- CPP Podcast: Second Weekend Recap and Final Four Preview March 28, 2017 College Pride Press
Brad Kreppel is joined by podcast stalwarts Zach Beeler and Sean Bock to discuss the craziness that ensued during the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament and to preview the Final Four. Our next podcast will likely be next week to recap the Final Four. Be sure to follow us on twitter @edupridepress.
- 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 Oregon vs. #7 Michigan March 23, 2017 College Pride Press
#3 Oregon vs. #7 Michigan
Storyline: Is Michigan the team of destiny?
In college basketball, momentum is so important and sometimes vital to success. Michigan was boarded a plane on the way to the Big Ten Tournament when their plane slid off the runway. Those players then had to get back on a plane (I couldn’t fly the day after going through that) and play a noon game in their practice uniforms. No one would have blamed them for not having their best game and losing in that first game. Instead, the Wolverines went on a huge run to win the Big Ten Tournament and have used that momentum to get to the Sweet 16. They have knocked off high scoring Oklahoma State and pulled off a huge upset against the Louisville Cardinals. I do not want to jinx anything but Michigan is two wins away from having an ESPN 30 for 30 being made about them.
Oregon does not have the luxury of big momentum. They went to their conference tournament and lost their best shot blocker and deadly shooter Chris Boucher for the season. This was a crushing loss as the Ducks relied on Boucher for huge rim protection to anchor their defense. I was very high on Oregon before the PAC-12 tournament, but the Boucher injury really hurt them both in X’s and O’s as well as mentally to the team. Oregon recovered to knock off Iona before needing a late rally and stellar defense to beat a red hot Rhode Island team.
The interesting thing about these Sweet 16 matchups is that very few games have teams that are similar. This is yet another matchup where one team has skilled big men and the other relies and shooting guards and small forwards. Michigan has gone on this great run with the emergence Mo Wagner and DJ Wilson. Those players were known before the post season, but both of them have really stepped up and played exceptional basketball. Wagner and Wilson are special because their are versatile. They can drive to the rim, post up, and shoot it. Very tough to guard one of these guys but Michigan plays with both of them on the court as much as possible. Dillon Brooks and Jordan Bell have been asked to step up in the wake of Boucher’s injury and they must continue to play great defense and try to slow the Michigan bigs down. Combine those bigs with Derrick Walton and that is a tough offense to stop. Walton has played extremely well in the past 6 games and has the experience to lead the Wolverines.
As much as Oregon has gone through, you cannot sleep on the Ducks. Dana Altman is a tremendous coach and Dillon Brooks is one of the best players in the Sweet 16. Tyler Dorsey and Dylan Ennis have been red hot in the past few games. Payton Pritchard does all the little things and spreads the ball around to find open shooters. This will be a high scoring game as both teams can fill it up in their own style. Both teams have a go to guy that can get a clutch bucket in Dillon Brooks and Derrick Walton. This is the toughest game to predict but I am going with the team with the momentum in the Wolverines.
Prediction: Michigan 87, Oregon 83
- Sweet 16 Preview: #2 Arizona vs. #11 Xavier March 21, 2017 College Pride Press
#2 Arizona vs. #11 Xavier
Storyline: Xavier has nothing to lose. Arizona has everything to lose.
Arizona is a top tier team. They were one of my top title favorites once I saw their draw. They are a very complete team with talent and depth at all positions. Combine that with Sean Miller’s acumen and sweating and that is a winning combo. When ranking the Sweet 16 teams I had Arizona ranked second just behind UNC.
The story of this game is to find out whether Xavier is for real. It is tough to peg this #11 seed because they played most of the season with point guard Ed Sumner. Xavier went through a brutal stretch after losing Sumner losing 6 in a row before a win over Depaul to close out the regular season. Before the tournament, the once Top-25 team had only one notable win since February 1st with a win over Butler in the Big East tournament. Then the tournament started and the Musketeers beat both Maryland and Florida State to advance to the Sweet 16. Both those wins don’t necessarily show that Xavier has fixed their Sumner-less problems as Maryland relies mostly on freshman (Melo Trimble excluded), and Florida State seemed to flame out after a torching hot start to ACC play.
It is extremely shocking that the Musketeers are here and they are really a team with nothing to lose against Arizona. No one will blame Chris Mack for losing a game without one of his Top 2 players. (Indiana lost one of its top 2 players in conference play and missed the tourney). Getting to the Sweet 16 is impressive enough for this Xavier team. Advancing farther will be legendary.
Sean Miller is definitely spending his week focusing on stopping Xavier’s catalyst in Trevon Bluiett. He is the leading scorer and will need to have a big game to top the Wildcats. Luckily for Miller, Kadeem Allen is stud defensive player and the rest of the Wildcat guards are very tall with Kobi Simmons, Rawle Alkins, and Allonzo Trier all similar heights to the combo guard/forward Bluiett.
Xavier will spend its week preparing for the slew of skilled big men that Arizona will throw at them. Xavier has no one that could conceivably match up with Lauri Markkanen. Combine Lauri with Chance Comanche and Dusan Ristic and that is one heavy burden for Rashid Gaston and Sean O’Mara to deal with for 40 minutes. This matchup will be the difference in the game and that is why the Wildcats will move on to face Gonzaga in the Elite 8.
Prediction: Arizona 82, Xavier 65
- Sweet 16 Preview: #2 Kentucky vs. #3 UCLA March 21, 2017 College Pride Press
#2 Kentucky vs. #3 UCLA
Storyline: The Rematch
On December 3rd of 2016, Kentucky and UCLA were both undefeated and UCLA came to Lexington and outscored the Wildcats 95-92. These teams were both very young and so was the season in early December. The rematch is worth so much more than the first meeting between these teams and Kentucky is looking for revenge.
Malik Monk did not have the ideal first weekend scoring 12 and 14 points in the first two games. Those numbers are well below his season average of 20 points per game. Kentucky is going to need him to return to form and knock down some big shots for the Wildcats to keep up with the high scoring Bruins.
Lonzo Ball keeps distributing and the Bruins keep scoring as the unstoppable machine can put up 60 points in a half once they get going. The matchup that gives UCLA the biggest advantage is Thomas Welsh vs. Bam Adebayo. I understand that Bam is big and strong and dunks with force but I do not think he is that good. He has limited post moves and relies and strength alone to get to the rim. Players that rely purely on strength are nothing that junior Thomas Welsh hasn’t seen before. Welsh can defend Bam but just staying behind him in the post and forcing Bam to shoot over him. On offense, Welsh is one of the best bigs shooting in the midrange that I have ever seen in college. He only needs a little daylight to get it off but he is automatic inside the arc. Bam will not be able to slow down Welsh and I believe he will have a huge game for the Bruins.
Prediction: UCLA 87, Kentucky 81
- NCAA Tournament Preview: #2 Arizona vs. #15 North Dakota March 12, 2017 College Pride Press
#2 Arizona vs #15 North Dakota
30-3, PAC-12 16-2
Player to Watch: Lauri Markkanen
The best player on Arizona is Allonzo Trier but there are talented combo guards all over the country. There is no player in the country like Lauri Markkanen. The seven foot forward knocks down deep shots and beats you in the post. Markkanen is impossible to stop as he can beat you in a number of different ways.
X Factor: Spreading the ball around
Arizona is extremely deep with talented guys coming off the bench. Their x-factor is spreading the ball around because they are one of the few teams that can do that effectively. Not every team has Kobi Simmons and Parker Jackson-Cartwright coming off the bench. If one player holds the ball the offense will not be as effective. Move the ball, spread it around, get the win.
22-9, Big Sky 14-4
Player to Watch: Quinton Hooker
Hooker is a senior guard who averages 19 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists on the season. His 42% 3-point shooting percentage is going to be key for keeping up with Arizona’s potent offense. As a senior, Hooker will leave everything on the floor and has the experience to lead North Dakota.
X Factor: Outside Shooting
North Dakota ranks 36th in the country in three-point shooting percentage. If North Dakota wants to hang with Arizona and make Sean Miller sweat they will need to make a lot of deep shots.
Match-Up to Watch: Quinton Hooker vs. Parker Jackson-Cartwright
The battle to watch will be the two point guards. North Dakota will need Hooker to go off in this game. Parker Jackson-Cartwright is the straw that stirs the Arizona Wildcats offense. Look for these two to dual it out at the top.
Key Stat: Turnovers
When you look at upsets there are a few stats that always turn the game. Those two stats are always turnovers and three pointers. North Dakota has done a very good job forcing turnovers and Arizona has done a very good job holding onto the ball. Something has to give with turnovers and North Dakota will need those extra possessions to pull off the upset.
Prediction: Arizona 85, North Dakota 65
Arizona is too good and well rounded to be upset this year. The Wildcats will run and gun and the Fighting Hawks will not have a chance.
- NCAA Tournament Preview: #3 Oregon vs. #14 Iona March 12, 2017 College Pride Press
#3 Oregon vs #14 Iona
29-5, PAC-12 16-2
Player to Watch: Dillon Brooks
Dillon Brooks is an All-American who has carried the Ducks to multiple big finishes in the PAC-12. He averages 16 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists this season but his value is much more than the stats. Brooks is a big time shot maker who can get a basket whenever the Ducks are in a drought.
X Factor: Replacing Chris Boucher
The Ducks just lost leading shot blocker and deadly shooter Chris Boucher to a season ending surgery on Friday night. The success of Dana Altman’s team will be hinging on whether they can overcome that injury and protect the rim.
22-12, MAAC 12-8
Player to Watch: Jordan Washington
The 6’8” senior big man averaged 17 points and 7 rebounds for the Gaels this season. He is key because he is Iona’s best player but also struggled to stay on the floor without fouling. Washington is a fantastic post scorer and displayed his whole repertoire during the MAAC Tournament. If Washington can stay on the court and avoid foul trouble he could be a load for the Ducks to defend.
X Factor: Deep Shooting
The three pointer has always been an equalizer for teams looking to pull of an upset. Iona is 16th in the country in 3 point shooting percentage. The Gaels need to get hot and knock down some outside shots in order to hang with Oregon. If any team can get hot it is Iona with their top ranked outside shooting.
Match-Up to Watch: Jordan vs. Jordan
I am obviously talking about Jordan Washington and Jordan Bell down on the block. Bell needs to step up to help fill the hole that opened with Chris Boucher’s injury. Jordan Washington has carried his team all year and will need to continue to give the Gaels a shot at an upset. Something has to give in this matchup. May the best Jordan win!
Key Stat: Three Point Scoring
Both teams have very talented shooters and can get hot from deep. Three point shooting will swing the game. If Iona gets hot they will put pressure on Oregon’s offense and Dillon Brooks. If Oregon gets hot they will not have to worry as much about missing Chris Boucher.
Prediction: Oregon 82, Iona 76
As much as Oregon is bleeding with Chris Boucher’s injury they still have a fully healthy Dillon Brooks. Brooks cannot be stopped and can get a bucket in any key spots that the Ducks are in. Iona will knock down some threes but ultimately full short due to the number of talented pieces Oregon can throw at them.
Photo Source: Atzen Zoo
- March Preview: Oregon Ducks March 8, 2017 Sean Bock
At the beginning of the season, especially in the Maui Invitational, Oregon looked like they would be a team that would be very inconsistent throughout the whole year. Although the Ducks went 2-1 in the tournament, they suffered a loss to Georgetown and were on the heels against UCONN and Tennessee. Since then, this team has really turned it around and have earned the right to be considered a Final Four canindate.
Similar to Arizona, Oregon has a lot of guys that have the capability to put the ball in the bucket. All five usual starters average 10 or more points per game and overall as a team, the Ducks are 14th in the country in offensive field goal efficiency according to KenPom. Only once this year has Oregon scored less than 60 points in a game which is very impressive considering that one game came against Baylor who is regarded as one of the best defensive teams in the nation. Having more than one or two players that can consistently fill the stat sheet is a huge plus for any team especially in the tournament.
As a group, Oregon is pretty solid all-around. The one area they do struggle is on the defensive glass. The Ducks are 239th in opponents offensive rebounding percentage. According to KenPom, Oregon opponents have scooped up 30% of their shots on the offensive end which makes Dana Altman’s cast very vulnerable in that category.
Photo via @OregonMBB on Twitter
- March Preview: Arizona Wildcats March 7, 2017 Sean Bock
Arizona has made the Elite Eight two out of the past three years but hasn’t reached the Final Four since 2001. In his eighth year at the helm, Sean Miller has arguably his best team and has all the talent and potential to get over the hump and earn a spot in the Final Four.
While the Wildcats boast talent up and down the lineup, all the players seem to buy in and put the team first. Arizona is a very balanced group on the offensive end. Six Wildcats average nine or more points per contest which force opponents to not focus on just one player which makes Arizona very tough to guard.
The addition of freshman forward Lauri Markkanen gives Arizona a lot of flexibility on offense. A native of Finland, Markkanen has made an immediate impact for the ‘Cats as he is able to stretch the floor and hit the outside shot while also excelling down-low with great post moves and strong finishing ability.
Even with all the skill on the offensive end, Arizona tends to struggle against a zone. In the matchup against UCLA on February 25th, Arizona was getting all they wanted on the offensive end and the Bruins decided to switch to a 2-3 zone. The Wildcats started to settle for outside shots and couldn’t get any production during a critical stretch of the game which ultimately resulted in the loss. If Arizona meets up with a team who plays a strong zone like Syracuse, that game could give the Wildcats a ton of issues and knock them out of the Big Dance.
