Are early losses for aspiring programs reason for concern?
As we become fully immersed in the young college season, it is time to overreact to first week results as if they are fully indicative of rest of the year success.
The Pac-12 of the 2000’s was not up to far with the rest of the Power 5 conferences. However, since Stanford’s rise to prominence, the Pac-12 has had a team in the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament 10 out of the past 12 years, with five different programs making it to the brightest stage of collegiate athletics.
With great success comes great expectations, and not all of the teams in the conference were able to avoid the dreaded early loss to an inferior foe.
California lost to San Jose State 56-48. A strength of the Golden Bears is the talent of their top-10 recruiting class, which does not usually bode well for early season games as these freshman need time to transition to the college game.
Both Arizona State and Washington struggled to put away their opening opponents, whereas Stanford, USC, and Colorado handled their non-conference games with ease.
Two schools, Utah and Washington State, still have not been able to see the court as games are sporadically postponed due to positive tests.
The Pac-12 has five ranked teams to start the season, with the first highly anticipated conference matchup taking place on December 4th between #7 Arizona and #9 UCLA. The game will feature two of the four Wooden Award Watch List members of the conference, Aari McDonald for the Wildcats and Michaela Onyenwere for the Bruins. The other two players on the list are Stanford’s Lexie Hull and Kiana Williams.
The opening weekend was not kind to the teams of the Atlantic 10. Not only did may teams have their non-conference games postponed or cancelled, but the schools that did see the court struggled more than expected.
A preseason favorite VCU has started 1-2 after losses to Arizona State and Stephen F. Austin. For a team aspiring to take on Power 5 opponents, losing to other mid-majors was not part of the game plan.
Both Fordham and UMass were able to scrape together impressive performances. The Rams held off a strong Stony Brook team while the Minutewomen were unable to take down Boston College, but forcing them to overtime is an accomplishment nonetheless.
Dayton is still the team to beat in the A-10, and they have started their 2021 campaign 1-0 with a win over Morehead State.
In the professional game, the WNBA announced that the draft lottery will take place on December 4th during halftime of the DePaul vs. Louisville contest on ESPN. The top pick will go to either the New York Liberty, Atlanta Dream, Dallas Wings or Indiana Fever, with the Liberty having the best odds to secure the selection.
This draft class does not yet have the consensus number one prospect that Sabrina Ionescu was last season, so the scouts will be all over the college games once the lottery has concluded.