EVANSVILLE, In. — The 2018-19 season is still close to six months away, but with each passing day, college basketball gets a little bit closer.
On Wednesday, the excitement continued to build for the Evansville Purple Aces, as they released their non-conference schedule for the upcoming season. The North Carolina Tar Heels were the first team to release their full non-conference slate back in mid-April.
CANMORE, Alta. — Coming into the week, the UT Martin Skyhawks had just one win to their name in 2017-18, and they were looking to get back on the right track before taking five days off from game action for exams.
Fortunately for the Skyhawks, junior forward Fatodd Lewis had a pair of big performances in his back pocket to lead the attack and get the team heading in the right direction.
In their win over the North Carolina Central Eagles back on November 15th, Lewis recorded his first career double-double, going for 15 points and 11 rebounds in the Skyhawks’ 74-57 win at home.
Fast forward to this week, and the Skyhawks were still sitting on that lone win. After the past week, a pair of games that saw Lewis stuff the stat sheet on back-to-back occasions, UT Martin has now won two straight games, and are undefeated this season when Lewis records at least a double-double.
So far in 2016-17, the Sun Belt has lived up to its #FunBelt slogan on social media, as it sure has been fun.
In non-conference play, several teams had the look of a top contender in the race for a spot in the NCAA Tournament. After a slow start, the UT-Arlington Mavericks look like the team to beat, while the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers are picking up steam at the right time.
Another team who caught the attention of fans everywhere, including us, is the Arkansas State Red Wolves. A road win over the Georgetown Hoyas highlighted a strong start to their season.
On Monday, the Red Wolves were looking to bounce back after a loss over the weekend in conference action. They went on the road to take on the Appalachian State Mountaineers, a team who was looking for their first Sun Belt win of the year.
The Mountaineers were looking to make a statement, and they came out of the gates on fire. The home side opened the game on a 12-0 run to get the home crowd into the game early.
While Arkansas State would fight back, and the game would be tight right to the final few minutes, the Mountaineers wouldn’t let the game slip away.
Players aren’t the only ones who make their debuts in college basketball each November.
Each season, there are several first time head coaches who realize their dreams of becoming a head coach at the Division I level. Many have paid their dues, whether it be as an assistant coach in the NCAA, or as a head coach at a smaller institution. The journeys are undoubtedly long, but well worth it in the end, when they see the title of ‘Head Men’s Basketball Coach’ after their name.
The start of the 2016-17 season was no exception.
In total, there are 29 coaches across the country who are first-time head coaches in Division I this season. Some have been assistants at larger programs in the country, while others have been head coaches in the junior college ranks.
Regardless of where they came from, they are now head coaches at the top level of collegiate basketball.
The transition hasn’t been easy for every coach, as only nine of the 29 first-time coaches have a winning record through the first five weeks of the year.
Ever since the 2016-17 season has tipped off, the Arkansas State Red Wolves have been on quite the roll.
After a season-opening loss to the North Dakota State Bison, the Red Wolves reeled off a seven-game winning streak, a stretch that included wins over the Georgetown Hoyas and the Chattanooga Mocs. A loss to the TCU Horned Frogs put an end to the winning streak, but the Red Wolves wouldn’t be down for long.
Over the past week, Arkansas State put together another impressive showing in their two road contests.
It was also a big week on an individual level for senior guard Devin Carter, as he etched his name into the all-time record books at Arkansas State.
Carter now holds the school record for most three pointers made in a game, as he hit 10 from long distance in the first game of the week for the Red Wolves. He would follow that up with another strong performance in Friday’s game, completing an impressive two-game stretch for the native of Champaign, IL.
For his efforts over the past seven days, Arkansas State guard Devin Carter was tabbed the College Court Report Fan-Voted Player of the Week for December 12 – 18, 2016.