- Elite 8 Recap March 26, 2017 College Pride Press
And…..we are down to 4. If you guessed these 4 teams would be headed to Phoenix you are lying. The Elite 8 games provided us with a mixed bag of good games and blowouts as has been the theme of this NCAA Tournament. Here is a recap of each game and my thoughts on the game.
#1 Gonzaga Beats #11 Xavier
Final Score: 83-59
Headline: Xavier’s Magical Run Comes to an End.
MVP: Nigel Williams-Goss (23 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists)
Xavier’s magical tournament run comes to an end in the Elite 8 as they ran into a buzzsaw. Gonzaga has gone deep into the tournament a number of times on Saturday they played like they were not going to get denied. Gonzaga punched their first ever ticket to the Final Four. Nigel Williams-Goss has been spectacular all season and he was the key setting up the Zags for open shots early. Gonzaga knocked down 12 three pointers at a 50% rate (12/24). They were hitting shots early and often. I tweeted out “Gonzaga is hitting shots. Look out.” early in the first half. Gonzaga only got a combined 11 points from big men Pzemek Karnowski and Zach Collins but it did not matter. Xavier focused on stopping the Gonzaga front court and it led to wide open looks for their guards. Mark Few finally gets his team to the Final Four with a legitimate shot of winning it all.
#3 Oregon Outlasts #1 Kansas
Final Score: 74-60
Headline: Kansas Shoots Their Way to an Elite 8 Exit
MVP: Jordan Bell (11 points, 13 rebounds, 8 blocks, 4 assists)
Another Elite 8 appearance, another Elite 8 exit for the Kansas Jayhawks. The Jayhawks looked unstoppable in their first three games in the tournament but Saturday was not their night. Kansas made just 20% of their deep shots and their offense just couldn’t get going. Jordan Bell was the difference in this game. Once the Jayhawk deep shots were missing they drove to the rim where they were met by Jordan Bell. Bell blocked 8 shots but was involved every time the ball came into the paint. Dillon Brooks is an All-American level player, but Tyler Dorsey has played better than him in their four tournament games. Dorsey pumped in 27 points with some clutch deep shots to not allow Kansas back into the game. Oregon has so many talented players and arguably the tournament’s best player in Tyler Dorsey. Ducks are flying to Phoenix!
#7 South Carolina Advances Past #4 Florida
Final Score: 77-70
Headline: South Carolina Wins the East Region
MVP: Sindarius Thornwell (26 points, 7 rebounds)
The east region was tough for many brackets as they had to choose between Villanova and Duke. Well South Carolina ended up winning the region after a great performance against Florida. Florida was coming off an emotional win over Wisconsin but South Carolina just played their game like they have all tournament. They played great defense and held their opponent to 70 points. Sindarius Thornwell played like the leader he has been all tournament. He poured in 26 points and PJ Dozier added 17 of his own to help the cause. Frank Martin’s team may be the lowest seed in the tournament, but they are legit and are hotter than any team in the tourney.
#1 North Carolina Beats #2 Kentucky
Final Score: 75-73
Headline: Luke Maye Saves the Day
MVP: Luke Maye (17 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists)
Kentucky fans had their heart ripped out by Luke Maye. Justin Jackson missed the front end of a 1 and 1 giving Kentucky a chance only down 3 points. Malik Monk did Malik Monk things and drained a three to tie it. Roy Williams left his timeouts in his pocket and let his guys play. A Theo Pinson drive lead to a pass to a wide open Luke Maye for a midrange jumper with only .3 seconds left. Maye was huge with 17 points. Maye is usually a big man who gives the Tar Heels spot minutes. He averages 5.5 points a game. Maye had 3 games with double digit points in the regular season. He has 3 such games in the NCAA Tournament. He has really stepped up when the lights are bright. North Carolina dealt with more Joel Berry ankle injuries in this game. They need him to get that ankle as healthy as possible before the Final Four begins on Saturday.
- Sweet 16 Recap: Friday March 25 March 25, 2017 College Pride Press
Two great games and two lopsided games to bring us to 8 teams. The games today were not as exciting as last night’s games but still provided plenty of storylines and entertainment.
#7 South Carolina Destroys #3 Baylor
Final Score: 70-50
Headline: What in tarnation?
MVP: Sindarius Thornwell (24 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks, 2 steals)
What in tarnation? South Carolina did not beat Baylor, they destroyed the Bears in all aspects of the game. Sindarius Thornwell did Sindarius Thornwell things with his all around game. He had twice as many points as the second leading scorer for the Gamecocks. South Carolina allowed Jonathan Motley to score getting 18 points but no other Baylor player achieved double digits in the scoring column. This was a blowout at halftime and South Carolina did not let up in the second half. Frank Martin’s team is playing exceptionally and will look to continue their hot streak with a chance to go to the Final Four on Sunday.
#1 UNC Beats #4 Butler
Final Score: 92-80
Headline: UNC Does UNC Things
MVP: Joel Berry (26 points, 2 assists)
The score does not do this game justice. UNC was ahead by more than 15 for most of the game before Butler made a late run when the game was no longer in doubt. Looking at the stats shows this to be an average North Carolina game. They knocked down a decent amount of deep shots at an average rate of 35%, they out rebounded their opponent, and Joel Berry filled it up. Happy to see the Tar Heel point guard back to being healthy after dealing with an ankle injury last weekend. The Tar Heels played their game and that formula punched their ticket to the Elite 8. They will play Kentucky for a chance to go to the Final Four.
#2 Kentucky Beats #3 UCLA
Final Score: 86-75
Headline: De’Aaron Fox > Lonzo Ball
MVP: De’Aaron Fox (39 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists)
De’Aaron Fox was sick of your “Lonzo Ball is amazing” takes. He put on a show in Memphis with 39 points. Kentucky held UCLA to 75 points which is an accomplishment given what the Bruins have done this season on the offensive end of the floor. Once Thomas Welsh got into foul trouble it seemed to go downhill as the other UCLA bigs struggled to keep protect the rim and keep Derek Willis off the glass. Fox and Monk carried the bulk of the scoring combing for 60 points while Dominque Hawkins came off the bench to pour in 11 points. UCLA did not have the giddy up in the second half to get on a run and Kentucky stayed in control of the game. The Bruins looked defeated well before the game was decided. Kentucky will go on to face fellow blue blood North Carolina in another rematch of a non conference game that Kentucky won earlier this season.
#4 Florida Outlasts #8 Wisconsin
Final Score: 84-83 OT
Headline: Game of the Tournament!
MVP: Chris Chiozza (8 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds)
This was the best game of the NCAA Tournament thus far. Two great teams going back and forth and needing the extra five minutes to decide the winner. Both teams fought through adversity with foul trouble and Wisconsin’s Bronson Koenig played injured in the last 6 minutes of the game. Zak Showalter stepped up and made a ridiculous three pointer in the closing seconds of the game to tie it up and force overtime. Wisconsin had a chance to put the game away with a breakaway layup but Canyon Berry came out of nowhere for a season saving block which led to an easy layup for Florida to tie the game. Nigel Hayes than found his way at the line and knocked down both his free throws with only 4 seconds left. Chris Chiozza did not want to see Zak Showalter’s shot on a loop for the next 2 weeks so he topped him by going the length of the court in 4 seconds and drained a running three pointer at the buzzer to get the win and advance to the Elite 8. As great as Chiozza’s shot was, the Gators wouldn’t have been in any position to win if it wasn’t for KeVaughn Allen’s 35 points. He has broken out of his shooting slump and did so in a big way to propel the Gators to the Elite 8. He carried their offense at times and kept them within striking distance.
- Sweet 16 Recap: Thursday March 24 March 24, 2017 College Pride Press
What a crazy day in college basketball. The four games provided us with some close finishes, one blowout, and one huge upset. If you weren’t able to watch all of the games just keep on scrolling because we are going to recap them for you right here.
#11 Xavier over #2 Arizona
Final Score: 73-71
Headline: Who is Ed Sumner?
MVP: Trevon Bluiett 25 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists
Let’s start it off with a bang. The team that seemed to be done after losing star point guard Ed Sumner to a season ending injury is going to the Elite 8. Chris Mack has done a tremendous job and getting past the red hot Wildcats was no easy task. Bluiett might be the MVP on the offensive side but Kaiser Gates and Sean O’Mara were the studs on the defensive end holding star freshman Lauri Markkanen to only 9 points. Bluiett was huge for Xavier handling the ball and providing the team with a third of its points. He needs to continue to play like this if Xavier has aspirations of advancing farther. The Musketeers will face Gonzaga for the chance to go to the Final Four. It would be a phenomenal story if Xavier can pull off another upset.
#1 Kansas over #4 Purdue
Final Score: 98-66
Headline: The Kansas guards are good at basketball
MVP: Frank Mason 26 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists
I am an IU fan but I felt bad for Purdue. IU went through the same thing last year with a UNC team that was clearly on their way to the championship game. Kansas has that feeling to them this year. Those guards they have a pretty good at basketball with both Mason and Graham scoring 26 points a piece. Bill Self is a great coach and drew up a defense to slow down Caleb Swanigan. Landen Lucas, Dwight Coleby, and Carlton Bragg all helped the cause guarding Swanigan in the post. Kansas was too much for the Boilermakers to handle on defense. The dynamic duo of point guards scored and distributed while Josh Jackson crashed the glass and ran in transition. Kansas will play Oregon on Saturday and these teams matchup perfectly together.
#3 Oregon Beats #7 Michigan
Final Score: 69-68 (nice)
Headline: Michigan’s Magical Run Comes to an End.
MVP: Jordan Bell 16 points, 13 rebounds, 2 blocks
Michigan’s magical run from the Big Ten Tourney ends in Kansas City with a loss in the Sweet 16. Derrick Walton had an open jumper in the last possession but could not get it to fall. Oregon’s three point defense is the reason they won this game as they held Michigan to 35% from deep. Jordan Bell was massive in this game for the Ducks. He had 16 points and 13 rebounds, including two big offensive rebounds down the stretch. Bell has stepped up big time to replace Chris Boucher and did so honorably tonight. His offense was great but his defense was even better as he held Mo Wagner to only 7 points. I stated that Bell’s defense on Wagner would be the difference and it was crucial. I cannot talk about this game without mentioning Tyler Dorsey who poured in 20 points. While all eyes were on All-American Dillon Brooks, Dorsey had open looks and easy driving lanes. Dorsey has played his way to being Brooks’s sidekick in this tournament.
#1 Gonzaga over #4 West Virginia
Final Score: 61-58
Headline: Late Game Offense Costs West Virginia
MVP: Jordan Matthews 13 points, 3 rebounds
West Virginia had Gonzaga right where they wanted them until they needed to score in their half court offense. West Virginia held Gonzaga to 61 points and turned them over 16 times. That was exactly how Bob Huggins drew it up…except for the end. One disastrous possession costed them a shot at the Elite 8 and possibly the Final Four. Gonzaga endured the pain that is Press Virginia and used a balance scoring attack to overcome it. The Zags had 3 players score 13 points and that was the team high. Jordan Matthews is the MVP because he made 3 of Gonzaga’s 4 made deep shots. His shooting was crucial to stretch the floor and provide some scoring in such a low scoring game. The Bulldogs survived and advanced and will play Cinderella Xavier in the Elite 8. Hopefully that game will be a little bit more up and down pace.
Check back tomorrow for game recaps for the rest of the Sweet 16 games.
- Sweet 16 Preview: #3 Baylor vs. #7 South Carolina March 22, 2017 College Pride Press
#3 Baylor vs. #7 South Carolina
Storyline: I picked Duke to win this game
Real Storyline: South Carolina is legit with Sindarius Thornwell
Wow! In the upset of the weekend South Carolina knocked off one of the title favorites in the Duke Blue Devils. The team that was pegged to go undefeated and then pegged to be “back” at least 10 times didn’t make it to the second weekend. This will be one of the least talked about games because so many brackets had Duke in this game and winning it. Don’t be that person and talk about this game because these are two legit teams.
If you have not heard of senior guard Sindarius Thornwell, you should keep reading this because the senior guard is very talented. He was suspended for 6 games early in the season that costed his team 3 wins. South Carolina was undefeated in games that Thornwell played in until a late January loss to Kentucky. South Carolina relies heavily on Thornwell and high school All-American PJ Dozier. The Gamecocks are known for their defense ranking 4th in KenPom’s defensive efficiency stat. Looking back at the stats for the Duke game, some of the stats don’t line up for me. South Carolina scored 88 points by shooting only 32% from deep. They also gave up 81 points which is high for a top ranked defense. They will want to play an up tempo game to tire out the Baylor bigs.
Baylor has had a roller coaster season from being ranked number one in a number of polls for a few weeks. Down the stretch, they suffered losses to Texas Tech and two losses to Kansas State. The Bears then returned to form beating both New Mexico State and USC to advance to the Sweet 16. Jonathan Motley and Manu Lecomte struggled at times through the first weekend with Motley struggling with foul trouble and Lecomte only making one deep shot in two games.
Picking this game is such a toss-up for me. South Carolina just beat a title favorite without a top notch game from PJ Dozier. They are also much closer to home at Madison Square Garden. Baylor beat two double digit seeds to advance to the Sweet 16 but they have the talent and quality wins that South Carolina doesn’t. Ultimately, I am giving the nod to Baylor due to their size and Manu Lecomte’s track record. Duke was a perimeter oriented team which matched up perfectly with South Carolina’s strengths. Baylor has multiple post players that can exploit the interior weakness. Look for Jonathan Motley to have a 20-10 double double with Manu Lecomte knocked down a few triples late to push them over the edge.
Prediction: Baylor 72, South Carolina 69
- Sweet 16 Preview: #1 Gonzaga vs. #4 West Virginia March 21, 2017 College Pride Press
#1 Gonzaga vs. #4 West Virginia
Storyline: West Virginia’s press vs. Gonzaga’s bigs
This is one matchup that involves team’s that want to play very different styles. West Virginia is going to press the Zags for 40 mins with hopes of getting turnovers and easy buckets. Gonzaga wants to play fast, but they also want to get the ball to bigs Karnowski and Collins. West Virginia will need big man Esa Ahmad to step up in order to slow down the Gonzaga bigs and force them into turning it over. Karnowski and Collins are very skilled but if they are forced to handle the ball more due to the press that could be trouble for Mark Few’s team. The flip side of that is that if Collins and Karnowski can get the ball in the post, they are unstoppable and both are great passers making it tough on any defense. Other than Jarrett Allen, the Big-12 lacked quality post players this season. Both these teams are unfamiliar with the personnel type and style of play this season.
I am predicting Gonzaga will win this one for three main reasons. First off, the Zags have all week to prepare for this game. West Virginia is at its best in the tourney when teams have one or two days to prepare to face the press and stout defense. Gonzaga will have a week of practice to prepare for the press. Second off, Nigel Williams-Goss is a player maker and has had a phenomenal year. He is the main piece of that press break and will protect the ball. Finally, Gonzaga only has a short trip to San Jose to play. West Virginia has to fly across the country for the Thursday night game. That limits preparation time and could effect players with the long trip and time change. West Virginia would overcome a lot to win this game but Bob Huggins and his style of play gives them a chance in any game.
Prediction: Gonzaga 68, West Virginia 58
- NCAA Tournament Preview: #6 Cincinnati vs. #11 Kansas State March 15, 2017 Nick Schwartz
#6 Cincinnati vs. #11 Kansas State
7:27 PM ET, truTV
Cincinnati Bearcats 29-5 (16-2)
Player to Watch: F Gary Clark
The six foot, eight inch Clark has been a staple for the Bearcats his entire career. A former conference defensive player of the year (15-16), Clark is a shot blocking expert who can also defend on the perimeter. He may be only the third top scorer on the team (10.7 PPG), but he’s also the teams top man on the glass and averages 7.8 a game. When other options, such as Troy Caupain or Kyle Washington are struggling on the offensive end, Clark has shown the ability to carry the load; he had 25 points in the AAC semifinal against UConn, and went 15-16 from the line in that same contest. When combined with his status as one of the top defenders in the country, his consistent offensive production and rebounding tenacity makes Clark the key cog for Mick Cronin’s team.
X-Factor: Having more Depth
Kansas State only plays about seven players. With the aggressive style Cincy plays, they often grind teams into the ground with their physicality. Beating them without having a spectacular day requires being able to withstand their tenacity, something most teams can’t do. Cincy, on the other hand, plays as many as nine guys, meaning as long as foul trouble is not an issue, they can wear down opponents while remaining fresh. Their style of play is designed to tire other teams out; they play at a slow tempo, a result of their defensive efficiency, but also force teams to defend for the entire shot clock when they have the ball. Kansas State also has to now fly across the country (from Dayton to Sacramento) and play this physical team in just three days. Cincy’s advantage in depth over the Wildcats could mean they can grind K-State down slowly, and get a typical, physical, win.
Kansas State Wildcats 21-13 (8-10)
Player to Watch: F Wesley Iwundu
Iwundu finished the regular season averaging 12.5 points a game, but set a career high with 24 points in the win over Wake Forest. The wing is firing on all cylinders, hitting 11-13 from the line against the Deacons while adding 6 boards and 7 assists. A senior, Iwundu has been a four-year starter and is the leader of the Wildcats. He’s a matchup nightmare on offense, being able to take his man off the dribble and knock down shots from behind the line. He’s both the leading scorer and rebounder for Coach Bruce Weber. His matchup very likely will be Gary Clark, and the battle between the two forwards could go a long way in deciding if the Wildcats can build off their First Four victory.
X-Factor: Defensive Rebounding
Kansas State averages less rebounds than their opponents. The Bearcats, on the other hand, outrebound their opponents by roughly 5 a game. K-State gives up an average of 11 offensive boards a game. Against Cincy, that is a recipe for disaster. The Bearcats grab upwards of 12 offensive rebounds a contest, and have guards that are willing to crash the offensive glass. Kansas State is not going to have many chances to get in transition against the slowly-paced Bearcats; they have to finish possessions with a defensive rebound or they will get completely worn down by the more physical Bearcats on that side of the floor. The Wildcats will be grinded into dust if they allow the Bearcats to romp across the offensive glass.
Matchup to Watch
The most important matchup will be between Clark and Iwundu. However, outside of the two forwards, another critical matchup will be between big men D.J. Johnson and Kyle Washington. Johnson is a stellar big, and at six foot nine has the size to compete with Cincy’s top post presence in Washington. Johnson is also a competent post scorer, and Washington has struggled with foul trouble in the past. However, when he’s in, he’s arguably the top offensive weapon for Mick Cronin’s unit. He is a stellar shooter from deep, and can score from the paint. The battle between Washington and Johnson, not only in the scoring category but on the glass, could define this game.
This was already touched on, but rebounding will be the key to this game. Kansas State is a below average rebounding team, and they’re playing a squad that physically competes for every inch on the glass. The Wildcats will have to outshine their usual performance on the boards. When considering how difficult it will be for the Wildcats to put up points when they have the ball, securing defensive rebounds will be paramount.
If you’re looking for a 6-11 upset, this may not be the best one to pick. Cincy’s style matches up well with Kansas State, and generating momentum while staying rejuvenated will be a major challenge for K-State. Behind the hot hand of Iwundu, the Wildcats should keep the game from getting out of hand, but it’s unlikely they pull off the upset. Cincinnati 68, Kansas State 58.
Cincinnati Basketball: http://www.ucrallycats.com/mens-basketball/
Gary Clark: https://cincyontheprowl.com/2014/11/25/cincinnati-bearcats-v-nc-central-eagles-tipoff-time-media-info-game-notes/
Wesley Iwundu: http://www.zimbio.com/photos/Wesley+Iwundu/Barclays+Center+Classic/1ASu8dsm4yN
Kyle Washington: https://www.fanragsports.com/cbb/fresh-start-at-cincinnati-has-kyle-washington-thriving/
- NCAA Tournament Preview: #3 Baylor Bears vs. #14 New Mexico State Aggies March 13, 2017 College Pride Press
#3 Baylor Bears vs #14 New Mexico State Aggies
12:40 ET, TRU TV
Baylor Bears 25-7, (12-6)
Player to Watch: Johnathan Motley (17.3 PPG 9.9 RPG)
Johnathan Motley has been the Bears best player on the Bears leading the team in scoring and rebounding and is a Top-15 finalist for National Player of the year. Motley has the size and athleticism to score at will against this undersized Aggies team.
X Factor: Size
This Bears have been lead by their size and athleticism all season long and it has been especially helpful on the defensive end where the Bears were the leaders in fewest point allowed per game in the Big 12 with 62.7. With their length and athleticism it will be able to outrebound the Aggies and create havoc to inside scoring of the Aggies as they are the Big 12 leaders in blocks.
New Mexico State Aggies 28-5, (11-3)
Player to Watch: Ian Baker (16.6 PPG 4.3 RPG 4.1 APG)
Ian Baker is the unquestioned leader of the Aggies having played in the NCAA Tournament twice before, he also won the Player of the year in the WAC. Baker is able to get his teammates involved while being able to lead the team in scoring.
X Factor: Three point Shooting
The Bears are known for their zone defense and not allowing teams to score inside the paint meaning teams generally will have to make threes to beat the Bears. Generally this is not a strength for the Aggies as they are averaging only 33 percent from beyond the arc. If they are going to pull off the upset they must improve that and make shots from deep.
Match-Up to Watch: Manu Lecomte vs. Ian Baker
This is a matchup of the two point guards, both have been huge contributors and have made big shots for their teams. Both have been relied upon to create shots for others and for themselves and both are close to an assist to turnover ratio of 2 to 1. This will
be a fun matchup inside this game if you are looking for a matchup of two very good point guards.
Key Stat: Baylor’s Rebounding
Last year Baylor was asked “How did Yale Outrebound Baylor?” This year the Bears went out and proved that they were an elite rebounding team as they finished 4th in the NCAA in rebounding margin. If they can continue to win the rebound battle they will hold a mostly bad shooting teams to one shot per possession they should be able to win this game pretty comfortably.
Prediction: Baylor Bears 69, New Mexico State Aggies 46
The Bears are known for choking in the NCAA Tournament in recent years as they lost in 2015 to Georgia State and last year to Yale, but this year that trend will end. Look for the Bears to control this game from start to finish and win this game comfortably.
- NCAA Tournament Preview: #5 Iowa State vs #12 Nevada March 13, 2017 College Pride Press
#5 Iowa State vs #12 Nevada
Player to Watch: Monte Morris
If I could pick one point guard for the NCAA Tournament I would pick Frank Mason and then Monte Morris. Morris has been incredible this season averaging 16 points, 5 rebounds, and 6 assists. Georges Niang may have graduated but Morris keeps the Cyclones at the top of the Big-12. Morris has the experience as a senior who has played significant minutes in the Cyclones’ last three tournament runs. Look for Morris to lead the way.
X Factor: Rebounding
Iowa State is very heavily backcourt laden team. Morris is joined by Naz Long and Matt Thomas in the backcourt. Even combo guard-forward Deonte Burton only checks in at 6’4″. The Cyclones like to play small and fast but it really hurts them on the glass. They struggle on both the offensive and defensive glass. If Iowa State cannot secure the defensive rebound, Nevada will have plenty of extra possessions.
Player to Watch: Marcus Marshall
When in doubt, look for the senior guard that can fill it up as a potential player to go off. Marshall averaged 19.8 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 3.6 assists. The Missouri State transfer has 3 years of experience under his belt and can really score the ball. That is the combination for success in the NCAA Tournament. If Nevada wants to keep up with Iowa State’s potent scoring attack, they will need Marshall to have a good day.
X Factor: Defensive Scheme
Nevada must find a way to slow down Iowa State and Monte Morris. They have used a number of defensive schemes using man to man and a number of different zones. They will need to throw the kitchen sink at Morris to get that offense off track and keep the Cyclones from getting in a groove.
Match-Up to Watch: Iowa State Bigs vs. Cameron Oliver
This will be an interesting matchup to see Nevada’s Cam Oliver against Iowa State’s variety of big men. Oliver averages 15.8 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. The 6’8″ forward will be one of the most skilled bigs that Iowa State has faced this year. The Cyclones rotate three players through that center position and they are going to be tasked with stopping big Cameron Oliver.
Key Stat: Iowa State’s 3-Point Percentage
Iowa State ranks 11th in the country knocking down over 40% of their deep looks. Nevada ranks 15th in only allowing opponents to shoot 30% from deep. If Nevada can win this battle they will be in very good shape for an upset. If Iowa State wins this battle they can win by double digits.
Prediction: Iowa State 74, Nevada 71
This will be a very close game right until the end but I think Monte Morris will hit a big shot to clinch it for the Cyclones. Deonte Burton is a matchup nightmare for Nevada and they will not be able to keep him out of the paint.
- NCAA Tournament Preview: #4 West Virginia Mountaineers Vs #13 Bucknell Bison March 13, 2017 Peter Bedrosian
#4 West Virginia vs #13 Bucknell
2:45 ET, CBS
Player to Watch: (stats)
As always Bob Huggins has assembled a mean defense that is the best in the country at getting steals with just over 10 a game. That defense along with Junior Jevon Carter, who has improved in every statistical category since last year, and youngster Esa Ahmad who is second on the team in scoring and shooting just under 50 percent from the field, will be a hard team to beat.
This team has to force turnovers to win. Although averaging just over 10 steals per game this year, they have only hit that mark once in their 8 losses this year, and it came against #2 Kansas. Reaching their season average and pressuring the ball is almost a guaranteed win for this group. The Mountaineers lead the nation in opposing turnover rate and will need to utilize that to overpower a smaller, less athletic group from Bucknell that has most likely never seen a full court press like this one.
Player to Watch: (stats)
The Bison are led by two Junior bigmen in Zach Thomas and Nana Foulland. This frontcourt averages 31 points and 15 rebounds a game which makes them a scary duo no matter what conference they play in. They are slightly undersized, but the Mountaineers don’t have any giants on their team which could be an interesting matchup in this game.
Take care of the ball. Easier said than done against the one of the best defenses in the country but this team averages 13 turnovers every game which is certainly not among the best in the nation. The Bison backcourt has been much better at protecting the ball than their bigs, but they will be harassed before they reach half court all night and will need to stay calm and get into their offense if they want a chance to win. Secondly, they will need big nights from their aforementioned leading scorers. Not only in points and rebounds, but assist to turnover ratio is the most important for these two as they average a combined 5 turnovers a game.
Match-Up to Watch
The Bison bigmen vs. West Virginia’s defense. The Mountaineers will no doubt trap their opponents best players and if that frontcourt can produce more assists than turnovers they might have a chance.
Turnover margin. As mentioned previously, West Virginia is almost an automatic lock if they get at least 10 steals. Often in games where they failed to reach this mark they coughed the ball up too much and since Bucknell averages a solid seven steals a game themselves, the Mountaineers will need to play to their strength to win this game.
Prediction: West Virginia (86), Bucknell (72)
Bucknell has the ability to stay in this game for a decent amount of time if they can find a way to break the Mountaineers press. But unless they play a near perfect game they can’t avoid the turnovers forever against a team like this. West Virginia will power through in the second half and finish with an easy first round victory.
- NCAA Tournament Preview: #7 Michigan vs #10 Oklahoma State Cowboys March 13, 2017 Zach Pretzer
#7 Michigan Wolverines vs #10 Oklahoma State
#7 Michigan Wolverines (23-11 Overall, 10-8 in Big Ten) Big Ten Tourney Champs
Player to Watch: Derrick Walton
Derrick Walton is a senior for Michigan with the heart of a champion. Michigan will need to rely on their seniors for a win vs Oklahoma State and for a push in the NCAA Tournament. Derrick Walton is averaging 15 points, 4.7 boards, and 4.6 assists per game and is always there for Michigan when they need him to slash to the basket for a bucket.
X Factor- Three Point Shooting
The Wolverines need their shooters to hit at a high percentage because this team cannot get it done all inside, even though it seems like they have a lot of fire power with DJ Wilson and Mo Wagner. Duncan Robinson is Michigan’s best shooter, he has to capitalize on open shots. Also, Derrick Walton has found a stroke from the 3 point line which has to continue.
#10 Oklahoma State (20-12 Overall, 9-9 in Big 12)
Player to Watch- Jawun Evans
Jawun Evans is averaging 19 points, 3.3 boards, and 6.2 assists per game and has been the heart and soul for the Cowboys of Oklahoma State. When they need a bucket they automatically go to him and have trust in him to get the job done.
X Factor- Phil Forte
Phil Forte has to be a leader to get this team where they want to be. If the Cowboys need a clutch shot or a three to go down, Phil has to come through because without him being a factor and not helping Jawun out, this team could be in trouble when it comes to getting a win. This team has so much potential, but Phil and Jawun working together is a must.
Key Match-Up- Zak Irvin vs Phil Forte
Senior vs Senior, there is not much to say about this match up. It comes down to who shows up to play and lead their team.
Prediction: Michigan 68 Oklahoma State 59
Michigan is going to out shoot Oklahoma State in my eyes and that will be the difference, along with a great game from Derrick Walton. However, Juwan Evans will be very difficult to maintain.
- March Preview: Kansas State Wildcats March 12, 2017 College Pride Press
Kansas State was able to sneak into the tournament with their resume building wins over West Virginia and Baylor (2). The Wildcats are not offensively dominated by one player as 5 players are listed as significant offensive contributors on KenPom. The Wildcats tournament success will be based on relying on their defense to hold opponents down. Because the Wildcats rank 28th in KenPom’s defensive efficiency, I am going to focus on the unique microcosms of their defense.
Strength: 2 Point Shooting Defense
Kansas State does a phenomenal job not giving up easy buckets and forcing opponents to take tough shots inside the arc. Opponents are only shooting 44% on shots inside the arc which rank 25th in the country. Dean Wade is a underrated big man who provides some rim protection as well as post defense. Not giving up easy buckets will force any tournament opponent to work hard to score.
Weakness: 3 Point Shooting Defense
This is extremely odd for a top 30 ranked defense but Kansas State allows opponents to shoot almost 40% from deep. This is one of the worst percentages in the country. 3 pointers are the equalizer in NCAA Tournament games so a hot shooter and bad defense could become a slippery slope for the Wildcats and Bruce Weber.
- March Preview: Iowa State Cyclones March 11, 2017 College Pride Press
Kansas and Baylor have been the talk of the Big-12 this season and it is a shame because Iowa State is really good. Everyone discounted the Cyclones after graduating stalwart Georges Niang but Monte Morris and Deonte Burton have done nothing but improve to make up for the loss. I am extremely high on Iowa State this year and believe they can make a nice run in the tournament.
Strength: Monte Morris
This is a slam dunk home run. Monte Morris has gone weeks without committing a turnover and even West Virginia has struggled to get him out of control. Morris has always been allergic to turnovers but his scoring and shot making ability have improved greatly since last year. This year he has shot over 40% from the outside making him unstoppable. If the wheels aren’t turning for the rest of the Cyclones look for Morris to step up and get everyone going with crisp passing and scoring.
Weakness: Fouls and Front Court
The backcourt is the backbone of this team and does a great job defending without fouling. The front court is very thin and struggles keeping their man off the free throw line. This is a two pronged issue as it gives opponents easy opportunities at the foul line and it puts their thin front court in foul trouble. The Cyclones only play three bigs in their rotation and all of them are 6’8″. The Big-12 was not full of talented big men this year with Jarrett Allen being the only true scoring threat. Allen put up 17 points with 9 rebounds in one matchup and 11 points with 7 rebounds in the other matchup with the Cyclones. Facing a team with polished big men in the tournament is the achilles heal of this team.
- March Preview: West Virginia Mountaineers March 8, 2017 College Pride Press
West Virginia is exactly the same as every West Virginia team that you have watched over the past 5 years. They press you and play great defense but they struggle to score in the half court. Bob Huggins collapsed on the floor during a game and blamed one of his players for it. The Mountaineers have big wins over Baylor, Virginia, Kansas, and Iowa State but they also have losses to Temple, Texas Tech, and a huge collapse against Kansas coughing up a big lead late in the second half. Many people will pick against West Virginia this year no matter who they are playing solely because of the loss to Stephen F. Austin in the first round last year.
Strength: They don’t call it “Press Virginia” for nothing
West Virginia will press you for 40 minutes. Nothing is free when you play the Mountaineers and their depth allow them to play 10 guys and not have to worry about fatigue or foul trouble. They are the best team in the country at forcing turnovers. The key to their press is not getting the point guard to turn it over but rather getting the ball into big men and other players not used to handling the ball and creating havoc from their. Their opponents must be discipline and patient to make the right passes and get the ball in the right hands. The other prong of the West Virginia style is that they tire teams out. They get into shooters’ legs and that makes a big difference at the end of the game when you need a clutch three or shot.
Weakness: Defensive Rebounding
As expected with small guard oriented pressing teams, Bob Huggins team struggles to keep opponents off the glass. They are very good on the offensive glass because crashing those boards plays right into the press. On the defensive end, West Virginia is very concerned on getting out on the break and that leads to second possessions for their opponents. The numbers back up my notes from watching the Mountaineers as they are 321th in the country in defensive rebounding. If West Virginia matches up with a good rebounding team, they could be in trouble early in the tournament.
- March Preview: Baylor Bears March 7, 2017 College Pride Press
If I was writing this article in December or January we would be talking about a team as a favorite to win the NCAA Tournament. Baylor looked like one of the best teams in the country with its combination of Jonathan Motley and Miami transfer point guard Manu Lecomte. The Bears knocked off Xavier, Oregon, VCU, Louisville, and Michigan State all before the calendar flipped to 2017. In 2017, the Bears looked much more beatable as they suffered losses to Kansas State, Texas Tech, and others. I feel like a broken record writing these preview articles because there is a huge second tier of teams, Baylor included, that have huge potential but also could very easily lose in the first round.
Strength: Offensive Rebounding
Baylor is the third best offensive rebounding team in the country and that is a key part of their offense for a team that doesn’t shoot it very well. The Bears look to rebound from last year’s NCAA Tournament where they got killed on the glass by Yale. Baylor gets easy put backs and wide open threes from their rebounding efforts as well as preventing their opponents to get out onto the break.
Weakness: Turnovers and Scott Drew
I could not resist the ability to talk about both of these weaknesses for the Bears. Scott Drew is a very good coach who does a phenomenal job recruiting and developing players but his downside is his in season and in game coaching. If the game is on the line I am not trusting Scott Drew to make adjustments or draw up a game winning play.
Baylor’s strength is their offensive rebounding but it is tough to get rebounds if you are turning the ball over as much as the Bears do. Being an Indiana fan, I understand how much turnovers can kill a team. Baylor does not turn the ball over as much as my beloved Hoosiers but they are 310th in the country in turnover rate. A first round matchup may not be as big as Baylor but they might be as quick and get extra possessions.
- March Preview: Oklahoma State Cowboys March 6, 2017 College Pride Press
It seems like the last time we were talking about Oklahoma State it was involving Marcus Smart leading the Cowboys. 3 years later and this is a completely different team and program. Brad Underwood is the new sheriff in town after leading Stephen F. Austin to numerous NCAA Tournament runs. Underwood brings a fresh prospective and a focus on fundamentals. After a 0-6 start in Big-12 play, the Cowboys have recovered winning 10 of their last 13 to close out the regular season. The Cowboys will be a tough out in the tournament as a hot team that is battle tested.
Strength: Guard Play
Marcus Smart may not be around anymore, but high school and college teammate Phil Forte is still in Stillwater launching shots from deep. Combine Forte with sophomore point guard Jawun Evans and that one of the most underrated backcourts in the country. Evans is 3rd in the NCAA in assist rate at 44%. Forte is shooting 43% from deep which is incredible given the number of attempts (187) and many of those looks are not of the open variety. Guard play is the key to success in the NCAA Tournament and Oklahoma State has two of the best guards that no one is talking about.