Photo via ArizonaWildcats.com
- March Preview: UCLA Bruins March 3, 2017 Sean Bock
Ok, I will admit it. On my first podcast with College Pride Press, I predicted UCLA wouldn’t make the tournament and Steve Alford would be fired. Well, I think Lonzo Ball and company heard my comments and used it as motivation for the rest of the season. You’re welcome Bruins fans.
Offense has been UCLA’s main key to success this whole year. The Bruins are first in the nation in effective field goal percentage, second in two-point percentage, and third in three-point percentage according to KenPom. All of UCLA’s starting five can stretch the floor and hurt you from the perimeter which makes them very hard to guard. Lonzo Ball has been a huge factor in UCLA’s supremacy over opponents because of his scoring ability and vision to find the open man which leads to easy buckets.
The record shows that UCLA’s offensive firepower has made up for their defensive inconsistency. Although one can only get so much from analytics, UCLA ranks 310th in the country in defensive turnover percentage according to KenPom. Often times when I’ve watched UCLA, they look lost on defensive and opponents find ways to exploit their lack of tenacity on the defensive end. More recently, especially against Arizona last Saturday, UCLA finally started to get down in a defensive stance and that’s what made the distinction in winning and losing. If UCLA can begin to get after it on defense, they’re going to be a tough team to beat in March.
- Blind Resumes week 11: Does Gonzaga still deserve to be a one seed? February 26, 2017 College Pride Press
Blind Resumes Week 11: Does Gonzaga still deserve to be a one seed?
by: Jonathon Warriner
Each week until Selection Sunday, I will pick 4 teams with a similar seed and compare their RPI, Strength of Schedule, record, Record against the Top-25, Record against Top-50 and the number of bad losses each team has (RPI 100+). Please look at the examples of teams before scrolling down and reading who they are.
Team 1: RPI: 12, SOS: 102, Record: 29-1, Record vs. Top-25: 4-0, Record vs. Top-50: 5-0, Bad Losses: 0
Team 2: RPI: 3, SOS: 22, Record: 24-5, Record vs. Top-25: 4-2, Record vs. Top-50: 9-3, Bad Losses: 0
Team 3: RPI: 6, SOS: 33, Record: 25-4, Record vs. Top-25: 2-2, Record vs. Top-50: 4-2, Bad Losses: 1
Team 4: RPI: 15, SOS: 116, Record: 26-3, Record vs. Top-25: 3-2, Record vs. Top-50: 5-3, Bad Losses: 0
Who are the teams?
Team 1: Gonzaga
Team 2: North Carolina
Team 3: Oregon
Team 4: UCLA
Last night Gonzaga took their first loss of the entire season, losing against BYU 79-71. That loss left many people hating on Gonzaga and left others saying that they are undeserving of a one seed. For those left saying that Gonzaga shouldn’t be a number one seed the resume clearly speaks for itself. North Carolina is a little bit of a side note to show how their resume stacks up against one of the three best teams in the country right now. I heard people saying on Twitter that this opens the door for Oregon to be a one seed. This is wrong in many regards, especially for the fact that Gonzaga has more RPI Top-50 wins than Ducks do, and for those saying that BYU is such a bad loss, the Ducks lost to Colorado a team with a lower RPI. Plain and simply those considering Oregon as a one seed over Gonzaga need to look at the numbers first. I also heard people talking about UCLA as a possible one seed because they have road wins at Kentucky and Arizona. While these wins are impressive UCLA actually has a worse Strength of Schedule, a worse record, topped off with a worse RPI. Yes these road wins may be impressive, but it is not enough to make them a one seed over Gonzaga.
- 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: Pac-12 Predictions February 22, 2017 Brett Siegel
Today is Day 6 and the final day of my Bracketology Previews for all the major conferences. To wrap things up, I decided to save the “Conference of Champions” for last, the Pac-12. If you have watched college basketball this season, it is easy to conclude that the Pac-12 has been the weakest of top 6 conferences, but my contain this year’s NCAA Tournament champions. Arizona, Oregon, and UCLA are all legit contenders in March this year and could be cutting down the nets in Arizona. Be sure to check out all the other Bracketology Previews in case you missed one and be sure to check out all of the College Pride Press Bracketology content being released these next few weeks. With that said, let’s get into talking about our final conference, the Pac-12.
(* Denotes neutral court game)
Arizona Wildcats (25-3) (14-1)
RPI Rank: 10 BPI Rank: 22 AP Rank: 4
Best Wins: @ #3 UCLA, v.s. #12 Michigan State*, @ USC
Worst Losses: v.s. Butler*, v.s. #8 Gonzaga*
Arizona has the talent, offense, and defense to win a National Championship this year! The three games the Wildcats have lost this season have all been to what are now top 25 teams in the country, and two of the losses were on a neutral court. Led by freshman forward, Lauri Markkanen (15.7 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 45.7 3P%), and the return of Allonzo Trier (13.9 PPG, 5.1 RPG), Arizona wears you down defensively and immediately attacks you inside with their quick guards and length in their frontcourt. Arizona is one of three Pac-12 teams with the ability to make it to the Final Four and cut down the nets in April. Arizona has some interesting games to finish off the season:
February 23rd – v.s. USC – W 84-72
February 25th – v.s. UCLA – L 82-86
March 4th – @ Arizona State – W 85-71
Final Record: 27-4 (16-2)
Arizona’s matchup versus UCLA on February 25th will be one of the games of the year! A top 5 matchups between two of the best teams in the country was a very tough game to choose. I give UCLA a slight edge on the road just because of how hot their offense has been all season. Arizona did edge out UCLA on the road earlier in the season and will look for the regular season sweep in this game! I would be shocked if Arizona is not in the second weekend of this year’s tournament with the talent they have.
Projected Conference Tournament Seed: 2
Projected NCAA Tournament Seed: 2
Oregon Ducks (24-4) (13-2)
RPI Rank: 6 BPI Rank: 13 AP Rank: 6
Best Wins: v.s. #2 UCLA, v.s. #5 Arizona, v.s. #22 USC
Worst Losses: v.s. Georgetown*, @ Colorado
After losing to Buddy Hield and the Oklahoma Sooners in last season’s Elite Eight, the Oregon Ducks got right back up and continued their college basketball dominance. The Ducks have been so successful because of the way Dillon Brooks (15.4 PPG, 43.3 3P%) has played this season. Brooks missed a chunk of games at the beginning of the season, ultimately leading to two losses by Oregon to Baylor and Georgetown. Brooks is capable of dropping 30-40 points anytime he is on the court and is this Oregon’s team fire. He gets everyone else going and gets everybody fired up. Oregon, with wins in their next three games and a loss by Arizona, can clinch their second straight Pac-12 title:
February 22nd – @ California – W 74-64
February 25th – @ Stanford – W 78-73
February 4th – @ Oregon State – W 81-65
Final Record: 27-4 (16-2)
Oregon will be on the road for the rest of the season and look dialed in for the NCAA Tournament all ready. They will be one of the favorites to win the Pac-12 tournament and March Madness. Oregon is a very dangerous team and definitely a team you do not want to run into come time for the tournament!
Projected Conference Tournament Seed: 1
Projected NCAA Tournament Seed: 2
UCLA Bruins (24-3) (11-3)
RPI Rank: 18 BPI Rank: 12 AP Rank: 5
Best Wins: @ #1 Kentucky, v.s. #5 Oregon, v.s. USC
Worst Losses: @ USC
Remember last season when UCLA finished 15-17 and there were talks about Steve Alford getting fired? Well UCLA gave Coach Alford a second chance and he has turned this UCLA basketball team into the contenders they are used to being. Freshman sensation, Lonzo Ball (15.4 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 7.6 APG), has been an absolute stud this season and has been the most talked about college basketball player all season! Lonzo Ball has been in the spotlight since his first practice at UCLA and it doesn’t seem to bother him at all. Guaranteed to be one of, if not, the top pick in the draft this summer, Lonzo Ball does not want to settle for anything less than a National Championship for UCLA. Here is what is left for Ball and the Bruins:
February 23rd – @ Arizona State – W 87-75
February 25th – @ Arizona – W 86-82
March 1st – v.s. Washington – W 81-70
March 4th – v.s. Washington State – W 94-71
Final Record: 28-3 (15-3)
I am all-in on the Bruins this season. I did not initially think this UCLA team would be great, but they have exceeded my expectations and could become legendary in a few months. Not only do they lead the nation in scoring (92.3 PPG), but they have 6 players averaging double figures per game. This is unheard of in the college basketball world and cannot remember the ...
- 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
- Arizona provides Reality Check for UCLA January 22, 2017 Noah Holley
The first 20 times the UCLA Bruins stepped onto the court in 2016-17 they didn’t need their defense to win.
Yesterday was a different story.
UCLA fans flooded Pauley Pavilion prior to their team’s matchup with Arizona with hopes of earning a win that would go a long way towards a 1 seed or a Pac-12 title. They left with many doubts about whether their team was as good as all the hype suggested, as Arizona knocked off the Bruins 96-85 to hand them their second loss of the year.
Tough loss, right? Doesn’t say a ton about the team, right? Go and get ’em next weekend, right? Well, sort of. UCLA is still one of the country’s best teams. But yesterday’s loss actually said a lot about the team, and why they might not be the Final Four locks we’ve made them to be.
You see, as I alluded to above, UCLA hasn’t needed top-notch production with their backs to the basket. They haven’t even needed to be remotely solid. Lonzo Ball and the rest of the Bruins’ dazzling and high-flying offense was capable of hanging triple digits on anybody. All they really needed to do was hold a team under 90, and that didn’t require much effort; effort that could be better spent wowing the nation.
We all knew UCLA wasn’t good at defense, and we all knew they didn’t care. Now we know that they have to get better and start caring, or they won’t win a national championship. No longer can they take a play or two off here and there.
Granted, Arizona’s win was as well-coached and well-played of a game as we’ve seen all year. And there are few teams in the country as good, especially now that star G Allonzo Trier has returned from his suspension. Sean Miller had his team extremely well prepared. They excelled on both sides of the ball, not just offensively. But he designed a game plan that could ultimately become the blueprint for defeating the Bruins – something along the line of “attack the offensive glass, control the pace, drive the basket, and create mismatches.” The Wildcats exposed all of UCLA’s flaws, which all add up to a complete and utter inability to guard the basketball. And Arizona’s offense forced UCLA to have to fall back on their defense, for it to be their downfall. And that is why Bruins fans should be concerned.
Coach Steve Alford after the game talked about how his players needed to play with the same intensity and unselfishness on defense that they did on offense. That’s true, but it’s not all on the players. It’s clear that Alford hasn’t preached the importance of a strong defense enough. Watching UCLA, you get the sense the players just want to get the ball back as quickly as possible. Yes, that’s probably an exaggeration, but you get the point: The effort and intensity is lacking. Heavily.
And that lack of effort and intensity results in a lack of composure and focus. And that lack of composure and focus results in the select few teams that can match UCLA’s talent level being able to out-flash them. And the teams that can match UCLA in terms of talent are obviously the ones the Bruins will have to beat if they want to win it all.
It would be absurd to suggest that UCLA with their backs to the basket has the potential of, say, Virginia. But it could be better than it is right now.
Saturday’s loss was a cruel reminder that you have to play defense to win big games. I’ve heard a lot of people say that this is the year offense wins a team a championship. That could very well turn out to be true – there’s a lot of scoring talent in college basketball this year – but only offense won’t win anybody anything. It appears Alford has taken the idea of being “offensive minded” a bit too far.
The loss should provide a wake-up call for UCLA. This team knows they need to play better defense. Nobody tried to shy away from that fact in postgame interviews. This is a legit title contender, but there’s a “but” following that statement now.
We know what they can do on offense.
Now, all eyes are on the defense.
- Saturday Preview: Battles for ACC and PAC-12 Supremacy Continue January 20, 2017 Tyler Calvaruso
Last weekend we were treated to some excellent games headlined by Louisville taking down Duke at home and UNC knocking off a tough Florida State team in a game filled with end-to-end action.
This weekend’s set of games isn’t as loaded as last weekend’s, but there are plenty of big games to keep an eye on such as a battle of two of the top teams in the ACC and the PAC-12 being thrown into the national spotlight in a game with major implications.
#12 Louisville (16-3) @ #10 Florida State (17-2) 2 P.M. EST ESPN
It’s been a grind for Florida State these last six games.
Saturday’s game against will be the end of a streak where the Seminoles have played six consecutive teams ranked in the AP Top 25. Needless to say, they have performed well in this tough stretch, going 4-1 to this point.
They have not lost a home game all year long and they’ll be looking to stay perfect at home against a Louisville team coming off of a big win of their own.
The Cardinals took down Duke last weekend in what was arguably the headline game of the weekend. Unfortunately for Rick Pitino and company, they will be without the services of point guard Quin Snyder, who is out 2-3 weeks.
That loss bodes well for Florida State’s chances in this one. Snyder serves as Louisville’s primary ball handler and is an excellent defender. Donovan Mitchell can’t do it all on his own.
This will be a tight game all the way down to the end, but I’m expecting Florida State to pull away in the final two minutes to stay atop the ACC.
