The 2021-22 college basketball season is officially back as a number of SEC programs held their season-opener Tuesday. The conference looks to bounce back, coming off a year with no team making it to the Final Four in the NCAA Tournament.
Tuesday’s slew of games were outshined by the heavenly anticipated showing in Madison Square Garden.
Battle Between Blue Bloods
A powerhouse between two rivals looking to get back to their winning tradition faced off in the Champions Classic. No.10 Kentucky Wildcats (0-1) were no matchup for ninth ranked Duke Blue Devils (1-0), headlining college basketballs return.
This was the first time these two programs faced each other since 2018, where Duke prevailed.
To look back, both programs failed to qualify for the 2020 NCAA Tournament making this season a rebound year. Also, the magnitude of this matchup was heighten as a general census that long time Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski will retire after the year.
Krzyzewski farewell tour started with a 79-71 win over the Wildcats.
— ACC Digital Network (@theACCDN) November 10, 2021
Although, the Wildcats felled short Tuesday, sophomore transfer Oscar Tshiebwe tremendous performance sets a school record. Tshiebwe’s 19 rebounds were the most a Kentucky player making his debut.
Kentucky still leads the matchup series 12-11 despite the loss.
Good Day in SEC Basketball
Despite, Kentucky’s lost, it was still the only defeat the SEC faced during the day.
To start off, No.18 ranked Tennessee Volunteers (1-0) started off their season with a bang offensively. The Volunteers beats UT Martin (0-1), 90-62, in a 28-point blowout.
The Arkansas Razorbacks (1-0) continues to build from their deep run in last seasons NCAA Tournament. Ranked No.16, the Razorbacks were the only SEC team to make it to the Elite Eight before losing to later to be national champions Baylor.
The Mercer Bears (0-1) were no match for senior guard JD Notae and the Razorbacks, losing 74-61. Notae scored a game high 30 points and an impressive seven steals.
Tigers Wins Comfortably
It was definitely a good day to be a Tiger as the college basketball resumed Tuesday. No.22 ranked Auburn (1-0) got off to a great start for their season-opener at home against Morehead State (0-1). Auburn and head coach Bruce Pearl wins by 23 points, 77-54.
— Auburn Basketball (@AuburnMBB) November 10, 2021
While LSU (1-0) gave a crushing defeat against UL Monroe (0-1), 101-39. LSU had an stunning five players in double figures in scoring led by Darius Davis 30 points. Davis made 11-13 field goals shooting 84 percent from the floor.
Finally, Missouri (1-0) improves to 5-0 in season openers under head coach Cuonzo Martin. A home win over Central Michigan, 78-68, gets Missouri back on track on a another run to the NCAA Tournament. Like LSU, Missouri finished with five players in double digits.
Overall, the conference went 10-1 during games played featuring five teams ranked in the top 25.