It is Monday and week one of the 2022-23 college basketball season is officially in the books. There were some upsets, some neck-and-neck matchups, and lots and lots of blowouts. When it comes to the Elam 15 though, I’m just looking for the best resumes and ranking them accordingly. Compared to version 1.0, version 2.0 is very similar, keeping 14 of the original 15 teams. Some other shakeups in the rankings did occur, but nothing to major. However, before we get into version 2.0, I wanted to discuss the biggest storyline among ranked teams from the first week.
The Tennessee Volunteers had high hopes coming into the season of potentially beating Kentucky for the SEC regular-season title. All-SEC First Team member Santiago Vescovi is back, Zakai Zeigler was a potential huge breakout star in the sport, they have a five-star guy coming in, etc. In their first game, they looked good beating Tennessee Tech 75-43. Then on Sunday in Nashville, the Volunteers suited up for a game against Colorado, and after 40 minutes they lost 78-66.
Normally this wouldn’t sound so bad except Colorado, just two days prior, lost to Grambling by 11 in the Pac-12/SWAC Legacy Series. Grambling is currently 298th in Kenpom, so not exactly what you call a good loss for Colorado. Then they get to Nashville and beat the AP No. 11 team in the country. Wait a second though, Gonzaga lost to Tennessee in an exhibition, Tennessee lost to Colorado, and Colorado lost to Grambling. So, in terms of the college basketball hierarchy, Grambling is better than Gonzaga. Right?
After the game, Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes had some strong words about Zeigler, his starting point guard. “Tonight Zakai was out of control, he was totally out of control,” Barnes said. “I’ve already told him ‘you’re not starting’ because him starting out the game hasn’t worked very well.” Regardless of what anyone thinks of Barnes’ words, I don’t think anyone saw this coming before the season. Zeigler had a strong finish to the season last year and was thought to be stellar this year. Who knows when the Volunteers will figure out their woes, but in the meantime, they have dropped out of my rankings.
ELAM 15 version 2.0
1. Gonzaga | Previous: 1
The Bulldogs got a terrific comeback win over Michigan State on Friday. They have a tough week two slate with Texas on Wednesday, and Kentucky on Sunday.
2. Kentucky | Previous: 3
Even with reigning NPOY Oscar Tschiebwe out, the Wildcats looked great in their first two games. They have the Champions Classic against Michigan State on Tuesday, and Gonzaga on Sunday.
3. Houston | Previous: 4
Houston is rolling so far in the 2022-23 season. They cruised by St. Joseph’s in the Veterans Classic to get Kelvin Sampson win No. 701.
4. Baylor | Previous: 5
Baylor’s three guard lineup of Adam Flagler, LJ Cryer and Keyonte George looks the part so far. They have a big game against Virginia on Friday.
5. North Carolina | Previous: 2
The Tar Heels had a couple of shaky games to start out the season. However, they still have one of the best starting fives in the country.
6. UCLA | Previous: 6
Mick Cronin has five double digit averaging scorers on his Bruins team. Jaylen Clark has been great so far, leading the team in points, rebounds, assists, and steals with 5.5 takeaways a game.
7. Duke | Previous: 7
The freshmen are overwhelmingly good, especially the athletic Mark Mitchell. The Blue Devils won their first two games by an average of 36.5 points.
8. Kansas | Previous: 12
Gradey Dick is one of the best shooters, and one of the best freshmen in the country. Jalen Wilson will likely be competing for an All-American spot at the end of the season.
9. Texas | Previous: 11
Tyrese Hunter has been a great addition to the Longhorns roster, leading the team in scoring so far. Tough one against Gonzaga is lined up for Wednesday night.
10. Arkansas | Previous: 10
Razorbacks are rolling even without incoming star freshmen Nick Smith. Ricky Council IV has been terrific so far.
11. Creighton | Previous: 9
The Bluejays had a rough first showing against St. Thomas, but then crushed North Dakota in their second game. Ryan Kalkbrenner was terrific with 22 points, 10/11 from the field in the game against North Dakota.
12. Indiana | Previous: 15
Trayce Jackson-Davis is cementing himself has an All-American early. He is averaging 18 points a game in 22.0 minutes per game.
13. Arizona | Previous: NR
Tommy Lloyd in his second season again has a great Wildcats team with five double-digit scorers. Azuolas Tubelis has been great and Kerr Kriisa is averaging 9.5 assists per game.
14. Auburn | Previous: 13
Wendell Green is averaging 18 points a game while only shooting 22.2% from 3-point range. If that number can improve, and the scoring stay consistent, Green will be a strong candidate for All-SEC honors.
15. TCU | Previous: 14
After a couple of close games to start, the Horned Frogs have not shown what people thought they would be coming into the season. However, they have plenty of time to figure it out and Mike Miles has been great averaging 20.5 points per game.
New additions: Arizona
Dropped out: Tennessee (8)
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