#14 Arizona (17-2) @ #3 UCLA (19-1) 4 P.M. EST CBS
This is the best that the PAC-12 has to offer.
You could argue that Oregon is the second best team in the conference, but Arizona and UCLA are the best teams in the PAC-12 and they will be thrown into the national spotlight on Saturday.
If you haven’t seen either of these teams play because of the times that they play at, you’re in for a treat.
Arizona is loaded with talent and UCLA is led by sure-fire top five pick Lonzo Ball and the extremely underrated TJ Leaf.
This game has all of the makings for a up and down, high scoring game from the opening tip.
UCLA is the better team here not just because of Ball and Leaf, but because of the contributions they get from the likes of Bryce Alford and Aaron Holiday.
Arizona struggled early on, but they have finally gotten their act together and this is their chance for a signature win over one of the country’s best teams.
#24 South Carolina (15-3) @ #5 Kentucky (16-2) 6 P.M. EST ESPN
This is a very underrated game and could easily wind up being the most entertaining game of the weekend, especially if you don’t like Kentucky.
South Carolina is the best defensive team in the SEC, while Kentucky is the best offensive team in the conference.
The Gamecocks are undefeated with senior Sindarius Thornwell in the lineup and are relentless on the defensive end. Scoring was a bit of an issue for South Carolina while Thornwell was suspended but now that he is back they have enough scoring to keep up with a team like Kentucky considering the high level of defense that they play.
You know what you’re going to get when you play Kentucky. They’re going to come at you with their athleticism in transition and given their depth, they always seem to have a fresh five on the court. They can light up the scoreboard, but have some problems defending from time to time.
The Wildcats have not seen a team as good defensively as South Carolina so far this season, so it should be interesting to see how freshmen stars Malik Monk (21.4 ppg) and De’Aaron Fox (16.7 ppg, 6.3 assists per game) respond to being harassed non-stop for 40 minutes.
South Carolina’s goal should be to make Kentucky as uncomfortable as possible for as long as they can. They longer they keep Kentucky off balance, the greater the chance that they pull off the upset.
- 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
- 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: Pac-12 December 28, 2016 Noah Holley
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 Pac 12.
Pre-Conference Play All-Pac 12 Team
- Lonzo Ball, UCLA
- Markelle Fultz, Washington
- TJ Leaf, UCLA
- Lauri Markkanen, Arizona
- Reid Travis, Stanford
Player Of The Year Pick: Lonzo Ball, UCLA
This one is too easy. UCLA is Ball’s team, and the Bruins’ lightning fast yet silky smooth offensive attack is a product of Ball’s game. His court vision and passing abilities are out of this world. He doesn’t make everyone around him better; he makes everyone around him ten times better. Under Ball’s watch, UCLA has the best offense in the country by a mile and a half. Great things are to come for Ball. Meet your favorite for the Wooden Award.
What We’ve Learned
- Washington isn’t fit to be a one-and-done machine. This year, 5-star recruit Markelle Fultz has been phenomenal, yet Washington has been decidedly average, similar to years past. What is to be made of this? Simply, the Huskies are not going to cut it as a one-and-done factory. The story was the same last year, when freshmen Marquese Chriss and Dejounte Murray had big seasons but Washington barely managed to achieve a .500 record. The girth of talent fails to extend beyond the big-name prospects and the defense is once again terrible. Granted, this is a young and inexperienced team and was last year as well, but all that really says is that a gradual build-up is clearly the proper game plan for turning this program into a contender.
- Not to jump the gun on Oregon. The Ducks’ Elite 8 run and four starters returning sounded like enough for everyone and their dog to put Oregon in their preseason Top 5. Unfortunately, those lofty expectations blew up in our faces after two weeks of play, when Oregon was 3-2 with embarrassing losses to Baylor and Georgetown and a near-loss to lowly Tennessee. All of the sudden, we went into a state of panic about the Ducks’ prospects for the rest of the season. Since then, it hasn’t been pretty, but Oregon and their star Dillon Brooks are gradually returning to form, showing flashes of the team we all thought they would be. Talent-wise, this team is loaded. Are they as good as we thought they were? Probably not, considering the hype. But the more they discover the kind of team they can be the more dangerous these Ducks will become. I have no doubt that they are better than they’re no. 21 ranking.
- LA hoops has never been this good. The journey has been very different, but nevertheless the two LA college basketball teams – UCLA and USC – find themselves with identical 13-0 records heading into conference play. USC isn’t as flashy, but they’ve gotten it done in close games: The average margin of victory in their four major wins (SMU, BYU, Texas A&M, and Wyoming) is 4. Elijah Stewart and Jordan McLaughlin form arguably the second-best guard tandem in the conference behind UCLA, and forward Chimezie Metu has been solid as well. Obviously, we know less about USC than we do about their rivals, but the Trojans’ performance so far has been enough to suggest that they have a chance to seriously contend in the Pac 12.
Storylines To Watch In Conference Play
- Can anyone challenge UCLA? Before the season, it appeared as if the Pac-12 would most likely come down to three teams: UCLA, Arizona, and Oregon. With non-conference play in the past, we can now see that UCLA is easily the most complete of the three. Without Allonzo Trier, Arizona isn’t a national title contender, and Oregon has been wobbly this year with Dillon Brooks battling injury. Not that UCLA will roll through conference play, of course; those two teams (especially Oregon) are very much capable of beating them, and potential upsets lurk around every corner of their conference play schedule. For now, however, it appears that the Bruins are the runaway favorites for the Pac 12. We’ll find out a lot about that prediction tonight when they take on Oregon.
- Is this league relevant in 2016? As of now, the Pac-12 is a four bid league, three worse than last year. Outside of Top-25 teams UCLA, Arizona, Oregon, and Southern Cal, we have Utah, Colorado, and Cal, who due to mediocre non-conference resumes appear destined to hover around the bubble all winter, and Stanford and Washington, who just flat-out don’t look capable of righting the ship and making the tournament. And the rest have virtually no shot at sneaking in. Beyond tournament implications, we have the undeniably discouraging number of 4-21, which is the conference’s record against ESPN RPI Top 50 opponents. Only the SEC has a worse record. There’s a good chance the champion hails from this conference, but overall it appears we are in the midst of a down year for Pac-12 hoops.
- Can the veterans catch up to the freshman? It’s been a heck of the year for the young talent in the Pac-12. Lonzo Ball, TJ Leaf, Markelle Fultz, Lauri Markkanen, and Charlie Moore are some of the freshmen making major names for themselves in 2016-17. The veteran core of the conference have not replicated the success of their young counterparts, however. Dillon Brooks, Chris Boucher, Ivan Rabb, Dominique Collier, and Kyle Kuzma have all battled injuries this year, and obviously, Allonzo Trier hasn’t seen the court yet due to that curious suspension. Heading into conference play, there are a ton of names that need to get healthy and return to form for the Pac-12 to repeat last year’s success.
Sleeper Team To Watch
It’s tough to choose. As you read above, this league is quite thick around the middle. I’ll go with either Cal and Utah, and Cal if I can only pick one. I’m surprised at the Bears’ failure to pull off victories in key games. Yeah, they ...
- Hot Take City: 2nd Edition December 23, 2016 Ryan Dahlkamp
The last time a team went undefeated over the course of the entire season, including winning the National Championship, was the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers. With all the parity and madness that surrounds college basketball nowadays, that ‘76 Hoosier team may very well be the last team to accomplish an undefeated campaign. That is perfectly fine with me.
In the 2nd edition of Hot Take City, I am here to explain why I think one of the remaining undefeated squads will finish out their regular season unscathed. Villanova, UCLA, Baylor, Gonzaga, Creighton, and USC are all the teams that currently have a 0 in the loss column. Out of these six teams, I could see only Villanova and UCLA finishing the regular season unbeaten. However, I think Villanova has too little depth or size in their frontcourt and could see a team with solid bigs giving them trouble. That being said, I will eliminate Nova. So that leaves UCLA. I truly believe UCLA won’t lose once this regular season.
Up to this point, UCLA has the look of a legitimate National Title contender. We were able to see all their weapons on display in that impressive road win in Lexington. Everybody knew how good Lonzo Ball was coming into this season, but the real surprise has been TJ Leaf. Averaging 17.8 ppg and 9.3 rpg, Leaf has easily been one of the most impressive bigs in college basketball. Heck, he’s even drawing comparisons to a young Kevin Love — that’s quite the praise. With the incredible playmaking ability of Lonzo Ball, sharpshooting ability of Bryce Alford, and versatility of TJ Leaf, UCLA has an extremely talented trio that has the potential to take UCLA back to the Final Four for the first time since 2008. Don’t forget about Isaac Hamilton, Thomas Welsh, Aaron Holiday, and Ike Anigbogu either. Each of these four guys can make a major impact on any given night.
One of the areas where UCLA lacks a little bit is their defense. That is really the only knock, and maybe depth, on the Bruins. But here is the reason why I don’t think the defense matters that much, at least for the regular season. It’s simple, UCLA just has a better offense than any other squad in the nation. As a team, they are shooting an astounding 44% from beyond the arc. They are also averaging 97 ppg. Both rank 2nd nationally in Division I. Also, per KenPom.com, UCLA is the most efficient offensive team in the nation. With just average defense, UCLA can beat any given team, on any given night.
Now, you may think I’m crazy for saying UCLA won’t slip up at some point, not even once. They have to have at least one game where their shots just don’t seem to drop, right? What people must realize is that the PAC-12 is a really weak conference, and UCLA doesn’t have to bring their best every night. They aren’t playing in a loaded ACC. Outside of Oregon, Arizona, and maybe USC, the PAC-12 is a fairly weak conference, in my opinion.
Looking ahead at UCLA’s schedule, I really see only two games that may cause them some trouble; their next game @ Oregon on 12/28 and @Arizona on 2/25. I just feel as if UCLA is on a whole other level, a tier of their own, in the PAC-12.
Their mix of young studs and upperclassmen will carry UCLA to the outright PAC-12 title, while achieving an undefeated regular season. Look out for the Bruins come March. I know I wouldn’t want my Hoosiers to get matched up against them.
- 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 ...
- Postgame: #18 Butler defeats Utah 68-59 November 29, 2016 Jackson Borman
The newly ranked Butler Bulldogs defeat the Utah Runnin’ Utes in a Monday night matchup in Utah.
Once again, Kelan Martin lead the Bulldogs with 18 points, three rebounds and a couple of assists. Butler had three other players (Chrabascz, Wideman, and Lewis) in double digits, relying heavily on their starters for offensive production.
Point guard Tyler Lewis masterfully directed the offense with six assists, five of which came in the first half. He also had 10 points, including a made three pointer from way beyond the arc.
Butler big man Tyler Wideman also had a standout game, shooting a perfect 6-6 from the floor for 15 points and tallying 5 rebounds and two steals.
The Dawgs defence was also on the prowl recording 12 steals in the contest. 4 of these came from Freshman point guard Kamar Baldwin who played 21 minutes off the bench.
A weak point for the dawgs was at the free throw line. Butler shot 47% on 15 attempts whereas Utah shot 82% and scored 18 of their points at the stripe.
Utah’s Stars lead the way offensively with Kyle Kuzma scoring 21 points and grabbing 10 boards and star senior guard Lorenzo Bonam scored 17
The Ute’s demise in this game was their shooting and their turnovers. Utah shot 37% from the field and only 15% from deep in the game. Over the course of the game they also gave the ball away 18 times, resulting in a solid amount of points off of turnovers and transition scores for the Bulldogs.
Butler played well, but maybe not #18 well, in their win over Utah. They played against a zone defense for a portion of the game which might have shaken up players who are used their typical screen and roll style offense. The free throws are a thing to work on this week, as they have until Saturday for their next action.
Butler finishes off their road trip with another win to put them at 7-0 for the season. This week they will return to Indianapolis for another game at Hinkle fieldhouse against Central Arkansas on Saturday at 4PM Eastern time.
Photo credit: Fox Sports.com
- Postgame: Butler Defeats #8 Arizona November 28, 2016 Jackson Borman
Butler overcomes a late 2-15 run to beat #8 Arizona 69-65
The Bulldogs are rolling! Butler defeated Arizona in the Las Vegas Invitational Tournament Championship game on Friday night to take their first trophy of the season.
Butler Forward Andrew Chrabascz was awarded the tournament MVP. In the championship game he recorded 14 points and 7 rebounds. In addition to the numerical dominance, The 6′ 7″ power forward waged war against multiple 7′ Arizona forwards for the entire game and still put up big numbers.
Arizona’s star 7′ big man Lauri Markkanen lead the wildcats with 15 points. Zona guard Kobi Simmons came off of the bench in this contest to score 14.
Despite big numbers from their stars. Arizona had a rough night shooting from deep, putting up a lowly 27% shooting percentage from 3.
Butler on the other hand excelled from behind the arc, shooting 40% from three. Starting two-guard Avery Woodson scored 14 points in 17 minutes of play on 4-7 the pointers.
Kelan Martin also put up big numbers in the game, leading all scorers with 16 points and three rebounds.
Butler Point guards Tyler Lewis and Kamar Baldwin played their usual roles in the contest: Lewis with six assists and four points, Baldwin with 11 points off the bench. To end the first half, Lewis assisted redshirt freshman Sean McDermott with a pretty pass leading to a layup to put Butler up two. This momentum carried them through the rest of the game.
