College basketball has returned. There are more than 250 college basketball games this weekend, and no one has time to watch them all. So here are the five must-watch games on opening weekend:
No. 10 Arizona vs. No. 12 Michigan State - Hawaii
No. 11 Indiana vs. No. 3 Kansas - Hawaii
Tom Crean's squad is looking to defend its Big Ten regular-season championship with the help of a number of returning players, including All-Big Ten preseason team selection Thomas Bryant, who decided to delay his departure to the NBA for another year in Bloomington. While the Hoosiers will miss four-year-starter Yogi Ferrell, his fast-paced, 3-point-happy style of play remains with Indiana this season.
For Kansas, it's a changing of the guard. Last year's senior-laden roster has been replaced by extremely exciting freshmen in not only Jackson but also highly touted big man Udoka Azubuike. The few veterans who remain in Mason and forward Landon Lucas will be responsible for making sure that transition happens as smoothly as possible. In this matchup, don't change the channel or you could miss a ton of scoring.
Stephen F. Austin vs. No. 2 Kentucky
On the other side is a very accomplished Stephen F. Austin team coming off three straight seasons with 28 or more victories, as well as three straight trips to the NCAA tournament and two March Madness victories. But this year's Lumberjacks will look much different, with the departure of head coach Brad Underwood as well as last year's three leading scorers looming large. Will new head man Kyle Keller be able to keep the momentum going in Nacogdoches? A win against Calipari's Wildcats certainly wouldn't hurt.
Chattanooga at No. 6 North Carolina
Roy Williams' Tar Heels don't lack experience either, with an astounding nine upperclassmen on this year's team. Other than the departure of Marcus Paige, North Carolina has retained many of the weapons from last year's national championship runner-up roster, highlighted by All-ACC preseason team nominees Joel Berry II and Justin Jackson. The Dean E. Smith Center will be rocking Sunday evening, but the Chattanooga Scrappy Mocs will have their eyes set on an early upset.
Long Beach State at Wichita State
Long Beach State is another mid-major team that fans should keep on their radar when March rolls around. The preseason favorite out of the Big West Conference, the 49ers are led by junior point guard Justin Bibbins, who dished out the third most assists in a single season in school history a year ago. Head coach Dan Monson returns three starters from a 20-win team that earned an NIT bid last season. This game will be just a part of Long Beach State's treacherous opening month, which includes road trips to No. 6 North Carolina, No. 13 Louisville, No. 16 UCLA, Washington and No. 3 Kansas. To say it will be battle-tested by the end of the season is an understatement.