Weakness: Foul Issues
Oklahoma State has had a very hard time playing defense without fouling. The backcourt does a very good job limiting foul trouble but the rim protectors have had issues with fouls all year. The Cowboys rank 333rd in FTA/FGA. That stat shows the number of free throws their opponents shoot compared to the number of field goals taken. In a tight game in the NCAA Tournament, Brad Underwood and company could struggle keeping opponents from earning trips to the charity stripe.
Photo Source: NewsOk.com
- March Preview: Kansas Jayhawks March 2, 2017 College Pride Press
Strengths: Closing games out
Kansas is 11-2 in games decided by less than 10 points, and is 10-1 in such games in Big 12 Play. With a record like that it is pretty easy to see why the Big 12 always runs through Lawrence. The leadership of Player of the Year Candidate Frank Mason lll and Devonte’ Graham have a big reason to do with that. Both Frank Mason lll and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk have hit game winning shots (one was on a travel), while Josh Jackson and Landen Lucas have also both hit game winning free throws. Knowing how to close out games is very important to winning the NCAA Tournament and nobody has as much experience doing it this year than the Jayhawks. Kansas has also made huge second half comebacks by pressing teams for stretches. KU came back to beat Oklahoma and West Virginia by make huge runs with their press and three point shooting.
After the loss of Udoka Azubuike due to a broken wrist, Kansas’ rotation has gotten really small with them only playing 7 players consistently. Frank Mason lll has looked tired at points this season as he is playing 35.9 Minutes Per Game. If Landen Lucas gets in foul trouble the team can easily be taken advantage of inside as he is their only force inside defensively. Transfer Dwight Coleby and freshman Mitch Lightfoot have failed to live up to expectations. Carlton Bragg has failed to live up to the high expectations people had for him coming into this year. If Kansas gets in foul trouble they are in jeopardy of losing to anyone. They rely so heavily and Mason III, Jackson, and Graham that any foul trouble of those three could kill any chance Kansas has of making a deep run.
- At-large bid breakdown by Conference February 26, 2017 College Pride Press
At-Large Bid Breakdown
By: Jonathon Warriner
Lock- There is no possible chance this team misses the NCAA Tournament
In Good shape- Not a lock but they are safely off the bubble for now
On the Bubble- These teams may be projected as in or out, but they are clearly in danger of missing the NCAA Tournament
Still in consideration- Teams that will need to keep winning to make a statement to the NCAA Tournament committee
Better luck Next Year- Teams that will have to win their conference tournament to make the NCAA Tournament
Locks- North Carolina, Duke, Louisville, Florida State, Notre Dame, Virginia, Miami, Virginia Tech
On the bubble- Syracuse, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest
Still In consideration- Clemson, Pittsburgh
Better Luck Next Year- NC State, Boston College
Locks- Kansas, Baylor, West Virginia, Oklahoma State, Iowa State
On the bubble- Kansas State, TCU
Still In Consideration- Texas Tech
Better Luck Next Year- Texas, Oklahoma
Locks- Purdue, Maryland, Wisconsin, Minnesota
In Good Shape- Michigan State, Michigan
On the bubble- Northwestern
Still In Consideration- Indiana, Illinois, Ohio State, Iowa
Better Luck Next Year- Penn State, Nebraska, Rutgers
Locks- Villanova, Butler, Creighton
In Good Shape- Xavier
On the Bubble- Marquette, Seton Hall, Providence
Better Luck Next Year- Georgetown, St. John’s, DePaul
Locks- Oregon, Arizona, UCLA
In Good Shape- USC, California
Still In Consideration- Utah
Better Luck Next Year- Colorado, Arizona State, Stanford, Washington, Washington State, Oregon State
Locks- Kentucky, Florida
In Good Shape- South Carolina, Arkansas
On the bubble- Vanderbilt
Still In Consideration- Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi
Better Luck Next Year- Texas A&M, Georgia, Auburn, Mississippi State, Missouri, LSU
Locks- SMU, Cincinnati
Still In Consideration- Houston, Memphis
Better Luck Next Year- UConn, UCF, Tulsa, Temple, East Carolina, Tulane, South Florida
In Good Shape- VCU, Dayton
On the bubble- Rhode Island
Better Luck Next Year- George Mason, St. Bonaventure, Richmond, La Salle, Davidson, Fordham, George Washington, St. Louis, Duquesne, Umass, St. Joseph’s
Locks- Gonzaga, St. Mary’s
On the bubble- Wichita State, Middle Tennessee, Illinois State
Still In Consideration- UNC Wilmington, Nevada, Akron, Monmouth, Princeton
- Bracketology Preview: Big-12 Predictions February 16, 2017 Brett Siegel
Day 2 of College Pride Press’s Bracketology Preview has begun! Today, we will be examining the Big-12 Conference and take a look at some of the powerhouses in the country. Every year, the Big-12 offers the NCAA Tournament some of the strongest teams in the country. This year, the Big-12 has a lot of teams with work still to be done in order to make it to the big dance! Kansas, Baylor, and West Virginia are all locks for the tournament at this point, but the other 5 teams competing for tournament berth have unfinished business! Without further ado, let’s take a look at how the Big-12 will play out for the rest of the season!
(* Denotes neutral court game)
Kansas Jayhawks (23-3) (11-2)
RPI Rank: 2 BPI Rank: 11 AP Rank: 3
Best Wins: v.s. #1 Duke*, v.s. #2 Baylor, @ #4 Kentucky
Worst Losses: v.s. Iowa State, @ #18 West Virginia, v.s. #11 Indiana*
It seems like the Jayhawks are one of the top teams in the country every single season. That is because they are! Kansas is currently 23-3 and sitting atop the Big-12 rankings alone with a 2 game lead. They have proven to be one of the top teams in the country once again with some very impressive wins. Wins against three Top 5 teams is very impressive and they have a chance to go 4-0 against Top 5 teams when they take on Baylor this weekend. Josh Jackson (16.5 PPG, 7.2 RPG) has been on a tear the past few weeks for Kansas. In their past five games, the freshman phenom is averaging 20.2 PPG and 9.0 RPG. Kansas has also been having success shooting from the three point line, 41.3% as a team from long range. The Jayhawks’ schedule down the stretch seems pretty simple, but anything can happen on the road in the Big-12:
February 18th – @ Baylor – L 73-79
February 22nd – v.s. TCU – W 84-75
February 25th – @ Texas – W 79-71
February 27th – v.s. Oklahoma – W 86-80
March 4th – @ Oklahoma State – L 73-77
Final Record: 26-5 (14-4)
Kansas should be well on their way to yet another conference title, but I do expect them to suffer some losses down the stretch. Kansas was barely able to edge out Baylor at home in their last meeting and now they will go to Baylor for a top 5 clash. Baylor could really use a big win over Kansas and I think the Bears will barely edge out Kansas in the final minutes of play. As for the Oklahoma State game, the Cowboys always bring their A-game when the Jayhawks come to town. The Cowboys have beaten the Jayhawks at home for three straight years! I expect Oklahoma State to give Kansas a run for their money once again this year on the Cowboys’ Senior Day! Come time for both the conference tournament and NCAA Tournament, the Jayhawks will be one of the teams to beat, and be penciled into the Final Four in a lot of people’s brackets!
Projected Conference Tournament Seed: 1
Projected NCAA Tournament Seed: 1
Baylor Bears (22-4) (9-4)
RPI Rank: 1 BPI Rank: 14 AP Rank: 4
Best Wins: v.s. #4 Oregon, v.s. #10 Louisville*, v.s. #7 Xavier
Worst Losses: v.s. Kansas State, @ Texas Tech
Baylor looked as if they were coming into this season with the mindset of rebuilding and fighting to make the tournament. Instead, they started the season 15-0 instead and picked up 4 wins v.s. Top 25 teams before losing to West Virginia. Baylor was even ranked as the top team in the country at one point this season! Johnathan Motley (16.7 PPG, 9.5 RPG), the potential Player of the Year in the Big-12, has been an absolute monster for Baylor this season. Motley has made it very clear he cannot be stopped with the ball in his hands, and continues to dominate teams in the paint! As impressive as Baylor has been this season, they may not finish the season as strong as they started:
February 18th – v.s. Kansas – W 79-73
February 21st – v.s. Oklahoma – W 73-66
February 25th – @ Iowa State – L 71-78
February 27th – v.s. West Virginia – L 74-81
March 4th – @ Texas – W 75-71
Final Record: 25-7 (12-6)
Finishing 25-7 may seem like a disappointment for Baylor fans, but it is actually a very solid season for a Baylor team who was being projected to be on the bubble for the tournament at the beginning of the season. Baylor has been a different team on the road than at home this season. Three of their four losses have come on the road and they have been held under 70 points in three of their four losses. As a result of their road struggles, I believe Iowa State will be able to upset the Bears at home. Their game versus West Virginia could go either way, but I am giving the Mountaineers the victory in this meeting. Overall, Baylor should not be disappointed if they finish the season the way I have them projected to! They may be a force to be reckoned with in the tournament!
Projected Conference Tournament Seed: 4
Projected NCAA Tournament Seed: 3
West Virginia Mountaineers (20-6) (8-5)
RPI Rank: 29 BPI Rank: 2 AP Rank: 9
Best Wins: @ #6 Virginia, v.s. #1 Baylor, v.s. #2 Kansas
Worst Losses: v.s. Temple*, v.s. Oklahoma, v.s. Oklahoma State
The Mountaineers have once again solidified themselves as one of the best teams in the country. “Press-Virginia” has continued their ...
- Noah Holley Bracketology: January 23, 2017 January 23, 2017 Noah Holley
(Sites: Buffalo, Orlando, Milwaukee, Greenville)
1 Villanova vs 16 NC Central/Fairleigh Dickinson
8 Virginia Tech vs 9 TCU
5 Wisconsin vs 12 Nevada
4 Louisville vs 13 Valparaiso
6 Maryland vs 11 UNC-Wilmington
3 Creighton vs 14 Belmont
7 SMU vs 10 Texas Tech
2 Kentucky vs 15 Princeton
(Sites: Tulsa, Indianapolis, Greenville, Sacramento)
1 Baylor vs 16 Sam Houston State
8 Northwestern vs 9 Marquette
5 West Virginia vs 12 Akron
4 Notre Dame vs 13 New Mexico State
6 Xavier vs 11 Illinois State
3 North Carolina vs 14 Georgia Southern
7 Minnesota vs 10 Arkansas
2 Gonzaga vs 15 North Dakota State
(Sites: Tulsa, Milwaukee, Salt Lake City, Indianapolis)
1 Kansas vs 16 UC Irvine/Texas Southern
8 Southern Cal vs 9 Seton Hall
5 Purdue vs 12 Cal/Pitt
4 Duke vs 13 Florida Gulf Coast
6 South Carolina vs 11 Wichita State
3 Oregon vs 14 Winthrop
7 Florida vs 10 VCU
2 Butler vs 15 UNC-Greensboro
(Sites: Orlando, Buffalo, Sacramento, Salt Lake City)
1 Florida State vs 16 Eastern Washington
8 Kansas State vs 9 Dayton
5 Cincinnati vs 12 Michigan State/Miami
4 Virginia vs 13 Monmouth
6 Indiana vs 11 Mid Tennessee State
3 UCLA vs 14 Vermont
7 Saint Mary’s vs 10 Iowa State
2 Arizona vs 15 Bucknell
LAST FOUR BYES
LAST FOUR IN
FIRST FOUR OUT
NEXT FOUR OUT
- Noah Holley Bracketology: January 19, 2017 January 19, 2017 Noah Holley
(Key: ↑-moved up, ↓-moved down, italics-new team to bracket, *-automatic bid)
1 Villanova* vs 16 LIU Brooklyn*/Texas Southern*
8 TCU vs 9 Clemson↓
5 Maryland↑ vs 12 Akron↑*
4 Notre Dame vs 13 Valparaiso*
6 Purdue↓ vs 11 Illinois State*
3 North Carolina↑ vs 14 UNC Greensboro*
7 Xavier↓ vs 10 Arkansas
2 Kentucky* vs 15 Maryland-Baltimore County*
1 Florida State* vs 16 Sam Houston State*
8 Texas Tech vs 9 Cal↑
5 Duke↓ vs 12 Miami↓/Marquette
4 West Virginia↓ vs 13 Monmouth*
6 Florida↓ vs 11 Nevada↑*
3 Louisville vs 14 Georgia Southern*
7 Southern Cal↑ vs 10 Seton Hall↓
2 Gonzaga* vs 15 North Dakota State*
1 Kansas* vs 16 NC Central*/UC Irvine*
8 Virginia Tech vs 9 Northwestern
Salt Lake City
5 Cincinnati* vs 12 VCU↓/Kansas State
4 Arizona↑ vs 13 New Mexico State*
Salt Lake City
6 South Carolina↑ vs 11 Middle Tennessee State*
3 Oregon vs 14 Belmont*
7 SMU vs 10 Michigan State
2 Creighton vs 15 Winthrop↓*
1 Baylor vs 16 Weber State*
8 Indiana↑ vs 9 Dayton*
5 Wisconsin↑ vs 12 Wichita State↓
4 Virginia vs 13 Florida Gulf Coast*
6 Saint Mary’s↑ vs 11 UNC Wilmington↑*
3 Butler vs 14 Bucknell↑*
7 Minnesota↓ vs 10 Iowa State
2 UCLA* vs 15 Harvard*
LAST FOUR BYES
LAST FOUR IN
FIRST FOUR OUT
NEXT FOUR OUT
- 5 Things Around College Basketball January 6, 2017 Zach Beeler
1. What do you make of the Big Ten so far?
Ryan – If you’d have asked anyone before the season who the Goliaths of the conference would turn out to be, you’d likely have received the same answer every time. This league appeared to be built around Indiana, Purdue, Michigan State, and Wisconsin. This prognostication appears to half right, at least to the point we’re at in this season, as the Spartans and Badgers are rolling. Purdue owns a solid road win over Ohio State and sits at 2-1 in conference play, and Indiana is trending entirely the wrong direction.
Then, we have our surprises. Ten days after dropping a home contest to Gardner-Webb, the Nebraska Cornhuskers win in Bloomington, stunning Indiana. The Huskers sit atop the Big Ten Conference at 3-0 alongside Michigan State. Give credit to the Minnesota Golden Gophers as well, owners of a road win at Purdue and a follow-up victory over Northwestern.
All things considered, we are likely to see Wisconsin and Michigan State atop the conference yet again. Some storylines to watch:It will be interesting to see if Purdue can gain back the game they lost on the leaders. Will Indiana mercifully end its nosedive? Can Nebraska continue its dominating streak? Will Northwestern finally crash the NCAA party?
In the end, we’re probably looking at Wisconsin as the team to beat.
Zach – All of those points ring true to me. Similar to last year, I saw a top “tier” of Purdue, Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan State. However, the biggest story thus far to me is the improvement of bottom-dweller Minnesota. You touched on it briefly, but they look like a team capable of winning any game in the Big Ten at the moment, home or away. They are one better play at the end of regulation against Michigan State away from sitting atop the conference with Nebraska and Wisconsin.
Speaking of Nebraska, how about the Cornhuskers? After an abysmal home loss to Gardner-Webb, the Huskers are 4-0 with road wins over Indiana and Maryland. They play a tough brand of basketball with two great guards in Glynn Watson and Tai Webster. To me, two of the more interesting story lines to watch, along with who wins the conference, are whether Minnesota and Nebraska, two teams that struggled last year, can maintain their current push.
2. Who, if anyone, can challenge Kentucky in the SEC?
Zach – Kentucky, as always, brought in an unbelievable wealth of talent with their freshman recruiting class. Players like Malik Monk, De’Aaron Fox and Bam Adebayo have the Wildcats looking like the cream of the crop in the SEC…again. Looking at the conference up and down, I see a couple teams that could give them a tough game but not much in the way of a true challenger. South Carolina has a great defense that could stifle Kentucky for a game, but I don’t think they have enough depth to compete over the course of a season. Arkansas has some talent, but again the depth question comes up.
Overall, I see Florida as the only team that could even potentially challenge for the SEC crown. The Gators are a veteran squad that has been in tough games before. The key to dethroning Kentucky will be winning tight road games when the shots may not be falling in. Florida has this kind of demeanor. Along with that, Florida is very good at forcing turnover, ranking in the top 20 in the country in that respect. With a young team, Kentucky could be prone to turning the ball over in their two meetings with the Gators. If Florida can avoid any bad losses, I think it is possible to at least challenge for the SEC Title. But in the end, I just think Kentucky has too much talent and wins the conference by at least two games.
Ryan – Here is a complete list of the teams that can challenge Kentucky in the SEC:
The Wildcats are one of the premier teams in the nation playing in a very weak power conference. There are only a handful of contests one could realistically expect Kentucky to lose, and they are all away from Rupp Arena. Florida, Vanderbilt, and South Carolina all field solid squads, but none of the aforementioned teams are even remotely close to the tier occupied by the Wildcats. Kentucky will win the SEC, and it won’t be particularly close, as I expect Kentucky to win the conference by at least three or four games. Expect more domination from Big Blue Nation in the Southeastern Conference.
3. Can Butler realistically challenge Villanova for the Big East Title?
Ryan – Yes, but it will absolutely not be easy. The Big East Conference is, in my humble opinion, extremely underrated this year, with Villanova, Butler, Creighton, and Xavier leading the pack. The league also boasts a handful of other solid teams with the likes of Marquette, Seton Hall, Providence, and Georgetown fielding tough squads. For Butler to dethrone the national champs, the Bulldogs will need to win on the road, a task they have yet to accomplish this conference season. We all know Butler can protect Hinkle Fieldhouse, but can they win away from Indianapolis? Villanova is tried and tested, is coming off of a national title, and has raced out to another superb start. Can Butler dethrone the champs and claim the Big East Title? Sure. But I wouldn’t bet against Jay Wright.
Zach – I tend to agree with you. Villanova may not have the same depth as they had last year, but Josh Hart is playing like the National Player of the Year and is getting plenty of help around him. Kris Jenkins is playing well after his NCAA Title-winning shot, and Jalen Brunson has stepped up his play at the point guard position. All this being said, the Big East is a ...
- And Then There Were Three January 1, 2017 Noah Holley
And then there were three.
2016 seemed bent on going out destroying as many unbeaten seasons as possible, cutting the list in half. With the previous calendar year behind us, we’re left with Baylor, Gonzaga, and Villanova.
If the past week was any indication, it’s not easy to be undefeated. Heck, if DePaul can nearly do the impossible, who can’t? The unpredictability is the fun of it, I guess, but we got to write about something. So who’s gonna last the longest? Let’s break it down.
The case (and prediction) for each:
Why they’ll be the last remaining unbeaten
It’s pretty clear from what we’ve seen so far that Villanova is one of the toughest teams in the country. Over the past few days, the Wildcats have been pushed to the limits by DePaul and Creighton but refused to be shaken. We also can’t not talk about Josh Hart, who is one of (if not the) best players in the country. Other teams don’t have a guy with his poise and coolness when the going gets tough. Besides all of that, you can’t ignore the fact that they play Butler and Xavier over their next three games after two big-time tests. We know Villanova is tough, but are they that tough? We’ll see.
How long, really, will the unbeaten run last?
I imagine that Villanova loses at least once to Butler and Xavier, more likely to the Bulldogs, since they’ll meet at the historically difficult venues to play in in the legendary Hinkle Fieldhouse. If they survive that, the next roadblock is the January 29th non-conference battle with Virginia, which is going to be a slugfest. And you know there’s gonna be a few more DePauls sprinkled in, since the team to beat draws the A-games. I really don’t see the Wildcats making it out of January untouched. I wouldn’t put anything past them, however, as it’s been years since I’ve seen a team this collected and mentally strong, especially with everything that’s been thrown their way.
Why they’ll be the last remaining unbeaten
Baylor is making it look easy. Everyone appears to be in the midst of a breakout year, especially forward Johnathan Motley, who’s going absolutely berserk, and point guard Manu Lecomte, who’s flourishing in his first chance to be a 30-minute guy. The Bears are also a lot deeper than expected. But the one thing that gets you really excited about Baylor is their newfound consistency. After years of being unsure what type of team would step onto the floor, Baylor started out 2016-17 red-hot and hasn’t cooled off…. at all. They way they’re playing, it’s tough to see anyone knocking them off anytime soon.
How long, really, will the unbeaten run last?
Hold up. You don’t really think Baylor can run the table, do you? Ha. No. Not in the Big 12, one of the toughest conferences to maneuver. Its size is the X-factor. Here are the two reasons why:
- The competition is tight. There are no cupcakes in the ten-team Big 12. None.
- You have to play everyone twice. Beating a team – any team – twice is a very difficult thing to do in college basketball.
However, we are here to discuss how long that egg in the loss column stays fresh, not whether it will ever go away, because spoiler alert: It will. The main roadblock ahead for Baylor is January 10th at West Virginia. If anyone’s gonna halt the Baylor train, it’s the Mountaineers and their “Press Virginia” defensive style. I predict that the Bears lose that one and at least one other in before the showdown with Kansas on February 1st.
Why they’ll be the last remaining unbeaten
Three words: West. Coast. Conference. No disrespect to the WCC, but it’s no Big East or Big 12. It’s hardly a distant cousin. The only team in that conference that is capable of knocking off the loaded Zags is 19th-ranked Saint Mary’s. Gonzaga will face the Gaels at home on January 14th, but if I’m picking a day for Gonzaga to lose, it’s mid-February when Saint Mary’s plays host. Either way, I don’t see it happening. The perfect season hype is legit. I don’t think we’ve ever seen a mid-major team this good.
How long, really, will the unbeaten run last?
Like I said, probably for awhile. I can’t deny it will be tough to beat Saint Mary’s twice and especially three times if the two meet in the WCC tournament. And BYU can really rack up points. But to me, the question is whether or not Gonzaga can win it all, not whether they’ll go untouched through Selection Sunday.
- Noah Holley Bracketology: Best Resume In Each Power 6 Conference December 30, 2016 Noah Holley
As the 2016-17 season turns to conference play, let’s have a look at the top NCAA Tournament resumes in each conference up to this point:
- Best win: vs Kentucky
- Worst loss: None
- Non-Conference SOS: 14
- RPI: 11
- vs. RPI 1-25: 1-0
- vs. RPI 100-351: 7-0
As of now, Louisville sits on the 3- or 4-seed line. Imagine where they would be if they hadn’t lost that huge lead on Baylor (no. 5 in ESPN RPI) or completed that comeback vs Virginia (no. 7). Anyway, they have a signature win in Kentucky and will have plenty of chances for more down the road in the potential double-digit bid ACC.
- Best win: vs Louisville
- Worst loss: None
- Non-Conference SOS: 49
- RPI: 5
- vs. RPI 1-25: 3-0
- vs. RPI 100-351: 5-0
Early on, it appeared as if the Bears were building one of the best non-conference resumes in recent memories. Michigan State’s fall from grace pretty much ended the chances of that, but Baylor still heads into league play in as good of a position as anybody, Tourney-wise. If they can avoid upsets in the typically booby-trapped Big 12, they will be in the one-seed conversation throughout the winter.
- Best wins: vs Wisconsin
- Worst loss: None
- Non-Conference SOS: 70
- RPI: 3
- vs. RPI 1-25: 1-0
- vs. RPI 100-351: 6-0
In ESPN’s RPI, the Big East places 3 in the top 4 (Villanova, Creighton, Xavier.) It would be easy to say Villanova, who holds the no. 1 rating, but I’ll go with Creighton and their convincing wins over Wisconsin, (who’s better than their no. 45 RPI) Seton Hall, Ole Miss and NC State. No true eye-popper (a win over Villanova tomorrow would shore that up real quick) but they’ve been as good as anybody in the country so far.
- Best win: vs Notre Dame
- Worst loss: None
- Non-Conference SOS: 156
- RPI: 44
- vs. RPI 1-25: 0-2
- vs. RPI 100-351: 9-0
Despite the Big Ten being widely considered as a top-two conference, it failed to make any sort of statement in non-conference play. Only two teams recorded victories vs ESPN RPI Top 25 opponents (Northwestern and Indiana). This decision came down to whether I’m taking a team that played top-level competition and but failed to record a win against it or a team that didn’t really play anyone but took care of business. I ended up deciding on the former in Purdue, who couldn’t get it done against Louisville and Villanova but beat everybody else. There’s still a ton of work left to do for the Boilermakers and pretty much everybody in the Big Ten, who as of now have no one checking in higher than a 4 seed in my current bracket projections.
- Best win: vs Kentucky
- Worst loss: None
- Non-Conference SOS: 176
- RPI: 21
- vs. RPI 1-25: 1-0
- vs. RPI 100-351: 8-0
We could go ahead and judge a resume comparison of UCLA and Oregon by the outcome of Wednesday night’s game, but that’s not really how bracketology works. If we’re putting the margin of victory into play, November really hurt Oregon. Even if we don’t, the extra loss to an average team like Georgetown is something that UCLA doesn’t have, making this a fairly easy choice.
- Best win: vs North Carolina
- Worst loss: None
- Non-Conference SOS: 10
- RPI: 6
- vs. RPI 1-25: 1-0
- vs. RPI 100-351: 6-0
Florida stands higher on the RPI rankings, but that’s only because of their top-ranked schedule. (You can never really trust ratings systems such as that so early.) Kentucky’s victory over North Carolina gives them the best resume in the depleted SEC.
- Best win: vs Arizona
- Worst loss: None
- Non-Conference SOS: 51
- RPI: 10
- vs. RPI 1-25: 1-0
- vs. RPI 100-351: 8-0
I hate to fit all the other college conferences into one category like this, but I couldn’t just ignore Gonzaga, who looks like a serious championship contender. Once again, Gonzaga loaded their non-conference schedule with Power 6 opponents, and took care of business against every single one of them, the highlights being victories over Florida, Arizona and Iowa State.
- CPP Conference Play Preview: Big 12 December 29, 2016 College Pride Press
With the non-conference season coming to a close, we will be previewing each of the power six conferences based on what we have learned so far this year and guide you through what to look out for as the season continues.
Here is your guide to the Big 12.
All Conference Team
G: Frank Mason III, Kansas
G: Manu Lecomte, Baylor
G: Juwan Evans, Oklahoma State
F: Nathan Adrian, West Virginia
F: Josh Jackson, Kansas
Conference Player of the Year: Frank Mason III, Kansas
Frank Mason is by far the best player in the Big 12 and his impact is felt in every Kansas game. He is a complete point guard that can drive, dish, and shoot from anywhere on the court. Combine those skills with his experience and late game magic (he has already beat Duke on a last second shot) and that is the makings of the conference player of the year.
3 Things We’ve Learned
- Kansas is Kansas. Kansas has won the Big-12 since Perry Ellis was a baby (he was born around 1920). This year is no different as Kansas is the team to beat. Allen Field House gives the Jayhawks an extra advantage as well.
- Baylor is legit. Baylor may not have the track record that Kansas has but this team is legit. Manu Lecomte is a very skilled point guard, Jonathon Motley is a very skilled big, and Ish Wainwright does all the little things for the Bears. Baylor’s non conference schedule included wins over Xavier, Michigan State, Louisville, VCU, and Oregon. The Bears are well rounded and ready to potentially make a run to end Kansas’s streak.
- The conference is deep. The bottom of the Big 12 has gone through a transformation this season. Oklahoma State and TCU both have new head coaches and have looked very strong in non conference play, Texas has very young talented players, and Texas Tech and Kansas State are both top 30 teams. The Big 12 is very deep and there are no bottom feeders in the conference this year.
3 Storylines to Watch
- Can anyone beat Kansas? Baylor and West Virginia are top tier teams but the main story line of the Big 12 is can anyone other than Kansas win the conference. Kansas has won the conference title for the past 11 years.
- Upperclassmen Rule the Conference. Freshmen are new and exciting but the Big 12 and Big East are two conferences that are run by the upperclassmen. The conference has only two impact freshmen in Josh Jackson and Jaylen Fisher. Most teams are led by a junior or senior with tons of experience: Frank Mason III (Kansas), Nathan Adrian (West Virginia), Monte Morris (Iowa State), Jordan Woodard (Oklahoma), Ish Wainwright (Baylor), Anthony Livingston (Texas Tech), Brandon Parrish (TCU), Wesley Iwundu (Kansas State), and Phil Forte (Oklahoma State). Texas is the only team that is not led by a senior or upperclassmen.
- Longhorns in state of flux. Shaka Smart is rebuilding Texas in his image but it has not gone as plan to this point. He has young talented players but the results have not shown on the court. If Shaka Smart can turn these talented freshmen and sophomores into a formidable team, the Longhorns can make noise in the Big 12.
Sleeper Team: Oklahoma State
I have been very high on Oklahoma State since they hired Brad Underwood from Stephen F. Austin. Underwood brings an emphasis on fundaments that has led to a quick turn around in Stillwater. Juwan Evans is a future NBA player and his talent alone will keep the Cowboys competitive in conference games but if their role players can continue to improve they will be a sleeper team in the conference.
NCAA Tournament Position
- West Virgina
Work to do
- Oklahoma State
- Texas Tech
- Iowa State
- Kansas State
Better Luck Next Year
5 Games to Watch
- TCU vs. West Virginia- January 7, 1 pm, ESPNU
- Baylor vs. TCU- January 21, 8pm, ESPNU
- Kansas vs. West Virginia- February 1, 9 pm, ESPN2
- Kansas vs. Baylor- February 18, 1pm, CBS
- Oklahoma State vs. Kansas- March 4, 6pm, ESPN
- 2017 NBA Draft Board/Top 100 Prospects: End of 2016 Edition December 22, 2016 Brett Siegel
As we enter into the final weeks of 2016 and into conference play in College Basketball, NBA Draft Analyst Brett Siegel has updated his 2017 NBA Draft Big Board/Top 100 Prospects. The year of the freshmen continue as players around the country move into and out of the Top 100 list! Check out the list and see who he has as the Top 100 CBB players in the country!
Conference play is right around the corner, which means it is time to see who is and who isn’t ready for the draft! The top 20 continue to make a name for themselves as others begin their journey and establish their position on my Top 100 list! From all of us at College Pride Press, we wish everyone a Happy Holidays and New Year! Thanks for making this past year fantastic for checking us out and giving feedback!
Ranking Name Position School/Country Year/Age Height Weight – 1 Markelle Fultz PG/SG WASHINGTON Freshman/18 6’5″ 190 lbs ↑ (1) 2 Lonzo Ball PG UCLA Freshman/19 6’5″ 195 lbs ↓ (1) 3 Josh Jackson SF KANSAS Freshman/19 6’8″ 203 lbs ↑ (6) 4 Malik Monk PG/SG KENTUCKY Freshman/18 6’4″ 185 lbs – 5 Jayson Tatum SF DUKE Freshman/18 6’8″ 204 lbs – 6 Frank Ntilikina PG FRANCE INTL/18 6’4″ 175 lbs – 7 Ivan Rabb PF/C CALIFORNIA Sophomore/19 6’11” 220 lbs ↓ (4) 8 Dennis Smith PG N.C. ST. Freshman/19 6’2″ 180 lbs ↑ (2) 9 De’Aaron Fox PG KENTUCKY Freshman/19 6’4″ 170 lbs ↑ (4) 10 Bam Adebayo PF/C KENTUCKY Freshman/19 6’10” 240 lbs ↓ (3) 11 Jonathan Isaac SF FLORIDA ST. Freshman/19 6’11” 205 lbs ↓ (3) 12 Harry Giles PF DUKE Freshman/18 6’11” 230 lbs – 13 Lauri Markkenen PF ARIZONA Freshman/19 7’0″ 225 lbs ↓ (2) 14 Miles Bridges SF MICHIGAN ST. Freshman/18 6’8″ 230 lbs – 15 O.G. Anunoby SF INDIANA Sophomore/18 6’8″ 215 lbs ↑ (5) 16 Rodions Kurucs SF LATVIA INTL/18 6’8″ 190 lbs – 17 Nigel Hayes SF WISCONSIN Senior/21 6’8″ 235 lbs ↑ (1) 18 Grayson Allen PG/SG DUKE Junior/21 6’5″ 205 lbs ↑ (1) 19 Josh Hart SG/SF VILLANOVA Senior/21 6’5″ 205 lbs ↑ (2) 20 Dwayne Bacon SF FLORIDA ST. Sophomore/20 6’5″ 202 lbs ↑ (12) 21 Jaron Blossomgame SF CLEMSON Senior/23 6’7″ 214 lbs ↑ (27) 22 T.J. Leaf PF UCLA Freshman/18 6’9″ 215 lbs ↑ (32) 23 Luke Kennard SG DUKE Sophomore/20 6’5″ 187 lbs ↓ (8) 24 Marques Bolden C DUKE Freshman/18 6’10” 254 lbs ↑ (5) 25 Terrance Ferguson SG/SF AUSTRALLIA INTL/18 6’7″ 185 lbs ↓ (8) 26 Jarrett Allen C TEXAS Freshman/18 6’11” 227 lbs ↑ (2) 27 Thomas Bryant PF/C INDIANA Sophomore/19 6’10” 245 lbs ↓ (5) 28 Frank Jackson PG DUKE Freshman/18 6’4″ 200 lbs ↓ (5) 29 Frank Mason III PG KANSAS Senior/22 5’11” 185 lbs ↑ (7) 30 Joel Berry II PG/SG UNC Junior/21 6’0″ 195 lbs ↓ (5) 31 Isaiah Hartenstein PF GERMANY INTL/18 6’10” 230 lbs ↓ (5) 32 Jonathan Jeanne PF/C FRANCE INTL/19 7’2″ 195 lbs ↓ (8) 33 Tyler Lydon SF/PF SYRACUSE Sophomore/20 6’9″ 205 lbs ↑ (2) 34 Justin Jackson SF UNC Junior/21 6’8″ 193 lbs – 35 Dillon Brooks SF OREGON Junior/20 6’7″ 215 lbs ↓ (8) 36 Omer Yurtseven C N.C. ST. Freshman/18 7’0″ 228 lbs ↓ (5) 37 Edmond Sumner PG XAVIER Sophomore/21 6’5″ 170 lbs ↓ (7) 38 Monte Morris PG IOWA ST. Senior/21 6’3″ 170 lbs ↓ (5) 39 V.J. Beachum SF NOTRE DAME Senior/22 6’9″ 197 lbs – 40 Alec Peters PF VALPARAISO Senior/21 6’9″ 225 lbs ↓ (2) 41 Devonte’ Graham PG KANSAS Junior/21 6’2″ 175 lbs ↑ (3) 42 Amile Jefferson PF DUKE Senior/23 6’9″ 195 lbs – 43 Melo Trimble PG MARYLAND Junior/21 6’3″ 190 lbs ↑ (7) 44 Caleb Swanigan PF PURDUE Sophomore/19 6’9″ 247 lbs NEW 45 Robert Williams PF/C TEXAS A&M Freshman/19 6’9″ 237 lbs ↑ (19) 46 Maurice Watson Jr. PG CREIGHTON Senior/23 5’10” 170 lbs ↓ (1) 47 Blaz Mesicek SG SLOVENIA INTL/19 6’6″ 190 lbs ↓ (4) 48 Santiago Yusta SG SPAIN INTL/19 6’7″ 200 lbs ↑ (25) 49 Jonathan Motley PF BAYLOR Junior/21 6’9″ 230 lbs ↑ (3) 50 Andzejs Pasecniks C LATVIA INTL/21 7’1″ 220 lbs NEW 51 Isaac Hamilton SG UCLA Senior/22 6’5″ 195 lbs – 52 London Perrantes PG/SG VIRGINIA Senior/21 6’2″ 192 lbs NEW 53 Lagerald Vick SG KANSAS Sophomore/20 6’5″ 175 lbs ↓ (6) 54 Isaiah Hicks PF UNC Senior/21 6’8″ 230 lbs ↓ (17) 55 Chris Boucher PF OREGON Senior/23 6’10” 200 lbs ↑ (4) 56 Jack Gibbs PG DAVIDSON Senior/21 6’0″ 195 lbs ↑ (6) 57 Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk SG KANSAS Junior/19 6’8″ 191 lbs ↑ (12) 58 Alpha Kaba PF/C FRANCE INTL/20 6’10” 226 lbs ↑ (7) 59 Malik Pope SF SAN DIEGO ST. Junior/19 6’10” 205 lbs ↓ (19) 60 Wenyen Gabriel SF/PF KENTUCKY Freshman/19 6’9″ 200 lbs ↓ (19) 61 Allonzo Trier SG ARIZONA Sophomore/20 6’4″ 205 lbs NEW 62 L.J. Peak SF GEORGETOWN Junior/20 6’5″ 215 lbs ↓ (7) 63 Isaiah Briscoe PG/SG KENTUCKY Sophomore/20 6’3″ 218 lbs ↓ (7) 64 James Blackmon Jr. SG INDIANA Junior/21 6’3″ 184 lbs ↓ (18) 65 Kris Jenkins SF/PF VILLANOVA Senior/22 6’6″ 240 lbs ↑ (11) 66 Jawun Evans PG OKLAHOMA ST. Sophomore/20 6’1″ 177 lbs NEW 67 Bryce Alford PG/SG UCLA Senior/21 6’3″ 185 lbs ↓ (18) 68 E.C. Matthews SG RHODE ISLAND Sophomore/20 6’4″ 181 lbs NEW 69 Charles Cooke SG DAYTON Senior/22 6’5″ 196 lbs ↑ (20) 70 Manu Lecomte PG BAYLOR Junior/21 5’11” 170 lbs NEW 71 Bonzie Colson PF NOTRE DAME Junior/20 6’5″ 220 lbs NEW 72 Dedric Lawson SF MEMPHIS Sophomore/19 6’8″ 225lbs ↓ (19) 73 Jessie Govan C GEORGETOWN Sophomore/18 6’11” 255 lbs NEW 74 Aaron Holiday PG UCLA Sophomore/20 6’1″ 187 lbs ↑ (17) 75 Moses Kingsley PF/C ARKANSAS Senior/22 6’10” 230 lbs ↓ (14) 76 Malcolm Hill SF ILLINOIS Senior/21 6’6″ 230 lbs ↑ (21) 77 Peter Jok SG IOWA Senior/22 6’6″ 199 lbs ↓ (20) 78 Kobi Simmons PG ARIZONA Freshman/18 6’6″ 185 lbs ↓ (8) 79 Aleksander Vezenkov SF/PF BULGARIA INTL/20 6’9″ 225 lbs ↓ (7) 80 Nic Slavica SF CROATIA INTL/19 6’7″ 190 lbs ↓ (20) 81 Antonio Blakeney SG LSU Sophomore/19 6’4″ 177 lbs ↓ (9) 82 Kyle Kuzma PF UTAH Junior/20 6’9″ 221 lbs ↓ (16) 83 Luke Kornet PF/C VANDERBILT Senior/21 7’0″ 240 lbs ↓ (9) 84 Diego Flaccadori SG ITALY INTL/20 6’5″ 172 lbs ↓ (6) 85 Amida Brimah C UCONN Senior/22 7’0″ 230 lbs ↑ (13) 86 Emircan Kosut C TURKEY INTL/21 6’11” 220 lbs ↑ (13) 87 Trevon Bluiett SF XAVIER Junior/20 6’6″ 215 lbs NEW 88 Marcus Keene PG CENTRAL MICHIGAN Junior/20 5’9″ 175 lbs ↓ (21) 89 Josh Langford SG MICHIGAN ST. Freshman/18 6’6″ 205 lbs ↓ (26) 90 Chimezie Metu PF/C USC Sophomore/19 6’9″ 210 lbs ↓ (8) 91 Vinny Okouo C CONGO INTL/19 7’2″ 240 lbs NEW 92 Donovan Mitchell PG/SG LOUISVILLE Sophomore/20 6’3″ 210 lbs ↓ (17) 93 Kyle Guy SG VIRGINIA Freshman/18 6’2″ 170 lbs ↓ (1) 93 Zach Collins C GONZAGA Freshman/18 6’11” 220 lbs ↓ (13) 94 Vince Edwards Jr. SF PURDUE Junior/20 6’8″ 225 lbs ↓ (13) 95 Matt Jones SG DUKE Senior/21 6’5″ 200 lbs ↓ (10) 96 Nic Slavica SF CROATIA INTL/19 6’7″ 190 lbs ↓ (1) 97 Kennedy Meeks C UNC Senior/21 6’9″ 279 lbs ↓ (20) 98 Rawle Alkins SG ARIZONA Freshman/18 6’4″ 185 lbs ↓ (5) 99 Egemen Guven PF/C TURKEY INTL/19 6’10” 210 lbs NEW 100 Tony Bradley C UNC Freshman/19 6’10” 248 lbs Players By Conference ACC: 24 players Big-12: 10 players Big-10: 11 players PAC-12: 14 players SEC: 9 players Other: 32 players Players By Year Freshmen: 25 players Sophomores: 19 players Juniors: 17 players Seniors: 23 players International: 16 players
- Bracketology: Blind Resumes Week 1 December 20, 2016 College Pride Press
Blind Resumes Week 1: Who should be a #1 seed?
