games did not disappoint.
UConn and Michigan State played an entertaining game overseas, with Kevin Ollie starting his head coaching career with a 1-0 mark. Later, Maryland stormed back and had No. 3 Kentucky on the brink.
However, if you root for a specific team, you might not have been thrilled with your squad’s effort or outcome. Some teams, as expected, came out flat. That happens at the beginning of a season, before players gel and shake off the rust of a long offseason.
So that said, a handful of teams had disappointing performances in their respective season openers.
Florida State, coming off one of its best seasons in recent history, fell at home. To South Alabama.
North Texas couldn’t stay close with Creighton in what was pegged as one of the best mid-major games of the year.
Despite opening on the road, Drexel was expected to handle a Kent State team that lost its best player. But the Golden Flash beat the Dragons in overtime.
And Purdue and Rutgers each lost to mid-majors at home. Purdue’s loss to Bucknell is more acceptable, given the Bison’s solid core. But St. Peter’s won’t even finish in the top half of the MAAC. And Rutgers fell to the Peacocks.
Even teams that won, like Miami (Fl.) and Arkansas, had lackluster season debuts.
So here’s a look at the five most disappointing performances of opening night.
North Texas Mean Green
Tony Mitchell is currently projected as a lottery pick in the 2013 NBA draft, and his North Texas team is pegged as one of the best mid-majors this year. I have them at No. 3.
But the Mean Green couldn’t even stick with Creighton in Omaha on Friday night.
Creighton built a double-digit lead in the latter stages of the first half, and North Texas ultimately fell by 20 points.
Florida State Seminoles
Florida State should never lose to South Alabama. Maybe five years ago when the Jaguars were a formidable mid-major. But not now, even though the Seminoles lost some key pieces from last year’s team.
South Alabama basically did everything better than it should have. The Jaguars got to the line 32 times, tied the rebounding battle and connected on 9-of-15 threes.
Florida State, on the other hand, shot 5-of-21 from deep.
Drexel returned most of its players from last year’s team that controversially missed out on the NCAA tournament. Kent State, on the other hand, lost some key pieces from last year’s team.
Vegas listed the Dragons as a 8.5-point favorite on the road.
But the Golden Flash stuck around the entire game and ultimately won in overtime.
Drexel can draw positives from its defense, which held Kent State to 35.1 percent shooting from the floor and 27.3 percent from long range. But the offense was woeful.
Chris Fouch, who scored 24 points, was the team’s only double-digit scorer, and he shot just 6-of-19. As a team, Drexel went 22-of-60 from the floor and turned the ball over 16 times.
A bunch of new faces headline Purdue’s roster, so the Boilermakers’ loss to a solid Bucknell team isn’t as surprising as some of the other games to make this list.
The offense really wasn’t bad. Purdue shot 45.9 percent from the floor and turned the ball over just nine times.
The defense, on the other hand, wasn’t as stout as Purdue defenses in the past. The Boilermakers forced just eight turnovers and lost the rebounding battle, though they did hold a good three-point shooting team to 20 percent.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Mike Rice told Adam Zagoria this week that he needed a productive third season at Rutgers. But 2012-13 definitely started on a sour note for the Scarlet Knights. St. Peter’s won’t even compete in the MAAC race. But the smaller Peacocks forced 17 turnovers while handing the ball over just nine times, and despite getting killed on the glass — 40-19 — left Rutgers with a win.
The Scarlet Knights couldn’t buy a bucket and managed to score just 52 points. Eli Carter and Myles Mack, last year’s leading scorers, shot a combined 4-of-19 from the floor.