Butler’s 6’8″ starting forward Tyler Wideman came up big on the boards for the Dawgs with 8 rebounds against much taller competition. Wideman also put an exclamation mark on the victory with a massive two-handed dunk that resulted in a converted and-one to seal the Butler win.
With a 6-0 start and this big win against a top ten team, Butler is, in my biased opinion, a lock for the top 25 for this upcoming week. Only time will tell. If they are some how left out, they have a big game this week at Utah- and in early/mid December against Cincinnati and Indiana.
Photo credits: ESPN View.com
- Pregame: Butler Bulldogs @ Utah Runnin’ Utes November 28, 2016 Jackson Borman
Coming off of a big win for the Las Vegas Invitational tournament championship against Arizona, the Butler Bulldogs travel to Salt Lake City to take on the Utah Runnin’ Utes.
Butler looked phenomenal in the Las Vegas Invitational. Against both Arizona and Vanderbilt, the Bulldogs overcame huge post players to go on to win. Butler starting big men Andrew Chrabascz and Tyler Wideman (and Nate Fowler off the bench) have been efficiently scoring (shooting 42%, 61%, and 77% respectively) and rebounding against players that are at times six inches taller than them. The post players have dominated against Vanderbilt’s 7’1” Luke Kornet, Arizona’s 7” Lauri Markkanen and Dusan Ristic and 6’11” Chance Comanche. Butler forward Andrew Chrabascz even won Tournament MVP at the Las Vegas Invitational despite this long and talented competition.
Arizona is also undefeated (4-0), but their season has been a bit less challenging. So far, the Utes have put up a scoring margin of +37 and have played an easy schedule. Every game for the Utes has been a home game, this one is no different. Utah has hosted Northwest Nazarene, Concordia (Oregon), Coppin State, and most recently UC Riverside.
Each of these games have have resulted in a 40+ point victory for Utah, except for the UC Riverside who put up a bit more of a fight, losing 85-67.
With a team that really has not played any high quality teams, it is hard to predict how they will play against a certainly high quality Butler Bulldog team.
Butler will be once again up against some big bodies in Utah’s Tyler Rawson and Jayce Johnson (6’10” and 7’ respectively). The pair averages over 16 points and 20 rebounds per game.
6’4” senior guard Lorenzo Bonam leads the Utes in scoring with nearly 16 a game. Utah as a whole struggles from behind the arc, shooting around 32% against less than stellar defense. The team is fairly good from the freethrow line, shooting 71%.
The Bulldogs are hot right now and should be able to handle this Utah team. Butler is more experienced and flat out better on both ends of the floor.
Players to Watch:
Kelan Martin is still Butler’s leading scorer and dominates the stat sheet night in and night out. Expect a big game from the junior forward.
Kethan Savage is back with the team after missing all but the first exhibition game and the matchup against Arizona. The senior guard is coming off of back spasms and pneumonia and will be slowly integrated back into Butler’s lineup.
Lorenzo Bonam is the Utes’ highest scorer. He is not a great shooter, rather an all around type of scorer. He will have to try to carry the load for Utah against Butler’s best defenders.
Jake Connor is the biggest deep shooting threat for the Utes. The 6’3” sophomore is at a solid 42% from beyond the arc and 50% from the field. Watch out for the young guard as he could boost Utah’s scoring production in a hurry from the bench.
Photo credit: The Butler Collegian.com
- Postgame: UCLA Bruins vs. Pacific Tigers November 23, 2016 College Pride Press
The Bruins obliterated the Tigers in their season opener by a score of 119-80 on November 11th. The offense was scorching hot as the Bruins shot 60.9% from the field and 60% from three. Bryce Alford led the team with 30 points on 9 of 13 shooting. Alford will be playing mostly off-ball this year so it was encouraging to see his efficiency from the floor. In their collegiate debuts, freshmen Lonzo Ball and T.J. Leaf impressed. Lonzo almost ended up with a triple-double (19 points, 11 assists, 8 rebounds) that included a vicious alley-oop near the end of the 1st half on D.J. Ursery. Leaf displayed his versatility on the offensive end by knocking down 2 three-pointers and then also going inside and finishing buckets around the basket. He added 15 rebounds (9 defensive, 6 offensive) to go along with his 22 points.The Bruins have all the tools to be a remarkable offensive team this year. The question marks are on defense. It remains to be seen whether or not the Bruins will be able to defend against the more talented teams in the Pac-12, like Oregon and Arizona. After one game against an inferior opponent, it is difficult to assess if this team will be able to live up to expectations.
- 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
- Tournament Preview: 2016 Paradise Jam November 18, 2016 Brett Siegel
The first week of the 2016-17 College Basketball Season has come to an end, which means it’s time for all of the early season tournaments!
The Paradise Jam brings many surprises every year and always brings exciting basketball to viewers! This will be the 16th annual Paradise Jam and will feature no previous champions, but will feature #22 Creighton Blue Jays as well as N.C. State Wolfpack and Saint Joseph’s Hawks.
This year’s tournament is being played in The U.S. Virgin Islands, as it is every year. The other five teams participating this year are: Loyola-Chicago, Oral Roberts, Montana, Ole Miss, and Washington State.
Let’s get right to it and talk about each matchup before the tournament begins at 12:30 pm EST on CBSSN/ESPN3!
St. Joseph’s Hawks (2-0) vs. Loyola-Chicago Ramblers (3-0) – 12:30 pm EST Tip-Off
Saint Joseph’s is coming off a great 2015-2016 season in which they made it to the NCAA Tournament. A large part of this was because of Isaiah Miles and DeAndre Bembry contributing to 35.5 PPG combined. Somebody has to step up for Saint Joseph’s this year if they want to be successful in a competitive A-10 conference and return to the NCAA Tournament. Shavar Newkirk (22.5 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 3.5 APG) has looked solid through Saint Joseph’s first two games and will look to put the team on his back today against Loyola-Chicago.
Loyola-Chicago is off to its best start since 1997! They have started the season with a 3 game win streak and are averaging 88.7 PPG. Defense has been the Ramblers biggest attribute as they rank 13th in the nation, surrendering 51.3 PPG to their opponents. Loyola-Chicago will not wow you with their shooting, but senior guard Milton Doyle leads the team in scoring with 16.7 PPG and leads this team in athleticism. Expect Doyle to come out swinging early against a slower Saint Joseph’s team. Do not be surprise if the Ramblers keep this game close for a while.
FINAL PREDICTION: Saint Joseph’s 65, Loyola-Chicago 57
Ole Miss Runnin’ Rebels (2-0) vs. Oral Roberts Golden Eagles (1-1) – 3 pm EST Tip-Off
Losing Stefan Moody may be the worst thing that has happened to Ole Miss basketball ever! He contributed to over a fourth of their points each game and was always the go to guy. So Ole Miss basketball is going to be bad now right? Well, I am quite impressed so far! All of their starters are averaging more than 10+ PPG and everyone on this Runnin’ Rebel team knows their role, this early in the season! I expect Ole Miss to surprise many during the Paradise Jam and could potentially find their way into the final!
Oral Roberts did not look terrible in their first game of the year at Baylor, which was a 76-61 loss. They started slow and couldn’t make a shot to save their lives, but in the second half, the Golden Eagles adjusted to the play style and settled in a little. Oral Roberts will need to start fast and force Ole Miss, a terrible three-point shooting team, to take threes. If Oral Roberts can crash the boards and force the mistakes, they may be able to pull off a crazy upset over Ole Miss!
FINAL PREDICTION: Ole Miss 79, Oral Roberts 63
Montana Grizzlies (0-2) vs. N.C. St. Wolfpack (2-0) – 6 pm EST Tip-Off
Montana is a low scoring type of team that looks to wear down their opponents with their slow-pace and fundamental approach to the game. The Grizzlies lack a go-to-guy, but play very conservative and look for the open shots. They do not turn the ball over much, but do struggle getting rebounds. If the Grizzlies want to try and upset the Wolfpack, they will have to take and make the three, in addition to trying to slow down the Wolfpack’s fast-paced, half-court tempo.
N.C. St. landed two top recruits in Dennis Smith and Omer Yurtseven, but Yurtseven is suspended for a few more games and Smith is recovering from a knee injury. No Anthony “Cat” Barber hurts the offense of the Wolfpack as well, but others have stepped up in his place. The Wolfpack have not been able to get the three ball working for them yet this season, but can be dangerous inside with their height. I fully expect the Wolfpack to hold off Montana and move on to the next round!
FINAL PREDICTION: Montana 56, N.C. St. 71
Washington State Cougars (2-0) vs. #22 Creighton Blue Jays (2-0) – 8:30 pm EST Tip-Off
Washington St. enters this season trying to improve from a 9-22 record last season. Washington St. is a team that will outboard a smaller team and can take advantage of the post. Against Creighton though, they will struggle trying to find inside position. In order to upset the Blue Jays, the Cougars will have force turnovers on the defensive side of the ball, and limit turnovers on the offensive side.
Creighton enters the Paradise Jam 2-0 with a 13-point win over #6 Wisconsin. Maurice Watson, their senior leader, has looked great so far. He has controlled this offense, averaging almost a double-double per game (17 PPG, 9.5 APG). Marcus Foster and Khyri Thomas have also averaged 17 PPG so far this season and have taken a lot of pressure and stress off of Watson. I fully expect to see the Blue Jays in the final of this tournament if they continue to play at the level they just played against the Badgers.
FINAL PREDICTION: Washington St. 57, Creighton 83
8th Place: Montana Grizzlies
7th Place: Oral Roberts Golden Eagles
6th Place: Washington St. Cougars
5th Place: Loyola-Chicago Ramblers
Semifinal 1: Saint Joseph’s Hawks 64 vs. Ole Miss Runnin’ Rebels 68
Semifinal 2: N.C. St. Wolfpack 65 vs. #22 Creighton Blue Jays 72
Championship: Ole Miss Runnin’ Rebels 56 vs. #22 Creighton Blue Jays 66
This year’s Paradise Jam should be, once again, a fantastic tournament for all College ...
- Recruiting: Miami lands 5-star SG Walker November 16, 2016 Noah Holley
5-star SG Lonnie Walker announced his commitment to Miami Wednesday, landing the Canes one of the biggest recruits in program history.
The 6-5 Walker, from Reading, Pa., is gifted with impressive physical attributes and eyebrow-raising athleticism. His arrival will ensure Miami boasts one of the top backcourts in 2017-18.
247sports ranked him as the 3rd-best shooting guard in the 2017 class.
The guard’s commit to Miami comes as somewhat of a surprise. Walker chose the Canes over Villanova, Arizona, Kentucky and Syracuse, all considered favorites to sign him at one point on his recruiting trail.
However, for Walker’s local school, Villanova, this one especially stings. Landing Walker has been the program’s main recruiting focus for well over a year.
Walker is Miami’s 4th commit of 2017. The Hurricanes now have the 9th-ranked class according to 247sports.com.
- Pac-12 Conference Standing Predictions November 12, 2016 College Pride Press
Here is a look at what our writers thought the Pac-12 would look like this season! Check out to see where your favorite team ends up!
1 Arizona 2 UCLA 3 Oregon 4 Cal 5 Washington 6 Stanford 7 Arizona State 8 USC 9 Utah 10 Colorado 11 Oregon State 12 Washington State
- 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 ...
- 5 Reasons Cal Will Win the Championship October 12, 2016 College Pride Press
5 Reasons Cal Will Win the Championship
• Two Words: Ivan. Rabb.
The 6’10” sophomore from Oakland is back and ready to lead the Golden Bears to victory night in and night out. He decided to return to Cal instead of joining his former teammate Jaylen Brown in the 2016 NBA Draft, who eventually went #3 overall to the Boston Celtics. Rabb and Brown were a great tag team of scoring and rebounding during the 2015-2016 season, but this year will be Rabb’s year to show NBA scouts that he has the abilities that are able to translate to the professional game. Rabb was named as a preseason All-American by the people at Blue Ribbon and it would not be out of the question for Rabb to be a Wooden Award hopeful. After averaging 12.5 PPG and 8.6 RPG in his freshman year, one can except those numbers to increase as he is seen as the centerpiece for Coach Cuonzo Martin’s Golden Bears.
• Home Court Advantage
During the 2015-2016 season, the Golden Bears went undefeated at home for the first time in the last 56 years, when they knocked off all teams that entered Haas Pavilion. Hoping to build off from last year’s home success, the Bears are looking to maintain this record and defend Haas during the 2016-17 season. Using this home court advantage could propel Cal into getting some more away victories this year. Cal was rather lackluster on the road and used its staggering home record to their advantage, which allowed them to be a 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Look for Cal to try and maintain the home record this season, but the task is much easier said than done.
Cal’s Men’s Basketball Roster is filled with savvy upperclassmen who understand what it is like to participate in preseason tournaments as well as how to handle the pressures of Pac-12 regular season play. The pressure can begin to mount for those who do not have a couple years of experience, primarily freshmen and sophomores. Only 4 players on the roster are underclassmen, which allows for most of the team to handle the stress of league play quite well. They understand what it takes to win and know what will need to be improved at practices after losses. Overall, expect lots of leadership from the seniors like Jabari Bird and Sam Singer to help get the team prepared for the upcoming season as well as the tournament.
