Top 5 Opening Weekend Games to Watch


It is Finally here! The College season starts this Friday with almost every major D-1 school playing this first weekend. Now the big games don’t start until ESPN’s Tip-Off Marathon, which starts Monday at 5:30pm with UCONN women taking on Ohio State and continues for more than 24 hours. But we’ll have another preview for that on Monday!

That still leaves us with Friday through Sunday to watch teams play college hoops. So here are the top 5 games that you can watch this weekend!

5. Harvard at Providence – Saturday, 7pm ET. A fun northeast matchup between 2 teams that have been great over the past couple of seasons. But there is really only 1 huge reason to watch this ball game. KRIS DUNN. Preseason player of the year candidate and one of the most electrifying guys in the game.

4. Stephen F. Austin at #22 Baylor – Friday, 9:30pm ET. An intriguing opening night matchup between the Lumberjacks who are looking for their 3rd consecutive NCAA tournament appearance and a good Baylor team. If this game was later in the non-conference schedule it would be higher on the list. But its the first night and a very good basketball game for the people down in Waco who should be on upset alert. SFA brings back their leading scorer Thomas Walkup, a forward who gets to matchup head-to-heat with the freak of an athlete that is Rico Gathers.

3. #7 Iowa State vs Colorado – Friday, 5:00pm ET (ESPN2). This game is being played in South Dakota for some reason, but I love that. This is your first chance to get a look at this year’s Iowa State squad without Fred Hoiberg at the helm. It is Stephen Prohm’s first game as the Cyclones head coach, fresh off a magical season with Murray State. Georges Niang is one of the best players in the country as you very well should know by now. And you get to see him play virtually before any other team plays. Should be awesome. We’ll see how freshman JaKolby Long looks for the first time as well. For Colorado, forwards Josh Scott and Xavier Johnson return for their senior seasons on a pretty solid Buffalo team.

2. Texas vs Washington -Friday, 10:00pm ET (ESPN). This game is being played in Shanghai, China which adds to the specialness of a good basketball game between 2 solid power conference schools. It’s a very deep and experienced Texas team that adds three 4-star freshman: PG Kerwin Roach, SG Eric Davis, and SF Tevin Mack. These three may not get a lot of playing time right away, but will stars for new coach Shaka Smart’s Longhorns. Washington’s Andrew Andrews, besides having one of the best names in hoops, is incredibly fun to watch. Washington also adds FOUR 4-star recruits: SG Dejounte Murray, SF Matisse Thybulle, and PFs Noah Dickerson and Marquese Chriss. There is a lot of young talent in this game.

1. #9 Gonzaga vs Pittsburgh – Friday, 7:00pm ET (ESPN). Another awesome game in Asia! This game is being played on the US military base in Okinawa. I love when college teams do this, something special for the troops on the complete other side of the world. The troops get to see a good one with a very solid Zags team led by preseason all-american, senior Kyle Wiltjer and Domontas Sabonis, one of the best sophomores in the country. Pittsburgh had a down year a season ago in the ACC, but they aren’t anybody to overlook. Forwards Jamel Artis and Michael Young are both back and Jamie Dixon’s squad will look to turn things around against Mark Few and company with freshman guard Jesse Wade.

Scott Zolotorow