by: Jonathon Warriner
Each week starting now until Selection Sunday, I will pick 4 random teams with a similar seed and compare their RPI, KPI, Strength of Schedule, record, and Record against the Top-50. Please look at the examples of teams before scrolling down and reading who they are.
Team 1: RPI: 16, KPI: 20, SOS: 186, Record: 10-1, Record vs. Top-50: 1-1
Team 2: RPI: 5, KPI: 3, SOS: 66, Record: 10-1, Record vs. Top 50: 2-1
Team 3: RPI: 7, KPI: 8, SOS: 91, Record: 10-1, Record vs. Top 50: 1-1
Team 4: RPI: 15, KPI: 7, SOS: 191, Record: 12-0, Record vs. Top 50: 1-0
Who are the teams?
Team 1: Duke
Team 2: Kansas
Team 3: Kentucky
Team 4: UCLA
This week I picked 4 teams that are currently fighting for the final two one seeds in my Bracketology. I currently have Kansas and UCLA as one seeds, and Duke and Kentucky as two seeds, based upon head to head matchup wins by UCLA and Kansas over Duke and Kentucky.
- CPP’s Week 3 Awards November 29, 2016 Noah Holley
Good news and bad news.
I always choose to get the bad news over with first, so here we go:
- BAD NEWS: Mark was unable to do the write-up for our Awards post this week.
- GOOD NEWS: There’s still an awards post!
- MORE BAD NEWS: I’m writing it.
I’m sure you’ll manage. Mark will be back next week.
Whatever. Without further adieu, College Pride Press’s Week 3 Awards!
Game of the Week: Baylor 66, Louisville 63 (4 votes)
This game was never close.
Until it was.
It was all Louisville in Friday’s Battle 4 Atlantis Final for the first 30 minutes of the contest. The Cardinals led 32-10 at one point in the first half, 39-24 at halftime, and 51-40 with 11 minutes remaining. All of the sudden, however, Louisville ran out of juice. The Cards looked nothing like the dominant force they were in the first half, instead appearing to be dragged down by fatigue.
The Bears took advantage of this and embarrassed Louisville’s transition defense over the last five or six minutes. Somehow, someway Baylor ended up with a Battle 4 Atlantis championship, leaving us wondering aloud “What the heck did I just watch?”
Others receiving votes: IPFW 71, Indiana 68 in OT (1 vote), Valparaiso 92, BYU 89 (1 vote) Butler 69, Arizona 65 (1 vote) Gonzaga 73, Iowa State 71 (1 vote)
Team of the Week: Baylor (5 votes)
Is this the year that Baylor finally breaks through?
If we throw the Bears’ history of disappointing us of the window, we don’t have much evidence against it. Baylor not only beat VCU, Michigan State, and Louisville to win one of the most prestigious preseason tournaments this past week, they rallied from a sizable deficit to win every single one of those games. The Bears are displaying impressive resilience and toughness and receiving valuable contributions from just about everyone, all signs of a contender.
This easy choice for Team of the Week is also the easy choice for Team of the Year up to this point. I don’t know if the Bears will keep this up, but as of now, Baylor has earned the distinction as one of the most dangerous teams in the country. That resume isn’t terrible, either.
Others receiving votes: Butler (2 votes), South Carolina (1 vote)
Coach of the Week: Scott Drew (7 votes)
Aw man, I have to talk about Baylor again? C’mon, fellow voters.
I mean, I guess it would be ridiculous to not have Drew here. You don’t rally from deficits of 8+ in three consecutive games against tournament-bound teams without some serious coaching.
Drew has his Bears playing confident and playing together better than I can remember in his tenure. He’s done some impressive work so far this season.
Others receiving votes: Chris Holtmann (1 vote)
Freshman of the Week: Lonzo Ball (6 votes)
Sometimes it’s hard to believe that Ball is as young as he is. On his way to winning the Wooden Legacy Tournament MVP this weekend, the UCLA freshman racked up 28 assists over the 3 games in the tournament.
Most times, however, it’s easy to believe, as his defensive effort has been poor and he at times has been rocked by shooting slumps. But his nose for hitting big shots, his senior-like basketball IQ and limitless potential that he has displayed so far not only have NBA scouts drooling but UCLA fans thinking Final Four. Big things are to come for the point guard.
Others receiving votes: Kyle Guy (1 vote), Dennis Smith Jr (1 vote)
Point Guards of the Week: Monte Morris (3 votes) Dennis Smith Jr (3 votes)
Ew. A tie.
Nobody wants to share an award, but unfortunately for NC State’s Dennis Smith Jr and Iowa State’s Monte Morris, it was just too close to call for my fellow voters. Here’s the lowdown on each:
Smith had himself a nice little scoring week (he racked up point totals of 21, 24, and 30), an encouraging sign for the Wolfpack. The more comfortable Smith is in this offense, the better for NC State, as it’s clear that his play will very much determine what kind of team NCSU will be in 2016-17.
Morris scored 6 and 14 while adding 14 combined assists vs. Miami and Gonzaga this week.
Others receiving votes: Joel Berry (2 votes)
Wing player of the Week: Malik Monk (6 votes)
The competition wasn’t much, as unlike other teams Kentucky did not participate in a preseason tournament. But Monk was once again too good to be ignored, scoring 23, 26, and 23 to help Kentucky cruise past Cleveland State, Tennessee-Martin and Arizona State.
But forget about, you know, averaging 24 points a game. This assist alone should be enough for the freshman to win this award. I mean, WHAT!
Others receiving votes: Sindarius Thornwell (1 vote), Kelan Martin (1 vote)
Post player of the Week: Johnathan Motley (8 votes!)
Ladies and gentlemen, our first unanimous vote of the year!
We can break down how on earth Baylor did what they did in the Battle 4 Atlantis a hundred different ways, but all would include the junior forward. Motley is easily the most important Bears player, and here’s why:
- Most boring one first: Motley is the most talented player on this team.
- Motley is an elite rebounder on a not-exactly-elite rebounding team.
- Motley’s never-ending motor was one of the biggest reasons Baylor was able to win the Battle 4 Atlantis. He never gave up trying to breathe life into his team. As a coach, that’s really all you can ask for.
- Here’s the biggie: As the focal point of this offense, his newfound consistency is huge for Baylor. Throughout his career, Motley has played as up and down as anybody. Not only can Motley not reach his ceiling without him developing some form of consistency, it’s doubtful that Baylor can either. There’s no guarantees he keeps this up – he’s only played in five games, after all – but it certainly feels like this will be the breakout year we’ve all been waiting for. If that’s the case, watch out, college basketball.
Best decision of the Week: IU traveling to IPFW (5 votes)
This may seem like an odd choice for this award, but Tom Crean scheduling a road game against in-state, mid-major IPFW takes the cake. For a powerhouse basketball school like Indiana, to schedule a game against a hungry ...
- CPP’s College Basketball Week 2 Awards November 21, 2016 Mark Stouffer
Well, well, well, not a bad first full week of college basketball.
In the first week we saw many games worthy of a February/March feel, with late game dramatics, team reaching deep into their depth, and great individual performances
And this is all before Thanksgiving, with preseason tournaments like Maui and Battle 4 Atlantis still to play. This week is going to be great.
So without further ado, the awards for this week of College Basketball:
Game of the Week
Kansas 77, Duke 75 (5 votes)
Really, guys? You’re going to make me, a Duke fan, write about this game?
Oh wait, I voted for this game too. Never mind.
The jet-lagged Jayhawks and short-handed Blue Devils played a fantastic game in Madison Square Garden, both teams leaving nothing in the tank. Both teams had stellar individual performances, with Kansas being led by Frank Mason’s 21 and Duke by Luke Kennard’s 22.
Both teams overcame significant foul trouble to put on excellent displays of basketball, with Duke taking the lead early, Kansas roaring back for their own double digit lead, and Duke rallying back to tie.
As for the ending?
Well, you’ll just have to read on to our Moment of the Week.
Others receiving votes: Xavier 83, Missouri 82 (2 votes), Maryland 76, Georgetown 75 (1 vote)
Team of the Week
Kansas (3 votes)
This week could not have gone much better for Kansas.
After a brutal loss to Indiana in Hawaii, the Jayhawks bounced back and took down the Blue Devils in a thriller in New York. The Jayhawks have established their identity, as there might not be a better backcourt than Frank Mason and Devonte Graham. And after a poor start, Josh Jackson has looked like the stud freshman he is.
But to top it all off, on Friday, Kansas took down Siena 86-65, giving Bill Self a record 207th win at Allen Fieldhouse.
Self’s record at home is 207-9. Wow.
Others receiving votes: Creighton (2 votes), Michigan (2 votes), Duke (1 vote)
Coach of the Week
Greg McDermott, Creighton (7 votes)
Three major conference opponents in one week. One in the Top 10, one with two five star freshmen.
To many, that is a mountain.
For Creighton, it’s a bump on the road.
After three years of struggles following the departure of Greg’s son, national player of the year Doug McDermott, the Blue-jays are back and are ready to challenge the best in college basketball.
Creighton showed its versatility, on Tuesday by beating #9 Wisconsin 79-67 in a defensive showcase, holding Wisconsin to 41% shooting. Then on Sunday they beat NC State 112-94, shooting 61% and having seven players scoring double digits. In between they took down Washington State 103-77 in a game that could have been a trap.
That is a testament to some phenomenal coaching, and Greg McDermott has his guys ready for March.
Others receiving votes: John Beilein, Michigan (1 vote)
Freshman of the Week
Malik Monk, Kentucky (4 votes)
Here’s a name we should all be getting familiar with.
Against Michigan State on Tuesday, Monk shredded the Spartans for 23 points, including 7 threes in the 69-48 win. Considering one of the big concerns for this Wildcat team was three-point shooting, Monk erased a lot of doubts for this team.
Against Duquesne, Monk followed with a respectable 14 points, while still making splash plays throughout the week.
Just imagine how good he will be by March.
Others receiving votes: Markelle Fultz, Washington (2 votes), Frank Jackson, Duke (1 vote), Charlie Moore, California (1 vote)
Point Guard of the Week
Frank Mason III, Kansas (6 votes)
My goodness is this guy good.
21 points against Duke with 5 assists, including the game winning jumper in spite of battling foul trouble. Then 18 points and 3 assists against Siena, in spite of being on three cross country flights within a week and a half.
The best driver in the country, Mason is relentless at the hoop, always finishing while drawing the foul. But simultaneously his jumper has been locked in with good assist numbers too.
Imagine the damage he’ll do once he’s in the same time zone most of the time.
Others receiving votes: Josh Hart, Villanova (1 vote), Charlie Moore, California (1 vote)
Wing Player of the Week
Luke Kennard, Duke (7 votes)
In spite of their much-highlighted injury concerns, Duke is playing like a Top 5 team.
They owe a good chunk of that to Kennard.
Kennard averaged 20.3 points in three games this week, shooting 54.1%, including an absurd 52.9% from three. He’s done so in spite of almost never resting, including playing the entire 80 minutes of the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic.
He’s also averaged 5.3 rebounds and played often as the point guard during the week, providing Duke with a much needed consistent offensive threat while Grayson Allen plays hurt and Jayson Tatum is out.
And this guy was supposed to be the 7th or 8th man for Duke.
Be afraid, college basketball.
Others receiving votes: Derrick Walton Jr., Michigan (1 vote)
Post Player of the Week
Hassan Martin, Rhode Island (3 votes)
Something about the name Hassan produces good post players.
The senior posted excellent numbers throughout the week, averaging 13 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 4.3 blocks per game, while shooting 70%. He’s done so while frequently playing as Rhode Island’s lone true post player and being in foul trouble.
Against Duke, Martin went for 15, 6, and 5 in helping to weaken Duke’s driving game. Against Cincinnati he took on the bigger frontline and went 5-6.
Most stunning of all, he went 14-14 from the free throw line.
For a big man, this can only be a sign of good things to come.
Others receiving votes: Miles Bridges, Michigan State (2 votes), Kyle Washington, Cincinnati (1 vote), Michael Young, Pittsburgh (1 vote), Eric Mika, BYU (1 vote)
Best Decision of the Week
JP Macura calling time out in the last seconds (3 votes)
#11 Xavier found themselves in quite the dogfight with Missouri in the Tire Pros Invitational quarterfinal.
With the game tied at 82 in overtime, Xavier rebounded a Missouri missed three with four seconds left. Although initially it looked like Xavier would push the ball up the court, forward JP Macura alertly signaled for time out with 1.7 seconds remaining, giving the Musketeers time to set up ...
- 2017 NBA Draft Big Board/Top 100 Prospects: 112 Days Until Selection Sunday Edition! November 21, 2016 Brett Siegel
Week 1 of the College Basketball season is in the past, so let’s continue to analyze the future! NBA Draft Analyst Brett Siegel has updated his NBA Draft Big Board/Top 100 Prospects list for the 2017 NBA Draft based on performances during the first week of the College Basketball season! Check out the rankings to see who has helped their draft stock this past week and who has endangered it!
It has clearly been the year of the freshman so far, but let’s not forget about these upperclassmen either! Take a look and see where your favorite college player ranks among the rest of the prospects, and see how many NBA prospects from your favorite college/country made my list!
Players By Conference ACC: 24 players Big-12: 11 players Big-10: 12 players PAC-12: 13 players SEC: 10 players Other: 30 players Players By Year Freshmen: 24 players Sophomores: 20 players Juniors: 16 players Seniors: 24 players International: 16 players Ranking Name Position School/Country Year/Age Height Weight – 1 Markelle Fultz PG/SG WASHINGTON Freshman/18 6’5″ 190 lbs – 2 Josh Jackson SF KANSAS Freshman/19 6’8″ 203 lbs ↑ (4) 3 Lonzo Ball PG UCLA Freshman/18 6’5″ 195 lbs ↓ (1) 4 Dennis Smith PG N.C. ST. Freshman/19 6’2″ 180 lbs ↓ (1) 5 Jayson Tatum SF DUKE Freshman/18 6’8″ 204 lbs ↓ (1) 6 Frank Ntilikina PG FRANCE INTL/18 6’4″ 175 lbs ↑ (1) 7 Ivan Rabb PF/C CALIFORNIA Sophomore/19 6’11” 220 lbs ↓ (2) 8 Jonathan Isaac SF FLORIDA ST. Freshman/18 6’11” 205 lbs – 9 Harry Giles PF DUKE Freshman/18 6’11” 230 lbs ↑ (3) 10 Malik Monk PG/SG KENTUCKY Freshman/18 6’4″ 185 lbs ↓ (1) 11 De’Aaron Fox PG KENTUCKY Freshman/18 6’4″ 170 lbs ↑ (10) 12 Miles Bridges SF MICHIGAN ST. Freshman/18 6’8″ 230 lbs ↑ (2) 13 Lauri Markkenen PF ARIZONA Freshman/19 7’0″ 225 lbs ↓ (3) 14 Bam Adebayo PF/C KENTUCKY Freshman/19 6’10” 240 lbs ↑ (4) 15 O.G. Anunoby SF INDIANA Sophomore/18 6’8″ 215 lbs ↓ (4) 16 Marques Bolden C DUKE Freshman/18 6’10” 254 lbs – 17 Nigel Hayes SF WISCONSIN Senior/21 6’8″ 235 lbs – 18 Jarrett Allen C TEXAS Freshman/18 6’11” 227 lbs ↓ (3) 19 Grayson Allen PG/SG DUKE Junior/20 6’5″ 205 lbs ↑ (19) 20 Josh Hart SG/SF VILLANOVA Senior/21 6’5″ 205 lbs – 21 Rodions Kurucs SF LATVIA INTL/18 6’8″ 190 lbs ↑ (8) 22 Dwayne Bacon SF FLORIDA ST. Sophomore/20 6’5″ 202 lbs ↑ (15) 23 Frank Jackson PG DUKE Freshman/18 6’4″ 200 lbs ↑ (34) 24 Frank Mason III PG KANSAS Senior/22 5’11” 185 lbs ↓ (5) 25 Tyler Lydon SF/PF SYRACUSE Sophomore/20 6’9″ 205 lbs ↓ (3) 26 Isaiah Hartenstein PF GERMANY INTL/18 6’10” 230 lbs ↓ (3) 27 Jonathan Jeanne PF/C FRANCE INTL/19 7’2″ 195 lbs ↓ (3) 28 Omer Yurtseven C N.C. ST. Freshman/18 7’0″ 228 lbs ↓ (15) 29 Thomas Bryant PF/C INDIANA Sophomore/19 6’10” 245 lbs ↓ (3) 30 Terrance Ferguson SG/SF AUSTRALLIA INTL/18 6’7″ 185 lbs ↓ (5) 31 Monte Morris PG IOWA ST. Senior/21 6’3″ 170 lbs ↑ (5) 32 Edmond Sumner PG XAVIER Sophomore/20 6’5″ 170 lbs – 33 Jaron Blossomgame SF CLEMSON Senior/22 6’7″ 214 lbs – 34 V.J. Beachum SF NOTRE DAME Senior/21 6’9″ 197 lbs – 35 Dillon Brooks SF OREGON Junior/20 6’7″ 215 lbs ↓ (8) 36 Justin Jackson SF UNC Junior/21 6’8″ 193 lbs ↑ (12) 37 Joel Berry II PG/SG UNC Junior/21 6’0″ 195 lbs ↓ (9) 38 Chris Boucher PF OREGON Senior/23 6’10” 200 lbs ↑ (1) 39 Devonte’ Graham PG KANSAS Junior/21 6’2″ 175 lbs ↑ (5) 40 Alec Peters PF VALPARAISO Senior/21 6’9″ 225 lbs ↓ (5) 41 Wenyen Gabriel SF/PF KENTUCKY Freshman/19 6’9″ 200 lbs ↓ (11) 42 Allonzo Trier SG ARIZONA Sophomore/20 6’4″ 205 lbs ↓ (11) 43 Melo Trimble PG MARYLAND Junior/21 6’3″ 190 lbs – 44 Santiago Yusta SG SPAIN INTL/19 6’7″ 200 lbs ↑ (3) 45 Amile Jefferson PF DUKE Senior/23 6’9″ 195 lbs ↓ (4) 46 Blaz Mesicek SG SLOVENIA INTL/19 6’6″ 190 lbs ↓ (1) 47 Kris Jenkins SF/PF VILLANOVA Senior/22 6’6″ 240 lbs ↓ (1) 48 Isaiah Hicks PF UNC Senior/21 6’8″ 230 lbs ↑ (7) 49 T.J. Leaf PF UCLA Freshman/18 6’9″ 215 lbs – 50 E.C. Matthews SG RHODE ISLAND Sophomore/20 6’4″ 181 lbs – 51 Caleb Swanigan PF PURDUE Sophomore/19 6’9″ 247 lbs – 52 London Perrantes PG/SG VIRGINIA Senior/21 6’2″ 192 lbs ↑ (13) 53 Andzejs Pasecniks C LATVIA INTL/20 7’1″ 220 lbs ↓ (11) 54 Jessie Govan C GEORGETOWN Sophomore/18 6’11” 255 lbs ↑ (18) 55 Luke Kennard SG DUKE Sophomore/20 6’5″ 187 lbs ↑ (13) 56 Isaiah Briscoe PG/SG KENTUCKY Sophomore/20 6’3″ 218 lbs NEW 57 James Blackmon Jr. SG INDIANA Junior/21 6’3″ 184 lbs ↑ (40) 58 Kobi Simmons PG ARIZONA Freshman/18 6’6″ 185 lbs NEW 59 Terry Larrier SG/SF UCONN Sophomore/21 6’8″ 195 lbs ↓ (5) 60 Jack Gibbs PG DAVIDSON Senior/21 6’0″ 195 lbs ↓ (7) 61 Antonio Blakeney SG LSU Sophomore/19 6’4″ 177 lbs ↑ (29) 62 Malcolm Hill SF ILLINOIS Senior/20 6’6″ 230 lbs ↓ (22) 63 Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk SG KANSAS Junior/19 6’8″ 191 lbs ↓ (11) 64 Chimezie Metu PF/C USC Sophomore/19 6’9″ 210 lbs ↑ (20) 65 Maurice Watson Jr. PG CREIGHTON Senior/23 5’10” 170 lbs ↓ (2) 66 Malik Pope SF SAN DIEGO ST. Junior/19 6’10” 205 lbs ↓ (2) 67 Luke Kornet PF/C VANDERBILT Senior/21 7’0″ 240 lbs ↓ (11) 68 Josh Langford SG MICHIGAN ST. Freshman/18 6’6″ 205 lbs ↑ (2) 69 Tyler Roberson PF SYRACUSE Senior/22 6’8″ 225 lbs ↓ (9) 70 Alpha Kaba PF/C FRANCE INTL/20 6’10” 226 lbs ↓ (12) 71 Aleksander Vezenkov SF/PF BULGARIA INTL/20 6’9″ 225 lbs ↓ (10) 73 Nic Slavica SF CROATIA INTL/19 6’7″ 190 lbs ↓ (10) 73 Kyle Kuzma PF UTAH Junior/20 6’9″ 221 lbs ↑ (5) 74 Jonathan Motley PF BAYLOR Junior/21 6’9″ 230 lbs ↑ (5) 75 Diego Flaccadori SG ITALY INTL/20 6’5″ 172 lbs ↓ (8) 76 Kyle Guy SG VIRGINIA Freshman/18 6’2″ 170 lbs ↑ (12) 77 Jawun Evans PG OKLAHOMA ST. Sophomore/19 6’1″ 177 lbs ↑ (22) 78 Rawle Alkins SG ARIZONA Freshman/18 6’4″ 185 lbs ↓ (12) 79 Amida Brimah C UCONN Senior/22 7’0″ 230 lbs ↑ (7) 80 Keita Bates-Diop SF OHIO ST. Junior/20 6’7″ 235 lbs ↑ (7) 81 Vince Edwards Jr. SF PURDUE Junior/20 6’8″ 225 lbs ↓ (10) 82 Matt Jones SG DUKE Senior/21 6’5″ 200 lbs ↓ (6) 83 Vinny Okouo C CONGO INTL/19 7’2″ 240 lbs ↓ (14) 84 Jordan Woodard PG OKLAHOMA Senior/20 5’11” 181 lbs ↓ (2) 85 Deng Adel SF/PF LOUISVILLE Sophomore/20 6’7″ 200 lbs ↓ (12) 86 Nic Slavica SF CROATIA INTL/19 6’7″ 190 lbs ↓ (12) 87 DJ Hogg SF TEXAS A&M Sophomore/20 6’8″ 220 lbs ↑ (2) 88 V.J. King SF LOUISVILLE Freshman/19 6’7″ 190 lbs ↑ (6) 89 Jalen Brunson PG VILLANOVA Sophomore/19 6’2″ 200 lbs NEW 90 Manu Lecomte PG BAYLOR Junior/21 5’11” 170 lbs ↓ (7) 91 Carlton Bragg PF KANSAS Sophomore/20 6’8″ 225 lbs ↓ (16) 92 Moses Kingsley PF/C ARKANSAS Senior/22 6’10” 230 lbs ↑ (4) 93 Zach Collins C GONZAGA Freshman/18 6’11” 220 lbs ↓ (16) 94 Egemen Guven PF/C TURKEY INTL/19 6’10” 210 lbs ↓ (14) 95 Jabari Bird SG CALIFORNIA Senior/22 6’6″ 200 lbs ↓ (14) 96 Kennedy Meeks C UNC Senior/21 6’9″ 279 lbs ↓ (5) 97 Devin Robinson SF FLORIDA Junior/21 6’8″ 180 lbs ↓ (4) 98 Peter Jok SG IOWA Senior/22 6’6″ 199 lbs ↓ (13) 99 Emircan Kosut C TURKEY INTL/21 6’11” 220 lbs ↓ (7) 100 Trevon Bluiett SF XAVIER Junior/20 6’6″ 215 lbs
- Podcast: Weekend Recap and Big 12 Preview November 21, 2016 College Pride Press
This is the first of many Sunday podcasts where Brett Siegel and Brad Kreppel breakdown all that went on in college basketball over the weekend. Grayson Ross and Sean Bock are special guests to help recap the weekend and preview the Big 12. Be sure to follow us on twitter @edupridepress.
- Preview: UConn vs. Oklahoma St. November 21, 2016 Nick Schwartz
9 PM ET
Lahaina Civic Center, Maui
The University of Connecticut Huskies get set to begin the Maui Invitational with a showdown against the Cowboys of Oklahoma State. The Hawaiian tournament has been kind to UConn in the past; they’ve won the event twice (2005, 2010). Maui is a place that conjures fond memories for Husky fans: it is where Kemba Walker announced his arrival on the national stage, and the place where Marcus Williams, Rudy Gay and co. knocked off Adam Morrison and the Zags on their way to a number one seed and the 2006 Elite Eight. Starting tonight, the 2016-17 edition of the UConn Huskies will attempt to imitate the runs of their predecessors.
For UConn, they come into this game after a rough start to the season, one in which high expectations have already crumbled. To further complicate matters, star freshman Alterique Gilbert reinjured his shoulder in their last battle against Loyola Marymount, and is likely done for the foreseeable future. It means that the shaky play of senior leader Rodney Purvis (5.7 PPG and just 13% 3PT) can no longer continue. He must team with sophomore Jalen Adams to challenge Oklahoma St.’s elite backcourt. Up front, Terry Larrier has been a bright spot for UConn. The sophomore is averaging 16.7 PPG and 5.7 RPG, and will need to be the offensive maestro he has shown flashes of in previous games. The one real advantage UConn may have is in size; they can throw multiple big bodies at the smaller Pokes. However, they must use this advantage, something they haven’t done so far. In fact, UConn is on average being outrebounded 39 to 36 by opponents this year. Without a concentrated effort on the glass that produces a rebounding victory, UConn will have little shot at a win.
New coach Brad Underwood has the Cowboys rolling, as they’ve topped 100 points in each of their first three games. The previously mentioned stellar backcourt, made up of Jawun Evans and Phil Forte, will be a major advantage against the depleted Huskies. As a pair, the sophomore and the senior average 45 points. These two anchor a strong starting five that has changed only once, at one position, so far this season. Coach Underwood’s true weapon may be Forward Jeffrey Carroll, an upperclassman who comes off the bench and plays 18 minutes a game. Carroll makes the most of that time, averaging 18.7 PPG. He also averages 8 boards a contest, and as a unit the Cowboys are averaging 45 a game through this early section of the season. While this has been against inferior competition, the sheer gaudy nature of these numbers makes them incredible. A similar performance against the Huskies on the glass could make this game ugly.
The Cowboys hit over 9 three-pointers a game, led by Forte, who is 9-24 on the young season. As a team, they hit 36 percent of their attempts from beyond the arc, a far cry from the meager 27 percent UConn is hitting. This has been a rude awakening for the Huskies, who came into the season believing they had multiple weapons from three-point range, including Purvis, Larrier, and freshman Vance Jackson. Instead, it is the Pokes who boast the most shooters, with Thomas Dziagwa and Lindy Waters nicely complementing Forte, Evans, and Carroll. UConn must be better at defending the three-ball against the Cowboys than they have against their other opponents, who have hit 24 times over three games from deep. Oklahoma St.’s high-powered offense makes tremendous use of the three-pointer, and UConn must be ready for the challenge from deep.
Jawun Evans vs. Jalen Adams
While UConn will likely throw a multitude of different looks at stud Jawun Evans, including Purvis, Larrier, and freshman guard Christian Vital, it is likely Adams sees the most time paired against the Cowboys’ lead guard. How Adams responds to this challenge will dictate UConn’s defensive performance. If he can use his size and athleticism to stay in front of the lightning-quick Evans, then the Huskies have a shot of containing him, and limiting Oklahoma St.’s other options that would be available off of double teams on Evans. Likewise, Adams can use his own slashing ability to make life difficult for Evans on the other end of the court, and help get the Pokes’ best player gassed or in foul trouble. Adams has the physical tools to neutralize the advantage a player of Evans’ caliber brings to a game. For UConn to defeat the Cowboys, Adams must do his best at stopping Evans.
It has been a rough couple of weeks for fans of UConn. The injury to Gilbert only aggrandized their despair. However, now is the time to turn their season around. Even though they played a close game, and could have easily lost, against Loyola Marymount, there were spurts during that game in which UConn got out in transition and looked like a team worthy of their preseason ranking. This has to be the breakout game for Rodney Purvis. Gilbert’s injury has made him indispensable, and the Husky off-guard showed last year he was a skilled player on offense (12.8 PPG, 39% 3PT). If he and Adams can match Evans and Forte, UConn should be able to pull this game out, and get their season back on track. UConn 70, Oklahoma St. 67.
The winner of this game plays the winner of North Carolina-Chaminade (likely the Heels), while a setback means a date with the loser of that game. Both of those matchups would take place on Tuesday.
- Tournament Preview: 2016 NIT Season Tip-Off November 20, 2016 Chris Walz
The NIT Season Tip-off consists of four teams and four games. The games will be played on Thursday, November 24th & Friday the 25th at Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, New York. The Tip-Off contains a very intriguing field in Temple, Florida State, Illinois, and West Virginia. None of these programs are considered the best of the best in college basketball but all of them can make some noise come March. This will be an exciting tournament to watch over the Thanksgiving weekend.
Game 1: Temple vs. Florida State
>(11/24; 12:30 P.M. ET; ESPNU)
Game 2: Illinois vs. West Virginia
>(11/24; 2:30 P.M. ET; ESPNU)
Game 3 (Consolation): Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2
>(11/25; 12:30 P.M. ET; ESPNU)
Game 4 (Championship): Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2
>(11/25; 3:00 P.M. ET; ESPN2)
>Daniel Dingle (R-Sr. Guard): Unless you are a Temple basketball fan, I guarantee you have never heard of this guy. In his junior campaign, Dingle averaged less than 5 points a game a year ago. So far he has exceeded anybody’s expectations for him this year. Dingle opened up the season scoring 22 points against a very good LaSalle team that many are predicting to finish top-5 in a loaded Atlantic-10 Conference. If Temple has any shot of beating Florida State, Dingle will need to have a huge game scoring and rebounding.
>Dwayne Bacon (So. Guard): FSU’s leading scorer from last year, Bacon, scored 22 points, 12 from 3-point land, in Florida State’s season opener against a solid Charleston Southern team. Bacon is a freak athlete with the ability to score from anywhere on the floor. His 6’7” size tends to create mismatches. Bacon is one of the most electrifying players in the country. Expect him to put up twenty in both of FSU’s games.