• Underdog Mentality
Multiple reports and predictions have Cal finishing 4th overall in the Pac-12 behind teams like UCLA, Arizona and Oregon. Last year the Golden Bears had quality wins over these teams at home but struggled on the road against these three. Along with this, the team is comprised of many role players from last year other than Bird and Rabb, so it may take a while to gel as a team, but overall people can expect Cal to relish in the light as an outsider looking in with regards to the top tier of Pac-12 teams.
• Nowhere but Up
Unfortunately, last year the Golden Bears were not as golden as scouts and analysts had thought when they entered the tourney as a 4 seed. Though banged up with multiple injuries to star players, the Bears were still favorites to beat Hawaii in the first round, but failed to do so, much to the surprise of many bracketologists. As cliché as it may sound, there is nowhere but up for these players as they and many others believe that they will make the tournament again in March of 2017, and hope to advance past the first round, a goal that was not achieved in 2015-16. With players like Rabb, Bird, Mullins and Singer, the team is ready to go and tell the whole wide world that California is Bear Territory.
- Report: Oregon’s Dillon Brooks to miss start of season September 8, 2016 Noah Holley
Oregon guard Dillon Brooks is reportedly “almost certain” to miss the start of the 2016-17 season as he recovers from foot surgery.
Brooks underwent the surgery in July. Oregon coach Dana Altman did not provide a timetable for his return.
Brooks did not play during the team’s European exhibition tour, but the Ducks still went 4-0. Altman told reporters that Brooks found ways to be involved from the bench during the tour but there was still a “big gap” opened up with the absence of the junior guard on the court.
Brooks’ versatility was a game-changer for the Ducks in 2015-16. There is no doubt that a healthy Brooks is crucial if Oregon hopes to live up to its NCAA Title aspirations.
Brooks averaged 16.7 points per game in Oregon’s Elite 8 campaign last year. He entered the NBA Draft this offseason but withdrew when he did not receive an invitation to the Combine.
College Pride Press does not own the rights to the above image. Photo via northpolehoops.com.
- 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
- 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 Face, New Place: University of Arizona July 2, 2016 College Pride Press
Lauri is a 6’11” postman from Finland. As a 5-star recruit, he should be able to play extensive minutes and be a dominant force for the Wildcats. Don’t be surprised if he receives plenty of praise from fans as well as people from around the country. He should be able to fulfill the paint and give Arizona a chance to make a post-season run.
Out of Georgia, Kobi will be the floor general for the Wildcats this upcoming season. He is ranked at #20 on the ESPN100 list and played in the McDonald’s All-America Game. He chose the University of Arizona over powerhouse Kentucky due to the relationship he has already built with Head Coach, Sean Miller. He also said in an interview that the fans of Arizona should expect him to bring play-making abilities to the floor.
Listed as a 6’4” small forward, Rawle is a 5-star recruit out of Brooklyn, New York. Sitting one spot back on the ESPN100 list behind Kobi, Alkins is #21 on the list. You can expect him to be a nice compliment to the team and a major piece of the puzzle in big games. He was recruited by countless schools but Arizona finished on top.
Keanu is also a small forward and is listed at 6’8”. He is a transfer from Hutchinson Community College, a small college where he played in Hutchinson, Kansas. Instead of being an offensive superstar, he will act as a defensive wizard for the Wildcats. His scoring will come from finishing in the paint or from offensive boards. After committing to the University of Nebraska, followed by New Mexico, he found his home with Sean Miller at the University of Arizona. Wildcat fans should be looking forward to defensive mastery with Keanu on the court.
- New Face, New Place: UCLA July 1, 2016 College Pride Press
According to ESPN, UCLA will be home to the #6 recruiting class in the nation for the 2016-17 NCAA basketball season. This class includes two 5-star players in the form of PG Lonzo Ball and PF T.J. Leaf and is rounded out by 4-star C Ike Anigbogu. Kobe Paras recently withdrew from UCLA after he failed to meet academic requirements. Fans of Bruins basketball are excited to see whether the incoming talent can mesh well with returnees to secure a berth to the Big Dance in March.
PG Lonzo Ball
The 6-6 point guard out of Chino Hills, California headlines the incoming freshman class. Lonzo Ball led the Chino Hills Huskies to a undefeated 35-0 record en route to being named the 2016 Morgan Wootten Player of the Year and the 2016 Naismith High School Player of the Year as the nation’s top boy’s high school basketball player. Ball AVERAGED a triple double during his senior year with 25.4 PPG, 12.9 APG, and 11.5 RPG. He was ranked the #4 overall player and #1 point guard in the class of 2016 by ESPN. Ball’s fantastic court vision has been praised by scouts, coaches, and players alike. For UCLA this upcoming year, Ball will look to distribute the rock to his teammates and facilitate the offense. This would allow Bryce Alford to play off-ball and focus on being less of a playmaker and more of a scorer. One thing is for certain. Ball can really ball.
PF TJ Leaf
T.J. Leaf can be compared to former UCLA great Kevin Love. Leaf, a 6-9 power forward out of El Cajon, California and Foothills Christian High School, was rated the #13 overall player and #3 PF in the class of 2016 by ESPN. He can score the ball from the perimeter and stretch defenses but he can also go down low into the post and work in the paint. He has an inside and outside game. T.J. averaged 28.4 PPG, 12.4 RPG, 5.1 APG, 3.1 BPG, and 1.7 SPG during his senior year and played varsity basketball throughout his high school career. The versatility in Leaf’s offensive game gives coach Alford the ability to play small ball by putting Leaf at the C position. Hopefully T.J. Leaf doesn’t end up turning out like a certain other Leaf.
C Ike Anigbogu
Anigbogu, a 6-10 center out of Centennial High School in Corona, California, can provide rim protection for a UCLA basketball team that sorely needs defensive help. Ike can serve as an interior presence and defensive anchor. He demonstrated an ability to alter shots last year by averaging 2.3 BPG. Anigbogu was ranked the #60 overall recruit and #8 center in the class of 2016 by ESPN.
The future is looking bright for UCLA basketball. Jaylen Hands and Jalen Hill, 4-star recruits in the class of 2017, have already committed to UCLA. Bruins basketball is back and I am certainly ready for the ride.
UCLA Class of 2020
- Terrance Ferguson to Play Overseas; Won’t Enroll at Arizona June 30, 2016 Drew Dinnhaupt
Arizona commit Terrance Ferguson, a 2016 5-star SG from Dallas, Texas, has decided he will play overseas next season rather than enrolling at Arizona. There were rumors saying that Ferguson would be ineligible for collegiate basketball due to the high school he attended, Advanced Preparatory International, which is likely the reason for his choice. Emmanuel Mudiay, who also took the overseas route, attended Advanced Preparatory as well.
It is not known yet, but many believe Ferguson will play basketball in Australia for a year, and then declare for the NBA Draft, where, as of right now, he is expected to be a lottery pick.
Ferguson’s choice to play overseas does not affect the Wildcats greatly. Their backcourt was jam packed regardless, and with Ferguson playing overseas, this opens up playing time for other guards, all of which deserve to play many minutes. Incoming freshman Kobi Simmons and Rawle Alkins will see more court time with Ferguson’s decision, as well will sophomore Allonzo Trier and sophomore Ray Smith.
- 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
- Report Card: Cal June 22, 2016 College Pride Press
Cal Report Card
Wallace was the leading scorer for the Golden Bears during this past season, but suffered a hand fracture right before the tournament began. He averaged 15.3 points per game during his senior year as well as finishing the regular season averaging 5 rebounds and 4 assists per game. He will finish his college career in the top 15 in Cal history in points, rebounds and assists, honors that can only help his draft stock. As a fan, we could have only wished to see how well he performed in the bright lights of the NCAA Tournament, but wish him nothing but the best in pursuing his NBA dreams
Matthews was an instrumental part of the Cal offense and was also a workhorse on the defensive end as well as providing long range scoring when Wallace or Brown were being guarded heavily. While Mathews’ contribution was seen as lower level, he was able to ignite the team from deep and was the leading scorer for the Golden Bears in their lone tournament game. He was not known as being the most prolific player in the starting five, but his sporadic scoring and determined defense helped the Bears throughout the regular season.
Bird, just like Jordan Matthews gained notoriety for being very streaky. There was a stretch of time where it seemed like Bird would only stuff the stat sheet, which resulted in Golden Bear victories, but then there were some games where he was non-existent. Bird was second on the team in 3 point percentage, shooting at a 41% clip, but ranked last amongst starters in points per game with only 10 PPG. While streaky, when he was hot, he was red hot, but when cold, he was brick city.
Brown was possibly the most hyped up player to graze the Berkeley campus since the arrival of Jason Kidd in the early 90’s. Brown certainly lived up to the astronomical expectations that were set by the draft boards and college basketball analysts as he was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and First Team All Pac-12. He averaged 14.6 PPG 5.4 RPG and started all 34 games that the Golden Bears played. He was widely regarded as a lottery pick in the 2016 NBA Draft and as the year went on, rose to the top 5 in the latest Mock Drafts created by both Bleacher Report and ESPN. He has already entered the draft and is looking forward to hearing his named called relatively early in the night. While he had a less than stellar performance in his only tournament game, he certainly made a lasting impression on all NBA scouts.
Rabb was in the same recruiting class as Jaylen Brown and both were seen as a package deal as time went on. Rabb and Brown settled on Cal and helped lead the Golden Bears to the tourney. Rabb played well enough to grab 2nd Team All Pac-12 in his freshman year. He averaged roughly 9 RPG and shot a staggering 62% from the field, while starting all games for the Golden Bears. However, to the surprise of many, Rabb decided it would be best to hone in on his craft and stay at Cal for one more year, as he was a projected late 1st round pick in the upcoming draft. He hopes this decision will pay off and hopefully be able to get all of his numbers up in his sophomore year. Rabb will be the “Big Man” on campus as well as the Big Man on the court for this upcoming year. Expect him to help lead the 2016-2017 Bears to hopefully another appearance in the tournament.
Coach Martin stayed with the same heavy dose of the dynamic trio of Wallace, Brown and Rabb throughout the entire year and worked around those three players for most of the game. While this strategy was rather effective, it did not give many opportunities for lots of success for the rest of the team, however it paid off for the regular season and Pac-12 tournament. He coached the Golden Bears to a berth in the NCAA tournament, which was expected considering the roster he was given to work with. But once one of his star pieces got injured, Coach Martin did not have any major replacement for Wallace and fell to Hawaii in the first round. More was expected from Martin, but he certainly did an excellent job of leading the Bears to a high seed in the tournament.
- Report Card: UCLA Bruins June 19, 2016 College Pride Press
As a junior this past year, Bryce Alford led the Bruins in assists and was the 2nd leading scorer. He averaged 16.1 PPG and 5.2 APG as the primary ball handler for the team. Alford has a knack for hitting clutch shots and his willingness to take and make big shots shone through once again this season when he made a game-winning 3 against #7 ranked Arizona in Pauley Pavilion on January 7th. On offense, Alford was respectable. However, his defense throughout the season was a different story. Alford struggled to defend opposing guards and his consistent lack of effort on the defensive end was a key reason why the Bruins surrendered a ghastly 76.7 PPG to opposing teams.
Aaron Holiday, the brother of Jrue Holiday, was a 4-star recruit ranked 88th in the 2015 ESPN 100 out of Campbell Hall High School. Holiday shot almost 42% percent from three point range as a freshman and played the third most minutes on the team. By being thrown into the starting lineup from day one, Holiday rapidly grew and matured throughout the course of the season. Holiday had a near triple-double with 10 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists in the huge upset win against Kentucky in Westwood. Inconsistency plagued Holiday’s freshman year but that is expected for athletes transitioning from high-school basketball to the collegiate level. With the arrival of Lonzo Ball next season, Holiday will need to be a quality bench player for the Bruins to go back to the NCAA tournament.
Isaac Hamilton stepped up his game in a big way during his junior year. His FG% jumped from 40.9% to an extremely efficient 47.2% while Hamilton also raised his scoring average from 10.6 PPG in 2014-15 to 16.8 PPG in 2015-16. Hamilton took on a bigger role offensively and as a result his field goal attempts rose from 9.4 to 13.6. He became the primary scoring option. Hamilton will look to continue to develop into a bonafide scorer who can take control of the game and carry the team if others are missing shots.
The 7-0 center out of Redondo Beach, CA saw major improvement in his game during his sophomore season. As a freshman, Welsh was stuck behind Kevon Looney and Tony Parker on the depth chart and was the 6th man off the bench. This past year, Welsh was inserted into the starting lineup and he responded with 10 double-doubles including 21 points and 11 rebounds against Marcus Lee and Skal Labissiere. Welsh shot 59% from the field and 76% from the charity stripe. A big who can shoot free-throws is a luxury for any team.
Parker capped off his UCLA career by averaging 12.6 PPG, 8.2 RPG, and 1.0 BPG. Having entered UCLA as a highly rated high school recruit and McDonald’s All-American, Parker was expected to meet lofty expectations and become a special player for the Bruins. He ultimately failed to live up to his tremendous potential. Parker, nonetheless, did increase his scoring and rebounding numbers each year. Big men who could attack the rim posed a plethora of problems for Parker defensively as he lacked the lateral quickness to maintain position between the basket and the opponent.
