The 31-hour ESPN Tip-Off Marathon turned out to be a huge success for the world of college basketball. Four top-10 teams were knocked off, crowds were in midseason form, heavyweights battled, and there was even a court storm or two.
The “marathon” started out with George Washington’s upset win over #6 Virginia. The Cavaliers’ star player Malcolm Brogdon had 28 points and 8 rebounds, but that wasn’t enough for UVA. For the Colonials, senior guard Patricio Garino put up career stats with 18 points and 5 rebounds to give GW the win. The game resulted in huge win for GW and the first court storm of many this season.
The #9 Wichita State Shockers got a taste of their own medicine Tuesday night, as they were shocked by the Tulsa Golden Hurricane. Shaquille Harrison led the scoring attack for Tulsa with 20 points. A main part of why Tulsa won this game is because they shut down WSU’s standout guard Fred Van Vleet to only 10 points.
The Champions Classic in Chicago featured four top-15 teams, and really was an incredible early season festivity. In the first game, #2 Kentucky dominated #5 Duke and won 74-63. Kentucky looked like the best team in the country; they are 9 men deep and have one of the best transition offenses in the country. When Kentucky PG Tyler Ulis was asked if his squad played well overall, he responded, “Nah.” That’s scary, as Kentucky looked like they were in midseason form. #13 Michigan State came back with under 10 minutes to play to upset #4 Kansas. Denzel Valentine had the game of his life posting a triple-double (29p/12a/12r). Michigan State can play 12 deep, and will match up well with Maryland at the top of the Big Ten.
Speaking of Maryland, the Terps rounded out the tip-off marathon. #3 Maryland defeated Georgetown 75-71 in what was possibly the game of the year. The Xfinity Center was rocking and helped the Terps make a late comeback and defeat Georgetown. Maryland carried over their ways of winning in close games from last year, as they went 12-1 in games decided by less than 6 points in the 2014-15 season. Melo Trimble (24 points) and Rasheed Sulaimon (10 points and 7 assists) had huge games to lead the Terps to victory. Georgetown shot an unbelievable 48.2% from the field, but Maryland was able to grind out the win against the Hoyas. Georgetown’s schedule does not get any easier, as they play Wisconsin on Friday, and either Duke or VCU on Sunday.