College basketball is back: Here’s what’s happened and what’s in store

For many college sports fans across the country, one of the most exciting times of the year has come again: the start of the college basketball season. Adding to the excitement, this season is already shaping up to be a very competitive one. With far fewer covid protocols and a much closer race to the top, fans are looking forward to a new season. Following suit, Gonzaga is still the consensus pick to win it all, but it will be a much closer race to the trophy this season.
Numerous early season upsets have increased the excitement for college basketball fans. Ranked teams including Maryland, Florida State, Oregon, Michigan, Illinois and Virginia have all suffered early season losses to unranked teams. A number of buzzer beaters and incredible highlights have shaped this season up to be a bloodbath.
Syracuse University is off to its own uneven start to the basketball season. Frequently appearing as a permanent team on the “March Madness fence,” where there is often much debate over whether or not they’ll play in the tournament, this might be their breakthrough year as a team with a much more definite chance of performing well in the postseason bracket. Thanks to Joe Girard III’s 100% 3 point shooting percentage, the Boeheims showing vast improvement, and the new transfers and freshmen (Cole Swider and Benny Williams are rounding out the team very well) proving themselves early on, Syracuse is in position to have a success-filled season.
Of course, losing Quincy Guerrier, Kadary Richmond, and Alan Griffin as star players is destined to have an impact on any team; however, Syracuse has seemed to adjust more quickly to a new roster than in years past. If they actually play up to their potential, Syracuse has the ability to finish as a top 5 team in the ACC and make one of their famous long runs in the March Madness tournament. This time around, however, the hope is that the winning season won’t require an upset run to make it far in the tournament.
Given the state of the pandemic in the United States, COVID will inevitably still play a role in this year’s college basketball season. Players and staff will have to wear masks unless they are on the court and have mandatory testing within 3-5 days of their arrival back to campus, if they are unvaccinated. Keep in mind, these are the current guidelines, and it’s likely to change throughout the season.
There is, as usual, much anticipated chaos this season, causing fans’ heads to spin. However, that’s what makes college basketball unique. Any of the 351 Division I teams can win on any night, and chaos always reigns. The scene is set for this to be a great college basketball season, and fans are anxious and thrilled, alike, waiting to see how the fight for the March Madness trophy will pan out.