The Bruins severely underachieved in 2015-16 and although the blame cannot be solely placed on one individual, Alford was the recipient of most of the criticism unleashed by fans and the media. UCLA finished last season with an under .500 record after reaching the Sweet Sixteen in the previous two seasons. Yet, Alford was still able to land a top 10 recruiting class that includes two 5-star players and for this he must be given immense credit. Alford is currently on the hot seat but with the talent he is bringing into Westwood next season, he may be able cool that seat off considerably.
UCLA Class of 2020
- Duke Transfer Thornton to USC June 17, 2016 Mark Stouffer
After a two-month decision process, Point guard Derryck Thornton has decided to transfer to the University of Southern California, according to Scout.com.
Thornton originally was a five star recruit in the Class of 2016, before reclassifying to the Class of 2015 in April 2015. He was the #14 ranked recruit in the Class of 2015, as well as the #3 Point guard within the class.
Thornton played in all 36 of Duke’s games last year, starting in 20 of them. The only true Point guard on Duke’s roster last season, Thornton averaged 7.1 points, 2.6 assists, and 1.8 rebounds in 26.0 minutes per game. His season was marked with inconsistency, as he had a below average offensive game, shooting 39% from the field and shooting 32.5% from three, as well as an assist to turnover ratio of only 1.625 to 1. However, he did show signs of excellence, as he showed an excellent defensive game and good court focus at times throughout the season. His best play of the year was on defense, at North Carolina on 2/17/16. With five seconds remaining, Thornton blocked Joel Berry’s jumper in the lane, allowing Duke to preserve a stunning 74-73 victory over the eventual national runners-up. However, as the season progressed, Thornton saw his role diminish, as his inconsistency often hurt Duke more than it helped in March.
The addition of Thornton provides good news to a USC team that has had more than its fair share of hard luck this offseason. Coming off a season where they made their first NCAA tournament since 2011, USC has already lost four players to transfer, and their two best players, Julian Jacobs and Nikola Jovanovic, to the NBA Draft, even though they’re both projected to be drafted late second round at best. These losses turned USC from a fringe Pac-12 contender into a fringe NCAA tournament team.
Thornton will have to sit out the 2016-17 season per NCAA rules, and will have three more years of eligibility remaining. Thornton will provide a quality guard to a USC team that will be low on guard depth, and will compete well with incumbent starting guards Jordan McLaughlin and Elijah Stuart. Thornton’s addition will help USC retain the relevancy it has just earned in the Pac-12.
All recruiting data is from 247Sports.com
Image from dukebasketballreport.com
- Report Card: University of Utah Utes June 14, 2016 College Pride Press
Jakob Poeltl had an outstanding year! He was named second-team All-American and Pacific-12 Conference Player of the Year; ranked No. 2 in the Pac-12 in scoring with 17.2 points per game; No. 4 in rebounds with 9.1 per game; and No. 1 in shooting percentage at 64.6. He was a perfect example of why many college players should return for their sophomore year, bucking the trend of playing just one season. Poeltl was honored at the end of the season as the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year, and the National Association of Basketball Coaches’ Pete Newell Big Man of the Year. He was one of the truly elite big men in the country, and he just continues to get better. Utah wouldn’t have had a chance of being as successful without Poeltl leading the team. He will be entering the NBA as a probable lottery pick, and hopes to work hard to be an NBA star.
Utah guard Brandon Taylor’s senior year was a great explanation point on his years as a Ute. Averaging 9.6 points, and team-highs of 3.9 assists and 1.5 steals, he was named Pac-12 All-Academic Team for his second strait year maintaining a 3.40 grade-point average as a senior psychology major. He also earned a spot on the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team and Honorable Mention All-Pac-12 honors. Taylor was always on the court leading his team and was the goto look when a clutch shot was needed. His signature crossover reminded us of a young Kemba Walker or Allen Iverson providing space and consistently hitting the big shots. Taylor put the Arizona game out of reach this year using his deadly crossover to a devastating three pointer, putting the Ute’s up five. This game represented Brandon Taylor quite well.
Lorenzo Bonam was a great addition to the Utes this past season. His gazelle-like speed, his slippery drives, his hang-time through the air, and every aspect of his game is unique to others, especially his left handed power. Bonam ended the season with an average of 10.2 PPG, along with 3.3 RPG and 3 APG. His consistency and fourth quarter effort helped the Utes to a marvelous season, none better exhibited than when he hit that high arcing shot over 6-foot-10 Josh Scott to beat Colorado.
Jordan Loveridge has been a key element to Utah’s starting 5. Loveridge and Jakob Poeltl have been a terrific inside-outside big man duo for the Runnin’ Utes. The 22-year-old averaged 11.6 points and 3.8 rebounds per game for his fourth season at Utah. He transformed himself from a power forward to one of the Pac-12’s best outside shooters,
and Loveridge’s move to the wing certainly helped the Utes. The forward shot better than 40 percent from 3-point territory ranking him second in the conference in 3-pointers made, and third in 3-point percentage. “Every team needs guys to knock down open shots,” he said, “and I think I can do that.” Loveridge has been a Utah kid his whole life, going from West Jordan High School, where he was named the Gatorade Player of the Year, to the University of Utah, and now getting the chance to workout for his hometown team the Utah Jazz.
Kyle Kuzma had a very successful season with the Runnin’ Utes. Along with Jakob Poeltl these two were the owners of the board. Averaging 5.7 RPG, as well as 10.8 PPG, Kuzma gave his offense numerous second chances and was a player that could capitalize well off missed shots. The growth between his freshman and sophomore season is remarkable, Kuzma has advanced from a little-used role player to a starter and plans to keep growing. Game announcers have taken to calling the 6-foot-9 Ute “the Microwave,” thanks to his ability to heat up quick.
Larry Krystowiak led the Ute’s to a 27-9 record season, along with a #3 seed and second round run in the March Madness Tournament. You could say he’s had a very successful season. Bringing players on, like Lorenzo Bonam, has set the team up with quick, agile players along with a great group of big men to dominate the paint. Coach Krystowiak has truly built a very evenly spread team, with players who both excel in listening and leading. Krystkowiak will have a very tall order this coming year to replace three of the Utes starting five, including guard Dakarai Tucker. Larry Krystowiak’s will be entering his 7th season and is looking to continue to improve.
- 2017 4-Star PG Martin commits to Arizona State June 10, 2016 Drew Dinnhaupt
2017 4-star PG Remy Martin has committed to Arizona State, 247Sports and Scout confirm. Martin is ranked as both a 4-star and a 3-star. Martin attends Sierra Canyon High School in Chatsworth, California, and is teammates with arguably the top player in the 2018 class, Marvin Bagley III. Martin is ranked as the #161 player in the 2017 class and the #33 point guard in the class. Martin also had offers from Connecticut, Kansas, and USC. , but decided to stay close to home and play for the Sun Devils.
Martin joins 4-star center Daniel Madding as the secured Sun Devil commitments for the 2017 class, which is ranked as the #7 class in the nation by 247Sports.
- Jordan Matthews Transferring June 8, 2016 College Pride Press
In a surprising decision, Cal starting shooting guard Jordan Matthews has elected to transfer for his final season of college. As he will be receiving his undergraduate degree over the summer, Matthews will be eligible to play immediately for the school he chooses as a graduate transfer.
“I want to thank the University of California, Berkeley, the Men’s Basketball staff, my teammates, and the Golden Bear fan base for all of their support throughout the past three years…. I will always be a Cal Bear and I will forever cherish my time in Berkeley,” Matthews wrote in a statement he tweeted on May 31.
While it is still early in his recruiting process as a graduate transfer, the early name thrown around as the favorite is Gonzaga, according to CBS Sports. Gonzaga, who does have an available scholarship, would benefit immensely with the addition of Matthews, as they lose starting guards Kyle Dranginis and Eric McClellan to graduation, and bring in Washington transfer Nigel Williams-Goss to start at point guard. While Gonzaga does bring in the #10 recruiting class according to 247Sports, only one player of their five-man class is a guard, four star shooting guard Zach Norvell from Chicago. While Norvell is talented, an experienced Matthews would provide Norvell time to develop. It would also make Gonzaga, a Top 25 team in many Way-Too-Early Top 25 rankings, even more dangerous.
For Cal, Matthews’ departure slightly curtails expectations for a more promising than expected season for the Golden Bears. Matthews, who averaged 13.5 PPG and shot 42.6% from 3 in the 2015-16 season, was the top scorer and best shooter that would return to the Golden Bears. The Bears were losing point guard Tyrone Wallace to graduation, and freshman star small forward Jaylen Brown to the NBA draft, where he is expected to be at least a top 10 pick, if not top 5.
The main reasons for the increased optimism in Berkeley was the surprising return of freshman power forward Ivan Rabb for his sophomore season, as many expected him to be a lottery pick in the upcoming draft. In addition to Rabb, Cal returns starting shooting guard Jabari Bird for his senior season, as well as four reserves who averaged over 10 MPG. The loss of Matthews is slightly offset by the addition of graduate transfer Grant Mullins from Columbia, who averaged 13.3 PPG and shot 44% from 3 for the Lions. The Bears also add juco transfer Dontae Coleman and four-star point guard Charlie Moore, a former Memphis commit who de-committed after Josh Pastner left for Georgia Tech. Both players will add backcourt depth.
Because of Matthews’ transfer, Cal now has a scholarship available for the next season. While Cal is not in consideration for any more class of 2016 recruits according to 247Sports, they are in the running for Kentucky transfer Marcus Lee. Although Lee will have to sit out a season, the addition of Lee would solidify Cal’s frontcourt for 2017-18 assuming Ivan Rabb declares for the 2017 draft.
In spite of the loss of Matthews, California should have enough talent to build upon a 2015-16 season which saw them go 23-11, earn a 4 seed in the NCAA tournament, and become a sleeper pcik to go to the Final Four before a broken hand sidelined Wallace and back spasms sidelined Bird for their first round game, leading to a loss to Hawaii. Cal will be an NCAA tournament team in 2017, and how the new players and returning veterans step up in Matthews’ absence will decide if Cal will sneak in or become a force to be reckoned with come March.
- Report Card: Arizona Wildcats June 1, 2016 College Pride Press
Allonzo Trier of the Arizona Wildcats high fives fans following a home game against the UNLV Rebels at McKale Center on December 19, 2015. The Wildcats defeated the Rebels 82-70. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Kaleb Tarczewski (C):
Kaleb had a great year in the post. As a senior, he made the Pac-12 All Defensive Team. Standing seven feet off the ground, he possessed dominant size coupled with great ball skills to account for an average of 9.4 PPG and 9.3 RPG. His towering intimidation will be missed next year from this wildcat team.
Allonzo Trier (G):
Allonzo Trier loves going to school in Tucson and because of the atmosphere McKale Center provides, he has decided to stay for another year. As a great finisher and a freshman, he shows a lot of potential. Especially when Head Coach Sean Miller said he will be one of college basketball’s better guards next year because of his strong work ethic. He also made the Pac-12 All Freshman Team.
Gabe York (G):
Averaging 33.3 minutes per game, Gabe York plays more than any other player on the team. After 4 years with the wildcats, we were able to see major improvement from Gabe as his minutes, points, etc. all rose up. He is a lethal shooter from behind the arc with a 3-pt percentage of 42.1%. His game is comparable to Stephen Curry as he runs off screens and creates space in order to give him enough time for a quick release.
Kadeem Allen (G):
Kadeem Allen came out of the NJCAA to experience is first season in the Pac-12. He was a very average player. Giving enough production, he was a good selection to preserve games while featured players were resting on the bench. Averaging 8.4 PPG, he played a small part to this team.
Ryan Anderson (F):
Listed at 6’9”, Ryan coupled with Kaleb in the post. He was a bully in the post to say the least averaging a double double all season long. He was a major source for Arizona’s offensive production and because of that, he made the All Pac-12 First Team. Next season, the wildcats will be grieving without his senior leadership in the paint.
Sean Miller remains as one of college basketball’s elite coaches. This past season, he coached the wildcats up to a maximum ranking of 7 before losing a 4OT game to USC. The average amount of points Arizona lost by is about 4.77. This proves that Sean Miller coached the players into situations that gave the wildcats a mere opportunity to win every game. This offseason, he has already gotten four, 5-star recruits to commit. These men will help lift this team into the air next season.
