We're about 10 days into the 2023-24 men's college basketball season, so it feels like the perfect time for sweeping narratives and overreactions across the sport, right?
The first week of the season featured two top-five teams losing at home and more than 15 power conference teams suffering losses to teams from outside power conferences, while the Champions Classic and Arizona's trip to Duke offered a look at some potential national championship contenders going head-to-head. We don't have enough data or evidence to back up many opinions at this point, and it's still too early to truly gauge teams and players, but narratives are certainly forming.
A year ago in this column, we correctly called Brandon Miller as the best freshman in the country and Villanova taking a step back in its first season post-Jay Wright, but hints of a breakout season for Mady Sissoko didn't quite come to fruition.
Let's see how we do this season.
Here are six major storylines to monitor after a week and a half of men's college basketball action.
Arizona is a national championship contender
What's going on?
Arizona made arguably the biggest statement of the first 10 days of the season by going into Cameron Indoor Stadium and knocking off then-No. 2 Duke. The Wildcats looked like a dramatically different outfit than the last couple of years: Tougher, more physical, better defensively. That's noteworthy because in those last couple of years they won 61 games and received a 1-seed and 2-seed in the NCAA tournament. San Diego State transfer Keshad Johnson has added a different dimension to the frontcourt, while Kylan Boswell and North Carolina transfer Caleb Love give Tommy Lloyd a pair of playmakers with size at the guard spots.
Will it last?
If Arizona continues to defend like it has through three games, it should be near the top of the rankings the entire season. Johnson was one of the best defensive players in the Mountain West before he transferred, while Boswell and Love have shown a different level of physicality on the defensive end compared to the departed Kerr Kriisa. Offensively, too, things are going to look different. Going from Azuolas Tubelis to Johnson is probably a net loss in a vacuum, but the latter provides more versatility. And, Boswell and Love are two guys who can go and get their own shot -- something Arizona has struggled with in postseason play.
What they're saying