by Anirudh Kannan ‘25
Published Dec. 1st, 2021
With the usual hype of the NBA season starting, NCAA basketball isn’t receiving as much attention as it should. However, a couple college hoopers have been making headlines recently as they look to carry their squads to success in March.
One of these standout players is Gonzaga big man Chet Holmgren. Holmgren possesses a broad skill set, with impressive playmaking and shooting for his size. The only question surrounding Holmgren is his ability to provide the interior defense necessary to guard physical centers like Nikola Jokic and Karl-Anthony Towns who are equipped with both an interior and perimeter game that make them particularly difficult to guard, but Holmgren projects as a top pick whenever he chooses to declare for the draft.
Oral Roberts guard Max Abmas is another NCAA player who simply has no fear. His deep shooting is reminiscent of Damian Lillard and Stephen Curry, a skill that will make him a matchup nightmare at the pro level. Admas used precise shooting and electric playmaking to set up shooters and make big plays in last year’s legendary Sweet 16 run, and his Golden Eagles look to take another shot at underdog success.
While Ohio State is typically known for its dominance on the Gridiron, their basketball team is off to a strong start this season. Led by EJ Liddel’s 28 points and 6 rebounds, Ohio State was able to pull off a narrow victory over a highly ranked Seton Hall squad on November 22nd, and the team has been playing strong all-around basketball all season.
As for the top 25, the rankings have shaken out as expected so far, with perennial contenders in Gonzaga, UCLA, Purdue, Kansas and Duke rounding out the top 5 as of November 28th. While the season is young, the execution demonstrated by these elite teams has them all but locked in for spots in the Big Dance.
In terms of local basketball, at this point in time, Rutgers is 3-2. Although their players don’t necessarily receive the same media attention as players from more well-known schools, team leaders Ron Harper Jr and Cliff Omoruyi both have been playing strong basketball. In other local news, the Tigers of Princeton are off to a 5-2 start, including wins over strong opponents in South Carolina and Monmouth. Both teams are off to solid starts and look to make NJ fans proud as they push for a March Madness berth.