We're about 10 days into the 2022-23 men's college basketball season -- so what better time for overreactions and sweeping assessments about teams?
The first week featured a surprising number of upsets, while the past few days have offered a few more marquee matchups between potential March difference-makers. Sure, it's still too early to truly gauge teams and players, but there are certainly trends and narratives worth monitoring moving forward -- and whether they have staying power over the course of a season.
When I did this column a year ago, I identified the early signs of Oscar Tshiebwe's dominance at Kentucky and Andrew Nembhard's importance to Gonzaga ... but hints of Coleman Hawkins breaking out for Illinois and Florida's defense making it a factor in the SEC were wide off the mark, in retrospect.
Here are the trends to keep an eye on after 1½ weeks of college basketball.
Michigan State's Mady Sissoko is this season's breakout star
What's going on?
A top-50 recruit coming out of high school, Sissoko barely played a role during his first two seasons in East Lansing. He played double-digit minutes just five times in the first 55 games of his career, totaling 60 points in those games. But Tom Izzo and the Spartans needed him this season, and he has stepped up dramatically. He had just four points and six boards in the opener against Northern Arizona, but against two of the best big men college basketball has to offer -- Gonzaga's Drew Timme followed by Tshiebwe -- Sissoko held his own.
Will it last?
Sissoko went toe-to-toe with Timme in the first half of last week's game before Timme got going and Sissoko went to the bench with foul trouble. But he still finished with 14 points and nine boards. Then during Tuesday's Champions Classic double-overtime game against Kentucky, Sissoko made winning plays throughout the 50 minutes of action -- finishing with 16 points and eight rebounds, and seeing Tshiebwe foul out. He's getting to the free throw line, finishing lobs at the rim and running the floor effectively. He's a huge part of the reason Michigan State looks like it will exceed expectations this season.
What they're saying