- Why My Team Didn’t Win the Championship: UCLA May 17, 2016 College Pride Press
Power of the PAC-12
UCLA finished the 2015-16 college basketball season with an overall record of 15-17 and a 6-12 record in conference play, which placed the team 10th in the PAC-12. The fantastic guard play, led by Isaac Hamilton, Bryce Alford, and Aaron Holiday, was not enough to make up for the porous Bruins defense that surrendered 76.7 points per game, ranking 285th out of 351 Division I teams. In order for UCLA to win games, they had to simply outscore the opponent, which is hardly ever a successful strategy. As the old saying goes, defense wins championships. However, the main reason for UCLA not winning the national championship this year was due to the strength of the PAC-12. This year the PAC-12 sent a record 7 teams to the NCAA tournament. Oregon, Arizona, California, Oregon State, Utah, USC, and Colorado all made the tournament. Oregon was the powerhouse of the conference and found themselves on the 1 line on Selection Sunday. Colorado was an 8 seed, Arizona was a 6 seed, Oregon State was a 7 seed, Utah was a 3 seed, USC was an 8 seed, and Cal was a 4 seed. UCLA had quality wins against Gonzaga, Kentucky, Arizona, Oregon State, and Colorado, but ultimately the intense PAC-12 gauntlet that UCLA had to go through and endure over three months was too much to handle for this team. Furthermore, UCLA was not able to be very consistent on a game to game basis because they were a young team. Tony Parker, a 6-9 forward from Atlanta, Georgia, was the only senior on the team. 11 out of the 16 players on the team were underclassmen, with 6 out of the 11 being freshmen. A grueling schedule coupled with an inexperienced team led to a lackluster overall performance that prompted speculation by fans and the media as to whether or not Steve Alford is truly the right person to serve as head coach of the Bruins. Fans expect prosperity due to the fact that UCLA is a prestigious basketball university with 11 national championships in men’s hoops to its name. They expect nothing less. Alford owned up to his shortcomings, nonetheless, by giving back a one-year extension to his contract that he signed in 2014. In an email, he said that “At the end of the day, year three was clearly not up to UCLA standards.” This year Alford is bringing in a top 10 recruiting class, headlined by Naismith Prep Player of the Year Lonzo Ball. T.J. Leaf, a 5-star PF from Foothills Christian High School in El Cajon, joins him as a big man who can stretch the floor as well as score down low. Ike Anigbogu and Kobe Paras round out the 2016 basketball commits. All in all, it is looking like this year will be an exciting one in Westwood as new recruits and returning talent seek to revitalize the UCLA basketball program and make Pauley Pavilion the center of the college basketball world once again.
UCLA Class of 2020
- Why My Team Didn’t Win the Championship: Cal Bears May 17, 2016 College Pride Press
Hello University of California Basketball fans. This will be a quick synopsis of the 2015-2016 season as well as a discussion of major events and topics that helped shape the season for the Golden Bears, which led to a Round of 64 exit thanks to the play of The University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors.
Cal’s season started before games were played. The Golden Bears were fortunate enough to have two top high school recruits join the roster led by Coach Cuonzo Martin. These two players were Jaylen Brown out of Marietta, GA and Ivan Rabb from Oakland, CA. Both athletes were seen as huge recruits, which is why most experts were shocked that both Brown and Rabb turned down major college basketball programs to join a Cal team that had not made the Big Dance since 2013. Nonetheless, the two young men were up for the challenge and with a steady dose of experience from players like Tyrone Wallace, the Bears were heavy favorites to get into, and possibly make some noise in, the tournament.
The Golden Bears cracked the preseason AP Coaches Poll as the 14th best team in the country, hitting their peak at number 13 in the early weeks and were looking to make headway in the regular Pac-12 season. Cal finished in 3rd place in the Pac-12 and made it as far as the Semifinals of the conference tournament and then suffered a narrow defeat to Utah. Even though the loss affected their overall tournament stock, the question was not whether the Bears would make it in the tournament, but rather how high would they would be seeded.
After all tournaments had ended, decision day loomed large for Coach Martin and company. The Golden Bears were given a 4 seed, much to the chagrin of most college basketball analysts, and were paired against The University of Hawaii in the Round of 64. The matchup seemed favorable, considering the Bears roster heralded two First Team Pac-12 All Freshman Team members in Brown and Rabb, as well as an Honorable Mention nominee in Tyrone Wallace, who was the Golden Bears leading scorer for the season. In addition to a subpar lineup, the Rainbow Warriors had never recorded an NCAA tournament victory.
And then disaster struck.
Leading scorer, Tyrone Wallace suffered a fractured right hand during a practice two days before their first round matchup. Jabari Bird went down with a slew of back spasms. The injury bug hit the Bears hard and it was going to take a whole team effort to beat Hawaii, even though Cal was still a huge favorite going into their tourney opener.
Throughout the game, it seemed that the Rainbow Warriors were in complete control of the Bears by exploiting their weaknesses. Jaylen Brown got into early foul trouble. Scoring became an issue because of the huge hole left by Wallace’s injury, and frankly, Cal was not as motivated as Hawaii, who again were looking for their first ever tourney win.
While the season ended abruptly in the Round of 64, the season as a whole was a success as they obtained their major goal of making the tournament. However, Cal’s success could be short lived for two reasons.
- Freshman Jaylen Brown has declared for the 2016 NBA Draft and is seen by scouts as a high lottery pick. With the loss of Brown, the Cal recruitment staff will have to work their charm when talking to incoming freshmen to join the Cal program and work to reach the tournament once again.
- Leading scorer Tyrone Wallace has graduated. This loss will loom large until a scorer like Wallace steps up to propel the team next year. Wallace was also seen as a mentor to the team as he had the most experience of any player on the roster. Whether it be a collective effort or a player stepping up to take the reigns of the team, there will be a void to fill for next year.
However, next year looks to be promising with Ivan Rabb returning for his sophomore year as well as having Columbia transfer Grant Mullins come in and possibly provide a spark for Coach Martin and the Bears. Expect big things from the 2016-2017 Golden Bears and hopefully they won’t have the injury bug hit them in such a crucial moment next year.
- Why My Team Didn’t Win The National Championship: UCLA May 9, 2016 College Pride Press
If you know anything about the history of college basketball, you know that the UCLA Bruins know how to win.
UCLA Men’s Basketball program holds a record 11 Division I NCAA Championships since 1920—10 of those obtained in 12 seasons under legendary coach John Wooden.
Despite the multitude of historical accomplishments and achievements, the 2015-2016 season fell quite short from hanging a 12th banner in Pauley Pavilion and extending the program’s indisputable success.
There were a number of factors that contributed to UCLA’s defeats this season, but a few were the most apparent: lack of experience without a true floor general, absence of defensive toughness and a rim presence, and that guy.
Beginning with the team’s lack of experience, Head Coach Steve Alford’s Bruins usually started freshman point-guard Aaron Holiday, sophomore center Thomas Welch, two junior guards with Bryce Alford and Isaac Hamilton, and one senior forward Tony Parker. First off the bench usually consisted of freshmen Prince Ali and Alex Olesinski and sophomores Jonah Bolden and Gyorgy Goloman. The Bruins three guards, on average, turned the ball over 7.3 times a game, partly due to the three guards having an attack first, aggressive mentality. While junior Bryce Alford led the Bruins with 5.2 assists per game, his superior shooting ability is compromised without a true point guard and floor general. Although Bryce Alford is capable of running the point, he often has to bring the ball up against pressure for a majority of the game, while still expected to be the team’s first or second option on offense. Bryce Alford can be the team’s point-guard, but if the Bruins want to return to one of the premiere college basketball teams in the country, they are going to have to wait until incoming freshman Naismith Player of the Year point-guard Lonzo Ball arrives next year.
Bryce Alford (20), Thomas Welch (40), Aaron Holiday (3), Gyorgy Golomon (14)
The Bruins struggled to find that inside defensive presence all year; although big men Thomas Welsh and Tony Parker put up 11.2 and 12.6 points a game respectively, they combined for 2 of the 3 blocked shots the Bruins had a game. With a balanced offensive attack putting up nearly 78 points per game, the prevalent void in the team’s success was their defensive toughness. Take the game against Kansas for example; the Jayhawks shot 32 of 59 (54.2 percent) from the field and 10 of 23 (43.5 percent) on 3s. While UCLA had a few notable wins against top-ranked Kentucky, Gonzaga, and Oregon, allowing a tremendously high opposing field goal percentage will not result in the season UCLA fans are accustomed to.
While UCLA brings in a significant offensive threat with five-star T.J. Leaf, the length of the #1 ESPN PG in the nation Lonzo Ball at 6’5” should disrupt passing lanes and provide UCLA with a point guard that was similar in height to Kyle Anderson (2012-2014), but much more athletic. The addition of 6’9’’ Ike Anigbogu will provide the Bruins with more front court depth and versatility for coach Steve Alford. The Bruins length allows them to sit back in a semi-extended 3-2 zone with length all over the floor. If the Bruins can turn the ball over less, shift into a defense-first minded team, and utilize all of their offensive fire power in the 2016-2017 season, the core of young, athletic guards will lead the team to a significantly more successful season that Bruin fans around the world are used to.
- Justin Simon to Transfer from Arizona April 6, 2016 College Pride Press
Guard Justin Simon has decided to transfer from Arizona and continue his basketball and pursuit of a college degree at another institution. Multiple schools will be in the running for Simon’s services even though he must sit out a year. Simon was a 4-star guard out of high school.
Arizona has a glut of guards coming back to school and a recruiting class full of 5-star combo guards so Simon could see a struggle to gain minutes.
- Recap: #9 UConn 74, #8 Colorado 67 March 18, 2016 Nick Schwartz
Connecticut: 74, Colorado: 67
In a game of runs, the ninth-seeded UConn Huskies held on to top the eighth-seeded Colorado Buffaloes in a first round clash. The Huskies fell behind early in the first half, trailing by as much as 11 with three minutes to go in the first half as Colorado exerted their will down low. Through Josh Scott’s early domination (13 first half points), Colorado took a nine-point lead into the locker room, up 36-27 at the first buzzer. The Buffaloes (22-12) shot 50 percent against the stout Husky defense in that first period.
However, a motivational halftime speech from head coach Kevin Ollie had the Huskies poised to play in the second half. UConn (25-10) would trade baskets early in the second half with Colorado, but eventually locked in on defense and went on a 16-4 run, and took their first lead with a little over eleven minutes left in the game. During this run, critical steals by Daniel Hamilton (17 points) and Rodney Purvis (19 points) ignited the UConn transition game. From that point, the Huskies, with a combination of their tough perimeter defense and timely three-point shooting, extended their lead and dominated the tempo. With three minutes to go, an and-one by Purvis extended the lead to 66-53. Up to that point, the Huskies were outscoring Colorado 39-17 in the second half. Surely, the game was in hand. Not quite.
Colorado, which had uncharacteristically been struggling from the line during this game, began drawing fouls and quickly clawed their way back into the game from the line. UConn’s Shonn Miller, who was never a factor due to foul trouble, committed his fifth infraction with 1:43 left, and the free throws from Scott (finished with 23 points) made the score 66-59. Colorado’s 10-0 run made the game 66-63 with a minute to play, and took several years off the lives of many Connecticut residents. Luckily, clutch free throw shooting from Sterling Gibbs, who hit 6-6 in the final minute, allowed UConn to weather Colorado’s rally and hold on for the victory.
UConn’s three-point defense: Colorado came into this game averaging over eight made triples a game, and shooting 39% from deep. However, even in the first half when Josh Scott was dominating this contest, the Huskies’ perimeter defense ensured Colorado would not win this game from beyond the arc. George King and Dominique Collier combined to shoot just 1-4 from deep, and as a team, Colorado made just two of ten three-pointers. Guard Xavier Talton was particularly poor, going 0-5 from deep. The tenacious defense of Purvis, Gibbs, and Jalen Adams on the perimeter ensured everything the Colorado guards did, whether it was shooting the ball or passing inside, was challenged.
How Did UConn Win?
Colorado came into this game as one of the top rebounding teams in the country, as they averaged over 42 a game. They predictably dominated the glass in the first half, outrebounding UConn 22-16 on their way to a nine-point lead. But, the Huskies stepped up in the second half, and wound up winning the rebounding battle 36-33. The defensive intensity of the Huskies, combined with this tenacity on the glass, limited Colorado’s second chance points and caused the Buffaloes’ offense to stagnate.
The other key stat in UConn’s win was free throw shooting. As mentioned in the preview article for this game, the Huskies are the number one team in the country from the line. The Huskies lived up to this ranking, going 22-23 from the line in the game. The only miss was from reserve big man Steve Enoch. Gibbs, Purvis, and Hamilton combined to go 14-14 from the line, and the ability to hit these free throws kept Colorado’s ferocious rally towards the end at bay. By contrast, Colorado shot just 19-30 from the line.
Star of the Game
In a Husky team with a balanced lineup, one star does not usually emerge. However, against Colorado, it was Daniel Hamilton leading the charge. The talented wing played 38 minutes, and poured in 17 points, second on the team behind Purvis’s 19. Hamilton also grabbed ten rebounds, and played solid defense on Colorado’s wings. Perhaps most importantly, Hamilton was 5-5 from the free throw line, helping UConn win this game.
Dud of the Game
Colorado needed to get points from its wings to win. No matter how good Josh Scott is, he wasn’t going to win this game singlehandedly. George King averaged nearly 14 points a game, and shot 46 percent from three. However, he only scored five points against the tough defense of the Huskies, and made only one of two three-point attempts. The defense of Purvis and Hamilton made sure King never had the space to show off his deadly shooting touch.
Stat of the Game
Undoubtedly free throw shooting decided this game. Behind Josh Scott, Colorado got to the line much more than UConn during the flow of the game. Colorado’s 30 attempts were double the 15 taken by the Huskies prior to crunch time. Scott himself took 18. However, UConn lived up to their billing and made 22-23, including 8-8 in the final minute. Colorado’s uncharacteristic 19-30 performance from the line doomed them.
Colorado was undefeated in games where Scott scored over 20 points. However, with no help from his teammates on the perimeter, his 23 points against UConn were not enough. The Huskies had the edge in not only free throw shooting, as has been multiple times, and three-point shooting. Colorado went just 2-10 from beyond the arc, while the Huskies hit 6-17. While this does not seem impressive, two clutch threes hit during the second half stand out. With 11:35 left, Gibbs hit a three-pointer to give the Huskies their first lead at 47-46. Purvis then connected from deep with 8:08 left to extend the Husky lead to 9, at ...
