There were no marquee matchups between top 25 teams on college basketball's opening day, but there were plenty of major storylines and some drama to follow as a new season tipped on Monday. One of the night's most-fascinating matchups came at Cameron Indoor Stadium, where No. 7 Duke faced -- and handled -- some adversity in in its first game since the retirement of legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski.
The Blue Devils started slow with their top two freshmen out but ultimately cruised to a 71-44 win over Jacksonville in Jon Scheyer's head coaching debut. With No. 2 overall prospect Dereck Lively and No. 3 overall prospect Dariq Whitehead sidelined due to injury, it was a slightly less-heralded freshman, Mark Mitchell, who paced Duke with 18 points.
Junior point guard Jeremy Roach, the program's lone returning rotation player from last season's Final Four squad, added 16 points, six rebounds and four assists while freshman big man Kyle Filipowski contributed 10 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks. Mitchell and Filipowski were five-star prospects in their own right and looked the part while fellow freshman Tyrese Proctor struggled in his debut.
Duke led just 25-21 with five minutes left in the first half against a Jacksonville squad picked to finish second in the Atlantic Sun, but the Blue Devils closed the half on a 14-2 run to seize control and never looked back. Fellow blue bloods No. 4 Kentucky and No. 16 Villanova also overcame the absences of key players to post double-digit wins on opening night.
The Wildcats outlasted Howard 95-63 with reigning national player of the year Oscar Tshiebwe, veteran point guard Sahvir Wheeler and sophomore rotation player Daimion Collins all out. Villanova cruised past La Salle 81-68 in coach Kyle Neptune's debut despite being without key freshman Cam Whitmore and veteran stalwart Justin Moore, who is expected to miss the season's first several weeks.
Things were a bit more tense for a couple other ranked squads on opening night. No. 14 TCU trailed Arkansas-Pine Bluff by 11 at halftime before rallying and withstanding a buzzer-beater attempt for a 73-72 win over a SWAC foe that won just seven games last season. Though the Horned Frogs avoided disaster, their performance was nonetheless concerning against a low-major program that entered just 15-71 over the past three seasons.
No. 9 Creighton also struggled in surprising fashion before closing on a 16-3 run for a 72-60 win over St. Thomas program beginning its second season at the Division I level. The Blue Jays hit just 8 of 34 attempts from 3-point range but got a pair of clutch outside makes from South Dakota State transfer Baylor Scheierman to spark their late run.
There were upsets outside of the Top 25, however. Stetson defeated Florida State 83-74 as the Hatters snapped an 18-game losing streak to the Seminoles. FSU hadn't lost at home to Stetson since 1953.
In another upset, Sam Houston sophomore Lamar Wilkerson buried his fifth 3-pointer of the game with four seconds remaining to give the Bearkats a 52-51 victory vs. Oklahoma.
No. 5 Baylor 117, Mississippi Valley State 53 -- Recap
No. 4 Kentucky 95, Howard 63 -- Recap
No. 22 Michigan 75, PFW 66 -- Recap
No. 16 Villanova 81, La Salle 68 -- Recap
No. 7 Duke 71, Jacksonville 44 -- Recap
No. 13 Indiana 88, Morehead State 53 -- Recap
No. 11 Tennessee 75, Tennessee Tech 43 -- Recap
No. 15 Auburn 70, George Mason 52 -- Recap
No. 3 Houston 83, Northern Colorado 36 -- Recap
No. 10 Arkansas 76, North Dakota State 58 -- Recap
Memphis 76, Vanderbilt 67 -- Recap
No.5 Kansas 89, Omaha 64 -- Recap
No. 9 Creighton 72, St. Thomas 60 -- Recap
No. 1 North Carolina 69, UNC-Wilmington 56 -- Recap
No. 2 Gonzaga 104, North Florida 63 -- Recap
No. 12 Texas 72, UTEP 57 -- Recap
Check out the entire opening night scoreboard