|"... And the ball is tipped"|
OPENING DAY It's here, you guys. Games start at 11am eastern time. Last season, we tipped off the season with an Eastern Washington team that turned into one of the most exciting in the nation, won the Big Sky, and then gave Georgetown a scare in the Round of 64 in the NCAA Tournament. This season we don't start out with quite the same bang, as the first televised game is Eastern Michigan vs Vermont. Vermont is probably the more interesting of the two, as they'll be in the mix to win the America East and have a best case scenario of a 13 seed in March. Also tipping off at 11am is Columbia against a non-Division I opponent. Columbia is a potential Ivy League champion, but a non-televised game against a Division III opponent isn't going to tell us much.
The action really gets going later in the day when teams like Kentucky, Duke, and Maryland will tip off their seasons, mostly against cupcakes. The game of the night is probably #1 North Carolina taking on Temple in the Veteran's Classic. Temple looks like a bubble quality team, so they'll be no pushover.
Dion Wiley Done For The Season We weren't going to know for how long Wiley would be out until after his knee surgery, and the answer is that he'll have to miss four months, which means he's going to take a redshirt for the full season. I don't think this loss will impact Maryland's projections much as the Terps have a lot of shooting guard depth (most notably Rasheed Sulaimon), but Wiley might have ended up the starter at that position, so it's impossible to believe that this will have zero effect. The fact that Maryland was so historically lucky in close game last season means that they are very likely overrated to start this season, but they still should be significantly improved over last season, and still somewhere in the borderline Top 10 range.
David Collette Leaves Utah State This is a massive blow for Utah State. Collette was a real star as a freshman, averaging 12.8 ppg with a 59.1 FG%. Utah State was likely going to be significantly improved this season, possibly to the point of contending for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. With the loss of Collette, however, that looks like a real long shot.
Vic Law Done For The Season I guess the silver lining for Northwestern is that an at-large bid was something of a long shot this season anyway. But it always sucks to get bad news like this right before a season starts. Law had a really nice freshman season in 2014-15, starting 19 games and averaging 7.0 points and 4.8 rebounds per game.
Marcus LoVett Ineliglble LoVett was arguably the top high school recruit that Chris Mullin brought in for his first season. LoVett is a "partial" qualifier, meaning that he'll be able to practice with the team this season but will not be in games. In the long run, I don't know how much this matters as St. John's wasn't going anywhere this season anyway, but with all of the great press Chris Mullin got when he was hired he probably wants to avoid a truly embarrassing season in Year One.