>Xavier Rathan-Mayes (Jr. Guard): Xavier Rathan-Mayes is one of the most underrated players in the country. He was FSU’s most consistent player his first two years on campus and he continues to do that at the start of this season. He is one of the most exciting guards to watch. Rathan-Mayes is an absolute sharpshooter and pure scorer. He scored 30 points in a span of 4 minutes against a top-25 Miami Hurricanes team last season. He has a great basketball IQ. He always seems to be making the right play.
>Malcolm Hill (Sr. Guard): Malcolm Hill has been the face of Illinois basketball the past two years. You can not mention Illini basketball without mentioning Hill. He has been U of I’s most reliable player for the longest time. He is only 6’6” but he rebounds like he is 6’10” and shoots like he is a point guard. He has a deadly jump shot and can score from anywhere on the floor. Earlier this season in a matchup with Northern Kentucky, Hill scored 40 points. Just to put that in perspective, Illinois, as a team, scored a total of 79 points that game. Illinois does as Malcolm Hill does. He will need to have a big game shooting the ball against a tenacious West Virginia press.
>Jalen Coleman-Lands (So. Guard): Jalen Coleman-Lands was one of the top players of the 2015 recruiting class. He played at high school powerhouse La Lumiere in LaPorte, Indiana. He is a future NBA draft prospect. Coleman-Lands is a high flying born athlete that has the ability to stroke it from downtown. His athleticism and length allow for him to be able to finish some crazy shots around the rim. However, in his first year at U of I, Coleman-Lands really did not show most of his athleticism. He was primarily known for his ability to shoot the 3-point ball. Against a West Virginia press that caused the second most turnovers per game in the nation last year, Coleman-Lands will have to use his athleticism and 3-point shooting ability to give Illinois a chance of an upset.
>Jevon Carter (Jr. Guard): Jevon Carter is coming off his best season at WVU. He was named to the all Big XII Defensive Team while averaging 10 points per contest. Carter Was first on West Virginia with 59 steals in a total of 35 games played. West Virginia is known for their relentless press which Carter is the anchor of. He does all the right things on the defensive side of the ball. He is always in the right position. Carter is everything a coach would want. He always makes the hustle plays. He does not have great size or length but he makes up for that with his quickness and vertical leaping ability.
First Round Game Previews and Prediction:
Temple vs. Florida State
>Florida State has too much talent for Temple to handle. Expect Dwayne Bacon and Xavier Rathan-Mayes to score 20+ points against a very average Temple defense. Temple also lacks consistent scoring which will hurt them significantly against a good FSU squad.
>Prediction: Florida State – 74, Temple – 65
Illinois vs. West Virginia
>Through the first 3 games of the season, West Virginia has five players scoring in double figures each contest. This balanced scoring attack combined with their unabating press will wear down Illinois. Malcolm Hill will have a solid game as usual, but Jalen Coleman-Lands will struggle which will hurt Illinois. This game will be close in the first half but WVU will slowly keep adding on to their lead and will win by a good amount.
>Prediction: West Virginia – 83, Illinois – 66
Championship Preview and Prediction:
Florida State vs. West Virginia
>Take a break from whatever holiday activity you might be doing and tune into this game. It will be an instant classic. It will be decided in the final few seconds. The experienced guard play of Bacon and Rathan-Mayes will be able to handle “Press” Virginia well but the balanced scoring attack of WVU is what will leave FSU feeling the agony of defeat. Watch out for WVU to make a deep tournament run in March.
>Prediction: West Virginia – 73, Florida State – 71
Everyone says that Thanksgiving is for football but that is not the case this year. The ...
- Thriller in the Garden: Kansas takes down Duke 77-75 November 16, 2016 Mark Stouffer
Not a bad bounce-back game for Kansas if I say so myself.
Frank Mason scored 21 points, including the game winning jumper with 1.8 seconds remaining, and Kansas held off a late Duke rally to prevail 77-75.
Kansas, coming off a gut-punch overtime loss to Indiana in Hawaii on Friday, initially got off to a slow start, trailing 15-6 within the first seven minutes of the game. Although Kansas tightened their defense, they still trailed 34-29 at halftime.
Duke had a scare of its own when with about 1:30 left to play, junior guard Grayson Allen landed awkwardly after a lay-up attempt, limping to the locker room . For a Duke team playing already without Top 15 freshmen Harry Giles, Jayson Tatum, and Marques Bolden, it looked like another devastating blow. However, Allen returned to play in the second half without looking too affected.
In spite of Allen’s return, Kansas dominated most of the second half, roaring ahead to a 62-50 lead with 8 minutes left and still leading 75-68 with 1:30 remaining. Kansas did so in spite of shooting poorly from 3 (2-17) and the foul line (9-19) by decimating Duke inside the arc and driving to the hoop.
Freshman forward Josh Jackson, after a rough game against Indiana, scored 9 straight points against Duke in the second half, and finished with 15 points on 7-9 shooting.
But with Duke trailing late, all of a sudden they got hot. The Blue Devils went on a 7-0 run late, including baskets from sophomore guard Luke Kennard, who ended up being Duke’s high-point man with 22 on 7-10 shooting, and Grayson Allen, who scored 12 but only on 4-15 shooting, including missing 11 of his first 12 shots before finally breaking through Kansas’ relentless defense. Duke managed to get stops between possessions and finally tied the game on Frank Jackson’s 3 with 15 seconds left.
This, of course, set up Mason’s heroics. The senior guard drove to the free throw line, and lofted a gorgeous jumper over Duke senior guard Matt Jones that looked good the moment it left his hand.
A theme throughout the game for both sides was foul trouble. The officiating was very tight throughout, calling a lot of touch fouls, resulting in 49 fouls total for the game and both teams reaching the bonus within the first 8 minutes of both halves. For Kansas, Josh Jackson fouled out, and Mason, center Landen Lucas, forward Carlton Bragg Jr., and forward Udoka Azubuike finished with 4 fouls. For Duke, senior forward Amile Jefferson fouled out, and Jackson, Jones, and center Chase Jeter finished with 4 fouls.
For Kansas, who improved to 8-17 all-time against #1 teams, this game legitimized themselves as a Top 5 team, a team that does well in the face of adversary, and a clutch team. To no one’s surprised, Kansas is a potential Final Four team again.
For Duke, this game showed that in spite of their talent and resolve, a six man rotation will not get the job done against teams such as Kansas, which Duke learned from last year. Duke may still be a Top 10 team, but in order to get that #1 spot back, they need Giles, Tatum, and Bolden, as well as improved, smarter defense.
- Game of the Week: #1 Duke vs #7 Kansas November 15, 2016 College Pride Press
Welcome to the first edition of College Pride Press’s Game of the Week. This week, the Game of the Week is going to be when #1 Duke and #7 Kansas meet up in the Champion’s Classic at Madison Square Garden. The game is on Tuesday night at 9:30 pm, immediately following the 7:00 pm matchup between #2 Kentucky and #13 Michigan State.
The Blue Devils retained their top preseason ranking and are 2-0 after blowing out Marist and Grand Canyon, while Kansas’s 103-99 OT loss to #11 Indiana dropped them down 4 spots and put them at 0-1, their first time losing in the season opener since 2001. There was potential for an electric matchup between the top two freshmen in the nation, Duke’s Harry Giles and Kansas’s Josh Jackson, but unfortunately Giles is still out after undergoing surgery on his left knee in October from a torn ACL in November 2015. Two of Duke’s other highly acclaimed freshmen, Jayson Tatum and Marques Bolden, are also suffering from leg/foot injuries and are out for the time being. Duke is ridiculously talented this year (there’s a reason why they’re the favorites to win the national championship). With the addition of those freshman, this is the biggest team that Coach K has ever coached. Grayson Allen has a legitimate shot at being one of the main contenders for the AP Player of the Year award, and he’s backed up by the 3-pt specialist Luke Kennard, the veteran seniors Matt Jones and Amile Jefferson, and the explosive freshman Frank Jackson. Kansas is a certainly a top title contender as well. They took a big blow in losing all those players to the NBA draft, but they are still returning with a strong squad in sharpshooting senior guard Frank Mason III, junior Devonte’ Graham, sophomore Malik Newman, and freshman sensation Josh Jackson. Friday night’s overtime loss to Indiana in the Armed Forces Classic was an immediate test for Bill Self’s new squad. Mason had a stellar game by putting up 30 points, 9 assists and 7 rebounds, but Jackson and Graham both had underwhelming performances, shooting a combined 27% from the field on Jackson’s 9 pts and Graham’s 16 pts.
The skilled shooting and size at Duke against the raw athleticism on the Jayhawks’ roster should prove to be an exciting matchup. If Duke was not missing Harry Giles, Jayson Tatum and Marques Bolden, they would be the heavy favorites in this game, but these circumstances make for a much more interesting game. Kansas’s defense is going to need to find a way to shut down Grayson Allen, who is leading the team in scoring at 20.5 ppg. Duke will have to watch out for Josh Jackson and Devonte’ Graham coming out hot trying to turn around their poor outing in the opener, along with attempting to silence Frank Mason III’s hot hand. This top ten matchup isn’t going to be very high scoring, as both teams defend very well on the perimeter. Regardless of the outcome of this game, the Blue Devils and the Jayhawks are both among the nation’s elite teams that are primed for stellar seasons and eventually deep tournament runs.
Game Info: Tuesday, Nov. 15th 9:30 pm EST on ESPN
Prediction: Duke 64 Kansas 61
- CPP Week 1 College Basketball Awards November 14, 2016 Mark Stouffer
Every year it seems as if the offseason gets longer and longer. This past one felt like Perry Ellis’s career in length. But thankfully, it is over, and college basketball promised for us a great slate of weekend games. They did not disappoint.
On behalf of the writers of College Pride Press, I present our awards for the very first week of the season:
Game of the Week
Indiana 103, Kansas 99 (6 votes)
The Armed Forces Classic in general exceeded the hype, with both games being stellar. The nightcap provided a bit of everything.
Two standout individual performances (you’ll see both later in this piece), excellent coaching, two teams reaching as deep as they could because of foul trouble, and drama at every twist and turn.
It was a game that would not be out of place in a late round of the tournament. Not bad for an opener.
Others receiving votes: Arizona 65, Michigan State 63 (2 votes)
Team of the Week
Wagner (4 votes)
Here’s a little bio about the Wagner Seahawks.
Wagner is a Lutheran University in Staten Island, New York, with an enrollment of 1,750 undergraduates. They play in the Northeast Conference, have been to one NCAA tournament (2003), played in the NIT last year, and has never beaten a ranked opponent.
Except for that last part. Now they have done that.
Almost lost in the shuffle of Friday night, Wagner went to Storrs, Connecticut and stunned #18 Connecticut 67-58. Wagner led most of the game, shot a higher percentage, and out-performed the Huskies in every statistical category except turnovers.
In other words, this was no fluke.
If you’re looking for a 15/16 seed that could shock the world in March, this is the team for you.
Others receiving votes: Indiana (2 votes), Arizona (2 votes)
Coach of the Week
Sean Miller, Arizona (7 votes)
Talk about a rough offseason for Sean Miller.
His best recruit, Terrance Ferguson, decided to play in Australia. Allonzo Trier, who was supposed to be a key player, is suspended indefinitely. And a prized freshman from the year before, Ray Smith, tragically tore his ACL for a third time and chose to retire.
With all of that happening, it’s easy to forgive Arizona for being a mess.
Except they’re not, and a huge amount of credit belongs to Miller. Miller, who has been to four Elite Eights but never a Final Four, had a well composed, mentally tough team ready for the Armed Forces Classic.
Going down 15-2 early to Michigan State, the Wildcats never wavered, and mounted a slow but steady comeback. When Michigan State tied the game on a bouncing three with 7 seconds left, Arizona never slumped or looked defeated, and were well prepared to run the final play. Kadeem Allen’s coast to coast lay-up fell in, and Arizona had a great victory.
For those that love resilience, this is the team to root for. And with a team this well prepared, Sean Miller has a legitimate chance at finally going to the Final Four.
Others receiving votes: Tom Crean (1 vote)
Freshman of the Week
Miles Bridges, Michigan State (3 votes)
Michigan State may have lost, but Miles Bridges has proven to be legit.
It wasn’t just that Bridges led the Spartans with 21 points, or had 7 rebounds, and played 37 minutes in his first collegiate game.
Rather, it was how he did it.
Bridges showed phenomenal athletic ability in scoring 7 straight points early on for the Spartans, including a spectacular baseline dunk that amazed everyone. Every one of his baskets was a sight to behold, and while he wasn’t perfect (1-6 3PG), it was as good of a debut as you would hope.
With performances like these, Bridges could establish himself as a legit Top 10 pick, something the Spartans haven’t produced since 2001.
Others receiving votes: Lonzo Ball, UCLA (2 votes), TJ Leaf, UCLA (1 vote), Curtis Jones, Indiana (1 vote), Kobi Simmons, Arizona (1 vote)
Point Guard of the Week
Frank Mason III, Kansas (8 votes)
On a roster full of potential lottery picks, it was an unsung senior that is not projected to be drafted that almost won the game for the Jayhawks.
Mason dropped 30 points, dished out 9 assists, and nearly took over the game at the end of regulation and overtime.
In spite of playing 40 minutes, Mason relentlessly attacked the basket at the end, and Indiana had no answer. Either he would score, or draw a foul, as he single-handily fouled out three Indiana players, while going 13-15 from the free throw line.
Ultimately, his and Kansas’ own foul troubles finally got them. But this game showed that as for Mason, so goes Kansas.
Wing Player of the Week
James Blackmon Jr., Indiana (5 votes)
Broken leg? What broken leg?
Lost in the hoopla of Indiana’s stunning comeback to the Big 10 title was James Blackmon breaking his leg right before Big 10 play, costing Indiana their best scorer for the season.
In his first game back, Blackmon showed no ill effects.
Blackmon was unstoppable on Friday night, scoring 26 points on 8-17 shooting, having a balanced attack of drives, mid-range jumpers, and three-point shooting.
Particularly at the end of the game, with Indiana in serious foul trouble, Blackmon continuously attacked the Kansas D, taking advantage of their foul trouble, and keeping the Hoosiers ahead in overtime.
With potential lottery picks Thomas Bryant and OG Anunoby, Blackmon helps form one of the most balanced, dangerous trios in the nation.
Others receiving votes: Bryce Alford, UCLA (1 vote), Trevon Blueitt, Xavier (1 vote), Charles Cooke, Dayton (1 vote)
Post Player of the Week
Caleb Swanigan, Purdue (4 votes)
Normally, games against cream-puff opponents don’t get much attention. Of course, normally, 20-20 games don’t happen either.
In Purdue’s opener versus McNeese State, Swanigan ate their big men alive, scoring 23 points, grabbing 20 rebounds, and even dishing out 6 assists as Purdue cruised 109-65.
Impressively, Swanigan shot 7-13 for the field, 9-11 from the line, and committed only 1 foul. It was the first 20-20 game from a Purdue player since 1972.
For a team with no post depth and okay guard play, Purdue is going to need excellence from their bigs almost nightly.
Swanigan seems ready for just that.
Others receiving votes: Thomas ...
- Preview: #3 Kansas vs. #11 Indiana November 10, 2016 Jacob Lautenschlager
Indiana Hoosiers vs. Kansas Jayhawks
November 11, 2016 @ 9 PM
The Indiana Hoosiers enter the season ranked 11th in the nation and have a test right out of the gate against the nation’s 3rd best team per the AP Poll. For IU, this will be the highest ranked opponent they face to start a season since the 1975-1976 undefeated season where they beat the #2 ranked UCLA Bruins. The Hoosiers are looking to become back to back conference champions and make an appearance deep in the NCAA tournament. Kansas is coming off a disappointing season as they came up short of the Final Four by losing to eventual NCAA champions Villanova. Still expectations are sky high as Kansas has now won 11 straight conference titles and has added the nation’s #1 high school recruit, Josh Jackson, as well as returning stars with big shoes to fill.
These two teams have talent beyond on the 5 starters that they will put on the floor. This game is full of intriguing matchups. The biggest matchup in this game will be the Hoosier’s Thomas Bryant against the Jayhawk’s Carlton Bragg. Whoever can control the boards will have the upper hand in this game. Secondly, everyone will want to see how the #1 recruit in 2016 Josh Jackson plays in his first game. The top recruit will likely be matched up against the athletic and developing OG Anunoby. The final matchup to watch for is the point guard matchup between Frank Mason III and James Blackmon Jr. Mason is the Jayhawks leading scorer that has returned from last year while Blackmon led the Hoosiers and nation in 3 pointers up until his season ending injury last season. Overall, these two teams are some of the most athletic that the NCAA has to offer this year with fast paced play styles and two of the greatest coaches in basketball.
X-Factor for Hoosiers: Turnovers and Defensive Rebounds
Last year, the Hoosiers averaged 13.5 turnovers a game and have shown a tendency to be careless with the ball in their scrimmages so far this year. If this is to happen tomorrow night Indiana will have a very hard time keeping up with the Jayhawks who were one of the leading teams in steals last year. Also, the Hoosiers must keep Kansas from getting second chance opportunities. With enough size in the post and the front court this shouldn’t be hard, but it is a necessity for the Indiana to come out victorious.
X-Factor for Jayhawks: Sharing the Ball
If one thing stands out about this Kansas basketball team, it is the breadth of talent they have across the board. It all starts at the point guard position with Frank Mason III. Mason can run in transition and knows how to create shots for others as he averaged 5 assists per game last year. Kansas also has a secondary guard in Devonte Graham who is very comfortable handling the ball. Graham is going to be a Junior but is coming off a strong sophomore campaign being selected to the Big 12 All-Defensive Team, Big 12 All-Tournament Team and the Big 12 Championship Most Outstanding Player. If the Jayhawks can spread out IU’s defense and find the holes their chances of winning will increase tremendously.
The key stat to watch will be 3-point shooting. Indiana ranked 5th in the nation last year in 3-point percentage finishing the season at 41.6% behind the line making 345 of the 830 total attempted three pointers. Not to be outdone, Kansas ranked 4th nationally at 41.8% behind the line making 304 of 728 attempts behind the arc. Needless to say, this will be a high scoring affair and both teams will look to hit daggers one after another from the 3-point line in transition as they are known to do. I expect this to be an exciting and fast paced matchup to start the season.
Needless to say, this will be a high scoring affair and both teams will look to hit daggers one after another from the 3-point line in transition as they are known to do. I expect this to be an exciting and fast paced matchup to start the season. Final Score: Hoosiers 89, Jayhawks 78
Indiana University | 2020
- Big-12 Conference Standing Predictions November 10, 2016 College Pride Press
Day 4 of our conference standing predictions and today the writers voted on Big-12 standings. There is a usual suspect at the top.
1 Kansas 2 Texas 3 West Virginia 4 Oklahoma 5 Iowa State 6 Baylor 7 TCU 8 Oklahoma State 9 Texas Tech 10 Kansas State
- Games to Watch: Week 1 November 10, 2016 Chris Garcia
Games to Watch: Week 1
SFA @ Kentucky
November 11, 6pm
First day of college basketball and we already have a great game. Kentucky won’t have a cakewalk with their home opener. SFA showed the nation last season that they can hang with the big dogs. Going to the second round of the tournament beating West Virginia 70-56 and losing in one of the most memorable games in a 1-point loss against Norte Dame. SFA did lose Coach Brad Underwood, who left for Oklahoma State, so taking over is Coach Kyle Keller from Texas A&M. This is a big first test for the Lumberjacks as they go against the #2 Wildcats with all eyes on Freshman Malik Monk. This is a game I will definitely have recorded and ready to watch with my popcorn.
Arizona vs Michigan State
November 11, 6pm
If you don’t feel like watching that first game and want to see two heavyweights going at it in Hawaii, then this is the game for you. With Denzel Valentine gone, Tom Izzo will now look for some new guys to go to like Miles Bridges, Kenny Goins and Nick Ward. What worries me for this team is what Tom Izzo and his Spartans are known for defense and toughness. With Deyonta Davis in the NBA now, their replacement for him is graduate transfer Ben Carter from UNLV. They will know to find that new rim protector that they always seem to have. Izzo will gives his bigs chances to prove their worth against Sean Miller and his Wildcats. The Wildcats will be led by sophomore guard Allonzo Trier, who averaged 15 a game last season. The biggest question for this team is: Can they win against top tier teams? They always come with talented recruiting classes but can’t ever seem to pull it together when it counts. I’m excited to see this game.
Indiana vs Kansas
November 11, 8pm
If you’re watching Arizona vs Michigan State, you might as well stick around for this game cause its right after that game in Hawaii. Kansas has some of the best guards in college basketball in Frank Mason and Devonte Graham. I see them just moving the ball a lot and not just feeding the posting and letting him work. For Indiana it’s going to be weird for me to watch them without Yogi Ferrell. They will be looking for that new floor general that Ferrell did so well in his years for the Hoosiers, but Tom Crean did do a good job of recruiting. I think Jay Bilas said it best “There’s not somebody like Yogi Ferrell that you can just give the ball to and that person is going to run everything. Their point guard is going to have to be by committee, where they can pass the ball ahead. The ball can’t just stick in one guy’s hands and have him run everything. It looks like they’re doing a good job of that. Along with that comes issues of turnovers. As simplistic as it sounds, passing and catching is going to be a big deal and making sure they don’t cough the ball up and put their defense in a bad spot.”
Villanova at Purdue
November 14, 6pm
The Reigning champs are back. Now with Arcidiacono gone, Jalen Brunson, who started 39 of Villanova’s 40 games last year will be handed the keys to this offense for Villanova. Along with the loss of guys like Darrun Hilliard, Jayvaughn Pinkston, and Daniel Ochefu, they will need others to step up this year. Starting in the frontcourt, Pinkston and Ochefu dominated the minutes down low averaging 26 and 24 minutes a game.
Purdue’s loss of one of the best rim protectors in college basketball, AJ Hammons, hurts along with the loss of Raphael Davis, an elite defender. However, if Caleb Swanigan becomes the player everyone projected him to be and if Isaac Haas can step up, the front court will be solid. Along with the transfer of Spike Albrecht and if Vince Edwards can produce well as a scorer the Boilermakers could be the dark horse in the Big Ten this year.
Wisconsin @ Creighton
November 15, 7:30
For the Badgers, it’s all eyes on Nigel Hays because he will take Wisconsin as far as he wants them to. I see this team being in the running for the Big 10 championship title with Michigan State as the prime competitor. Also, Ethan Happ is an elite rim protector who averaged 12 points 8 rebounds a game as a freshman. This team is young but still experienced. Very excited to see this team work this season.
Maurice Watson Jr., Isaiah Zierden and Marcus Foster are the main playmakers for this Blue Jay team. After losing Geoffery Groselle and James Milliken, they will need last year’s redshirt freshman Justin Patton to fuel this team and add a dynamic this team needed last season. The key to this team’s success is their backcourt. They are an elite squad in the Big East led ...
- College Pride Press Preseason Top 25 November 7, 2016 Nick Schwartz
Here at College Pride Press, we value not just the individual familiarity each writer has with their specific school, but the vast wealth of national knowledge that is also present. Using this understanding of the country’s entire college basketball landscape, we have constructed our own preseason poll, based upon the votes collected from ten different writers. Every Monday morning, just like the AP and Coaches Polls, College Pride Press will release its own rankings, based upon the knowledge and opinions expressed by our voters. Without further ado, here is our inaugural preseason poll.
- Duke (1 AP/1 Coaches) – The Blue Devils received all ten first place votes, and are on paper the best team in the country. They also have the best coach in the country. Anything less than a national title for Grayson Allen, Jayson Tatum and co. will be a disappointment.
- Kansas (3/2) – Despite losing Perry Ellis, KU is one of the clear frontrunners here in the preseason. Mason and Graham are an electric backcourt, and the Jayhawks added top prospect Josh Jackson to a team that also returns Landen Lucas and Carlton Bragg in the frontcourt.
- Kentucky (2/4) – Calipari has reloaded again, with top twenty prospects Bam Adebayo, Malik Monk, Wenyen Gabriel, and De’Aaron Fox joining returnees Isaiah Briscoe and Derek Willis. UK won their final exhibition game by nearly 100 points, against an NAIA school.
- Villanova (4/3) – The defending champs are still loaded, despite losing Omari Spellman to eligibility issues. Josh Hart and Kris Jenkins give the Wildcats one of the best and most experienced duos in the country. Jalen Brunson is a prime candidate for a sophomore breakout.
- Oregon (5/5) – With Trier in doubt for Arizona, the Ducks are the clear class of the Pac-12. Missing Brooks for the first portion of the season makes them a bit more vulnerable, but Boucher is one of the most underrated bigs in the country and could average over three blocks a game.
- Wisconsin (9/10) – Do not sleep on the Badgers; they return four starters from last year, including All-American candidates Bronson Koenig and Nigel Hayes. The scariest thing is that someone else may be the best player on the team: sophomore Ethan Happ.
- North Carolina (6/6) – Marcus Paige is gone, but Justin Jackson isn’t. Joel Berry and Nate Britt are both capable of being suitable replacements for Paige at lead guard, while Carolina has their typical absurd amount of depth in the frontcourt, led by Kennedy Meeks.
- Xavier (7/8) – The Musketeers will fight ‘Nova the entire season for the Big East. Trevon Bluiett and Jalen Reynolds both could be the conference’s best player, while point guard Edmund Sumner was one of the best freshmen in the country last year.
- Michigan State (12/9) – Tom Izzo reeled in his best recruiting class ever; Langford and Bridges especially have one-and-done potential. There are also a lot of returning pieces, such as Schilling and Nairn that should keep the Spartans from missing Valentine too much.
- Louisville (13/14) – Donovan Mitchell has been tabbed as someone about to break out, and the Cards brought in talented wing VJ King. Mangok Mathiang and Anas Mahmoud are both stellar down low, and Snider is a more than capable lead guard.
- Indiana (11/12) – After missing much of last year injured, James Blackmon, Jr. is back with a vengeance, and forms a potent trio with fan favorite OG Anunoby and potential Big Ten player of the year Thomas Bryant. Pitt transfer Josh Newkirk adds another weapon.
- Virginia (8/7) – The Cavaliers could miss Brodgon’s leadership, but super transfer Austin Nichols is eligible, and London Perrantes, now the lead guard, proved his capabilities as sidekick to Brogdon for three years. Freshman Kyle Guy is a sharpshooter with loads of potential.
- Arizona (10/11) – Much of their season rests on the saga of Allonzo Trier, but the cupboard is far from bare if that situation ends poorly. Freshmen Rawle Alkins and Kobi Simmons are both athletic freaks, while junior Dusan Ristic has shown flashes of brilliance in the past.
- UCLA (16/20) – Lonzo Ball. No other freshman comes in with a bigger combo of hype and enigma. If he meshes well with a returning core including Thomas Welsh and Bryce Alford, the Bruins’ ceiling could be the third weekend of the NCAA tournament.
- Gonzaga (14/13) – The Zags have a heavily underrated backcourt in Nigel Williams-Goss and Josh Perkins. Getting back Karnowski for an additional year was a major boost, and incoming freshman post presence Zach Collins was a McDonalds All-American. The future is bright for Mark Few.
- West Virginia (20/18) – Coach Huggins again has an athletic team capable of running a stifling press. The backcourt of Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles, Jr. gives WVU two capable veteran leaders. Esa Ahmad was a highly rated freshman a year ago; he could break out as a sophomore.
- Syracuse (19/17) – Tyler Lydon will be a pro, likely after this year. Grad transfers Andrew White and John Gillon give the Orange college experience in a backcourt that also includes stud frosh Tyus Battle. DeJuan Coleman and Tyler Roberson add depth up front.
- Miami (FL) (NR/NR) – The consensus CPP sleeper has a deadly duo returning in Davon Reed and Ja’Quan Newton. They also add a pair of highly regarded freshmen in Dewan Huell and Bruce Brown. Expect the U to contend in a loaded ACC.
- Purdue (15/15) – There is no arguing against the loaded frontcourt, led by Caleb Swanigan and Isaac Haas. However, they will need to find consistent guard play. A sleeper could be former Michigan man Spike Albrecht, who joins Purdue this year as a grad transfer.
- Texas (21/22) – Shaka Smart is already recruiting at a high level, landing potential lottery talent in Jarrett Allen and Andrew Jones. The sophomore trio of Tevin Mack, Kerwin Roach, Jr., and ...
- Recruiting: St. Louis lands 5-star for 2018 October 26, 2016 Noah Holley
Power forward Carte’Are Gordon, the 9th-ranked recruit in ESPN.com’s 2018 Top 60 rankings, committed to St. Louis on Wednesday.
Gordon checks in a little lower in 247sports.com’s 2018 composite rankings, at no. 22. In a class especially rich with power forward talent, however, he only ranks 11th in the site’s rankings for the position.
Gordon, a St. Louis native who attends Western Grove High, chose the Billikens over Kansas and Missouri. He had narrowed down his list to those teams a few days ago.
If head coach Travis Ford has changed anything about his new program, it appears to be the recruiting culture. Ford has hauled in two heralded recruits in his first summer in charge of the Billikens, the other being four-star guard Jordan Goodwin, a senior. For as long as the ESPN recruiting database has existed (it was spawned in 2007), St. Louis has never had a ranked recruit, and hasn’t had one as highly touted as Gordon since 1997 McDonald’s All-American Larry Hughes.
According to 247sports.com, Gordon is the highest-ranked junior to commit.
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- Top 15 College Basketball Freshman for 2016-17 August 29, 2016 Brett Siegel
Over the past few weeks here at College Pride Press, we have ranked the top fifteen players in the senior, junior, and sophomore classes for the upcoming 2016-2017 college basketball season. For our fourth and final installment of our class rankings, I was given the task of ranking the top fifteen players in my very own freshman class! This could be one of the best recruiting classes in the history of college basketball, but we will not know for sure until we see these freshman hit the court in October!
To start off, if you have read and or examined my 2017 NBA Draft Board, then this list shouldn’t bring any surprises to you! If you haven’t looked over the Draft Board, that’s okay, you can check it out anytime on our website though the NBA Draft tab! Enough talk, let’s get these rankings on the move!
15. Frank Jackson
PG – Duke – 6’4” 208 lbs
ESPN Rank: 10 247 Rank: 13 ScoutHoops Rank: 18
Standing at 6’4”, Frank Jackson joins a loaded Duke recruiting class full of first round talent in the upcoming 2016 NBA Draft! With Grayson Allen returning for his Junior year at Duke, I do not see Frank Jackson stepping in right away and contributing significant minutes for Duke this season. Can he be an excellent fill-in for when Grayson Allen fouls out or needs a break? Sure! Can he come in off the bench and take control of the game? Absolutely! Frank Jackson is one of the most athletic freshman coming out of this recruiting class and with his explosiveness and ball-handling skills, he will be a tough matchup for any undersized guard that has the task of trying to guard him.
Although Frank Jackson exhibits a strong mental aspect for the game, one down side to the young guard is he is not always the most willing passer. He tends to settle for deep, contested jumpers early in the shot clock, which could cut his minutes short if he continues this trend into the collegiate level. Overall, Jackson can really score and exhibits a deadly jumper at times. His development as a playmaker will ultimately make or break his career as he looks to turn pro!
14. Marques Bolden
C – Duke – 6’11” 250 lbs
ESPN Rank: 16 247 Rank: 15 ScoutHoops Rank: 8
I can promise you, the top 15 does not consist of just Duke players! There recruiting class, already number one at the time, kept on getting better when Marques Bolden announced he was going to become a Blue Devil! From Jahlil Okafor to all three of the Plumlee brothers, Duke has has always been known for having elite big men. Marques is nothing less than elite. Although like most big men, Bolden is not very athletic and struggles shooting free throws. But, one thing you can count on him to do is to get any rebound on any side of the floor! In addition to being a rebounding machine, Bolden shows very nice potential defensively as a highly skilled shot blocker, and even has a smooth mid-range jump shot that should develop nicely in time.
For a player of his caliber and for displaying such little weaknesses, it is hard to imagine that Marques Bolden will not find himself in the starting five come time for March Madness! Bolden’s future is very high and with his talents at both ends of the floor, he could easily help Duke raise yet another banner at Cameron Indoor!
13. Lauri Markkenen
PF/C – Arizona – 7’0” 225 lbs
ESPN Rank: 5-Star 247 Rank: 21 ScoutHoops Rank: 25-26
I know some of you are saying to yourselves right now, “Who is this kid!” That is what a lot of NBA scouts will be saying when they see Lauri Markkenen play for the first time at Arizona this winter! Originally from Finland, Markkenen has spent his past few years playing in European Championships and developing his skills in attempts to reach the NBA level. Last season, he played in the U-20 European-A-Championships where his team finished in 15th place. Although the team struggled, Lauri’s numbers were very impressive. He shot 50.4% from the field and 38.2% from 3-pt range. He averaged 24.9 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 1.0 APG, and an impressive 1.3 BPG.
When was the last time you saw a 7ft center in college basketball get a block at one end, sprint down the floor, and bang a three at the opposite end? It is almost unheard of and impossible to think of this, but Markkenen is known overseas for this. He has very nice mobility on defense for a big man and can guard the perimeter as well as the paint. At just 19 years old, Lauri Markkenen already has 4 years of pro and FIBA experience and will look to play a vital role for Sean Miller and the wildcats of Arizona this year!
12. Miles Bridges
SF – Michigan St. – 6’8” 230 lbs
ESPN Rank: 8 247 Rank: 12 ScoutHoops Rank: 14
Without a doubt, the best athlete in the 2016 recruiting class is Miles Bridges. Being a Michigan native, Miles Bridges decided to stay local and play for Tom Izzo’s Spartans instead of going to Kentucky to play under John Calipari. After losing four of their five starters from last season and coming off of a heartbreaking loss to Middle Tennessee St. in the First Round of March Madness, Tom Izzo decided to start clean with a Top-5 freshman recruiting class. Remember Denzel Valentine? Well, you will be watching Valentine ...
- 2017 NBA Draft Big Board/Top 100 Prospects: End of Summer Addition August 14, 2016 Brett Siegel
As the summer of 2016 comes to an end, it is time to see which 2017 NBA Draft prospect’s stocks are rising and falling! NBA Draft Analyst Brett Siegel has updated his 2017 NBA Draft Big Board with a new #1 Overall Prospect! Check out where he ranks your favorite college players and where he ranks this year’s top incoming freshmen among the rest of the college basketball world! Even though we are 323 days away from the 2017 NBA Draft, each day counts for these young prospects looking to make their dreams come true!
