CBB: Madness has already started in college basketball and it’s just the first week!

darren cooper
By:
Darren Cooper
07/11/2023/
NCAAB

Highlights

  • No. 4 Michigan State was upset in its first game by James Madison, 79-76, in overtime, becoming the first AP top 5 team to lose season opener to an unranked team since 2001.
  • Just days into the start of the college basketball regular season, there have been upsets all over.
  • Michigan State is set to host Southern Indiana on Thursday night. The Screaming Eagles are in their second year as a Division 1 basketball program.

College basketball fans are used to Madness. Just not in November.

Opening night of the college basketball season saw shocking upsets all over, most notably at the Breslin Center in East Lansing where the No. 4 ranked Michigan State Spartans were stunned by Sun Belt power James Madison in overtime.

Although picked to win the Sun Belt title, James Madison was double-digit underdogs to the Spartans, but the Spartans shot just 1-20 from three and couldn’t ever recover from a slow start.

It promises to be another wild college basketball season in Michigan and the best Michigan online sportsbooks will have markets open on every game. And even though this loss hurts Spartan fans, Michigan State still ranks as one of the favorites at BetRivers and BetMGM Sportsbook to reach the Final Four in Phoenix this season.

The Same Old Madness

The 2023 college basketball season started in the same place the 2022 season left off. Remember, we had a Final Four last year of Miami, Florida Atlantic, San Diego State and U. Conn. The Huskies winning the title over the three upstarts.

Michigan State was not the only blueblood to lose Monday night. Princeton took down Big 10 contender Rutgers and Abilene Christian beat Big 12 power Oklahoma State. Even women’s basketball was affected. No. 1 LSU, the reigning women’s national champs, lost to Colorado.
The transfer portal and quality coaching all over has leveled the playing field like never before in college basketball. Good teams can be any conference, playing anywhere.

What Does Michigan State Do Now?

State was 21-13 last year and reached the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2019, and came into the season with heightened expectations after not losing anyone in the portal (yeah, that’s a thing now) returning experienced guards and bringing in a strong freshman class.

Spartans coach Tom Izzo of course, was peeved after the loss to the Dukes, saying that changes would be made if the poor play continued. Senior Tyson Walker was the bright spot for the Spartans with 35 points, but State went 23-37 from the free throw line (I’ll just say it, the refs tried to help Michigan State) and if you can’t shoot well from the charity stripe and from 3-point land you won’t win big in college basketball today. Michigan State better hope the loss was a blip and not a theme.

Meet The Screaming Eagles

It’s Ok if you’ve never heard of the Southern Indiana Screaming Eagles. The small school is in its second year as a Division 1 basketball program after years in Division II. They finished 16-17 last year, and did qualify for a post-season tournament: the College Basketball Invitational, losing in the first round.

S. Indiana lost to St. Louis Monday night in its opener. This will be the first time it has ever played a Division I Top 10 team. They are coached by Stan Gouard and none of the players have any Michigan ties, although assistant coach John Spruance was briefly a high school coach in Michigan.

Born and raised in Louisiana, Darren Cooper has a fond appreciation for bayous, Mardi Gras beads and the sports betting industry. Darren has worked for multiple print and online publications since 1998, primarily as a sports columnist in the Northeast. He’s covered a Super Bowl (it was a blowout), the World Series (same) and the NBA Draft (man, those guys are tall). For the last few years he’s dug deep into the sports gambling industry as it exploded across America, learning how the legal sausage is made and how while all the sportsbooks look the same, they all have different identities and styles. He’s learned to always bet within his means -- and take the under. When not in front of his computer creating, Darren spends time with his three boys. He runs, reads and is always looking for the next big thing to write about.