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College basketball’s biggest takeaways

It is now Dec. 23, and finals are wrapping up. College basketball has been in full swing for about five weeks, and just like every other year, it has been highly unpredictable. It’s time that we take a look at what we’ve learned so far in the young college basketball season.

Trae Young is really, really good

Young put up 26 points and 22 assists in 29 minutes in a win over Northwestern St. on Tuesday. In his latest stat line, Young put together 31 points and 12 assists in 27 minutes in a win over Northwestern. He’s leading the country in both points (28.7) and assists (10.4) per game. He is on pace to be the best statistical scorer in Big 12 history.

Considering the talent the Big 12 has had with players like Buddy Hield, Michael Beasley, Andrew Wiggins and Blake Griffin, it is even more impressive. He has turned the Sooners into a nationally ranked team, and is doing it in impressive fashion.

Arizona State came out of no where

There are very few teams undefeated this season, but the Sun Devils are still in that category.

They are 12-0 and are No. 3 in the AP top 25. Two of their wins have come against top 15 teams in both Kansas and Xavier, and they are seventh in scoring offense in the country.

A team that finished 15-18 last season is now one of the best teams in the country, and I don’t think that anyone saw it coming.

USC is not who we thought they were

Once a top 10 team, the Trojans are struggling immensely. They are 7-4 and just gave up 103 points to a 5-6 Princeton team.

The Trojans are struggling most on the defensive end. They are allowing 72.1 points per game. Their troubles started in a loss to SMU on the road and scored just 25 in the second half. Since then, they are 3-2 and haven’t played very well.

It has been a rough start for a team with a lot of preseason promise. With Arizona State, Oregon and Arizona all playing great basketball, the Pac-12 could be tough for the struggling USC Trojans.

Duke needs to play better defense

It’s hard to criticize a 12-1 team that has the best offense in college basketball. With that being said, I’m about to. Duke is in the top three in rebounds, points and assists. They are also 193rd in the country in points allowed at 72.5.

I don’t think this will be a problem moving forward. After the Boston College loss, Duke held Evansville to 40 points and beat them by 64. But for a while, the defense was beginning to be concerning.

Giving up over 80 points to Portland State and South Dakota does not scream dominant, but the Duke Blue Devils have enough talent to figure it out.

Experience is showing

Obviously Duke is the exception here, but it’s refreshing to see some teams led by upperclassmen be this successful. Teams like Xavier, Wichita State, Cincinnati, Arizona State and Texas A&M have all been in the top 25 and have done it with seasoned and experienced leaders.

Some of the teams that are notorious for having younger guys are struggling early on in the season.

What’s wrong with the Gators?

Remember them? The team that was scoring over 100 points a game to start the season and had Duke in crunch time but lost? Yeah, they lost to Loyola Chicago at a neutral site and basically fell off the earth. A team that had a dynamic offense has disappeared as of late.

Ultimately, the college basketball season is very young. There is a lot of growing teams need to do in the next three months.

There are many different things that we have learned from the first part of the college basketball season. These are some of the things that are the most important in the early going.


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