Players By Conference ACC: 25 players Big-12: 10 players Big-10: 12 players PAC-12: 15 players SEC: 7 players Other: 31 players Players By Year Freshmen: 24 players Sophomores: 21 players Juniors: 16 players Seniors: 25 players International: 14 players
↑ (3) 1 Markelle Fultz PG/SG WASHINGTON Freshman/18 6’4″ 190 lbs ↓ (1) 2 Josh Jackson SF KANSAS Freshman/19 6’7″ 185 lbs ↓ (1) 3 Jayson Tatum SF DUKE Freshman/18 6’8″ 175 lbs ↑ (2) 4 Lonzo Ball PG UCLA Freshman/18 6’5″ 195 lbs ↑ (4) 5 Frank Ntilikina PG FRANCE INTL/18 6’4″ 175 lbs ↑ (8) 6 Dennis Smith PG N.C. ST. Freshman/19 6’2″ 180 lbs ↓ (4) 7 Harry Giles PF DUKE Freshman/18 6’10” 230 lbs ↑ (5) 8 Isaiah Hartenstein PF GERMANY INTL/18 6’10” 230 lbs ↑ (6) 9 De’Aaron Fox PG KENTUCKY Freshman/18 6’4″ 170 lbs – 10 Grayson Allen PG/SG DUKE Junior/20 6’5″ 205 lbs ↓ (4) 11 Bam Adebayo PF/C KENTUCKY Freshman/18 6’9″ 240 lbs ↓ (7) 12 Monte Morris PG IOWA ST. Senior/21 6’3″ 170 lbs ↑ (7) 13 Jonathan Jeanne PF/C FRANCE INTL/19 7’2″ 195 lbs ↓ (6) 14 Ivan Rabb PF/C CALIFORNIA Sophomore/19 6’11” 220 lbs ↓ (3) 15 Thomas Bryant PF INDIANA Sophomore/19 6’10” 245 lbs – 16 Nigel Hayes SF WISCONSIN Senior/21 6’8″ 235 lbs ↑ (12) 17 Jonathan Isaac SF FLORIDA ST. Freshman/18 6’10” 185 lbs ↓ (7) 18 Jarrett Allen C TEXAS Freshman/18 6’10” 220 lbs ↑ (17) 19 Lauri Markkenen PF ARIZONA Freshman/19 7’0″ 225 lbs ↓ (2) 20 Josh Hart SG/SF VILLANOVA Senior/21 6’5″ 205 lbs – 21 Justin Jackson SF UNC Junior/21 6’8″ 193 lbs – 22 Miles Bridges SF MICHIGAN ST. Freshman/18 6’7″ 225 lbs – 23 O.G. Anunoby SF INDIANA Sophomore/18 6’8″ 215 lbs ↓ (7) 24 Melo Trimble PG MARYLAND Junior/21 6’3″ 190 lbs ↓ (6) 25 Marques Bolden C DUKE Freshman/18 6’10” 254 lbs ↑ (2) 26 Malik Monk SG/SF KENTUCKY Freshman/18 6’3″ 185 lbs ↑ (6) 27 Tyler Lydon SF/PF SYRACUSE Sophomore/20 6’9″ 205 lbs ↓ (4) 28 Omer Yurtseven C N.C. ST. Freshman/18 7’0″ 228 lbs ↑ (1) 29 Terrance Ferguson SG/SF AUSTRALLIA INTL/18 6’7″ 185 lbs ↓ (3) 30 Jaron Blossomgame SF CLEMSON Senior/22 6’7″ 214 lbs ↑ (8) 31 Kris Jenkins SF/PF VILLANOVA Senior/22 6’6″ 240 lbs ↓ (7) 32 Rodions Kurucs SF LATVIA INTL/18 6’8″ 190 lbs ↑ (7) 33 Chris Boucher PF OREGON Senior/23 6’10” 200 lbs – 34 Dwayne Bacon SF FLORIDA ST. Sophomore/20 6’5″ 202 lbs – 35 Dillon Brooks SF OREGON Junior/20 6’7″ 215 lbs ↓ (10) 36 Joel Berry II PG/SG UNC Junior/21 6’0″ 195 lbs ↓ (6) 37 Edmond Sumner PG XAVIER Sophomore/20 6’5″ 170 lbs – 38 Frank Jackson PG DUKE Freshman/18 6’4″ 200 lbs ↓ (7) 39 Allonzo Trier SG ARIZONA Sophomore/20 6’4″ 205 lbs ↑ (1) 40 Alec Peters PF VALPARAISO Senior/21 6’9″ 225 lbs ↑ (7) 41 V.J. Beachum SF NOTRE DAME Senior/21 6’9″ 197 lbs ↓ (5) 42 Chimezie Metu PF/C USC Sophomore/19 6’9″ 210 lbs – 43 Frank Mason III PG KANSAS Senior/22 5’11” 185 lbs ↑ (1) 44 Devonte’ Graham PG KANSAS Junior/21 6’2″ 175 lbs ↑ (5) 45 Antonio Blakeney SG LSU Sophomore/19 6’4″ 177 lbs ↓ (4) 46 Isaiah Briscoe PG/SG KENTUCKY Sophomore/20 6’3″ 218 lbs – 47 Amile Jefferson PF DUKE Senior/23 6’9″ 195 lbs ↑ (5) 48 Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk SG KANSAS Junior/19 6’8″ 191 lbs – 49 Isaiah Hicks PF UNC Senior/21 6’8″ 230 lbs ↑ (8) 50 Jessie Govan C GEORGETOWN Sophomore/18 6’11” 255 lbs ↓ (7) 51 Caleb Swanigan PF PURDUE Sophomore/19 6’9″ 247 lbs ↑ (4) 52 London Perrantes PG/SG VIRGINIA Senior/21 6’2″ 192 lbs ↓ (2) 53 T.J. Leaf PF UCLA Freshman/18 6’9″ 215 lbs – 54 Blaz Mesicek SG SLOVENIA INTL/19 6’6″ 190 lbs ↑ (8) 55 Deng Adel SF/PF LOUISVILLE Sophomore/20 6’7″ 200 lbs ↓ (10) 56 Carlton Bragg PF KANSAS Sophomore/20 6’8″ 225 lbs ↓ (5) 57 Josh Langford SG MICHIGAN ST. Freshman/18 6’6″ 205 lbs ↑ (1) 58 Jack Gibbs PG DAVIDSON Senior/21 6’0″ 195 lbs ↓ (2) 59 Kyle Guy SG VIRGINIA Freshman/18 6’2″ 170 lbs ↓ (5) 60 Matt Jones SG DUKE Senior/21 6’5″ 200 lbs ↑ (5) 61 Jordan Woodard PG OKLAHOMA Senior/20 5’11” 181 lbs ↑ (5) 62 Jonathan Motley PF BAYLOR Junior/21 6’9″ 230 lbs ↓ (3) 63 Malik Pope SF SAN DIEGO ST. Junior/19 6’10” 205 lbs ↑ (10) 64 Aleksander Vezenkov SF/PF BULGARIA INTL/20 6’9″ 225 lbs NEW 65 Santiago Yusta SG SPAIN INTL/19 6’7″ 200 lbs ↓ (4) 66 Luke Kennard SG DUKE Sophomore/20 6’5″ 187 lbs ↑ (22) 67 Kyle Kuzma PF UTAH Junior/20 6’9″ 221 lbs ↑ (15) 68 Malcolm Hill SF ILLINOIS Senior/20 6’6″ 230 lbs NEW 69 Luke Kornet PF/C VANDERBILT Senior/21 7’0″ 240 lbs – 70 E.C. Matthews SG RHODE ISLAND Sophomore/20 6’4″ 181 lbs ↑ (4) 71 Keita Bates-Diop SF OHIO ST. Junior/20 6’7″ 235 lbs ↑ (7) 72 Andzejs Pasecniks C LATVIA INTL/20 7’1″ 220 lbs ↓ (2) 73 Devin Robinson SF FLORIDA Junior/21 6’8″ 180 lbs ↓ (2) 74 Peter Jok SG IOWA Senior/22 6’6″ 199 lbs ↓ (14) 75 Ray Smith SF ARIZONA Freshman/19 6’8″ 210 lbs ↓ (11) 76 Maurice Watson Jr. PG CREIGHTON Senior/23 5’10” 170 lbs ↓ (1) 77 Kennedy Meeks C UNC Senior/21 6’9″ 279 lbs NEW 78 Diego Flaccadori SG ITALY INTL/20 6’5″ 172 lbs ↓ (15) 79 Zach Collins C GONZAGA Freshman/18 6’11” 220 lbs NEW 80 Alpha Kaba PF/C FRANCE INTL/20 6’10” 226 lbs ↓ (8) 81 Amida Brimah C UCONN Senior/22 7’0″ 230 lbs ↓ (14) 82 Chase Jeter C DUKE Sophomore/18 6’10” 239 lbs ↑ (5) 83 Jawun Evans PG OKLAHOMA ST. Sophomore/19 6’1″ 177 lbs – 84 Nic Slavica SF CROATIA INTL/19 6’7″ 190 lbs ↓ (16) 85 Kobi Simmons PG ARIZONA Freshman/18 6’6″ 185 lbs ↓ (9) 86 Trevon Bluiett SF XAVIER Junior/20 6’6″ 215 lbs ↑ (8) 87 James Daniel PG HOWARD Senior/22 5’11” 165 lbs ↑ (3) 88 Jalen Brunson PG VILLANOVA Sophomore/19 6’2″ 200 lbs ↓ (11) 89 Vince Edwards Jr. SF PURDUE Junior/20 6’8″ 225 lbs ↓ (9) 90 Egemen Guven PF/C TURKEY INTL/19 6’10” 210 lbs ↓ (9) 91 Emircan Kosut C TURKEY INTL/21 6’11” 220 lbs – 92 Derryck Thornton PG USC Sophomore/19 6’2″ 160 lbs ↓ (13) 93 Rawle Alkins SG ARIZONA Freshman/18 6’4″ 185 lbs – 94 Justin Robinson PG MONMOUTH Senior/21 5’8″ 160 lbs ↓ (9) 95 J.J. Frazier PG GEORGIA Senior/20 5’10” 155 lbs ↓ (9) 96 Tarik Phillip PG/SG WEST VIRGINIA Senior/22 6’3″ 200 lbs ↓ (1) 97 James Blackmon Jr. SG INDIANA Junior/21 6’3″ 184 lbs ↑ (2) 98 V.J. King SF LOUISVILLE Freshman/19 6’7″ 190 lbs ↓ (9) 99 Tyler Dorsey SG OREGON Sophomore/20 6’4″ 180 lbs ↓ (3) 100 Austin Nichols PF VIRGINIA Junior/21 6’9″ 202 lbs
- An In-Depth Look at Big 12 Expansion July 25, 2016 Nick Schwartz
The world of major college athletics has devolved into a harsh landscape where the importance of regional rivalries, rich histories, and geography are all irrelevant in a setting dominated by cold, hard cash. Conference realignment has given schools more wealth than ever, while also systematically destroying some of sports’ best facets. Now, it appears that there is only one crucial cog left to turn before stability comes back to the NCAA. The Big 12, faced with possible extinction, has come to the correct conclusion that their only chance to remain a member of the “Power Five” is to expand its membership. With more schools, the conference will have a larger presence nationwide and overall become more stable.
Shortly after the official announcement that the conference would explore expansion candidates, commissioner Bob Bowlsby released a list of six criteria that are going to be most important in the evaluation of candidates. These are: 1. Strength of athletic department, 2. Fan base, 3. Media market, 4. Reputation, 5. Integrity, and 6. Academic standing. In terms of athletic department, it should be expected that football is the most important sport, with basketball being a distant second. A noteworthy omission on this list of factors is geography. As recent expansion has showed, location is no longer relevant to the realignment picture in today’s age.
A multitude of schools have come forward and expressed their desire to join the Big 12. However, in reality, seven schools have a realistic chance of seizing an invite to the Power Five. Many of these are among the usual suspects when expansion rumors fly around, while others require some more creative thinking to seem properly feasible. These seven schools will be evaluated along the six factors mentioned specifically by Commissioner Bowlsby, in order to present the true best candidates for Big 12 expansion.
Brigham Young University: BYU is perhaps the school currently outside the Power Five that is most deserving of a spot. Their athletic department boasts a football program that has won national titles, and recently defeated both Oklahoma and Texas. Their basketball program is consistently in the postseason picture. The Cougars have an athletic department revenue of $59 million, more than nearly every “G5” school. BYU’s existence as a religious institution gives them a unique advantage in the fan base department, as the Mormon religion boasts copious members not just nationwide, but worldwide. This leads to a football attendance that approaches 60,000 per game, larger than over half of the current Big 12 members. Despite this advantage in fan base, BYU’s actual media market is somewhat small. Salt Lake City’s market ranks 34th in the country. However, this is still larger than many of the current markets occupied by Big 12 schools. It is difficult to assess what exactly Bowlsby means by “reputation,” but whatever this means, BYU has it. The school’s combination of athletic prowess and strong academics produces an amazing image. Integrity is also difficult to define, although BYU again seems to match up what Bowlsby is looking for. As previously touched on, BYU is a strong academic institution, ranking 66th in the current US News & World Report listings. However, their endowment is small compared to other candidates, pulling in $140 million (The Big 12 schools average over a billion in endowment). Despite this, overall, BYU appears to be a strong candidate. But, the wildcard may be that BYU refuses to play games on Sundays, due to their religious beliefs. This may not be a problem for football, but for other sports, this could create major scheduling problems, problems that if not compromised, could keep BYU from joining the conference.
Boise State University: Football, football, football. Over the past 15 years, there is little doubt that Boise State has been the premiere football program not currently in a power conference. This enough validates their athletic department in the gridiron-crazy Big 12. Their memorable win against Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl was one of the best college football moments in the 2000s. Boise State’s home attendance is the largest by a fair amount in the Mountain West conference, but due to other factors, the Broncos have a rather weak traditional fan base. Still, if fans show up to see the team play a weaker schedule, they will most definitely fill the stadium against a slate of Big 12 opponents. Their football success has made them a rather trendy team to follow for casual fans. A real black eye with Boise State is their media market, which ranks all the way back at 112th in the country, far below most power conference schools. Idaho is a sparsely populated state, meaning that there would only be minimal footprint gains in adding the Broncos to the Big 12. Boise State’s reputation is all football. None of their other sports programs are stellar, and their academics lag behind other potential targets. They have an endearing image as a non-Power Five school that is capable of fighting admirably against the larger institutions. Boise State has a strong enough sense of integrity, although average fans may only see the poor academic numbers, and therefore draw false conclusions about the Broncos. There have been no major scandals in the history of Boise State athletics. As just mentioned, Boise State has abysmal academic statistics when compared to the national scene. It does not appear on the US News national rankings, and has an acceptance rate of nearly 80 percent. If the Big 12 is serious about adding schools with academic prestige, then Boise State may be in trouble. But, it is important to remember that football is still king, and that this could potentially overshadow the academic shortcomings possessed by the Broncos. Should a football-only addition be seriously considered, Boise State will jump towards the top of the list.
University of Central Florida: In the eyes of many, UCF is a sleeping giant in the college sports world. Their football team is rather enigmatic; they went 0-12 a year ago, but also boasts a BCS bowl ...
- 2017 NBA Draft Big Board/Top 100 Prospects July 10, 2016 Brett Siegel
NBA Draft Analyst Brett Siegel compiled his “Way-Too-Early” 2017 NBA Draft Big Board/Top 100 Players. Check out where he ranks your favorite college players and where he ranks this year’s top incoming freshmen among the rest of the college basketball world! Even though the 2017 NBA Draft is about a year away, it is never too early to start finding the next hidden gems in college basketball!
Brett Siegel’s 2017 NBA Draft Big Board/Top 100 Prospects July 8th, 2016
Players By Conference ACC: 25 players Big-12: 11 players Big-10: 11 players PAC-12: 15 players SEC: 7 players Other: 31 players Players By Year Freshmen: 25 players Sophomores: 22 players Juniors: 17 players Seniors: 25 players International: 11 players
1 Josh Jackson SF KANSAS Freshman/19 6’7″ 185 lbs 2 Jayson Tatum SF DUKE Freshman/18 6’8″ 175 lbs 3 Harry Giles PF DUKE Freshman/18 6’10” 230 lbs 4 Markelle Fultz PG/SG WASHINGTON Freshman/18 6’4″ 190 lbs 5 Monte Morris PG IOWA ST. Senior/21 6’3″ 170 lbs 6 Lonzo Ball PG UCLA Freshman/18 6’5″ 195 lbs 7 Bam Adebayo PF/C KENTUCKY Freshman/18 6’9″ 240 lbs 8 Ivan Rabb PF/C CALIFORNIA Sophomore/19 6’11” 220 lbs 9 Frank Ntilikina PG FRANCE INTL/18 6’4″ 175 lbs 10 Grayson Allen PG/SG DUKE Junior/20 6’5″ 205 lbs 11 Jarrett Allen C TEXAS Freshman/18 6’10” 220 lbs 12 Thomas Bryant PF INDIANA Sophomore/19 6’10” 245 lbs 13 Isaiah Hartenstein PF GERMANY INTL/18 6’10” 230 lbs 14 Dennis Smith PG N.C. ST. Freshman/19 6’2″ 180 lbs 15 De’Aaron Fox PG KENTUCKY Freshman/18 6’4″ 170 lbs 16 Nigel Hayes SF WISCONSIN Senior/21 6’8″ 235 lbs 17 Melo Trimble PG MARYLAND Junior/21 6’3″ 190 lbs 18 Josh Hart SG/SF VILLANOVA Senior/21 6’5″ 205 lbs 19 Marques Bolden C DUKE Freshman/18 6’10” 254 lbs 20 Jonathan Jeanne PF/C FRANCE INTL/19 7’2″ 195 lbs 21 Justin Jackson SF UNC Junior/21 6’8″ 193 lbs 22 Miles Bridges SF MICHIGAN ST. Freshman/18 6’7″ 225 lbs 23 O.G. Anunoby SF INDIANA Sophomore/18 6’8″ 215 lbs 24 Omer Yurtseven C N.C. ST. Freshman/18 7’0″ 228 lbs 25 Rodions Kurucs SF LATVIA INTL/18 6’8″ 190 lbs 26 Joel Berry II PG/SG UNC Junior/21 6’0″ 195 lbs 27 Jaron Blossomgame SF CLEMSON Senior/22 6’7″ 214 lbs 28 Malik Monk SG/SF KENTUCKY Freshman/18 6’3″ 185 lbs 29 Jonathan Isaac SF FLORIDA ST. Freshman/18 6’10” 185 lbs 30 Terrance Ferguson SG/SF AUSTRALLIA INTL/18 6’7″ 185 lbs 31 Edmond Sumner PG XAVIER Sophomore/20 6’5″ 170 lbs 32 Allonzo Trier SG ARIZONA Sophomore/20 6’4″ 205 lbs 33 Tyler Lydon SF/PF SYRACUSE Sophomore/20 6’9″ 205 lbs 34 Dwayne Bacon SF FLORIDA ST. Sophomore/20 6’5″ 202 lbs 35 Dillon Brooks SF OREGON Junior/20 6’7″ 215 lbs 36 Lauri Markkenen PF ARIZONA Freshman/19 7’0″ 225 lbs 37 Chimezie Metu PF/C USC Sophomore/19 6’9″ 210 lbs 38 Frank Jackson PG DUKE Freshman/18 6’4″ 200 lbs 39 Kris Jenkins SF/PF VILLANOVA Senior/22 6’6″ 240 lbs 40 Chris Boucher PF OREGON Senior/23 6’10” 200 lbs 41 Alec Peters PF VALPARAISO Senior/21 6’9″ 225 lbs 42 Isaiah Briscoe PG/SG KENTUCKY Sophomore/20 6’3″ 218 lbs 43 Frank Mason III PG KANSAS Senior/22 5’11” 185 lbs 44 Caleb Swanigan PF PURDUE Sophomore/19 6’9″ 247 lbs 45 Devonte’ Graham PG KANSAS Junior/21 6’2″ 175 lbs 46 Carlton Bragg PF KANSAS Sophomore/20 6’8″ 225 lbs 47 Amile Jefferson PF DUKE Senior/23 6’9″ 195 lbs 48 V.J. Beachum SF NOTRE DAME Senior/21 6’9″ 197 lbs 49 Isaiah Hicks PF UNC Senior/21 6’8″ 230 lbs 50 Antonio Blakeney SG LSU Sophomore/19 6’4″ 177 lbs 51 T.J. Leaf PF UCLA Freshman/18 6’9″ 215 lbs 52 Josh Langford SG MICHIGAN ST. Freshman/18 6’6″ 205 lbs 53 Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk SG KANSAS Junior/19 6’8″ 191 lbs 54 Blaz Mesicek SG SLOVENIA INTL/19 6’6″ 190 lbs 55 Matt Jones SG DUKE Senior/21 6’5″ 200 lbs 56 London Perrantes PG/SG VIRGINIA Senior/21 6’2″ 192 lbs 57 Kyle Guy SG VIRGINIA Freshman/18 6’2″ 170 lbs 58 Jessie Govan C GEORGETOWN Sophomore/18 6’11” 255 lbs 59 Jack Gibbs PG DAVIDSON Senior/21 6’0″ 195 lbs 60 Malik Pope SF SAN DIEGO ST. Junior/19 6’10” 205 lbs 61 Ray Smith SF ARIZONA Freshman/19 6’8″ 210 lbs 62 Luke Kennard SG DUKE Sophomore/20 6’5″ 187 lbs 63 Deng Adel SF/PF LOUISVILLE Sophomore/20 6’7″ 200 lbs 64 Zach Collins C GONZAGA Freshman/18 6’11” 220 lbs 65 Maurice Watson Jr. PG CREIGHTON Senior/23 5’10” 170 lbs 66 Jordan Woodard PG OKLAHOMA Senior/20 5’11” 181 lbs 67 Jonathan Motley PF BAYLOR Junior/21 6’9″ 230 lbs 68 Chase Jeter C DUKE Sophomore/18 6’10” 239 lbs 69 Kobi Simmons PG ARIZONA Freshman/18 6’6″ 185 lbs 70 E.C. Matthews SG RHODE ISLAND Sophomore/20 6’4″ 181 lbs 71 Devin Robinson SF FLORIDA Junior/21 6’8″ 180 lbs 72 Peter Jok SG IOWA Senior/22 6’6″ 199 lbs 73 Amida Brimah C UCONN Senior/22 7’0″ 230 lbs 74 Aleksander Vezenkov SF/PF BULGARIA INTL/20 6’9″ 225 lbs 75 Keita Bates-Diop SF OHIO ST. Junior/20 6’7″ 235 lbs 76 Kennedy Meeks C UNC Senior/21 6’9″ 279 lbs 77 Trevon Bluiett SF XAVIER Junior/20 6’6″ 215 lbs 78 Vince Edwards Jr. SF PURDUE Junior/20 6’8″ 225 lbs 79 Andzejs Pasecniks C LATVIA INTL/20 7’1″ 220 lbs 80 Rawle Alkins SG ARIZONA Freshman/18 6’4″ 185 lbs 81 Egemen Guven PF/C TURKEY INTL/19 6’10” 210 lbs 82 Emircan Kosut C TURKEY INTL/21 6’11” 220 lbs 83 Malcolm Hill SF ILLINOIS Senior/20 6’6″ 230 lbs 84 Nic Slavica SF CROATIA INTL/19 6’7″ 190 lbs 85 Wenyen Gabriel PF KENTUCKY Freshman/18 6’8″ 210 lbs 86 J.J. Frazier PG GEORGIA Senior/20 5’10” 155 lbs 87 Tarik Phillip PG/SG WEST VIRGINIA Senior/22 6’3″ 200 lbs 88 Jawun Evans PG OKLAHOMA ST. Sophomore/19 6’1″ 177 lbs 89 Kyle Kuzma PF UTAH Junior/20 6’9″ 221 lbs 90 Tyler Dorsey SG OREGON Sophomore/20 6’4″ 180 lbs 91 Jalen Brunson PG VILLANOVA Sophomore/19 6’2″ 200 lbs 92 Derryck Thornton PG USC Sophomore/19 6’2″ 160 lbs 93 Isacc Humphries C KENTUCKY Sophomore/18 7’0″ 260 lbs 94 Justin Robinson PG MONMOUTH Senior/21 5’8″ 160 lbs 95 James Daniel PG HOWARD Senior/22 5’11” 165 lbs 96 James Blackmon Jr. SG INDIANA Junior/21 6’3″ 184 lbs 97 Austin Nichols PF VIRGINIA Junior/21 6’9″ 202 lbs 98 Charles Cooke SG DAYTON Senior/22 6’5″ 192 lbs 99 Emmett Naar PG SAINT MARY’S Junior/22 6’1″ 195 lbs 100 V.J. King SF LOUISVILLE Freshman/19 6’7″ 190 lbs
Download the full chart at NBA Big Board 2017
- New Places New Faces: University of Kansas July 6, 2016 Grayson Ross
The year has ended for us Jayhawk fans but we have plenty to be excited for. While we have a chance for a record breaking year. While many of our fans are sad by the departure of Perry Ellis, Wayne Selden, and Jamari Traylor, we have a couple players coming in who will hopefully make us fans feel a little better.
#44 Mitch Lightfoot
He is the lowest ranked member of our recruiting class this year at 116 nationally. However he will not be asked to play this year by coach Self he his has plenty of room to grow. He has a good size at 6-9 but may need to add some weight to his frame. He played three years of Varsity basketball in Arizona averaging 22 points a game and 12 rebounds over his career. He had offers from Utah, Arizona, St. Johns, and Stanford. He will benefit from practicing with some veteran post players on this Kansas roster. I predict him to be a rotational player his Junior year.
#35 Udoka Azubuike
Udoka is ranked as the 35th player nationally in the class of 2016. He is a physical specimen to say the least. People who are 7-0 and 280 pounds do not grow on trees. However he is even more rare than just being incredibly large, he is only 16. You read that correctly there is an incoming freshman who is the age of a sophomore in high school. Being originally from Africa I guess he may have jumped a couple of grades. However, he will have to be in Kansas until at least his junior year due to the NBA eligibility rules. Bill Self has said this summer that Udoka has already impressed him more than he expected; adding in the fact he has to stay and cannot be a one and done prospect he has the ability to be a game changer for years to come.
#14 Malik Newman
Malik Newman was a member of the Class of 2015. When he was in high school he was a top ten recruit. He was a McDonalds All American and Jordan Brand Classic game member. He was recruited by Kansas out of high school but he chose Mississippi State instead. It was incredibly strange for a top ten recruit to choose Mississippi State for basketball and now Malik has decided to make the correct choice, Kansas. He averaged 11.3 points a game last year. He will not be allowed to play this year so he will only be allowed to practice with the team. He will benefit from going against Devonté Graham and Frank Mason everyday. They will make them better and vice versa. You will not get to see him this year but after this season I expect him to be the focal point of our team.
#11 Josh Jackson
I made everyone wait for the man who will hopefully lead us to win our 13th straight Big 12 Championship. He is considered the #1 recruit by many sites and is a projected top 3 draft pick in next years draft. The man is the second coming of Andrew Wiggins. While being an All American and all of the accolades is great those players at Kansas don’t turn out the best. Josh Selby, Cliff Alexander, and Xavier Henry were all highly touted recruits who flopped at Kansas. However I don’t think we could have more of a sure thing here with Josh Jackson. He is 6-8 and 200 pounds with elite athletic ability. He is the most complete player coming out of this recruiting class. He can defend positions 1-4 while handling the ball, can facilitate, or be the focus of the offense. His jumpshot is not on an elite level, but you cannot dare him to shoot. He will 100% be an one and done prospect so for all Kansas fans enjoy him for the one year we get him.
- Malik Newman to Transfer to Kansas July 1, 2016 Drew Dinnhaupt
Former Mississippi State guard Malik Newman has decided to transfer to Kansas over NC State, Oregon and Western Kentucky. Malik Newman will have to sit out next season, per NCAA rules. He will practice along with Kansas guards Frank Mason III and Devonte’ Graham.
Kansas and Western Kentucky were the front runners to land Newman. Kansas was surely the most reasonable choice for Newman, however. Kansas recruited Newman heavily out of high school, unlike Western Kentucky, where Newman was a top 10 prospect in the class of 2015. Additionally, Newman would be able to practice alongside some of the top guards in the country while he had to sit, Devonte’ Graham and Frank Mason III to name a few. Western Kentucky does not have a guard core like Kansas. Furthermore, Newman can’t go wrong by choosing Kansas. Choosing Mississippi State was definitely a risk for Newman as Mississippi State is not a prestigious basketball school. In terms of his transfer, Western Kentucky would be a risk for Newman as Western Kentucky, though a rising program, does not have the same prestige a school like Kansas does. Big 12 basketball undoubtedly is more competitive than C-USA basketball, which is another reason why Kansas was the right choice for Newman.
Malik Newman, once projected to be a lottery pick out of high school, is expected to spend a year at Kansas, and will become a second round pick. If he stays multiple years, his draft stock will rise, but him being considered a lottery pick again is a reach.
- Who’s Pursuing Former MSU Guard Malik Newman? June 29, 2016 Drew Dinnhaupt
Former Mississippi State guard Malik Newman decided to transfer from the school weeks ago after having a rough freshman year. Newman was regarded as a top 10 high school prospect in 2015, and he somewhat lived up to that hype his first collegiate season averaging 11.3 PPG, 2.8 RPG, and 2.2 APG. However, Newman was “unhappy with his role and how he was utilized”, a source close to Newman named as the reason for the departure. Newman will have to sit out one year before playing again, which will be in the 2017-2018 season.
Newman has made serious progress in his recruitment thus far. Newman has visited Kansas, Miami, NC State and Western Kentucky, ESPN says. He added Oregon to his list recently as well, and has cut Miami (FL) from his list of possibilities. It may seem shocking, but Western Kentucky is definitely a contender for Newman as former Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury coaches the Hilltoppers. According to ESPN, a source told Chad Bishop of WBKO that Newman is “probably a lock” to Western Kentucky. However, Bishop was hesitant to believe the source.
Though Western Kentucky is receiving a great deal of the buzz about Newman, Kansas seems like the school who will most likely land Newman. Jeff Goodman of ESPN believes that the Kansas will make a push for Newman. Kansas was pushing for former Duke guard Derryck Thornton as well, but Thornton decided to take his talents to USC. Now that Kansas has one player to focus on, Kansas will likely make a strong push for Newman, which will increase their odds to land him.
(Photo from 247Sports)
- NBA Draft Breakdown by Conferences and Classes June 27, 2016 College Pride Press
We have been covering everything involving the NBA Draft and now that all the picks have been made I wanted to take a step back and look at the big picture of the draft from a college basketball perspective. 16 international players were selected on Thursday night making that 44 college players selected throughout the night. The first stat I wanted to look at was the players selected by conference.
The ACC is always considered one of the best basketball conferences if not the best conference in the country. The talent level is extremely high and it shows on their teams. The one thing that really surprised me was that the talent was very well spread throughout the ACC with no team having more than 2 players selected on Thursday night.
The Big Ten, Big-12, and SEC all tied for second with 6 picks. Kentucky had a down year with only 3 players getting selected. Most years the SEC has 6 just from Lexington. The Big Ten seemed to have a down year with Indiana, Wisconsin, and Ohio State all not having a draft pick. Of those three Indiana was the only team with 2 undrafted players. The conference should rebound next year with loads of talent coming into Michigan State and Indiana developing future NBA players.
The PAC-12 was on of the most interesting conferences because two of their five selections came from middle tier team Washington. Conference champion Oregon retained all of their future NBA players. The conference had two consensus first round picks return to school with Allonzo Trier (Arizona) and Ivan Rabb (Cal). Next year will be a big year for the PAC-12 with more talent in the draft.
The Big East brings up the rear of major conferences with 4 draft picks. The national champ Villanova Wildcats did not have any draft picks. Providence had 2 players selected with Marquette and Seton Hall representing the other two picks. The Big East has been very successful competing with the bigger conferences without tons of NBA players on their rosters.
The class standing of the draftees was a little surprising to me with more seniors being selected than any other class. The 2015-2016 year was a big one for seniors all over the country. Four of their draft picks were in the first round inferring that NBA teams still value experience and readiness somewhat. 14 freshmen were selected in the draft to go along with 10 sophomores and five juniors.
Next year should be a heavy year for the freshmen and sophomores. The 2016 recruiting class is loaded with future NBA players and expected “one and done” careers. Combine that with some of the freshmen who decided it would be wiser to spend another year in college and the underclassmen may rule the next draft class.
Indiana University ’18
- Jarrett Allen Commits to Texas June 7, 2016 College Pride Press
2016 5-star PF Jarrett Allen committed to Texas Friday afternoon. Allen is a 6-9 big man who attends St. Stephen’s Episcopal in Austin, TX. Allen chose the Longhorns over Houston and Kansas. Allen’s 247 Crystal Ball was 100% in Texas’ favor. Allen is ranked the #5 power forward in the 2016 class, and #17 nationally by CBB Latest.
Though the Crystal Ball read 100% in Texas’ favor for Allen, sources confirmed that 100% is slightly too generous to the Longhorns. Houston had a bigger chance than no chance, a source said, and one source even said Kansas’ chances were being overlooked. Allen made his decision very late in the process, which one source noted that this could possibly be because Allen was having a hard time deciding.
Allen is a very solid low post player who finds a way to score in the post. He can finish through contact very well in the paint. He is not very strong, which could trouble him at the collegiate level. He is athletic and has a high basketball IQ. Regardless of his strength, Allen is a player who will develop into one of the best post players in college, and should find his way to the NBA Draft in less than three years. I do not expect Allen to be a one-and-done, though that all depends on his performance at Texas.
Texas was very likely the best choice for Allen. The Longhorns are deep at the guard position, but do need help down low, and Allen is destined to do just that. Projecting him to be a starter for Texas next year is not a vacuous prediction. Allen will start at the 4 or 5, however, it is hard to say which position he will get more playing time at. Allen undoubtedly made the right choice by becoming a Longhorn.
- Report Card: Kansas Jayhawks June 7, 2016 Grayson Ross
This year was a memorable year for the Kansas Jayhawks to remember. For the majority of the year we were the consensus favorite to win this years title. Sadly that was not the case this year. However this team will go down as one of the best teams that Kansas has had in recent years.
Devonte’ Graham was part of Bill Self’s two point guard backcourt. Graham has an incredible motor and is full of heart. While he is usually the more forgotten part of our backcourt he always seemed to shine when it mattered most. From his freshman to his sophomore season his points, assists, rebounds, and field goal percentages have all increased. Increasing his points per game from 5 a game to 11 was a big step for him. Also his team best 44% three point percentage was a huge part of our offense this year. However his upper body strength is a reason he has a great field percentage of 46%. He has the strength to finish at the rim with the best of the guards in the nation and his motor gets him by most of his match-ups. One of his best features is his defensive ability. He was on the Big 12 All Defensive team this past year. His 1.5 steals a game lead the team this year. However he needs to gain more consistency as he is going to be a junior next year. Certain games he finds a struggle to impact the game offensively. Some games he did not seem to get the ball in scoring positions as much as others. He was always effective on the defensive end however so his impact was not always the most visible.
Frank Mason III
The other half of our backcourt, Frank Mason III was the more experienced member of the backcourt. While he may be undersized listed at 5-11, his speed and quickness helps him get past his defenders. His strength is driving to the basket and either finishing at the rim or kicking to others to create scoring opportunities. Frank excels in Bill Self’s high ball screen style of offense. He creates great angles for drives and his court vision helps him find rolling post players or spotted up shooters. Mason’s game is summed up with one word, consistency. Looking at his sophomore and and junior statistics they are almost identical. His sophomore year he averaged 12.6 points per game compared to his 12.9 points per game this season. His field goal percentage was also very identical. He shot seven tenth’s lower from his sophomore season .441 to .434. He increased his assists and rebounds this past season as well. He had a great year earning All Big 12 Second Team honors and All Big 12 Defensive honors. I expect for next year, as he will become this teams leader, for him to step up a little once again.
Wayne Selden Jr.
The breakout performer of the year for Kansas was the junior from Roxbury Massachusetts. After coming in the same recruiting class as Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid, it took him longer to develop into the player he was expected to be. As a McDonalds All American he was projected to be a one and done type of player. However after two years of struggling to find himself in the squad he took his game to the next level. He added 5 points to his points per game average from his freshman and sophomore year. He was second on the team on with his three-point percentage of 40% for the season. He was also second to Perry Ellis in scoring for the team. His ability to score from anywhere on the court was a huge part of the teams success this year. With this excellent year he earned All Big 12 second team and was good enough to go test the NBA Draft process.
This was one of the most important players on this year’s team for reasons that people never saw on the TV. Lucas was the lockdown defender against the opposition’s best post player. While such players would’ve beaten Perry Ellis, Lucas took pride on defending top scoring options. He was the ultimate role player this year as he led the team in rebounds (7 rpg) while taking a limited offensive role. He aggressively rebounded the ball on both ends and made sure he was the defensive anchor in the middle that we needed to secure games. As a senior he needs to develop some offensive moves but he has a bright future next year.
