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March Madness in November

Written by Elle Gunter

Men and Women’s college basketball officially started this past week, and the upsets have already begun. Basketball fans have long awaited the return of college hoops, and it did not disappoint!

On the men’s side, #12 ranked Arizona beat #2 ranked Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium this past Friday. All five of Arizona’s starting lineup scored double digits throughout the game, while Duke’s Kyle Filipowski was the team’s top scorer with 25 points. A big performance by Filipowski was not enough to stop the Wildcats, as they ended the game with a score of 78-73. 

For the women, only seven months after LSU cut down the national championship nets, they lost their first game of the season to unranked Colorado. While the fans and media were shocked by the outcome, something different could be said for LSU head coach Kim Mulkey. “What I don’t live with is a lack of guts and fight and physical play. You’ve got that dog in you, and I thought we didn’t have that tonight.” This is the first time that the top team in AP poll lost its season opener since the 1995-96 UConn Huskies fell to Louisiana Tech. 

Following #1 LSU’s loss to Colorado, AP #2 UConn fell to unranked NC State in Raleigh, NC this past weekend. The long-awaited return of the 2021 Women’s National Player of the Year, Paige Beuckers, was short lived as NC State handed them their first loss of the season. Saniya Rivers led the Wolfpack with 33 points and 10 rebounds to assist in the win over the Huskies. “I just knew I had to show up for my teammates today,” Rivers said. “Whether it was scoring on the defensive end, giving assists, it didn’t matter.”

Even though not every game was an upset, there were still many exciting games to watch, including #3 Iowa vs. #8 Virginia Tech. The 2023 final four contenders had a showdown in Charlotte, NC for the Ally Tip-off Tournament. Iowa superstar Caitlin Clark scored 44 points, 8 rebounds, and six assists to lead the Hawkeyes to the win. With 15,196 spectators in attendance, both teams put on a show. Hokies point guard Georgia Amoore scored 31 in the loss.

Some teams are on a hot roll while others have some work to do before getting into conference play, but the future looks bright for the entertainment surrounding college hoops!