The college basketball season for both men and women began on Monday, and two unusual upsets highlighted opening night.
The best women’s basketball team in the land, the LSU Tigers, were easily handled by the Colorado Buffaloes, 92-78. Frida Foremann of Colorado led the upset with 27 points and seven 3-pointers. Angel Reece, who was the NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player when LSU rolled to the national championship last spring, had just 15 points on 15 shots.
It was the first time a women’s defending national champion lost on opening night since 1995.
On the men’s side the No. 4 ranked Michigan State Spartans lost to James Madison, 76-74 in overtime, making it just the first time a top-five team lost to an unranked opponent on opening night since 2005. That team that lost in 2005 was Michigan State.
This was the first November home loss for the Spartans since 1986, and just the second time in school history that James Madison has beaten a ranked team.
Men’s National Championship Favorites
- Kansas (+1000)
- Duke (+1100)
- Purdue (+1100)
- Kentucky (+1200)
- Arizona (+1400)
- UConn (+1400)
- Michigan State (+1800)
- Marquette (+1800)
Kansas has made head coach Bill Self the highest paid coach in the nation, and the Jayhawks are the favorites to win another national championship. They won it in 2022, but last year they were knocked out in the second round by Arkansas.
UConn is the defending national champion, and the Huskies are tied with Arizona for the fifth shortest odds to begin the season. The Wildcats won the Pac-12 Tournament last year and were awarded a two-seed, but they were bounced in the first round by the 15th-seeded Princeton Tigers.
Michigan State has fallen to +1800 after their loss to JMU in East Lansing.
Women’s National Championship Favorites
- UConn (+400)
- LSU (+450)
- Iowa (+900)
- Utah (+950)
- South Carolina (+1100)
- UCLA (+1400)
- Indiana (+1500)
- Ohio State (+1800)
LSU has dropped behind UConn as the early favorites to win the women’s national championship. UConn holds the record with 11 women’s national championships, and this season they have Page Bueckers. She was the AP, Naismith, and John Wooden Player of the Year in 2021, but missed all of last year with a torn ACL.
She headlines a great battle for this season’s player of the year, with Reece from LSU and Caitlin Clark of Iowa. Reece is the preseason SEC Player of the Year, and Clark is the preseason Big Ten Player of the Year. Reece and Clark, and LSU and Iowa, played in the finals last year of the highest rated NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament in history.
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