The senior leader and fan favorite of course gets the highest grade on this list. From leading the team in scoring with 17 a game to also being the bread and butter of the offense, Ellis has lived four years of legendary status here at Kansas. Being a native of Lawrence, Ellis quickly became a favorite of the fans. His consistency and dependability made him a consistent member of the KU team. As an unanimous selection to the All Big 12 1st team he was one of the top 5 players in the whole conference. He led this team wonderfully and all fans will be sad by his departure.
The AP National Coach of the Year deserves nothing but the highest grade we can give him. This team may have not won the National Championship but the hardware gained this season was an incredible amount. Representing America at the World University games and bringing back a gold medal was the start of our year. We went on to win the Maui Invitational, Big 12 regular season Title for the 12th time in his 13 years here, and the Big 12 Tournament. We ran this season and sadly did not get the ultimate prize but we did amazing. Bill Self has been one of the best coaches at Kansas and that ...
- Why My Team Didn’t Win the Championship: Oklahoma Sooners May 27, 2016 College Pride Press
The 2015-2016 season was one for the record books for the University of Oklahoma. With Buddy Hield leading the Sooners offense, and leading the Big XII in all-time scoring, it seemed nearly impossible to stop the Sooners from reaching the Final Four and winning the national championship. When matched up with Villanova, there was hope that the Sooners could pull off a win against the Wildcats like they did in the Pearl Harbor Classic and advance to the championship, but that hope was short-lived. The Final Four game between the Oklahoma Sooners and the Villanova Wildcats is a game that all Sooner fans surely never want to talk about, but in order to understand why Oklahoma didn’t win the championship, that dreadful game must be relived.
OU and Villanova met twice during the 2015-2016 season, once in the Pearl Harbor Classic and once in the NCAA Tournament. In the two teams’ first matchup on December 7, the Sooners routed the Wildcats 78-55. The Wildcats were held to a mere 12.5% from behind the arc, 31.7% field goal efficiency, and were defensively outrebounded by the Sooners 33-24. Villanova guard Josh Hart was held to just 10 points, well below his season average of 15.5 ppg. OU’s Ryan Spangler sported a double double and lead the team in rebounds with 10. Although Oklahoma’s defense played stepped up to the plate, it was their unstoppable offense that truly set the Sooners apart from the Wildcats. Villanova’s starting lineup scored just 40 points collectively and accounted for nearly 73% of the team’s points; Oklahoma’s Isaiah Cousins and Buddy Hield scored 37 points combined, boasting 19 and 18 points respectively. The Sooners shot an impeccable 53.8% from downtown, well above their highly respectable season average of 42.2%. Even though Khadeem Lattin didn’t play his best game and only scored two points, Dinjiyl Walker came off the bench to rack up 11 points in just 18 minutes. Except for an 11-0 run Nova had in the first half to tie the game up at 26, the Sooners had complete control of this game.
But a twist of fate occurred and it was the exact opposite scenario in the Final Four game, where the Wildcats blew out the Sooners 95-51. Just how Villanova was held to a 31.7% field goal percentage, the Wildcats defense suffocated the Sooners and held them to that exact same field goal percentage. They also had 15 more defensive rebounds than the Sooners, along with less turnovers and more steals. Nova’s defense caused the Sooners offense to crash and burn, shooting a meager 22.2% three point percentage while the Wildcats made 61.1% of their three point attempts. The only player to score double digits for Oklahoma was Jordan Woodard with 12 points; Khadeem Lattin was again held to just 2 points, while Cousins and Hield were held to 8 and 9 points respectively. Villanova’s John Hart scored just two points less than 4 of OU’s starters, who only combined for a paltry 25 points. Even though the Sooners collected nearly twice as many offensive rebounds as it did defensively, the offense had shut down to where those second chances meant nearly nothing. The unforgettable crash of the season-long great Oklahoma offense and the imploding of their defense during the Final Four game proved to be the formidable reasons why the Sooners did not win the national championship.
University Oklahoma ’20
- Why My Team Didn’t Win the Championship: TCU May 18, 2016 College Pride Press
TCU has built itself into becoming a mainstay and a contender in the NCAA in the major sports of baseball and football. Basketball success, however, has been something the University has been lacking.
The Horned Frogs play in the Big 12 Conference, easily one of the toughest basketball conferences in the NCAA. This conference sent seven teams into the NCAA tournament last year, including the overall Number-One Seed in Kansas and Oklahoma with the player of the year in Buddy Hield. The talent this conference had was well noted during the offseason, but TCU was simply not prepared to take their game to the next level.
TCU finished the season last in the Big 12- having a conference record of 2-16 and an overall record of 12-21. They were able to beat Oklahoma State once (a team that was almost just as bad with a 3-15 conference record) and had a surprising home win versus a tournament team in the Texas Longhorns. There was potential on the team as there were a few very close losses to highly-ranked teams such as Kansas, Oklahoma, and Iowa State, but head coach Trent Johnson was simply not able to make the most out of it.
Expectations were high in Fort Worth after Trent Johnson left LSU to coach the Horned Frogs – so high to the point that fans expected the school to soon make its first NCAA Tournament since 1988. Johnson won Coach of the Year of the PAC-10 Conference (pre-realignment) with Stanford and Coach of the Year of the SEC while at LSU, so the expectation was naturally for him to eventually win Coach of the Year of the Big 12 with the Horned Frogs. During his four years at the school, his best finish in the Big 12 was ninth and he had an overall record of 50-79 (8-64 in the conference).
Coming into this past season, Johnson knew he had one chance left. What made things more difficult was that the team lost their floor general and top scorer in Kyan Anderson to graduation, and it really showed. Guards Chauncey Collins and Malique Trent were able to put up respectable numbers every night, but they lacked the killer instinct to take over games like other guards in the conference such as Buddy Hield and Monte Morris. In addition, the big men also lacked production. TCU has a pair of 6’10 forwards in Vladimir Brodziansky and Karviar Shepherd, but they only averaged 9.7 rebounds combined. This was simply not good enough to compete as other forwards in the conference like Rico Gathers from Baylor and Ryan Spangler from Oklahoma were both averaging nine rebounds per game on their own.
The Horned Frogs were lacking the talent to match up with the powerhouses of the conference and even mediocre out-of-conference teams (lost to Rhode Island and Washington). Furthermore, the coaching to guide the players was also lacking as the team never really improved under Johnson’s tenure. There is optimism once again, however, as Jamie Dixon was hired to take over the reins after Johnson’s dismissal this past March. Dixon had great success while at Pitt and is already a fan-favorite in Fort Worth as TCU is his alma mater. Coach Dixon has brought in an experienced coaching staff with him and was consequently able to land TCU’s highest ranked high school recruit in history in guard Jaylen Fisher. Although fans are aware that the team is currently a project, the main core of players is returning next season and will bring in a talented floor general in hope to finish higher in the conference than ever before.
- Preview: #1 Kansas vs. #9 Connecticut March 18, 2016 Nick Schwartz
#1 Kansas (31-4) vs. #9 Connecticut (25-10)
Saturday, March 19, 2016
7:45 EST, CBS
Top seed Kansas gets set to continue its tournament march with a game against the ninth-seeded Connecticut Huskies. This game will pit two of the best programs in the country against each other. Between this contest and the other game in Des Moines, Indiana and Kentucky, there are 20 NCAA championships between the teams (UK with 8, IU with 5, UConn with 4, and KU with 3). 2008 national champion Bill Self is looking to win veteran Perry Ellis a ring before he graduates, but will have to go through 2014 champion Kevin Ollie to get there.
Kansas looked good, but not impressive in their game against Austin Peay. The offense was clicking on all cylinders, but the defense left a lot to be desired. The team committed too many fouls (27) and were nearly outrebounded by the Governors. Still, the offense played to its typical efficient form. The 105 points were the Jayhawks’ most scored since the classic game against Oklahoma in January. Ellis did what he usually does, and paced the Jayhawks by scoring in the paint. The battle between KU’s ability to score in the paint and the Huskies’ shot blocking prowess will be critical.
UConn looked like two different teams against Colorado; a tight, slow squad in the first half, and a loose, explosive, and tenacious unit in the second. That kind of slow start will not do the Huskies any favors against the best team in the country. It is going to take the type of defensive effort, and rebounding tenacity, that the Huskies showed in the second half. Daniel Hamilton and Rodney Purvis will need to score in bunches again. Beating Kansas will take the best 40 minutes of UConn’s season, but it is entirely possible.
MATCH-UP TO WATCH
Both Daniel Hamilton and Wayne Selden lead their teams from the wings. The utilitarian Hamilton posted a double-double against Colorado, while Selden poured in 14 points in only 19 minutes during the glorified warm-up against Austin Peay. Selden has come on strong towards the later half of this season, and is now hitting over 40 percent on his shots from deep. The talented wing from Roxbury, Mass. (the same hometown as Shabazz Napier and current Husky Jalen Adams) could possibly be bothered by the length of the taller Hamilton, but is definitely the better athlete. The two future pros will be critical both in scoring the ball, and likely playing defense on each other.
X-FACTOR FOR KANSAS
Hitting Threes: Unlike other Bill Self teams, this Jayhawks incarnation frequently plays with four competent three-point shooters on the floor at once. Both Devonte’ Graham and stud Frank Mason hit well over 40 percent from deep. The three-point shots also open up Ellis’s advanced post game, and driving lanes for the bevy of slashers Kansas has at their disposal. This is all without mentioning Ukrainian hotshot off the bench, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk. The sophomore hit four of five threes against Austin Peay. Should Kansas come out and drill shots from deep in the first half, expect them to score over 80 points, even against UConn’s elite defense, and win by double digits.
X-FACTOR FOR UCONN
Shonn Miller Avoiding Foul Trouble: Miller is one of UConn’s leading scorers, at 12.6 a game. But, he only played 16 minutes against Colorado due to foul trouble. He is UConn’s only true threat in the post game, and the offense tends to stagnate when he is not in the game to score in the paint. In addition, he will likely be matched up on Perry Ellis. Miller is a talented defender, when he can play without fouling. He has the ability to at least challenge Ellis and his versatility, and for the Huskies to pull off the upset, they will need the Cornell transfer on the floor for at least 25 minutes.
Rebounding: UConn comes into this game after outrebounding the fourth best team in the country on the glass. However, the depth and experience of Kansas will be a whole different challenge. The Jayhawks did not perform up to their usual standards on the glass against the Governors, and a similar effort against UConn may not be enough to get the job done. Kansas has often controlled the glass, as they on average outrebound opponents by nearly five. If they are unable to dominate the boards, such as their loss to Oklahoma St. (outrebounded 38-31), they can be vulnerable.
UConn can win this game. They have to contain Ellis by keeping Miller on the floor, and maintain the high level of perimeter defense they showed in the second half of the game against the Buffaloes for 40 minutes. The true danger will be when Ellis slides to the center position, and gives the Jayhawks five offensive threats. When Landen Lucas or Jamari Traylor is in the game, Amida Brimah can camp in the paint, and help negate the driving ability of the Kansas guards. Should this defense hold down Kansas, UConn can make enough free throws to hold off the Jayhawks at the end.
All this being said, there is little chance the Husky bigs avoid foul trouble enough to stay on the floor and challenge Ellis. The Jayhawks are also a competent team from the line, shooting 71 percent, but they are not as good as the Huskies. However, their versatility on offense, combined with a tenacious brand of defense that is spearheaded by Frank Mason, should be enough to close out a moderately tight game against the Huskies. I will now do something I have never done: make a losing prediction for my school. The Huskies need to play not just a great, but near perfect effort to even have a chance. Unfortunately, ...
- Preview: #8 Butler vs. #9 Texas Tech March 17, 2016 College Pride Press
Butler vs. Texas Tech
This Thursday the NCAA Tournament starts up and one of the first games is Butler Bulldogs against the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Both of these teams are good three point shooting teams and that I believe will decide the game. Texas Tech is shooting 41 percent on 3-pointers in its last 11 games. Butler is 23rd in the nation in 3 point shooting percentage. The Bulldogs are averaging 38.7 percent for the whole season. Although Butler is terrible defending the three with opponents shooting over 35 percent from deep against them this year. Both teams should be well rested seeing that the both lost their first game in their conference tournament. The Bulldogs are a 4 point favorite and I agree with this. I think the game will be very close but I see Butler coming out on top and facing Virginia on Saturday.
- Benjamin Lowry
- Preview: #2 Oklahoma vs. #15 CSU Bakersfield March 16, 2016 Madeline Stamm
Oklahoma vs. CSU Bakersfield
Friday, March 18th 2016
4:00 pm Eastern
Oklahoma, ranked No. 7 in the ESPN AP top 25, are ready to face CSU Bakersfield in their first round of March Madness this year. Oklahoma has kept a 25-7 record this season and are going up against Bakersfield’s 24-8 overall record, although Bakersfield doesn’t even fall on the AP top 25. Recently, Oklahoma has been unstoppable (minus their unfortunate 2 point loss to West Virginia on Friday, March 11th), and most say there shouldn’t be any difference this weekend. However, after CSU Bakersfield’s buzzer-beater against New Mexico St. on Saturday, some may think otherwise.
Match-Up to Watch
For Oklahoma, rebounding from #12 forward Khadeem Lattin, who led his team with 8 rebounds against West Virginia should be a good match-up against Bakersfield’s #42 center Aly Ahmed.
X-Factor for Oklahoma
Buddy Hield, #24 guard for Oklahoma, has the ability to the lead the floor and execute plays effectively while also succeeding in rebounding. Isaiah Cousins, #11 guard, will also be an x-factor for the Sooners in terms of shooting.
X-Factor for CSU Bakersfield
Dedrick Basile, #5 guard for Bakersfield, will be the x-factor in this game for his team because he’s going to come in with confidence from his exciting buzzer beater, ready for some more great plays. Basile lead the team with 18 points and four rebounds in their last match-up against New Mexico St.
Buddy Hield was recently named not only Big 12 Player of the Year, but also Sporting News’ top player in college basketball. With these two highly respected awards, there’s no doubt that Hield will bring his team far in the NCAA tournament.
Oklahoma: 75, CSU Bakersfield: 58
Michigan State University, 2019
- Preview: #3 WVU vs. #14 Stephen F. Austin March 16, 2016 College Pride Press
#3 West Virginia University vs. #14 Stephen F. Austin
March 18, 2016 / 7:10 ET
The matchup between the SFA lumberjacks and the WVU mountaineers could be a big one. Comparing these two teams, the style of play is fairly similar. Both West Virginia and Stephen F. Austin both utilize the pressing defense. However, West Virginia’s Achilles’ heal may just be the somewhat inconsistent offense.
Match-up to Watch
As far as player-to-player matchups, West Virginia’s Jaysean Paige and Stephen F. Austin’s Thomas Walkup will more than likely be the leading scorers of the game. Walkup has had a great regular season averaging 17.5 points per game shooting nearly 60% from the field and 23% behind the ark. Paige, however, has maintained an average of 13.9 points per game and averaged 46% from the field and 33% behind the ark. These athletes have been major keys to their respective offenses.
X-Factor for West Virginia
The X-Factor for West Virginia is if Devin Williams can get the inside shots to fall. The 6’9” junior averages 13.3 points per game and mainly operates inside the paint. If Williams is able to post up and hit those inside two point shots, WVU will be in pretty good shape.
X-Factor for Stephen F. Austin
The X-Factor for SFA would have to be Demetrius Floyd knocking down those three point shots. From behind the ark, the senior out of St. Louis has an impressive three-point percentage of nearly 43%. This is where SFA has can make their move and score big points despite the tight Mountaineer defense.
A huge key to this game is shooting percentage. SFA has the edge of roughly 3% on both three point shooting and field goals. This could be a factor as to how the game plays out. SFA has a similar, tight, defense like West Virginia along with higher shooting percentages in their respective schedule. Although West Virginia has had a more rigorous schedule in the Big 12, the statistics alone favor SFA slightly.
Personally, I believe West Virginia will take the win. West Virginia has proven itself by defeating the top team Kansas earlier in the season. Furthermore, West Virginia nearly took down Buddy Hield and Oklahoma at Oklahoma in a match going down to the wire. I believe WVU will take a double-digit victory over SFA with a score in the range of 77-64.
Terre Haute South High School class of 2016
- Preview: #1 Kansas vs. #16 Austin Peay March 16, 2016 College Pride Press
Kansas vs. Austin Peay
March 17 , 2016, 4pm
(will begin immediately after first game)
The second game of the 2016 Madness: the University of Kansas (30-4) versus Austin Peay State University (18-17). Everyone was surprised when Austin Peay clinched the 16th seed in the South region, even the Governors. But they managed to win several upset games in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament and secured their spot in the national tournament. Coming up against the powerhouse Jayhawks, Austin Peay has a lot of work to do.
Match-Up to Watch
I’m interested to see how Perry Ellis, Landen Lucas, and Hunter Mickelson will handle Austin Peay’s star center Chris Horton. Horton, standing at 6-8, leads the Governors emotionally and statistically, scoring 18.9 ppg, 12 rpg, and about 5 offensive rebounds per game. Horton is pretty small for a center, about the same height as Perry Ellis, but even so he has skills that some of the Kansas big men don’t have. It’ll be interesting to see how Ellis, Lucas, and Mickelson (if he sees the floor) will guard Horton, and how they will get shots up in front of him.
X-Factor for Kansas
Kansas’s X-Factor will be their guards. Frank Mason III, Wayne Selden Jr., and Devonte´ Graham are Kansas’s guard dream team, all scoring in double figures every game. They add both to the points on the board and to the pace of the game. With the ability to dribble through trouble and, in turn, avoid excessive turn overs, these three guards will be a tough spot for the Governors to overcome.
X-Factor for Austin Peay
Chris Horton. With Kansas’s lack of a true center, Horton is Austin Peay’s real hope for success. If the Governors can feed the ball into Horton in the paint, and Horton is able to convert under the rim, he could force the Jayhawks to adapt in order to keep him from racking up the points off the glass.
The key stat in this game is shooting. Kansas shoots 49% from the field and 42% from beyond the arc. Other than leading scorer Horton, the Governor’s next best shooters are guards Josh Robinson and Jared Savage. Robinson is apt at attacking the perimeter and has scored over 25 points in several recent games. Savage is a budding scorer as well, adding to Austin Peay’s stats. There’s only so much those two can do, though, against Kansas’s high scoring guards.
I’m sure Austin Peay will be able to hold their own against the Jayhawks in some ways, but the Jayhawks are too strong of a powerhouse to overcome in the first round of the tournament. I expect a good game and a valiant fight from the Governors, but a Kansas win in the end.
University of Kansas, 2019
- Preview: #5 Baylor vs. #12 Yale March 15, 2016 College Pride Press
#5 Baylor vs. #12 Yale
Thursday, 1:45 PM CT
Baylor has a difficult first round matchup against a tough Yale squad who had to win their conference tournament to get here. Baylor was recently knocked out of the Big 12 Tournament Semi-finals by Kansas, losing to them for the third time this season. However, the Bears have shown a talent at playing on the road, and with this game being in Rhode Island, this will essentially be a home game for Yale. Yale won the Ivy League, beating Columbia in convincing fashion. This matchup could be tough for Baylor, and we all know the history of the 5 vs. 12 seed.
Match-Up to Watch
The match-up that I’m interested in is if Johnathan Motley and Rico Gathers can control Justin Sears. If they can accomplish this, it would greatly decrease the offensive attack of the Bulldogs. Sears has 15.8 points per game and is a serious offensive force. The way to do this might be through getting him in foul trouble (like they did to Prince Ibeh in the Texas game) or through just solid defense, but this is definitely a match-up to watch.
X-Factor for Baylor
I don’t think I’ll surprise anyone in saying that Baylor’s X-Factor is Taurean Prince. He’s the green-room guy after all. He played poorly and was eventually fouled out in the Kansas game, where he could have made a huge difference. If he is on his A-game, both in scoring and defense, this team moves to a whole other level and can be electric. If he is playing poorly, the team seems to lack energy and can get frustrated.
X-Factor for Yale
To me the first thing that stood up when I looked at this match-up was the location: Rhode Island. Yale is located only about an hour and a half drive from where this game is being played as opposed to Baylor, which is located more than a day’s drive away, and even the flight would take longer. So to me, the x-factor in this game for Yale is the hometown crowd. They haven’t lost a game at home this season, and while Baylor plays well on the road, Yale plays better at home. If they can take advantage of their fans and the crowd noise, they could be very difficult to beat.
These teams stats are pretty similar. The one thing that is different is the quality wins and the free throw percentage. Baylor has six wins over tournament teams, while Yale has none. To be fair, Baylor does have more chances, while Yale plays in a league where only the winner gets in. The free-throw percentage is almost 7% different in Baylor’s favor, and while this isn’t the way to win the game, it can definitely be beneficial to be able to make your free-throws.
I think this will be a close game, and a good match-up. When Ishmael Wainwright first heard about the matchup, he said “that means we gotta lock up. We gotta be locked in, every possession.” This shows that the Bears are not looking past Yale, and they know the pain that can come with an upset from last year. This focus and attention to Yale makes me think that Baylor will come out on top, 70-65 over the Yale Bulldogs.
Baylor University Class of 2019
- Preview: #4 Iowa State vs. #13 Iona March 14, 2016 College Pride Press
Iona vs. Iowa State
March 17, 1:00 PM
Lets all prepare for the Big Ten Tournament. Iona and Iowa State will be a great matchup and should lead to a close game right up until the end. Iona’s fast-paced, high-scoring playstyle and topped with the presence of A.J. English makes them dangerous in the counter attack. Watch Iowa State’s Georges Niang continue to step up for his team in their well-developed offense. You also cannot overlook Jameel McKay, a rebounding machine.
Match up to Watch
The key matchup to watch will be Georges Niang against Jordan Washington Jr. Both of these forwards bring a good portion of their team’s points to the field. Georges Niang should be one of the tournament’s top scorers. He has lead his team to the tournament for the past four years, but this will be his first tournament with the new head coach, Steve Prohm. He has been averaging 19.8 points per game with a field goal percentage of .547. Iona’s Jordan Washington Jr. will be matched up with Iowa State’s powerhouse. He has been averaging 13.8 points per game, and a .510 field goal percentage as Iona’s second leading scorer. Both of these players should make a difference in this sure-to-be thriller.
X-Factor for Iona
A.J. English, once not even a D1 prospect, now a spectacular guard, could probably play anywhere he wants. The guard has been averaging 22.4 points per game, with a .374 three point percentage. There has been a history of point guards leading their teams to upsets and A.J. English is fully equipped to repeat this occurrence.
X-Factor for Iowa State
Deonte Burton, a lefty off the bench, could act as a game changer for Iowa State. With 10 points and 4 rebounds per game, he can immediately cause a change in momentum, while relieving an important starter. Iowa State’s depth puts them at a better standing for this matchup.
Iona’s 17 compared to Iowa State’s 6 Assists per game will create a difference in this game. Regardless, Iowa State’s team, .502 field goal percentage is not to go unnoticed.
This matchup should be very close. I am calling the upset, 80-78 Iona. This will be an exciting, high scoring game of offense. It should come down to whichever team wants it more.
Indiana University 2018
- Preview: Kansas @ Baylor February 23, 2016 College Pride Press
2 Kansas @ 19 Baylor
February 23, 2016 · 7 p.m. (CT)
Entering this game with a seven game win streak, Kansas (23-4, 11-3) is looking to basically clinch at least a share of the Big 12 Championship for the 12th consecutive year. Meanwhile, Baylor is looking to stay in the running for the title by collecting a win over Kansas tonight in Waco. The Bears have had a decent season so far, sitting at no. 4 in the Big 12. Their best win this season was against Iowa State in overtime, and they have not suffered any significantly bad losses. Both teams are dynamic and versatile, giving us an interesting contest tonight.
Match-Up to Watch
The match-up to watch whenever the Jayhawks meet the Bears is Rico Gathers and Perry Ellis. It’s no secret that Ellis has been a true star for Kansas this season. Averaging 16.5 points per game (PPG), shooting 52.2% from the field and 76.2% from the line, and leading the team in rebounds as well, Ellis is a powerhouse for the Jayhawks and a key asset in nearly every game. Meanwhile, Rico Gathers, Baylor’s famed big man, is a massive presence in the paint averaging 10 rebounds per game and scoring around 12 ppg on put backs as well.
In the Jayhawks last game against Kansas State, Ellis was taken out of the game twice for injuries. He received 12 stitches behind his right ear and got scratched in the eye. At the same time, Gathers is recovering from the flu. It will be interesting to see how these two come off of their injuries and illnesses to fight for the win.
X-Factor for Kansas
In their last match-up, Kansas broke down Baylor’s infamous zone defense by knocking down threes left and right. Then, when Baylor started trying to black those outside shots, lanes began opening up and the Jayhawks didn’t hesitate to penetrate and score on drives and inside shots. I think this will be key for them again; first they need to sink shots from beyond the arc, and when the defense adjusts, they need to adapt in the same way they did before and use the efficient inside scoring (58%) they’ve demonstrated in their last six games.
X-Factor for Baylor
Baylor’s X-Factor will be one of two things. If they managed to adjust their defense to accommodate for Kansas’s outside shooters as well as the players who can drive to the rim, then Baylor might be very difficult to score on. However, if their defense is not up to par, then their X-Factor will be an aggressive offense. If Baylor gets the ball in the point as often as they can, and plays aggressively on offense, Kansas will respond with an aggressive defense and foul just like they did in the two teams’ last meeting.
I predict a slower start for the Jayhawks this time around versus the double-digit lead they accrued in Allen Fieldhouse when the Bears went to Lawrence in early January. I believe it will be a close game for most of the 40 minutes with perhaps a few lead swings by a margin of maximum 14 points. More or less, though, I’m looking forward to a tough, close game with, of course, a Jayhawk victory by four or six points in the end.
University of Kansas, 2019
- Dear Bill Self February 20, 2016 College Pride Press
Dear Coach Bill Self,
It’s time. Jayhawk fans, your fans, rallied around a single cry for the freedom of their highly touted, 5-star prospect after the NCAA prohibited him to lay foot on the hardwood floor of Allen Fieldhouse. “Free Diallo” became a rallying cry for Jayhawk fans everywhere. Students painted the words on their chests and printed the words out on signs, until finally, the NCAA dropped their bans and allowed for the freedom of Cheick Diallo. Every student at KU remembers Diallo’s first game in the Fieldhouse. The crowd grew loud and anxious, as tip off drew closer. Students threw their “Free Diallo” signs out and replaced them with signs that were painted with the words “Free At Last”. Along with 13 points, 3 blocks, and 6 rebounds, Diallo finished a fast break with a scintillating Mail Man-esque dunk that put an exclamation mark on his debut. The following day, every student in Lawrence, Kansas had something to say about their brand new star. It seemed that everyone had something to say about Kansas’ new big man. From the Jayhawk Café to ESPN studios, people sang nothing but words of praise about the Mali-native, Cheick Diallo.
Fast forward two months later and we see that Cheick Diallo is averaging the 5th lowest minutes per game on the entire roster at 8.5. So what went wrong? Analysts point to his lack of experience or his need to become more disciplined defensively. You, Coach Self, pointed to the starters as the reason for why Diallo as lost playing time. After the 77-59 victory over Kansas State in a game that was close until the final minutes, you blamed the veterans and said that “if a chance to play.” In that game, Diallo played only 2 minutes in the entire game. How could you have your top prospect sit out basically the entire game and then blame your starters poor play for the reason he sat? Since when does poor play get rewarded with more minutes? Diallo is averaging the second most blocks per game behind Hunter Mickelson, and Diallo is also averaging more points then him also. It is hard to analyze Diallo because of the little time he gets on the court, but when looking at his stats per 40 minutes, he is averaging 15.6 points, 4.3 blocks, and 13.3 rebounds. When Diallo plays in a lineup alongside the Jayhawks star forward, Perry Ellis, the team scores 0.25 more points per possession and also keep their opponents scoring 0.17 fewer points than their average lineup. That is better than any other big man combo on the team. In the single game that Diallo played 20 minutes, he scored 9 points along with 5 blocks and 9 rebounds. In games that he played more than 15 minutes, Diallo averaged 11.3 points, 3 blocks, and 6.3 rebounds. There are facets of his game that Diallo can improve on such as becoming more fluid in the offense and more disciplined on the defensive end, but he cannot do that while riding the bench.
But so what, right? We are ranked 2nd in the NCAA and 1st in the Big 12, so why fix what’s not broken? Here’s why: How does it look to have a top prospect barely cracking the rotation? What high school stars will want to come to a college that doesn’t showcase their freshman? Of course this is not a regular occurrence with the Kansas basketball team (i.e. Kelly Oubre, Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid), but in the upcoming months, the nation’s top recruits decide where they will play college basketball. Names like Josh Jackson, Thon Maker, and Rawle Alkins have yet to decide where they will play their freshman year. Kansas is still on all their lists, but Cheick Diallo’s current situation is reason for them and others to question whether Kansas will be their final choice. Along with that, why would Diallo stay another year at Kansas after getting barely any playing time? The question for most high school prospects is whether to spend a year at school or to go play in an international league, so at the end of his freshman year, would Diallo decide to stay another year or declare for the draft to make money. Diallo is a guarantee to get drafted on his potential alone, and after a year of riding the bench, why wouldn’t he be inclined to declare for the draft?
This is a player that was ranked 7th in his class and 3rd at his position on the ESPN100 ranking. The talent is there. He just needs to be passed the reigns. So pass them to him, Bill. Give him the freedom he needs. He has a motor unlike any other player on our team. When he was forced to sit out, he wasn’t discouraged. He came out with a passion and energy that radiated through Allen Fieldhouse in his first game on the court. It’s an energy that one can count on him to play with each game when given the chance. Cheick Diallo is not a liability to our team; he is the X-factor. His game will impact the defensive and offensive end. On defense, his blocks and presence around the rim will force teams to shoot outside of the paint. On the offensive end, his lively motor will spark fast breaks. Along with that, his wingspan will contribute to his ability to collect offensive rebounds.
March Madness is right around the corner. The college basketball season is nearing its end. Give Cheick a chance to be special. Every student sees the greatness. With each dunk and each offensive board, we see glimmers of what he could be in limited minutes. If he goes this season without playing much and declares for the NBA, 28,000 students will look back at this season wondering what Cheick ...
- Preview: Rematch in Norman February 13, 2016 College Pride Press
Well, well, well, we are all in for something special tomorrow afternoon. When No. 6 Kansas visits No. 3 Oklahoma at 1:30 PM Central this Saturday, fans from all around will gather around to watch this highly anticipated rematch.
The first showdown this season featured No. 1 in the AP Poll vs. No. 1 in the Coach’s Poll and the game featured an all time regular season classic that came down to three overtimes, as Kansas prevailed in Lawrence 109-106.
Both teams are coming off huge wins as the Jayhawks defeated No. 10 West Virginia wire-to-wire 75-65 in Allen Fieldhouse this last Tuesday. The Sooners, on the other hand, took down No. 24 Texas thanks to a last second game-winner from John R. Wooden Award favorite, offensive superstar, and the second top scorer in the nation in Buddy Hield.
Kansas has won four straight and their post presence looks renewed recently, with Landen Lucas coming off the game of his career. This game deals with some of the same X-factors from before as Kansas shoots 42.2% from three, the second best in team history, but Oklahoma leads the Big 12 at 45.1% from the arc, which is the highest in the NCAA since Indiana 1993-94.
If Kansas wants to win this game, it has to find a way to limit Buddy Hield who went off for 46 points last time, even when guarded aggressively. by Frank Mason III. Bill Self could move over Wayne Selden to get a better height advantage on Hield, but with the weapons Oklahoma has, it seems unlikely.
The toughest issue with guarding the Sooners, however, is that they share the ball effectively as well as make their own shots. Too much attention on Hield will allow Isiah Cousins to have a big game yet again, where he was a huge factor back in Lawrence until he fouled out. Jordan Woodard and Ryan Spangler are also deadly weapons as well, who can both hit the three ball just as well, if not better, than anyone else.
For the Jayhawks, Perry Ellis remains consistent as ever as he was recently selected as a Wooden Watch Top 20 Finalist. The senior put up 27 points and 13 rebounds in their last matchup with Oklahoma and is averaging 21.0 points off 76.5% shooting his last three games since his rare struggle against Kentucky. (CBS Sports)
Kansas will need someone else to step up, however, to counter Oklahoma, such as Wayne Selden who has shown he can flourish on the big stage, putting up 33 points in the overtime win over Kentucky. This team will also need better guard play as Frank Mason III has struggled with turnovers lately after starting the season extremely efficient with the ball.
No matter what happens, the winner will need the combined effort of each and every player on their respective team to prevail. It will be hard to replicate the showdown from before, but this will be a high-scoring, fast-paced performance that will be a joy to watch. There will be a lot of isolation ball and a lot of passing the rock around as both teams love to drive and knock it out for the three.
The significance of this game is extremely crucial as Kansas, Oklahoma, and West Virginia all currently sit atop the Big 12 with seven games remaining, and this could be the regular season conference championship that decides it when its all said and done.
Just be ready and don’t expect anything except greatness.
Photos courtesy of Lawrence Journal World
- Lucas’s Breakout Game Gets Kansas Past West Virginia February 10, 2016 College Pride Press
Kansas is finally starting to show signs of the National Championship contender we all saw back in December, after winning four straight following huge losses at Oklahoma State and Iowa State in late January.
It was a game in which the No. 6 Jayhawks (20-4) never trailed, yet it still managed to remain within reaching distance for the No. 10 Mountaineers (19-5) until the final minutes.
Landen Lucas had the breakout game of his career as he was an absolute menace on the boards and defensively, wracking havoc for a career-high 16 rebounds and 4 blocks. Kansas out-rebounded the Mountaineers 33-28 and shot exceptionally well, as they were 56.1% from the field and 41.2% from three.
West Viginia, on the other hand, struggled offensively, shooting 37.3% on the game. However, as they always do, West Virginia relied on its full court and inbound press to get turnovers and stay in the game. When Kansas managed to limit their turnovers, they quickly got out to a big lead of 53-40, but after turning over four straight, West Virginia cut it back to four. Kansas had 22 turnovers back in their loss to West Virginia earlier this season.
Perry Ellis continued to do his thing quietly, as he shot 7 for 9 and put up 21 points, but overall it was a well-rounded offensive game for the Jayhawks. Five players scored in double figures, including Brannen Greene, who many beleived to sit out the game due to unsportsmanlike conduct from the previous game.
West Virginia relied on Jaysean Paige and Devin Williams to get the offense going, who both struggled, yet scored 14 points on sub-40% shooting. Williams had 9 rebounds as well, being the only player on his team to get on the boards consistently.
Kansas is now in a three-way tie for first with No. 3 Oklahoma and this West Virginia team, with seven games remaining for each team. Kansas hopes for its 12th straight Big 12 Title, but Buddy Hield has other plans after knocking in a game-winning three in Norman against Texas earlier this week.
However, as always, the Big 12 runs through Lawrence.
The Jayhawks travel to Norman next to play Oklahoma in a huge game that could end up deciding the Big 12 Champ this year. West Virginia returns to Morgantown to play TCU this Saturday.
University of Kansas
- Texas Gets the Best of Baylor February 3, 2016 College Pride Press
Rico Gathers is a beast. He threw down a huge game tonight against a Texas team that didn’t see him coming. Rico had 20 points, and made six of six free throws. That’s a huge deal for a player that shoots 63% from the line. Rico and Taurean Prince were the bright spots in a Baylor team that was otherwise lacking luster. Rico was insanely pumped, especially during the second half. He was also playing angry which led him to fouling out with 1:27 left in the game. However, energy erupted from the crowd of 6,000 people.
Fouls were a big deal for Baylor. Both Rico Gathers and Johnathan Motley fouled out in the second half and Ish Wainwright and Al Freeman were both close to fouling out. Many of the fouls called seemed to be questionable, especially on Baylor’s team, but I am slightly biased. Baylor had four more fouls than Texas and many of the Texas calls seemed obvious.
