Opening Night Questions: Has Kevin Ollie Really Arrived?, Alex Len? and more

With the season now officially underway, there was a literal buffet of games to watch last night and no shortage on breaking news.  Some of it will get its own post as the day goes on, but some of the things we know need commented on are…

Kevin Ollie’s first game at the helm of the Connecticut Huskies was a roaring success.  There were questions about how the Huskies would do without Jim Calhoun running the show, but Ollie’s Huskies took down the Michigan State Spartans in Germany.  I’m not sure we can say “Ollie has arrived” because he is still playing with Calhoun’s players and the shadow of Jim Calhoun is all over the place still, but it’s a step in the right direction.  The bad thing for UConn is they are to basketball this year what Ohio State is to football, no matter how good the season, they can’t play in the post season.

We predicted that the biggest chance of an upset was Maryland over Kentucky.  It almost happened.  If Jared Paulson hadn’t shown up, it might have.  Maryland took a couple of shots early from Kentucky, going down big and sustaining a couple of early runs and battled back behind a huge effort from sophomore big man Alex Len.  Everyone expected this to be Nerlens Noel’s coming out party, but Len changed that by dominating with 23 points, 12 boards and four blocks.  Maryland was down three with time running out and only managed to get off a prayer instead of a good shot as time expired, but it was a great game for Maryland and for Len.  It puts Len on the player watch for the season, a place where he wasn’t before last night.

Florida State was the upset of the night, losing to South Alabama.  The Seminoles shot just 23.8 percent from behind the arc, making only five of 21 attempts for three.  The only had three scorers go into double digits, the highest of those being sophomore Terry Whisnant who had a whopping 11 points.  This isn’t really an upset, except on a conference level.  The last few in the opening top 25 are just guesses by the media at best, looks like Florida State was a bad guess and have a lot of work ahead of them to compete in the always-tough ACC.

James Michael McAdoo had a big night against (drum roll please)… mighty Gardner-Webb.  Really glad he was able to pull it off against such a worthy opponent.  The good news for Tar Heel fans is that someone stepped up, I have a feeling Carolina is in for a roller coaster season.

Alabama got the first buzzer beater out of the way…