NCAA Basketball: 10 things to like and not like from week 1 of 2021-22 season

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NCAA Basketball Kentucky Wildcats forward Oscar TshiebweVincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The NCAA Basketball season is just a week old, and there have already been several outstanding performances as well as some troubling things. The following are the 10 things I like and don’t like about the opening week.

Gonzaga’s inside duo

Top-ranked Gonzaga (3-0) has not played the most demanding schedule thus far, but the Bulldogs did dominate the 8th-ranked Texas Longhorns on Saturday on their way to a 86-74 victory as the Zags’ big men Drew Timme, and Chet Holmgren combined for 39 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 blocks.

While Timme did most of the work on the offensive end against the Longhorns, Holmgren showed that he could make an impact against a quality opponent without scoring. The 7-footer, hampered by foul trouble, did an admirable job on the glass and was outstanding protecting the rim as he finished with five rebounds and two blocks in 23 minutes.

Timme and Holmgren, projected to be a top-5 pick in the upcoming NBA draft, are perfect compliments for each other, particularly in high-low situations as each player is a solid passer.  Both also have a scorer’s mentality, and they are at their best around the rim, although each can put the ball on the floor as well as spread the floor with their shooting. Timme is the better scorer at this point; however, Holmgren will have games where he will dominate, but at this point, his main job will be to protect the rim and rebound.

Timme has scored in double-figures in each of the Zags’ first three games, averaging 19.3 points along with 5.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists while shooting 64.1% from the field. Holmgren is contributing 9.0 points, 8.0 caroms, 3.7 assists, and 4.0 blocks.

Oscar Tshiebwe rebounding prowess 

Tshiebwe has always had the ability and physicality to dominate in the low-post and is now showing it with the Kentucky Wildcats. The chiseled 6-foot-9, 255-pound junior center is the first player in Wildcat history 20 rebounds in his first two games, and, according to ESPN research, he is tied with Louisiana Tech’s Paul Millsap for the most offensive rebounds (22) in a two-game span over the last 25 seasons.

Tshiebwe, the nation’s leading rebounder, got things rolling in Kentucky’s loss to then- No. 9 Duke with a 17-point and 19-rebound (12 offensive) performance. He is averaging 15.5 points along with 20 rebounds and 2.5 blocks through the first two games.

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