The three scorers that scored above their average points per game (Rico Gathers, Taurean Prince, and Lester Medford) shot 48%, while the rest of the team shot a lousy 17%. Notably absent was Al Freeman, who has been nothing if not inconsistent this season. He started off strong this season with a few games at or above 20 points, and double digits in his first five games. However, he scored two points in this game–two points for someone who is averaging 12 points a game. I said before the game that Al Freeman needed to show up to this game and he didn’t. I believe this was one of the reasons the Bears lost.
The eight point difference that the game ended with did not show that the second half was a close game and could have gone either way; Baylor simply could not shoot the ball effectively and consistently. Overall, the game was disappointing; it wasn’t disappointing because the Bears didn’t come to play– some of them did and played an amazing game,–but their supporting cast was not enough to help them come out on top.
Texas’ next game is Saturday February 6th vs. Texas Tech.
Baylor’s next game is also Saturday February 6th at West Virginia.
- Postgame: Kansas Pulls Out The Win In OT January 31, 2016 College Pride Press
Every fan of the Kansas Jayhawks had the date January 30 marked on their calendars this year in anticipation for a revenge game against the Kentucky Wildcats, and they were not disappointed. In this Big 12/SEC Challenge, the battle between college’s two winningest programs had 12 ties and 18 lead changes. Fouls were the name of the game for the Wildcats. They gave Kansas 47 chances at the charity stripe, which Kansas converted 30 of them. Perry Ellis made a free throw in the last 9 seconds of the game to tie it up, and once the game headed into OT, Kansas took over the game. The first field goal of OT for the Jayhawks was a thunderous dunk by Wayne Selden Jr., which was the only field goal by the Jayhawks. After the dunk however, Kentucky’s defense became scattered and fouled the Jayhawks 7 times in the final minutes of OT.
The X-factor in this game was the crowd. Allen Fieldhouse is known for being one of the greatest atmospheres in college basketball, but this game was unlike any other game this season. The crowd put a pressure on this young Kentucky team and with every 3-point shot made or defensive stop Kansas forced, it only made the crowd grow louder. The frustrations and lack of poise of the Kentucky team showed up in the waning minutes of this game when 3 of their bigs fouled out of the game, Derek Willis, Marcus Lee, and Skal Labissiere.
Kansas may have only shot 46.4% from the field compared to Kentucky’s 53.2%, but they were capable of holding Kentucky to 21.7% from the 3-point line while they shot 47.1%. All but one of Kansas’ starters scored in double digits while their bench outscored Kentucky’s bench 20-12.
Wayne Selden Jr. earned the rights to be star of the game after his 33-point show out. He shot 12 of 12 from the field and made 3 3-point baskets. He started the game out blazing hot with 4 consecutive baskets and his dunk on Skal Labissiere in the first couple minutes of OT put a period on the game.
Although he won the game, Perry Ellis earns the rights for dud of the game. He only made 1 basket and went 8 for 13 from the charity stripe. He had only 1 assist compared to 2 turnovers. In total he scored 10 points, but played subpar for being considered the best player on the team.
The stat of the night was 33 personal fouls. Kansas had more free throws made than field goal attempts (30 to 26). Kentucky shot better from the field, but gave up way too many points at the charity stripe. If it were not for the fouls, Kansas would have most likely lost this game.
The next game Kansas Jayhawks will play will be against the Kansas State Wildcats at 8 PM on Wednesday Feb. 2 at Allen Fieldhouse.
Cain Lever ’19
- Scrappy Shootout in Gainesville January 31, 2016 Bradley Kreppel
Gainesville, FL- It began as the teams prepared for the national anthem ceremony, ninth ranked West Virginia stomped on the Gator logo at center court and began dancing in the middle of the Gators warmups, after a brief scuffle, everyone settled down. But from that point on everyone in the sold out crowd knew what kind of a game they were going to watch. Officials called a tight game with both teams getting to the bonus before ten minutes had passed in the first half. The Gators jumped to a quick double digit lead behind three point shooting from Dorian Finney-Smith and Kevaughn Allen, and they never looked back.
The Mountaineers played smart, they really did, they attacked a team that struggles to pass with a full court press, and they attacked a team that struggles to shoot deep shots with a zone defense. But the Gators came ready to fight and defend their home court, scoring 45 points by halftime by exploiting the full court press for transition points and lighting up the WVU zone defense for 12 three point shots. While the skill of WVU was obvious, the energy of the Gators powered by the crowd and pregame altercation proved to be just what coach Mike White’s squad needed to get their first win against a ranked opponent this season.
That brings us to another point, progress. Until this point, the Gators had met expectations, they lost to ranked teams, beat unranked teams, and even upset Ben Simmons’ Tigers, but they never took the next step, not until today. But it did not happen overnight either. At the beginning of the season, John Egbunu was not the starting center, he was not projected to be a rebounding machine and a post monster, but he is now. Kevaughn Allen was highly touted but nobody was sure he would be the Gators best young star and pure scoring guard. Everyone thought Kasey Hill was a lock at point guard, until he had struggles and Chris Chiozza emerged as a better shooter, passer and defensive player. Junior college transfer Justin Leon has also earned his new starting position and is extremely valuable. But nothing is more satisfying as the mid season growth of Dorian Finney-Smith into the team leader that the young Gators team desperately needed. Now the teams weaknesses are getting smaller and strengths are getting bigger. Will this team compete for a national championship? No, but they certainly proved they will be in the NCAA tournament in March and could certainly move past the first round.
This team is rising and Gator Nation could not be more proud of the work they have put in this season.
University of Florida
- Postgame: Huge Second Half Run Ignites Iowa State Over Kansas January 26, 2016 College Pride Press
Iowa State: 85, Kansas: 72
The past four games, Kansas has played with inconsistent effort and the trend continued Monday night against the Iowa State Cyclones. The Jayhawks took control early in the game, making 17 of their first 29 shots and ending the first half with a buzzer beating layup. They entered the second half with a 7 point lead against the cyclones, but as their lead diminished, the Cyclones proved to be too much for them. Midway through the second half, Iowa State went on a 24-7 run, ending with Georges Niang’s 3-point play, making it 80-67 with 2 minutes left in the game. Niang scored 15 of his 19 total points in the second half, while Kansas went 10 for 25 from the field and 0 for 6 from 3-point range. Kansas has now lost its third straight road game. Away from Allen Fieldhouse, Kansas has trouble pushing away form opponents, and in the past few games when the score gets close in the second half, the Jayhawks choke under the pressure. They’ve averaged 16 turnovers in those three road losses. In Monday’s game, Frank Mason ended the game with 6 of the team’s 16 TOs.
The Cyclones shot 51.6% from the field, 42.9% from the 3-point line, and 80.0% on free throws. They were led by Monte Morris’s 21 points, 9 assists, and 1 steal. Georges Niang also had 19 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists. Abdel Nadar went perfeft from 3-point range, hitting all 3 of his shots and put up a total of 17 points while being a pest defensively, getting 3 steals.
The Jayhawks shot 50.0% from the field, 29.4% from 3-point range, and 75.0% from the free throw line. They were led by their veteran Perry Ellis who scored 23 points in 36 minutes. Frank Mason and Wayne Selden also scored in double figure, scoring 16 and 11 points respectively. Devonte Graham only scored 7 points but led the team in assists with 4 but also had 3 TOs.
The Jayhawks will head back to Lawrence, Kansas to take on Kentucky on Saturday, January 30th at 6 PM.
Cain Lever ’19
- Post Game: Kansas Conquers Texas for Self’s 200th Home Win January 23, 2016 College Pride Press
Kansas: 76, Texas: 67
Everyone in Lawrence, from the men on the team, to the fans in the stands, to Coach Self, was ready for a win in Allen Fieldhouse this afternoon. After two consecutive road losses, the Jayhawks needed their legendary home-court advantage to be victorious over the Longhorns. KU students in attendance were bubbling over with excitement at being back in Lawrence and back in Allen Fieldhouse to cheer on their favorite team.
The Jayhawks knew they needed to clinch this win for their loyal fans, of course, but also for their coach. This win was Coach Bill Self’s 200th in Allen Fieldhouse, an incredible feat especially compared to his mere nine losses at home.
Coming into this game with no momentum, Kansas struggled in the first half, seeming uncoordinated and lacking teamwork and communication. So Texas dominated for the first several minutes of the game, leading Kansas by 12 at most. About seven minutes in, the Jayhawks seemed to start waking up and finally hearing the roar of 16,000 adoring fans. Mason and Selden hit two quick threes to tie the game 23-23, and then Graham, Selden, and Bragg all contributed points to bring them within five points at the half (35-30).
Seven minutes in to the second half, the Jayhawks tied it up again at 42-42 with yet another Selden three. Then, the star of the show, Perry Ellis took the ball into the paint with a spin move to put Kansas in its first lead of the game 44-42. From that point on, the deafening roar of Allen Fieldhouse never let up, and neither did the Jayhawks. They lead the Longhorns for another 12 minutes, pulling away with a 25 point swing, and ultimately coming out on top with a nine point win.
What was the X-factor in this game?
Perry Ellis was most definitely the X-Factor of this game. Ellis had Kansas’s first seven points on the board, and he ended the game with a team high 26 points. He was a massive presence in the paint today, while also converting twice from beyond the arc as well as shooting 100% at the free throw line. The fifth year senior has truly stepped into a position of leadership on this team, and without his efforts in his 35 minutes on the court this afternoon, Kansas would not have come out on top.
Why Kansas Won this Game?
Need I say it again? The home-court advantage the Jayhawks have seems almost unfair to the rest of college basketball. A mere nine losses under Phog Allen’s rafters during the Self regime is simply unbelievable, but the roar of the arena is a true powerhouse of a sixth man. It is no simple task coming into Allen Fieldhouse as an opponent and leaving with a W. Devonte’ Graham even said he believes the reason they won is because of the fans.
Aside from the obvious home-court advantage, Kansas’s success from three versus Texas’s lack of presence beyond the arc certainly gave the Jayhawks the points they needed to move ahead of the Longhorns in the second half. Graham, Selden, and Ellis all shot 50% from the three, and the team as a whole went 10-25 while Texas only showed 6-16. Those threes hit by the key Kansas players also sent the audience into a frenzy, providing even more energy for the team to feed off of.
The Jayhawks got off to one of their slowest starts this season against the Longhorns today, and the groans from fans could be heard throughout Allen Fieldhouse and the greater Lawrence area. It looked like our beloved Jayhawks would fall yet again, unexpectedly, to an unranked team. Perry Ellis led the way for his team, though, and they rallied with the help of 16,000 of their biggest fans. It was a classic example of the power of the Fieldhouse.
Looking forward, the Jayhawks will travel to Iowa State on Monday, January 25. Hopefully they can ride the momentum from this win into Ames and clinch a road game win there. The game will be at 8pm Central Time on ESPN.
University of Kansas, 2019
- Recap: Oklahoma Beats Baylor in Tough Big 12 Game January 23, 2016 College Pride Press
#13 Baylor falls to #1 Oklahoma
Seventeen percent matters. It matters on college campuses everywhere, and it especially mattered for the Baylor Bears this afternoon. Seventeen percent separated the shooting percentages of Baylor and Oklahoma in this game, and it is very difficult to beat a team that is shooting at 62%. Oklahoma was also on fire from 3 and shot 57% from beyond the arc. They also had 29 assists. This is to say Oklahoma played an outstanding game.
For Baylor on the other hand, six out of the nine Bears who played scored at or below their season average. The shooting percentage was average. When you’re playing a team that is shooting 62%, you either have to play better defense or shoot better, and Baylor was not able to do either. However, there were bright spots in the game, as Baylor was able to stick around with Oklahoma until about 15 minutes left in the game. but they simply could not keep up with the intense pace that Oklahoma was setting. As a fan being there, it felt as if every time we got even the slightest bit of momentum, like when we were tied with 17:43 to go in the second half, Oklahoma would score a three or go on a run, and it would all be gone.
Baylor was led in scoring by Taurean Prince and Johnathan Motley, who both scored 15 points. Motley had a terrific game outscoring his season average by four points, but it wasn’t enough to lift the Bears. Overall, this was a big stage for the Bears; to play the #1 team on their home court, and instead of taking advantage of the spotlight, they played an average game, that would never have allowed them to beat Oklahoma.
This loss should show fans that Baylor could stick around with more elite teams if they play to their full potential. However it is disappointing to me that on such a big stage, with a chance to make a statement, Baylor played an average, if not below average game.
Baylor goes on to play at Oklahoma State on Wednesday, January 27th, while Oklahoma plays versus Texas Tech on Tuesday, January 26th.
Photo courtesy of oregonlive.com
- Preview: Texas vs. Kansas January 23, 2016 College Pride Press
Kansas vs. Texas
Saturday, January 23, 2016 · 1 p.m. (CT)
After an 86-67 loss to Oklahoma State on Jan. 19, the Kansas Jayhawks (15-3, 4-2) are looking to get back on the path to the Big XII Title with an Allen Fieldhouse contest against Texas (12-6, 4-2) this weekend. Despite the upsetting start to the season against Michigan State, Bill Self managed to whip his Jayhawks back into shape, resulting in a thirteen game winning streak until falling to West Virginia and Oklahoma State within a single week. This bumpy ride has left Jayhawk fans across the nation wondering what on earth is going on with Self and his team, but the prospects for this game are promising. Jayhawk fans have every reason and motivation to expect a win from their favorite team, as there is plenty riding on this game. With a victory, Kansas’s home court winning streak could expand to 34 games – the fourth-longest streak in school history – and Self would pull in his 200th win in Allen Fieldhouse.
Meanwhile, the Longhorns are looking to ride the momentum from their 56-49 win over West Virginia on Jan. 20 and three game win streak into Allen Fieldhouse. Of course, that is a feat easier said than done, as Allen Fieldhouse is the Mecca of college basketball, the loudest arena in the country, and Self has a mere nine losses at home. Texas has only ever won once in Allen Fieldhouse back in 2011. Here’s to hoping that stat does not change after this Saturday’s contest.
Match-Up to Watch
The two big match-ups to watch will be junior guard Isaiah Taylor against our own Frank Mason III and senior forward Connor Lammert will have to contest with the powerhouse Perry Ellis.
Taylor is Texas’s leading man with 16.4 points per game (ppg), 4.7 assists per game (apg), and 15 steals this season. With his ability to take control of the ball from opposing guards, it will be interesting to see how Mason adapts his game to avoid excessive turnovers.
There is no doubt that Ellis is our big star so far this season, averaging 15.8 ppg and 6.8 rebounds per game (rpg). He’ll take on starter Lammert who is only averaging 6.1 ppg and 5.9 rpg. Jayhawk fans are sure that their star player will perform to par against Lammert in Allen Fieldhouse.
X-Factor for Kansas
Of course, Kansas’s X-Factor is most prominently their home-court advantage. Coming off of two straight road losses, the Allen Fieldhouse roar may be just what the team needs to blow out Texas. Removing the location factor, though, Kansas’s X-Factor would likely be their ability to play a fast ball game. When faced with Texas’s full-court press, if Kansas’s guards can manage to move the ball down the court without losing possession to turnovers, their quick offense should result in quick points on the board.
X-Factor for Texas
Guards Isaiah Taylor and Javan Felix are Texas’s highest scorers averaging 16.4 and 11.1 ppg respectively. While these two are definitely looking to perform at their best on Saturday in Lawrence, they may not have quite the effect they would hope. Taylor struggled against West Virginia this week finishing the game with only four points, and Felix has historically struggled against Kansas, scoring no points in their last two match-ups.
With that said, it looks like Texas’s X-Factor will have to be their full-court press, which Coach Shaka Smart says his team has taken to more and more recently. Texas will have to capitalize on the Kansas guards’ tendencies to turn the ball over when pressured in order to gain an advantage over Kansas on their home court.
As far as statistics go, these two teams match up pretty closely with Kansas having the slight advantage in almost every category. Where Kansas seems to fall short in some of their closer contests, free throws and smart shots were a big factor. When games get to be neck and neck, back and forth, nitty-gritty, free throws really do start to count for more than you would think. If this Saturday’s game gets close with both teams in bonus or double bonus, it will come down to who can make their free throws most consistently. As far as taking smart shots, there are times when Kansas forwards and centers settle for a midrange shot instead of taking the ball into the paint, and that is where those players often fall short because those shots just won’t fall.
Both Kansas and Texas have something to prove coming into this contest; Kansas is looking for a big home win to create some momentum going forward, and Texas is looking to ride their win momentum into this game to clinch an unheard of win in Allen Fieldhouse. It is sure to be a fantastic game to watch – probably a nail-biter.
In my own prediction, I see Kansas struggling to ward off Texas advances in the first half with either a very close game (the scoring margin never surpassing 10 or 12 points) or a significant Texas lead at the half. Then moving into the second half, I think Texas will succumb to the roar of Allen Fieldhouse, and Kansas will feed off that energy to ultimately defeat the Longhorns by a margin.
University of Kansas, 2019
- Greatest Regular-Season Game Ever? January 6, 2016 College Pride Press
What separates College Pride Press from the rest? Why do we all love college basketball? Games like this are the reminder and the answer as you are hearing this straight from a Kansas Jayhawk who was in attendance at this phenomenal triple overtime back-and-forth thriller between the top two teams in the country last night. Not from some older analyst, but from a student, just like many of you.
This game was definitely one to remember and several analysts and fans are arguing that this No. 1 Kansas, No. 2 Oklahoma match-up could go down as the greatest regular season game, EVER. To put this in comparison, the last time a #1 #2 game went to triple overtime was back in 1957 when Wilt Chamberlain was the starting center for the Jayhawks (Kansas-North Carolina Title Game, ESPN). The electric watch was first invented and the average American home cost only $2,330.
The match-up featured the top team from the AP Poll against the top team in the USA Today Coach’s Poll. The game was completely unpredictable, featured huge point swings and opposing runs, and crucial mistakes down the stretch from both the players and the referees. Every time a player went down and hit a big shot that looked like the winner, the other team would just come right back and counter with a shot of their own. 55 minutes of, as quoted by Perry Ellis, “Just heart.”
There was a lot of hype coming into the game as Oklahoma was off to their best start in nearly three decades and had not even won in Lawrence in 22 years. Several match-ups were highlighted as Buddy Hield was expected to have a huge outing in order for Oklahoma to win this game and Wayne Selden had come off a hot game against Baylor two days earlier. The Perry Ellis vs. Ryan Spangler match-up was also highlighted as a huge X-factor coming into Monday night. And boy, did it deliver.
Experience began to show down the stretch as the game’s best players were seniors in Buddy Hield and Perry Ellis. Buddy put up 46 points on 13 for 23 shooting from the field on top of 12/14 shooting from the line, 8/15 from three, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists. His point total tied for the most ever by an opponent at the Fieldhouse. He played all but one minute of the game, as five separate players played more than 50 minutes and everyone was on their last breath by the end.
Ellis countered with 27 points and 13 rebounds and hit several big shots as he seemed as Kansas’s go-to man when it mattered most.
Both teams shot great from three as Oklahoma hit 18 threes off 48.5% shooting and Kansas had 11 threes on 50% shooting. The game also featured a huge 20-point swing in just five minutes as a 37-26 KU lead with 3 minutes left in the first half turned into a 51-42 Sooner lead with 18 minutes to go in the second. There were a combined 182 field goals this game, the most in any Division-I game this season.
The game came down to the finals seconds four times, as the Jayhawks had chances to win the game in regulation and the first two overtimes. Lattin missed a crucial free-throw on the front end of of a one and one with 2 seconds left in regulation that would have given Oklahoma the lead. The end of the third overtime was crazy as Graham hit two free throws to tie the game to get a one-point lead and Hield threw away the ball on the controversial following in bounds play to Mason, who hit two free throws to put Kansas up 109-106. Hield then couldn’t hit a tough shot to tie the game at the buzzer and Allen Fieldhouse went crazy.
Ellis and Hield weren’t the only with big games as Oklahoma’s Jordan Woodard put up 27 points and 7 assists, serving as a crucial sidekick to Hield when he was denied the ball by an aggressive defender in Frank Mason III. Oklahoma was definitely hurt when Woodard fouled out in the third overtime, Ryan Spangler and Khadeem Lattin both put up double doubles (14 points/18 rebounds, 10 points/14 rebounds, respectively). Lattin was a also a great interior defensive presence as he put up 6 blocks out of Okalohoma’s 12 in the game.
On the other end, Devonte’ Graham had 22 points on 12 shots, and Wayne Selden put up 21 points of his own, both hitting big three-pointers in the game’s latter stages. Frank Mason III had a great overall game putting up 15 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists. He guarded Hield for all 53 minutes he was in the game and did as great a job as anyone could, but Hield was something else that night hitting multiple shots in the face of Mason and over his outstretched arms. His two steals in the final 21 seconds sealed the game for Kansas, as the “Defense Decides” saying came true.
Self himself said, “If Frank hadn’t defended him, he would have gone for 60,” and jokingly referred to Hield’s outstanding shooting performance as similar to Kevin Durant.
Landen Lucas had to play crucial minutes down the stretch as Jamari Traylor found himself limping near the end of the second half. He hit crucial free throws, as Kansas had their best game at the line all season, going 18-23 to match Oklahoma’s 18-24.
This game marked Kansas down as the sole true No. 1 in College Basketball, with Oklahoma right there on their heels as long as Hield is around. The overall team play with several weapons that can take over coupled with the experience we haven’t seen in a while in college basketball makes Kansas an early favorite for the trophy in March.
Words alone cannot describe this game. Go make time and find a replay of the game to see the madness ...
- Podcast: Kansas vs. Oklahoma Preview January 3, 2016 College Pride Press
When the top 2 ranked teams play…it deserves its own podcast! Thanks to Kelly Werther and Karam Hamada for joining me to preview this game and talk some Kansas hoops.
- Pregame: Kansas vs. San Diego State December 22, 2015 College Pride Press
The Jayhawks traveled to San Diego yesterday for their face-off with the Aztecs in Viejas Arena tonight at 10pm Central Time. The prospects look good for Kansas (9-1) as they enter this game without a loss since Michigan State and with something prove after their loss to the SDSU Aztecs in Allen Fieldhouse in January 2014.
Head Coach Steve Fisher seems to have fallen short again with his 2015-16 team, who have already lost 5 games this season (7-5), including their most recent home loss to Grand Canyon, 52-45.
Regardless of their unimpressive season to date, the Aztecs certainly have plenty to bring to the table, specifically in terms of defense. SDSU’s defense is as stingy as ever; their opponents have only made 35.5% of their field goals so far this season.
Here’s a look at SDSU’s lineup and what they have to offer:
#42 PG – Jeremy Hemsley, 6-3, 180, fr.
- leads in scoring and assists
- averages 2.4 turnovers a game
- look for Devonté Graham as match-up
#14 F – Zylan Cheatham, 6-9, 215, RS-fr.
- second leading scorer, leads in rebounds
- tends to get in foul trouble; averages 6.9 fouls/40 min
- look for Carlton Bragg or Cheick Diallo match-up
#4 G – Dakarai Allen, 6-5, 195, jr.
- has hit a few clutch 3’s, but streaky from behind the arc (28.9%)
- leads in steals
#12 G – Trey Kell, 6-4, 210, so.
- good long range shooter (45.5% 3’s in the last 4 games)
#3 F – Angelo Chol, 6-9, 215, sr.
- doesn’t do much scoring
- 17 offensive rebounds in last 9 games
- active hands on defense – 9 steals, 12 blocks in 12 games
Srs. Winston Shepard and Skylar Spencer deepen the SDSU roster from the bench, offering an offensive pick me up and rim protection respectively.
Coach Bill Self is only slightly concerned with his Jayhawks’ past performances in games going into Winter Break because he believes his 2015-16 team is focused and ready to enter their break on a happy note.
The biggest concern for Kansas in this game is shutting down the SDSU big men in the paint, and getting through the post traps on offense. The Jayhawks will have to work on their assist game and let their offenses play out in order to fight through the tough SDSU defense and see success on the boards.
Tune in to the CBS Sports Network to catch this game live at 10pm Central Time tonight – December 22.
- Winners and Losers: Week 4-6 December 21, 2015 College Pride Press
After a hiatus from the Winners and Losers column due to studying and exams I am finally back and will try to recap the past 2.5 weeks’ winners and losers.
Well another week and another big Monmouth upset. Monmouth beat Georgetown in a blowout 83-68. This Monmouth team seems like a force to be reckoned with and have built an impressive resume to this point in the season. Shoutout to my hometown Canisius College for beating them when they came to Buffalo.
Shaka Smart and the Texas Longhorns
Many people were unsure how the marriage between Texas with their big bodies and Shaka Smart’s chaotic style of play. Well we got a glimpse into the possibilities on December 12th when the Longhorns beat North Carolina on a last second shot. This is not only a huge win for their tournament resume and their season, but it is big for a program that is starting fresh with Shaka Smart. This will send shockwaves throughout the recruiting trail and the Big 12 that the Longhorns are here to play.
Fans of the Big 12
Oklahoma went to Pearl Harbor and absolutely destroyed the Villanova Wildcats. Oklahoma pulled out to a big lead early and never let the Wildcats back in. They have been blowing out teams all year with Buddy Hield and Ryan Spangler leading the way.
Kansas has been blowing out every team on their schedule and they are working Cheick Diallo into the lineup. These two teams should make the Big 12 must watch TV throughout the conference schedule.
The Musketeers have been on a terror this season. The reason why they make the winners list this week is because of their win against Cincinnati. Cincy is a team I am very high on this year and Xavier took care of them with ease.
Wisconsin Badgers and College Basketball
College basketball lost one of its marquee coaches last week when Bo Ryan retired at the end of the semester. Bo will truly be missed and I don’t think anyone could replicate the type of program he ran. It will be tough for the Badgers to adjust to the sudden change and be successful in the Big Ten this season. Hope you enjoy the retired life Bo!
Iowa State fans stormed the court after their defeated Iowa after a huge comeback. I understand the game was personal being in state and it was a great come back but really? If you are ranked in the top 10 you should be embarrassed to be storming the court. Try drinking some chocolate milk before the next game you go to, it will help your better court storming judgement. Not only was the court storming embarrassing due to the ranking but also a reporter got injured by someone running onto the court. Storming the court can be a blast but it must be done right. I think the surprise of having the #4 team in the country storming the court left people unprotected.
The Illini came into the season expecting to be in the middle tier of the Big Ten but have been derailed by injuries to almost their entire starting lineup. It could be a long season for Illinois with 5 players applying for medical redshirts.
- College Pride Press NBA Mock Draft December 20, 2015 College Pride Press
A couple of the writers are also very big NBA followers and came up with the idea of doing an NBA mock draft. We set the order based on records at the time drafted and rotated amongst the three writers. The great thing about doing the mock draft was that we chatted with writers at the different schools who have watched every game for a scouting report. This was a huge help for our selections and for our fits for each team. We have posted picks 10-15 here below but all 30 picks will be on our premium forum. If you’d like to join the forum please click here. The link to all the draft picks will be below as well. We hope to update or do a new mock draft every month so keep an eye out for future updates.
10.Washington Wizards- Jacob Poeltl
7’ C, Utah
Washington has struggled this season with some unreliable play beyond John Wall and Bradley Beal. While Wall is a great point guard, he is not a natural jump shooter and is better distributing. Otto Porter Jr. and Kelly Oubre are still developing at the 3. Nene is providing quality play at the 4 leaving the clear need at center. Even though Marcin Gortat just received a contract extension his play is diminishing. Jacob Poeltl is a very talented center who can provide quality minutes as a rookie while developing into a high quality player. I have a hard time seeing him as an All-Star but rather as a consistent starter for many years like a Marcin Gortat. -Brad Kreppel
11. New York Knicks- Dwayne Bacon
6’6” SG, Florida State
Bacon has so much upside it really made me overlook the flaws his game currently has. His athleticism and length is exactly what scouts look for, and he is explosive when attacking the basket. However, he is still really working to refine his game. His outside shot can be spotty at times, and he can seem to be complacent through periods of the game. With all the physical tools being in place, these flaws can be looked past and the Knicks can get a home run pick. -Zach Beeler
12. Minnesota Timberwolves- Furkan Korkmaz
6’6” SG, International
International prospects are always hard to decipher, but success stories like Kristaps Porzingis force teams to take the gamble. Minnesota is the type of team willing to take this type of risk, as their last few first-round picks seem to be progressing nicely. Korkmaz is natural-born scorer. He has a knack for getting the ball in the basket, whether that be his beautiful shot, or aggressiveness to the basket. His defense isn’t perfect, but he has the necessary tools to change that. Limited playing time and his size are legitimate concerns, but his potential may be too difficult for Minnesota’s front office to pass up. -Adam Gross
13. Phoenix Suns- Caris LaVert
6’7” SG/SF, University of Michigan
When I looked at Phoenix’s roster there were two real needs: backup big and small forward. TJ Warren has provided some scoring and quality minutes but Caris LaVert is a much better player. LaVert can contribute in so many ways with his passing, rebounding, and defensive abilities. Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight are very talented guards but both focus on scoring when they touch the ball. Adding LaVert to the rotation could help distribute to everyone creating a better flow. If Jacob Poeltl was on the board here he would be the pick to backup Alex Len. Henry Ellenson and Ivan Rabb both crossed my mind but I felt it would be a reach for both of those players. -Brad Kreppel
14. Utah Jazz- Demetrius Jackson
6’1” PG, Notre Dame
The Jazz desperately need someone with an explosive scoring punch, and Jackson is about as explosive as they come. He is lightning quick, and attacks the rim with toughness and aggression. Along with that, he is a pretty good shooter who can stretch the defense. He is a pest and a ball hawk on the defensive end, and will always make it tough for the opposing point guard to operate. Although the Jazz have Dante Exum in the ranks, he is no sure thing with injury and Jackson for me seems to good to pass on. Although his height may be a bit of a problem, he has the toughness and athleticism to make up for it. -Zach Beeler
15. Detroit Pistons- Henry Ellenson
6’10” PF, Marquette University
Andre Drummond has become the centerpiece of the Pistons, now they need to find pieces to compliment him. Nothing pairs better than a true center and a stretch-four, and that is exactly what Henry Ellenson is. He’s an exceptional athlete with fantastic handles. His defense is questionable, but Drummond’s ability to lock down the paint should lessen those worries. This would be the best need/value pickup of the draft. -Adam Gross
- Undefeated Teams of CBB December 15, 2015 Phil Wells
Now that we are well into the non conference season I wanted to take a closer look at the teams that have not lost yet. Some of the teams we have known about and are on the national scene but others have gone undefeated thus-far without the fame or ESPN glory. Here are the remaining undefeated teams and how they’ve done it so far.
The Cyclones have not had many challenges yet other than the Iowa Hawkeyes and Colorado Buffaloes. ISU is ranked 4th in the AP Poll with an 8-0 record. The starting five is averaging double figures per game. Georges Niang could be one of the best players in programs history. The former All American is averaging 18.3 ppg, 6.5 rpg, and 3.6 apg. Junior Jameel McKay is averaging a Double-Double per game; his numbers are 14.6 ppg and 11.6 rpg. The Cyclones will have tough contests coming up against Cincinnati, Oklahoma, Baylor, and Texas.
Coming off their big win against cross-town rival Cincinnati, Xavier is looking to be dominate in the Big East this season. Along with Cincinnati, their resume includes win against Michigan, Dayton and USC. Sophomore guard Trevon Bluiett leads the team averaging 14.6 points per game. Sitting at 10-0, the Muskies deserve a top 10 ranking. Xavier has won nine out of their ten games by double-digit figures. Their upcoming schedule includes Villanova, Saint John’s, Butler, and Georgetown.
The Mustangs sit at 19th ranked in the AP Poll and are first in the American Athletic Conference. Although they had close contests with Brown, Yale, and TCU, SMU has the talent to win the American this year. Nic Moore leads the Mustangs at guard and is averaging 15 points per game. The team also has the ability to shoot the three ball, the team shoots 45.4% behind the arc this season. Duke transfer Semi Ojeleye will be eligible to play in January and will get the chance to help at Forward. SMU faces challenges against UConn, Cincinnati, and Houston.
Michigan State has the talent to make a trip back to the Final Four. Leading the way for the Spartans is Denzel Valentine who has the potential to be the POY. The senior is averaging 18.6 ppg, 8.5 rpg, and 7.2 apg. Along with Valentine is guard Bryn Forbes, and has the ability to shoot from long range and penetrate a defense. MSU has defeated Kansas, Louisville, Providence and Florida. I believe the current number one ranked team will win the Big Ten. Tom Izzo is having one of his best starts in program history. MSU will face Northeastern, Iowa, and Wisconsin.
Arkansas Little Rock
The Trojans are deserving of a top 25 spot with their road wins against Depaul, Tulsa, and San Diego State. UALR comes off a 13-18 season from last year. Senior Leader Marcus Johnson Jr. leads the way with 14.9 points and is shooting 55% from three-point range. The Trojans are full of experience. Of the eight players that have appeared in every game, each one is either a junior or senior. Little Rock has an upcoming schedule that includes Texas Tech, Georgia State, and UT-Arlington.
South Carolina has not had many challenges this season, but once their conference schedule comes around we will see how the Gamecocks will respond. Five players on the roster have averaged double-digits this season. Senior Forward Mindaugas Kacinas leads the team with 14.4 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. Kacinas is also shooting 62% from the field. The Gamecocks have beaten every opponent by double figures except one against Tulsa. USC is a sleeper in the SEC this season and is able to pull off upsets against teams such as Vanderbilt or LSU. South Carolina’s upcoming schedule features Vanderbilt, Memphis, and Saint John’s.
I have already marked down Oklahoma in my Final Four. They have proved they can compete at the national level with wins against Villanova and Wisconsin. Both wins were by at least 18 points, handling both opponents easily. The Sooners lineup is loaded; Buddy Hield, Isiah Cousins, and Ryan Spangler are three of the top players in the Big 12. Hield is the returning Big 12 POY and is averaging 22.1 points per game. Cousins has the ability to shoot the three ball and is averaging 14.3 per game. Spangler is known for his gritty attitude on the court and he is averaging 12.4 ppg and 9.3 rpg. As a team Oklahoma has the ability to shoot from behind the arc, being the number one ranked three-point team in country shooting 48.7%. The Sooners will be tested with upcoming conference opponents: Iowa State, Kansas, and WVU.
Sitting at 11-0, the Boilermakers have dominated their opponents this season. They beat Florida and Pittsburgh by double digits. Sophomore Center Isaac Haas leads the team with 13.5 points per game. Supporting Haas is fellow Center A.J Hammons who is averaging 12.6 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. The duo brings size and leadership to them team, if these two are healthy together then Purdue has a chance to dominate the post every game. Freshman Caleb Swanigan is young and will be a dominant force throughout his next four years, he is averaging 9.9 ppg and 9.2 rpg. Purdue has the ability to win the Big Ten, they have the size, defense, and shooting to do it. The next three games will be a challenge for the Boilermakers; they will face Butler, Vanderbilt, and Wisconsin.
- Rock Chalk Rollin? Kansas vs Harvard Preview December 5, 2015 College Pride Press
The Big 12 Conference is off to a huge roll to kick off this season. The Jayhawks will most likely move to No. 2 in the AP Poll after winning the Maui Invitational and steamrolling Loyola. Meanwhile, No. 1 Kentucky and No. 2 Maryland fell due to defeats by UCLA and UNC, respectively. This would also move No. 5 Iowa State and No. 6 Oklahoma to to the top 4, if everything falls in place.
Cheick Diallo had a great start in his debut after going off for 13 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 blocks on 6 for 8 shooting in 16 minutes of play. This bodes well for the Jayhawks, who have had inconsistent play down low this season. The Jayhawks plan to keep this streak going as they play a struggling Harvard (2-5) squad Saturday at 2:15 PM on ESPN 2.
