The 2017-2018 college basketball season is finally underway and boy has it been a great start. Of course you’re gonna have your teams like Duke and Kansas jump out to a hot start, but have you ever thought about the teams that were expected to be sub par, but came out of the gate running. This is a list complied of top 5 teams that have surprised in the early CB season.
5. NC State
If you told me in the beginning of the season that the NC State Wolfpack were going to start the year 5-0 including a win against the 2nd ranked team in the nation, Arizona, I would of called you crazy. I would of told you that they are not deep enough and it would take at least a year to adjust under first year head coach, Kevin Keatts. I was surprisingly mistaken. NC State has sent shockwaves around the nation, showing that they can compete with the best of them and the ACC should be put on notice. The already packed conference now perhaps has another contender and you should see this young team be ranked in next week’s polls. It would be interesting to see if they can keep up this pace or fall once conference play starts.
I knew that coming into the season that Xavier was a good basketball team. I had no idea however, how good they actually are. This team is one of the most explosive teams in the nation and I believe they have one of the best players in America. Trevon Bluiett is an absolute superstar. The senior guard is averaging 24 points a game along with grabbing 6 boards a contest. Bluiett is the type of player that can make the game of basketball look easy at times, he’s that talented. This team is also fearless. They went into Madison last week to play Wisconsin in a hostile environment and came in like they owned the place. I think this Xavier team has potential to make the final four this year if they continue to play this brand of basketball.
Everyone knows that Alabama has one of the best freshman in the nation in Collin Sexton, but the question coming into the season was if this team would have enough production from players other then Sexton to be successful. The answer is yes. Alabama is perhaps a legit contender in the SEC for the first time in recent memory. Although they haven’t really played anyone yet worth talking about, they have shown that they are very dangerous. They have a really solid forward in Donta Hall and overall this Crimson Tide team plays good fundamental basketball. They’re first true test will be on November 25th as they will meet with a very talented Minnesota Gopher team in the Barclays Center Classic. If Alabama can find a way to win that game, the country will for sure be put on notice that this Crimson Tide team is not just built around one freshman but rather a whole team.
Richard Pitino, son of legendary coach Rick Pitino, has done a great job taking this Minnesota program to an elite level. This Gopher team can pretty much do it all. They can score with efficiency, rebound the ball at a high level and move the ball like it’s nobody’s business. Junior forward Jordan Murphy is one of the best players in the country and shows why that is every time he steps on the court. He leads his team in points and rebounds averaging a sensational 23 and 12. He is accompanied by another sensational athlete, Amir Coffee. They are arguably the best 1-2 combo in the nation and if they can click on all cylinders I think this Gopher team is good enough to make a deep tournament run come March.
Nobody even talked about this Creighton basketball team coming into the season and all the Blue Jays have done thus far is give people a reason to talk. Creighton has one of the toughest out of conference schedule’s in the country and so far they have weathered the storm beautifully. They have already faced three ranked teams during the young season and they have defeated two of them. This team has a really talented senior leader in Marcus Foster that is averaging 18 points a game and is the definition of a pure shooter. Things didn’t get easier for this Creighton team as they will face powerhouse Gonzaga on December 1st and do not be surprised if you see an upset there. Creighton will definitely be a sleeper in the Big East this year and is capable of winning a few games in March.