Four Jayhawk starters are averaging double digits as good team play puts Wayne Selden at 17.2 PPG, Perry Ellis 15.3 PPG, Frank Mason 12.5 PPG, and Devonte’ Graham at 10.2 PPG.
On the other hand, Harvard’s junior forward Zena Edosomwan is putting up 13.6 PPG and freshman guard Tommy McCarthy has 10.3 PPG. Harvard is not playing up to their potential from their NCAA tourney team from last year, as they rank 291st in offensive efficiency and 281st in tempo. Also, they turnover the ball like none other, which the Jayhawks will love, as KU plays a uptempo fast break, three point shooting kind of game. This has all the signs of a blowout for Kansas.
Kansas is 14-0 all time against Ivy League teams, and they have won four straight since losing to the most likely new No. 1 Michigan State. The Jayhawks, on the other hand, place 16th in the country in tempo and their defense has played better than expected.
There are some issues for the Jayhawks to fix though before the season gets into full motion. They are struggling from free throw range and are not feeding the post as much as they should. However, this is countered from constant success from three led by Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk and Wayne Selden.
Offensive rebounding has been an issue for Kansas as the reliance on three point shooting leads to long misses and fast break opportunities for their opponents. Also, the addition of Cheick Diallo to the lineup should help as he has always proven to be a menace on that with his huge frame, also leading to an edge on defense.
Since KU is tenth in the nation in scoring margin at +23.5 and fourth in 3 point field goal percentage at 45.7%, there is no question that they should come away with the victory against Harvard. Nothing less than the usual 20+ point blowout is expected and should help solidify Kansas’s new position as the new No. 2.
My prediction: Kansas 97 Harvard 62
- College Pride Press Podcast: Love/Hate for Top teams November 22, 2015 College Pride Press
With professors cramming in exams before Thanksgiving break we decided it would be best to study hard and not do a podcast, but now we are back at it with some love hate for teams all over the country! We also touch upon IU and Purdue in depth. Hope you enjoy!
- Postgame: Kansas Jayhawks vs. Michigan St. Spartans November 18, 2015 College Pride Press
The #4 and #13 seed faced off in Chicago’s United Center at the Champions Classic on Tuesday, November 17. After a first half primarily dominated by the Kansas Jayhawks, the Michigan State Spartans ultimately made clutch threes and free throws to narrowly lift them past the Jayhawks with a 79-73 victory.
Michigan State’s senior guard, Denzel Valentine, led the way with a triple double (29p, 12ast, 12reb) and had a pair of clutch jumpers in the final two minutes along with free throws in the last thirty seconds to seal the Spartans victory. Freshman guard, Matt McQuaid, came off the bench and made two threes in the final four minutes that deflated the Jayhawks morale and helped to guarantee their win. As a team, the Spartans shot 46.7% from the field and an impressive 42.9% from three.
Although the Kansas Jayhawks were ahead for the majority of the game, their offense seemed slow and lacked the threat of the deep ball. As of right now, the Jayhawks don’t have a go to scorer either. Senior forward, Perry Ellis, had a big night, scoring 21 points on 50% shooting. Ellis has been a consistent offensive threat for the Jayhawks, but they need another player to help carry the offensive load and hit threes consistently. Frank Mason III and Wayne Selden Jr. also scored in double figures, but were a combined 8 for 27 from the field and 2 for 9 from behind the line. Too often the ball movement became stagnant and half court offense turned into isolation ball, resulting into forced contested shots. On 23 made shots, only 12 of those shots were assisted compared to Michigan state who had 20 assists through the entire game. Even though the loss hurts, this is no sign for Jayhawk fans to panic. It is only the second game of the season and besides the last few minutes of regulation, their defense held most of Michigan State’s scorers at bay. The Jayhawks had ten turnovers less than the Spartans (6-16) and committed fewer fouls (18-25) but never capitalized on their scoring opportunities, especially late into the game.
Expect Bill Self to correct his players accordingly and for the Jayhawks to come with more energy and a smoother offense in next weeks Maui Invitational.
Other News: Cheick Diallo has still yet to be cleared by the NCAA, but he got himself a lawyer to help speed up the process to be ruled eligible.
Stats from ESPN
Photos from www.mlive.com
- Winners and Losers from Week 1 of College Basketball November 17, 2015 College Pride Press
College basketball picked up right where it left off this weekend with a slew of upsets and craziness that no one anticipated. So much so that I don’t even know where to start when it comes to winners and losers but I’ll try my best to give you a snapshot of the first weekend.
It came to a point this weekend where I felt as if I was watching the first day of the NCAA tournament and should be checking my bracket. The underdogs were pulling off upsets all over the country that no one seemed coming. Bo Ryan’s Wisconsin Badgers might have been a little hungover from their trip to last years championship game as they lost to Western Illinois. UCLA lost to Monmouth on Friday and almost lost to Cal Poly last night to start their season. Bobby Hurley had a rough debut as his Sun Devils lost to Sacramento State. Even Radford was able to get the best of Georgetown. NC State lost to William & Mary in a game that was a blowout at halftime. Finally, Illinois lost to North Florida to open their season.
This was an amazing amount of upsets. Fans of underdogs got exactly what they wanted during the first weekend. If this is any indication of how the season will go then we are in for one hell of a ride.
The New Kids
This weekend was our first chance to see the gems of the freshman class at work and they didn’t disappoint.
Thomas Bryant had 11 points and 9 rebounds against East Illinois but made some impressive plays including an emphatic slam dunk worthy of a post board in my room. Lots of excitement around him in Bloomington.
Ben Simmons played his typical game scoring 11 points while snatching 13 rebounds and 5 assists in his debut for LSU. He makes flashy plays and smart plays all game while filling the stat sheet in every possible way. Simmons’s running mate Antonio Blakeney scored 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Tigers. This combo could fly under the radar in the SEC with Kentucky grabbing a lot of attention.
Jalen Brunson added a quiet 12 points and 4 assists in his debut for Villanova. Look for his numbers to increase as he finds his niche on a team loaded with talent veterans.
Kentucky freshman Skal Labissiere poured in 26 points and five rebounds in their second game on Saturday.
The freshmen strutted their stuff in the first weekend as they look to show off their skills in front of their new fanbase.
All the games were played this weekend without any major injuries which is a win for everyone. These student athletes put so much time and work into preparing for the season so it was great to see everyone play and stay healthy through the first weekend. Hopefully this trend continues!
Butler scored 144 points in their opening night win against The Citadel. This is insane as some teams strive to score half that in a game. Even Purdue put up 107 points on a Vermont team that has been in the NCAA tournament recently. While the shot clock plays a factor into the number of possessions the defense was atrocious in some games allowing these teams to put up some insane point totals. Hope this was just an aberration with a few lopsided match-ups.
Other than the abysmal defense played in some games over the weekend there was really no other losers. Basketball is back which means that the offseason is finally over and we can start watching games of our favorite teams and others! And we can start preparing our sneaky teams for our tournament brackets, but if this season is full of some of the upsets we saw over the first weekend then my bracket will be in trouble anyways. Tuesday will be a big day as well with Kansas playing Michigan State and Kentucky playing Duke. Those are some premium match-ups that will be a barometer for those teams to start the season.
- Jayhawks Ready for Michigan State November 17, 2015 College Pride Press
Basketball is finally back. The showdowns between the top teams in the country begin tonight with the double header at the United Center for the Champions Classic. It kicks off with No. 2 Kentucky taking on No. 5 Duke followed up by No. 13 Michigan State against No. 4 Kansas
The date is November 17th, 2015 and 5-star freshman Cheick Diallo is yet to be cleared. However, Bill Self and the Jayhawks are still ready to kick off the season with a bang.
Ok… technically the KU Basketball season already kicked off with an absolute rout of Northern Colorado last Friday in a 109-72 victory, but just like every other college basketball fan would say, it’s all about the big games. This is Kansas’s first chance to show how it will transition with its matured older roster combined with the new young guns of Carlton Bragg and Lagerald Vick.
Michigan State has a new hotshot of its own in Deyonta Davis, who actually has guarded a Jayhawk and played with one in the United Center last April in the McDonald’s All-American Game in Diallo and Bragg. Davis started his college career with a double double (13 points, 11 rebounds, 8 offensive) in a 82-55 beating of Florida Atlantic. Bill Self will plan to use the rotation of Landen Lucas, Jamari Traylor, Carlton Bragg, and the ever-consistent senior Perry Ellis to maintain the presence in the paint.
Michigan State has some injuries to hinder them before they tip off as junior Gavin Shilling is out indefinitely with a toe injury and as sophomore Marvin Clark Jr. recovers from a stress reaction in his foot. This gives the Spartans less of a presence inside which counters against the loss of Diallo. This however gives Michigan State’s Davis more of a chance to prove his ability on the big stage.
Denzel Valentine returns for his senior season ready to take the next step coming off a 13 point, 8 rebound, 9 assist performance last game. It’ll be a battle of guards as Frank Mason has shown his athleticism and higher basketball IQ this season as he has proven to be a point guard who can truly run the offense, putting up 9 assists last game as well. Devonte Graham also has 8 assists as Self has shown to favor running both point guards on the court at the same time.
Every piece on this Jayhawk team has had a shining moment in the first two exhibition games and Northern Colorado. Carlton Bragg came off right out the gate with a big game against Pitt State. Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, commonly referred to as “Svi,” showed his range against Fort Hays State, and Brannen Greene followed it up the next game. This is a stacked Kansas team that is one of the most complete Bill Self has coached. The only thing it needs to push it over the edge and make them a national contending favorite is for Cheick Diallo to be cleared.
You always know what Perry Ellis will give you any given night, as consistency should be his middle name. This game should come down to the presence Wayne Selden will makes, as he has the perfect build for the next level, and all he has lacked is the consistency. His presence will make a huge impact on this game. However, a big factor in this game is the rebounding battle. KU is returning four starters from a team that ranked 17th in the nation in rebounding last year.
If Michigan State can limit Kansas’s three point attempts, they can come through with a victory this Tuesday night as KU opened up 15 for 26 from 3 against Northern Colorado. KU comes off a season where they ranked in the top ten in three point attempts and Michigan State allowed 33.2% shooting from deep. I see Kansas making just enough threes to counter Michigan State’s second-chance opportunities.
Prediction: Jayhawks 87, Spartans 80
University of Kansas
Stats and Comments:
Last meeting: Kansas wins 61-56 over Michigan State in Orlando Classic 2014. (Ellis 17 pts)
Tom Izzo is 6-5 against Bill Self and has won three out of the last four.
- Why you should join the CPP forum? November 10, 2015 College Pride Press
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- What To Take from Pitt State November 7, 2015 College Pride Press
The Jayhawks are back in action. In their first action since winning the gold metal during the World University Games this summer, Kansas Basketball gave us a preview of what to expect this season.
No. 4 Kansas defeated Pittsburgh State Wednesday night 89-66 in a game that ended much differently than it started. A lot of good things and things to be improved on were learned from this game. The starters came out as expected with G Frank Mason III, G Devonte Graham, G Wayne Selden, F Perry Ellis, and F Landen Lucas kicking off the season. However, the debut of one man ended up changing that pace of play early in the second half.
All-American Carlton Bragg showed the length and basketball IQ Bill Self saw in him when he signed him last April. The 6’9″ freshman had 14 points on 7 for 12 shooting and 6 rebounds in 21 minutes of play. With the wings having an off night, the offense seemed to run through the big men, as they put up a combined 46 points. Look for Bragg to have a huge impact on the offense this season especially with the uncertain status of Cheick Diallo.
- Allen Fieldhouse: The Mecca of College Basketball November 4, 2015 College Pride Press
Allen Fieldhouse: The Mecca of College Basketball
I leave my last class, bundling up to prepare for the cold Lawrence night. Heading back to my residence hall, I pass by Allen Fieldhouse, whose lights inside shine brightly as nightfall approaches. At this late hour, Allen Fieldhouse sits quiet as the moonlight rains down on the Phog Allen statue who peacefully watches over the arena. This bronze statue has seen many wins through the years at the Fieldhouse, and now as the Kansas Jayhawks 2015-16 season approaches, it prepares for the thunderous dunks, the harmonious chants, and the many victories that will take place in the walls of the arena for the upcoming months.
Since the court was dedicated in 1955, many players have become KU legends in this building. Household names like Wilt Chamberlain, Danny Manning, Paul Pierce, and Mario Chalmers started on the polished hardwood courts of Allen Fieldhouse. College coaching legends Ted Owens, Larry Brown, Roy Williams, and now Bill Self coached the historical teams that walked the hardwood. The number of great teams and history that has been amounted in the fieldhouse has left a strong tradition that is felt by anyone who enters the building.
Entering this season, the Jayhawks are 731-109 at Allen Fieldhouse, coming off an undefeated season at home. In his 13th year as head coach, Bill Self has led this team to five undefeated seasons at home. One of the most extraordinary statistics in sports is that Bill Self boasts more Big 12 championships (11) than Allen Fieldhouse losses (9). Even ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas called Allen Fieldhouse the “cathedral of college basketball.” But basketball here is more than just what goes on during the 40 minutes between tip off and the final buzzer.
Pay Heed, All Who Enter: Beware of “The Phog”
Hanging over the National Championship banners and looming over the court, these words echo through the halls of Allen Fieldhouse. “The Phog” is more than just the players who protect their home court each and every night they go out there, it’s more than Bill Self’s undeniably spectacular coaching, and it’s more than the basketball game. “The Phog” is each and every fan that comes together and puts their arms over each other’s shoulders to sing the alma mater, “Crimson and the Blue”. “The Phog” is the sweet, slow chants of “Rock Chalk, Jayhawk” that resonates from the whole crowd towards the end of a game. “The Phog” is even the long nights that student groups camp out inside of Allen Fieldhouse waiting to get the best seats for the game. To quote Jay Bilas again, “This magnificent building cannot be captured in words. You have to feel it… This building,” he said, “has a soul.”
- Winners and Losers Part 2 November 3, 2015 College Pride Press
It has been a while since I have talked about the winners and losers from the preseason. Even though there are no games being played there are some program altering events going on. Here are a few winners and losers as we lead up into the season.
Mismatches and Secrecy
All college basketball fans love mismatches and secrets. The last couple weeks have had both of these things combined. There was a rumored secret scrimmage between Purdue and Dayton a couple of days ago where a “secret” report had Purdue winning. This is probably one of the biggest mismatches in college basketball. Dayton did not have a rotation player over 6’7″ last year and Purdue is known for having 3 monsters down low. This was a learning experience for both teams and surely an interesting scrimmage to watch for those who did.
The saying “what you don’t know won’t kill you” is true. When teams had secret scrimmages that were actually secrets it was ok because fans just thought the teams were practicing. Now that we know who is scrimmaging who it is agonizing for fans to hear about it without watching or having twitter updates. Lets play some basketball on ESPN and BTN please!
Mississippi State has been on the rise lately. Before Ben Howland was hired the program seemed to be non existent. Ben Howland has brought the program into relevance before he even takes the sidelines for the Bulldogs. Malik Newman is a McDonald’s All American freshman who will keep his team competitive in the big SEC games on the schedule.
The future also looks bright as well as Howland has already received the commitment from multiple top 100 recruits in the 2016 class. He is not stopping there by continuing to recruit top rated Mario Kegler, De’Ron Davis, and others. He could have a top 5 recruiting class to build this program on in the future. Look for Mississippi State to make some noise in the next couple of years.
Fans of Big Men
Two of the top big men in college basketball were just ruled eligible by the NCAA. Both Skal Labissiere and Caleb Swanigan were ineligible until the past couple of weeks. The fan bases of the Boilermakers and Wildcats were starting to sweat until their shiny new freshmen were ruled eligible. All of college basketball wins with these two All-Americans on the court this season.
Jaquan Lyle, Antonio Blakeney, and the Louisville Cardinals
The aftermath of this tell all book by Katina Powell has been a catastrophe. There have been accusations of dancers performing shows for recruits and players and some of them even paying for sex from the dancers. There has been an investigation with interviews of current players and coaches at Louisville. The whole investigation is a mess but it makes Louisville losers because they are supposed to be practicing basketball and focusing on the season. Instead, they are worrying about whether there coach will still be employed or if they will have a post season ban.
I put Jaquan Lyle and Antonio Blakeney on this list as well because they have been dragged back into this scandal. Lyle and Blakeney have both been included on lists of recruits that have been present during these shows at Louisville even though they both attend different schools. They have been involved in the investigation with interviews with the NCAA and worrying about national media bringing it up during their preseason interviews. This is the last thing both Blakeney and Lyle want to be worrying about with the season just 10 short days away.
Ray Smith and the Arizona Wildcats
Preseason injuries are the absolute worst and Arizona is experiencing that now. All- American freshman Ray Smith injured his ACL last week during practice and will miss the entire season. This is horrible for everyone. Ray Smith was likely a one and done heading to the NBA to start collecting pay checks. Arizona was expected to rely heavily on Smith after losing many starters from last years Elite 8 team. We hope that Ray Smith has a speedy recovery and we wish him the best in all his ventures whether it be returning the Zona next year or another route.
Cheick Diallo and the Kansas Jayhawks
While I did touch upon the success of Caleb Swanigan and Skal Labissere becoming eligible. Cheick Diallo hopes to join that group but has not been deemed eligible at this point. The NCAA is still investigating Diallo and his high school academics at Our New Savior High School. If Diallo is not eligible for the Jayhawks it will be a huge blow to their Big12 and Final 4 aspirations. Diallo hopes to slide next to Perry Ellis in the starting lineup to form an unstoppable force down low. Even if you are not a Jayhawk fan you should cheer for Diallo’s eligibility. Having an All-American not playing this year reduces the quality of college basketball and doesn’t do Diallo any good to sit on the sidelines.
- What If?: Kansas Jayhawk Edition September 29, 2015 College Pride Press
Joel Embiid grabs the rebound and tosses the outlet pass to a running Ben McLemore. Dribbling past the half court line, McLemore runs the fast break with Frank Mason III and Andrew Wiggins trailing closely behind him. He feeds the ball to Mason who lobs it up to a streaking Wiggins. The Canadian leaps high and finishes with a thunderous dunk that brings all of Allen Fieldhouse to its feet.
What if during the 2011 NBA lockout, David Stern successfully raised the minimum age for draft eligibility to 20 years old? Consider a starting five of Frank Mason III, Ben McLemore, Andrew Wiggins, Perry Ellis, and Joel Embiid. One word that comes to mind: Lethal. Although some of those players are over 20 years old, for the sake of the argument we will assume that they decide to stay in college for all four years. A Kansas Jayhawk team this much talent would undoubtedly be at the top of every college ranking. With the type of sanctions NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver, is trying to put in place, college basketball fans may see more lineups as stacked (repeated this word) as these in the near future.
Most highly ranked prospects enter college with the intent to declare for the draft after their freshman year. In the past, it was an anomaly for freshman to get a lot of touches in college. It was not until the University of Michigan’s Fab Five recruiting class in 1991 did freshman really start getting more playing time. After that, the concept of “one-and-done” came into fruition and as a result, many of the players entering the NBA have come with a lot of raw talent, but have not spent enough time practicing to polish their skills. In an interview with GQ last year, Adam Silver said that if he could immediately change one thing in the NBA, “It would benefit the league to raise the minimum age from 19 to 20”. With the NBA lockout nearing, fans can expect for this matter to be addressed. Raising the minimum age for NBA draft eligibility will not only help to produce more mature and NBA ready players in each draft class, but college basketball will also become more competitive. Many players drafted in the past two years have put up big numbers, but not all of them have shown readiness to play NBA caliber basketball. If college players spent more than one year in school, fans would see college dynasties rising and players would show more pride in their schools, chasing National Champions two, three, and some maybe even four years in a row.
Kansas is known for their consistent dominance and high caliber players, but in recent seasons, Jayhawk fans have seen their top players declare for the draft after their freshman year. The past few years, Kansas has been kicked out of the tournament early, only making it to the Sweet Sixteen once since their last appearance in the NCAA championship in 2012. This disappointment urges Jayhawk fans to ask themselves again: What if David Stern had raised the minimum age for NBA draft eligibility to 20 years old in 2011? Stars like Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid, and Ben McLemore might still be putting up shots on the hardwood at Allen Fieldhouse. Those are just the names of KU’s biggest stars in recent years. Add on the additions of Kelly Oubre Jr. and Cliff Alexander and even some Kansas’ recruits who have yet to take the court like Cheick Diallo and Carlton Bragg, you begin to realize the type of star players that Kansas attracts. No other team would be able to match up with the strength, speed, and talent that this lineup has. An Indiana Hoosiers team with the additions of Noah Vonleh and Victor Oladipo would be nowhere close to competing with this Jayhawk team. Jabari Parker and Jahlil Okafor definitely would revamp this year’s Duke roster, but they are still miles away from the amount of talent that Kansas has acquired. Even the nearly undefeated University of Kentucky of last year alongside the likes of Nerlens Noel and Julius Randle would have a tough time keeping up with the pace and suffocating defense Kansas would impose on them. This goes to show just how well the Jayhawks have been recruiting in the past few years.
This hypothetical question is an interesting matter to look at. With how quickly some college stars get settled into the NBA, it would be beneficial to college basketball to see some of the younger players stay and play more than just one year. Hopefully the rise of the minimum age for draft eligibility will be an outcome of the looming NBA lockout and Kansas will create their own college super team of NBA caliber players.
- Winners and Loser from this Week in College Basketball September 17, 2015 College Pride Press
The season has not started yet but there were winners and losers from this past week. I hope to make this a weekly post breaking down the college basketball landscape. Here are the winners and losers from the past week.
Michigan State was a huge winner this week in more than just college basketball. The Spartans beat the highly ranked Oregon Ducks in football in what was one of college sport’s biggest recruiting weekend. Multiple recruits for both football and basketball were in East Lansing for the big week including 5-star forward Miles Bridges who announced that Michigan State was in his top 3 along with Kentucky and Indiana. Michigan State gets the W for having such a big recruiting weekend before their team even hits the court.
Indiana and Thomas Bryant
There was a report that came out a couple of days ago that mentioned Thomas Bryant adding 9 inches to his vertical. If this is true and factual then Indiana gets a W for the week. Indiana is a school that prides themselves on player development so to hear Bryant add 9 inches to his max vertical is insane. Bryant will be relied on heavily for quality minutes down low and this new found spring in his step will help him to give the Hoosiers the rim protection they desperately needed last season. All Hoosier fans will be excited to see Bryant on the court for Hoosier Hysteria in a couple of weeks.
Kansas is considered a loser this week because there has been no word about Cheick Diallo’s eligibility. The NCAA is investigating Diallo and his former school but has not decided whether Diallo will be eligible for this season. If Diallo is not eligible it will be a huge blow for the reigning Big 12 champions. Diallo and Perry Ellis have the opportunity to be a crazy tandem down low for the Jayhawks this year if both players are on the court.
TJ Leaf’s decommitment was a few weeks ago but it has put Arizona’s 2016 recruiting class in the flux without the top 10 power forward. It looks like Leaf will attend UCLA leaving Arizona with a huge hole to fill in there lineup for the 2016 season. Sean Miller and company had Leaf’s name circled on their board since January so they have some ground to make up to recruit another post player to replace Leaf.
- Kansas Recruiting at a Glance August 29, 2015 College Pride Press
Loosing Out on a Star
5-star 2016 recruit Terrance “T-Ferg” “2k” Ferguson rode a media tidal wave for several weeks as he narrowed down his college decision. T-Ferg, a 6’7″, 185 lb shooting forward, was strongly considering the University of Kansas and the University of Alabama. Both schools worked overtime to land this superstar out of Dallas, Texas, and their fans weren’t slacking either. Ferguson has continued to generate interest from Arizona, Louisville, UNC, Baylor, and Texas even after he reportedly cut his list down to Kansas and Alabama.
T-Ferg is originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma, but plays for Prime Prep Academy in Dallas, Texas, and has been spending his summer playing on a Mo Williams AAU team. Many recruiting sites dub Ferguson the best shooter in the 2016 recruiting class.
Of course all Jayhawk fans figure T-Ferg would be insane not to choose Kansas, the legendary powerhouse basketball college, over Alabama, a “football school.” Ferguson knows about the basketball legacy at KU, but he believes Alabama is a place where he can forge his own path, create his own legacy, and take the basketball program to new levels. While Jayhawks across the nation are certainly bummed to lose this impressive shooter, we wish the best to Ferguson on his journey and will no doubt see him in the professional league very soon.
Regardless of this loss, the prospects look bright for KU in the upcoming seasons and the Jayhawks have received blessings in disguise from losing top recruits in the past, specifically with the 2015 class. Stephen Zimmerman, Malik Newman, Ivan Rabb, Jaylen Brown, Antonio Blakeney, Ben Simmons, Diamond Stone, and Henry Ellenson all chose a variety of schools that are not generally thought of as NCAA title contenders (UNLV, Mississippi State, UC Berkeley, LSU, Marquette). Eric Bossi, national recruiting analyst for Rivals.com, remarked that the class of 2015 had a little more independence than previous classes whose top recruits mostly ended up at Kansas, Kentucky, Duke, Arizona, or Indiana. Looking forward to the 2016 and 2017 recruits, Kansas has some excellent options on their radar including Harry Giles and Josh Jackson.
Giles, a 6’10” power forward out of Winston-Salem, North Carolina has offers from Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, UNC, Ohio State, Syracuse, UNLV, and Wake Forest and rightfully so; he is ranked 1st on ESPN’s top 100 list. Giles recently released his top 5 list for his college decision: Duke, Kentucky, UNC, Wake Forest, and Kansas. He has also mentioned that he is interested in pairing with Jayson Tatum, ESPN’s #2 recruit, who committed to Duke just a few weeks ago. Undoubtedly, Bill Self is working overtime to land Giles.
Jackson, a 6’7” small forward from Southfield, Michigan, has offers from Arizona, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, Maryland, Michigan State, UNC, UCLA, and UNLV. Ranked 3rd behind Giles and Tatum on ESPN’s top 100 list, Jackson has been heavily sought after particularly by Kansas, Michigan State, UCLA, and Arizona. Jackson has yet to release a list of his top options and is focusing on passing his standardized tests before taking any official visits. His mother, Apple Jones, reports that they do definitely plan to take official visits to at least Kansas and Arizona during the school year. Jones also reports that Kentucky is currently not in the picture for Jackson.
Other promising members of the 2016 recruiting class still interested in Kansas include:
Udoka Azubuike – 6’11” center from Jacksonville, FL
Braxton Blackwell – 6’8” small forward from Mouth of Wilson, VA
Rawle Alkins – 6’5” shooting guard from Middle Village, NY
Members of the 2017 class who could possibly star on Kansas’s roster include:
Trevon Duval – 6’3” point guard from Newark, NJ
Hamidou Diallo – 6’4” shooting guard from Putnam, CT (unrelated to Cheick Diallo)
Wenyen Gabriel – 6’9” power forward from Wilbraham, MA
Coach Bill Self continues to search for fresh talent and hopes to land a couple of these impressive recruits in order to continue building onto Kansas’s already historic basketball resume.
University of Kansas ’19
- The Curious Case of Cheick Diallo [Update] August 24, 2015 College Pride Press
Murmurs grow louder in Allen Fieldhouse as opening night approaches and Cheick Diallo is still not eligible to play for the University of Kansas. The NCAA has not cleared him for college play yet, and recently, Jayhawk fans were given another reason to worry about the fate of Diallo.
Kobie Eubanks, Diallo’s high school teammate, was ruled ineligible by the NCAA and lost his scholarship to University of Alabama. Eubanks now will have to get credit hours at a junior college before he can get a scholarship to play for a four-year university. Eubanks and Diallo both attended Our Savior New American School (OSNA). OSNA has had issues in the past with four-year universities not accepting certain class credits that their school offers. Athletes who attend this school often have trouble being eligible for an athletic scholarship, and many of those players are unaware that their credits may not be sufficient for the school they planned to attend. If ultimately Diallo is ruled ineligible this could be a huge blow for the Jayhawks. This will be the second year in a row that one of Kansas’ top recruits were ruled ineligible. There is still much hope for Diallo, however, because unlike Eubanks and other OSNA alumni who were ruled ineligible, Diallo spent this summer taking classes for more credit hours. Still the NCAA is causing a lot of stress towards fans of 6’9” five-star forward. A Kansas team with the addition of a player with his athleticism and ceiling is a very scary team to face in the NCAA tournament. All Jayhawk fans can do at this point is hope for the best for the young Cheick Diallo; besides, what’s preseason college basketball without a little drama.
Cain Lever ’19
Photo from http://i.ytimg.com/vi/zaGPO_fwBHQ/maxresdefault.jpg
- Freshman To Watch In The 2015-2016 Season August 17, 2015 Phil Wells
Ben Simmons will be one of the most special and exciting basketball players to watch in Division 1 basketball. The Montverde graduate was the number one high school recruit of the 2015 class. The 6’10 forward can do it all. I am very impressed with his athleticism and his versatility. Simmons can guard anybody on the court; he is very quick laterally for his size. Watching him play at Montverde was something special and when Simmons is on the floor he makes his presence known. The lefty shooter has an excellent touch and a pretty release. Simmons is such a rare player, having skill around the post and perimeter. His vision and passing is very mature for his age. It is not often that a 6’10 forward has passing attributes of a 6’2 Point Guard. My only question with Simmons attending LSU is his development. Johnny Jones is not known for developing his players into NBA prospects. Jarell Martin and Jordan Mickey did not progress into the superstars they were supposed to be. Even with the question of development, I truly believe Simmons has the skill to be the 1st overall pick of 2016 draft. LSU fans should be very excited about their number one recruit.
Jamal Murray/6’5/Point Guard/Kentucky
Jamal Murray made his impression on me and many others in the Pan Am Games while playing for Team Canada. Murray was originally a part of the class of 2016 but reclassified to the class of 2015. It is scary to think that he is actually a class behind. At the Pan Am Games the Canadian native averaged 17 points and 2.4 assist per games. Those are some good numbers for someone who is 8 years younger than the average age of the players in the games. Murray has the ability to penetrate and finish on any defense. While watching Murray I noticed how much he favors his left hand, which is his off hand. At 6’5 Murray has the ability to be a 2 guard, along with having the handles and passing of a point guard. Along with his handles and passing, Murray has the outside shot that is hard to defend. I believe he has the ability to pull up on the dribble around the arc. Murray going to Kentucky brings a National Championship in sights for 2016. It is going to be scary having Isaiah Briscoe, Tyler Ulis and Jamal Murray on the same team. It’s going to be very interesting to see how Murray reacts to playing with two other superstars. For him to be at his best, he needs the ball in his hands. At Kentucky he will have other guys around him that are just as talented. The Orangeville Prep Graduate is going to have to learn to help his team off the ball. But there is no question when he does have the ball, Murray will be something special for the Wildcats.
Brandon Ingram/6’8/Small Forward/Duke
With Tyus Jones, Justice Winslow and Jalhil Okafor gone, Brandon Ingram has the skill and leadership to help the Blue Devils reload their roster. Duke is bringing in 6’10 center Chase Jeter who will fill in for Okafor’s; this leaves Brandon to fill in for Winslow. With Jeter down low, I believe Coach Krzyzewski will have Ingram at a 2 or 3 in his lineup. Ingram went to high school where Jerry Stackhouse (former Tar Heel) coached. UNC fans should be very disappointed that Jerry did not persuade Brandon to attend Chapel Hill. Ingram brings a lot of versatility for Duke. Ingram has the handles of a guard and uses a quick first step to get to the basket. The small forward always remains in control and doesn’t let defenders make him feel uncomfortable. While watching Ingram I noticed when he drives in the lane he looks for contact every time. He wants to draw a foul and is not afraid to get bodied down low. Ingram is a very lanky and long with plenty room for muscle. Blue Devil fans should have another championship in sights with Ingram in the lineup.
Along with a few others in his class, Zimmerman has size and athleticism. At 7 feet Zimmerman looks very smooth handling the basketball. Zimmerman was sought out by many top programs, but decided to stay in Nevada to attend UNLV. The skill I was most impressed in watching Zimmerman was his basketball IQ. He knows where everyone is on the court when he has the ball. His passing ability is very impressive; it is very smooth and fun to watch. The lefty also can shoot from mid-range, but I do not think his shot from behind the arc is at a high level yet. With development and coaching the Bishop Gorman graduate will be able to score from all over the floor. One question for the UNLV center is his frame and strength. Scouts say there is still more room for muscle and some say he needs it to go to the next level. Zimmerman has gained 20 pounds the past couple months, but we do not know if it is enough to fill out his lanky body. Expectations are very high going into UNLV as Zimmerman is expected to help the team bounce back from an average season while losing in the second round of the Mountain West. UNLV fans will look to have Zimmerman producing and excelling right when he steps on campus.
Cheick Diallo/6’9/Power Forward/Kansas
Cheick Diallo could be the best post player in this class. It is fun to see him down low against defenders. Fans will love watching him throw it down on the fast break and in the post. The Our Savior New American School graduate has outstanding rebounding ability. Cheick has the vertical, aggressiveness, and wingspan that ...
- Biggest Question: Kansas Jayhawks August 13, 2015 College Pride Press
In the 2008 NCAA Title game, Mario Chalmers and the Kansas Jayhawks took down the Memphis Tigers in a thrilling overtime victory thanks to the help of Chalmers’ late game heroics. Since then, the Jayhawks have only made it back to the title game once, being kicked from the tournament in early rounds a few of those years. The 2012 team led by Thomas Robinson were the closest to bringing the NCAA title back to Lawrence, Kansas. With a deep roster and rising stars, many Jayhawk fans believe that this year’s team may be the team to add a new banner to the rafters in Allen Fieldhouse.
Heading into the 2015-16 college basketball season, the Kansas Jayhawks have one thing no other college team has: the World University Games gold-medal. The University of Kansas men’s basketball team represented Team USA in July and went undefeated on their way to a gold-medal. Along with the gold-medal, Frank Mason III, Wayne Selden Jr. and Perry Ellis earned spots on the All-World University Games teams. Selden carried the team through most of the Games, averaging 19.3 points per game and earning himself the honor of the World University Games’ best player. In the gold-medal game, junior point guard Mason scored 18 points and earned the Finals MVP on his way to a double overtime victory against Germany. The Jayhawks played 8 games in a matter of 11 days, so Coach Bill Self had to utilize his whole bench, giving each player a chance to showcase their talents. The Games also gave the team an opportunity to bond and get more reps in together while other college teams were unable to do so due to NCAA restrictions on summer practices.
So the Big Question is: Is the momentum from winning the World University Games enough to propel them back into the NCAA title game?
With a disappointing end to last season, falling to Ron Baker and the Wichita State Shockers in the third round, the Jayhawks are hungry to make another Final Four appearance. They have rising stars in guards Frank Mason III and Wayne Selden Jr. and a veteran presence in forward Perry Ellis. Those players along with a deep roster are convincing reasons to believe they can. During the team’s appearances in the Games, there was not a single player on the team who had a disappointing outing. After bringing the gold home, confidence in the locker room must be high and the whole team must be anxious to begin the season at full stride. The only question is if the length of the college basketball season will slow down the momentum they have picked up so far.
With the talent the Jayhawks have, Coach Self’s leadership, and a gold-medal in their pockets, the Big 12 Conference Title seems to be theirs to lose. Kansas has won 11 straight regular season titles showing consistent greatness. Now the momentum of the gold medal and hopefully a 12th conference title needs to carry them through March. As long as Frank Mason III and Wayne Selden Jr. can continue to play as they did this past July in the Games, the Kansas Jayhawks look as if they can make a deep run in the NCAA tournament, and hopefully have a “Mario’s Miracle” part 2.
Cain Lever ’19
All statistics from www.sports-reference.com
Photos from www2.ljworld.com/news