- Preview: #1 Oregon vs #16 Holy Cross March 17, 2016 Peter Bedrosian
As Selection Sunday started to wind down most of the conversation among college basketball fans were the questionable teams that received a bid. Although nobody questioned their bid, Oregon’s acquisition of a number 1 seed was under fire. Most fans don’t believe they truly deserve it, and think as a soft number 1, Oregon could be the first number 1 seed ever to lose in the first round. Every year it doesn’t happen the chances of it actually happening only increase and an underwhelming top seed may be just what the record books need to change this year.
First a look at the brave challenger. Holy Cross won their play in game against Southern but their resume is a bit lacking for a team in any sort of post season basketball. Finishing ninth in the regular season in the Patriot Conference, they beat three of the top four teams in the conference on their way to a tournament title and an invitation to The Big Dance. While their 10-19 record before the conference tournament is quite pitiful, maybe their tenacity when faced with single elimination is what could make them a threat. With a talented freshman and two upperclassmen leading the team with double digit points a game, their depth and size is not overly impressive, but any team can get hot on any day. A notable statistic for a team that did so poorly in the regular season is that they only average eleven turnovers a game. During the conference tournament they had three games with less than ten turnovers. While their chances are slim to none to win this game, if they can limit turnovers any team can get hot any day of the week and shock the world. However, as soft a one seed as this Oregon team may be, they are still a one seed and at the end of the day history always sides with them.
On that note let’s take a look at the heavily criticized top seed Oregon. Securing the PAC-12 conference championship by 31 points over fellow tournament 3 seed Utah, the Ducks got their second championship in 4 years and quietly boasted one of the better records in Power 5 conference basketball. Led by senior Elgin Cook, the athletic and high scoring Ducks are going to be too much for the Crusaders to handle. They have won their last eight games and come in looking to prove the doubters wrong despite being atop the West region. The Ducks will naturally be a matchup nightmare for Holy Cross. They are long and athletic with wings that can rebound over the bigs of the Crusaders, but also beat their guards on the dribble. Offensively sound shooting 47% from the field on the year, Oregon will have to have the worst game of their season to make history in the first round. While they are not elite defensively, they are sound enough to suppress a Crusader offense that only averages 65 points a contest.
As much as the entire country wants to see a number one seed go down, this sadly will not be it. Holy Cross might have the least impressive resume of any team in history to make the tournament and will be overwhelmed by a Power 5 conference champion that is also out to prove something. This one is gonna get ugly and might even see the Oregon managers and ball boys getting some minutes out there. I’m no betting man, but I’m gonna say Oregon will have more points with 5 minutes left in the game than their will be people in the stands.
Prediction: Oregon 82 Holy Cross 48
Peter Bedrosian, Virginia Tech ‘17
Go Hokies (Future 2016 NIT champs)
- Preview: #3 Utah Vs. #14 Fresno State March 15, 2016 Phil Wells
#3 Utah vs. #14 Fresno State
The Utes will be lead by Pac-12 Player of the Year Jakob Poeltl, during the regular season Poeltl averaged 17.6 PPG and 9.0 RPG. If the Utes want a shot at the Final Four, the sophomore is going to have to average double-double figures for them to be successful. Utah was ranked number 6 in the RPI prior to Saturday’s game against Oregon. The school could have experienced its first Pac 12 Conference Championship but was defeated by Oregon by 31 points. This team has the ability to make the Final Four. This years seniors were part of Coach Krystkowiak’s first full recruiting class. This team has gone through a lot, from winning three conference games in 2012 to being the number three seed in the 2016 NCAA Tournament. The seniors of the lineup are lead by Jordan Loveridge, Brandon Taylor, and Dakarai Tucker. Taylor was a player who went under the radar out of high school and now is ranked 5th all time in assists. Loveridge was a highly recruited forward and is now the 13th scorer in history. Tucker provides valuable minutes off the bench for the Utes. The Midwest is a region that the Utes will be able to handle to make a trip to the Final Four
Fresno State Bulldogs:
The Bulldogs had punched their ticket to the dance when they defeated San Diego State 68-63 and won the Mountain West Conference. The Bulldogs are hot, winning 8 games in a row to end the regular season. Leading the Bulldogs is Mountain West Player of the Year and senior Marvelle Harris. Harris averaged 20.6 points per game this regular season. The guard has had a special career at Fresno State, and will be draft eligible this upcoming June. The Bulldogs will have to take advantage of Utah’s poor three-point defense. But Fresno does have poor defense, having low block rates and send their opponents to the free throw line a lot. Going against one of the best big men in the country will not help their problem. Along with Harris the Bulldogs will look to forward Karachi Edo and guard Julien Lewis this upcoming Thursday. Edo averages 9.9 PPG and 6.4 RPG. Lewis has been hot lately scoring double figures in the last four of five games. Fresno State will have their hand full with the Utes, but a big game from Harris along with excellent outside shooting could put the Utes on upset alert.
Fresno State will come out with a lot of energy and put a scare into Utah in the first half. But Jakob Poeltl will have a big game and continue his dominance down low. Utah is hungry for a deep run in this year’s tournament. Utah wins by 10 or more this round.
- Preview: #8 Colorado vs. #9 Connecticut March 15, 2016 Nick Schwartz
8. Colorado (22-11) vs. 9. Connecticut (24-10)
Thursday, March 17, 2016
1:30 ET, TNT
Ah, the most wonderful time of the year: the NCAA Tournament has arrived! In this game, Pac-12 at-large selection Colorado gets set to battle the American Conference Tournament champion UConn Huskies, in possibly the most intriguing 8 vs. 9 game of the bracket. Tad Boyle, one of the most underrated coaches in the country, looks to cement his team’s place as a national program with a chance to beat the 2014 NCAA champion.
Colorado’s offense is defined by the old adage of playing “inside-out” basketball. Big man Josh Scott (16.1 points per game) will be playing in the NBA sooner rather than later, but for now gives Boyle’s squad an elite post scorer with a shooting touch nearly out to the three-point line. Scott is the focal point of the Buffaloes’ offense, and his savvy passing ability allows him to expose double teams and kick out to multiple open shooters from beyond the arc. These wings, especially George King and Treshaun Fletcher, are great athletes who have the ability to play outstanding defense, when they commit themselves to that side of the floor. Point guard Josh Fortune (10.4 points, 2.3 assists per game) is the wild card for Colorado; he himself is also a good shooter, but disappears from games as frequently as he gets hot from the field. On top of all this, Colorado is a great free throw shooting team, making 73.8 percent from the line.
Connecticut’s elite defense (fourth in the country in field goal percentage) will have its work cut out for it guarding Scott on the inside and multiple above average shooters. But, this is a team that itself has an abundance of shooters from the perimeter, and has a very balanced scoring attack. Forward Shonn Miller (12.8 points per game) will have to avoid the foul trouble that plagued him during the AAC Tournament. He has an excellent offensive game, especially in the post, and must be a key factor for UConn to win. Shot blocker Amida Brimah will need to show the poise and patience he showed during the conference tourney, so that he can stay on the floor and be the Huskies’ answer to Scott. UConn’s greatest advantage may be at point guard, where freshman Jalen Adams has catapulted himself into the national spotlight thanks to his miracle shot against Cincinnati. However, his overall game as a slasher and floor general offers something to the UConn offense that Colorado doesn’t have. The Huskies are also not only a great squad from the free throw line, but the best in the country, at 78.7 percent.
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Predictably, the top matchup in this game will be between Josh Scott and Amida Brimah. The point guard battle of Fortune and Dominique Collier going up against a combination of Adams and Sterling Gibbs will also be one to watch, but the clash of the big men will have the most impact on the outcome of this contest. Brimah averaged 2.6 blocks a game this year. However, he also only averaged 21 minutes a game, because of his frequent foul trouble. Going up against a post scorer like Josh Scott will be a major challenge for the Ghanaian. To avoid early foul trouble, Husky coach Kevin Ollie may stick to a strategy he employed during the AAC tourney, in which he started senior Phillip Nolan over Brimah at the 5, so that the junior would not pick up early fouls and be forced to sit out. Should Scott force Brimah to foul, in addition to the other members of UConn’s deep frontcourt, the Huskies will be in trouble.
X-FACTOR FOR COLORADO
Avoiding Turnovers: Colorado has been a very turnover-prone team this year. They’ve averaged 13.4 a game, more than two, on average, than their opponents. Part of this comes from the lack of consistent point guard play. Fortune is capable on a good day, but averages 2.2 turnovers a game. Colorado’s other primary ball handler Collier also averages over two turnovers a game. However, despite the effectiveness of UConn’s overall defense, they are not exactly West Virginia in terms of forcing other teams to cough up the ball. Therefore, if UConn can adjust and play to Colorado’s weakness, and force their guards to turn the ball over, Colorado’s chances of victory may go up in smoke.
X-FACTOR FOR UCONN
Frontcourt Play: Josh Scott singlehandedly gives Colorado the advantage in the big man battle. Both he and fellow post player Wesley Gordon are competent when operating with their backs to the basket. UConn has a deep frontcourt, with five players capable of seeing minutes down low. Gordon and Scott, along with reserve Tory Miller, are Colorado’s only rotation big men. UConn will need to use their depth to counteract Colorado’s superior individual talent. If a big man rotation of Brimah, Nolan, Shonn Miller, and Kentan Facey can collectively avoid foul trouble and contain Josh Scott, the Huskies should win this game.
Three-point Shooting: Both of these squads are more than capable of winning a game from beyond the arc, should the shots be falling. UConn does not have one deadeye shooter, like George King (46 percent) of Colorado, but they have multiple players who all shoot better than 35 percent from three-point land. On the year, UConn has only allowed opponents to shoot a meager 32.7 percent from ...
- Preview: #4 California vs. #13 Hawaii March 14, 2016 College Pride Press
#4 California vs. #13 Hawaii
Friday 12 pm
Well the tournament is finally here. Due to the lack of writers for Cal and Hawaii, I will be covering both these teams throughout the tournament. This was one of the more intriguing games that I saw when I first looked at the bracket. Hawaii may be a 13 seed but they are ranked as a top 75 team in kenpom.com and they have really looked strong at points this season. California is a team with almost unlimited potential but their youth and inexperience has been their achilles heel at times in the Pac-12. Cal has two very talented freshman in Jaylen Brown and Ivan Rabb. These guys will both likely be lottery picks in the next NBA draft. Combine this with Tyrone Wallace at the point to make a very scary starting lineup. Hawaii has a very well balanced attack and are most successful when they are getting the ball into the paint.
Match-Up to Watch
The key matchup to watch will be Ivan Rabb for Cal against Stefan Jankovic. Jankovic was named the Big West player of the year and he is the main offensive threat for Hawaii. He is a junior who transferred in from Missouri two seasons ago. This year he has averaged 16.6 points and almost 7 rebounds a game. Cal will send touted freshman Ivan Rabb at Jankovic to try and slow him down. Rabb is loaded with potential but has been no slouch this season averaging 12.4 points and 8 rebounds a game. Both of these big men will be the key to success. If one of them gets in foul trouble that could spell trouble for either Cal or Hawaii.
X-Factor for California
The X-Factor for Cal will be how many turnovers they can force. This season Cal is 347th in the country in turnovers forced with just over 14 a game. If they want to avoid an upset they will have to use their stingy defense and create more turnovers to get out on the break and use their advanced talent. If Hawaii can take care of the ball then they can control the pace of the game.
X-Factor for Hawaii
The X-Factor for Hawaii will be slowing down Jaylen Brown. Brown is an electric scorer who can carry a team when he is on. He is averaging 15 points per game this season but his scoring has fluctuated based on the game. He scored 8 and 12 points respectively in their Pac-12 tournament games but has showed the ability to put 25-30 on teams. If he is efficient in knocking down his shots then Hawaii will be in trouble. They need to slow down Jaylen Brown to stay in the game or potentially pull off an upset.
The key stat will be Hawaii’s 2 point field goal percentage. Hawaii was 16th in the country this season shooting 54.6% on their 2 point shots. Adversely, Cal is number one in 2-point field goal defense holding opponents to 40.9% from inside the arc.
I have been torn about my pick for this game since I saw the bracket. Jaylen Brown can be inefficient and ineffective offensively at times and if he is then Hawaii will be right there. I am going to go out on a limb and pick Hawaii 65-62. Jaylen Brown is ineffective and Ivan Rabb gets schooled by the older Stefan Jankovic.
If I am wrong my twitter handle is @buffalobrad42. This should be an exciting game either way. I think the Pac-12 is in a down year and that may have helped Cal get their stature this season. Brown’s inconsistencies make them such a tough team to peg.
Indiana University, Class of 2018
- Programs on the Rise in College Basketball January 8, 2016 College Pride Press
We cover the majority of the power house programs in college basketball but today I want to talk a few programs on the rise. These programs will be contenders in their conference in the near future and NCAA tournament teams as well. Be sure to keep an eye on these programs over the next few years.
Mississippi State hired Ben Howland as coach and he immediately restored the program. He was able to get Malik Newman to commit to the Bulldogs, giving the program some credibility of a McDonald’s All-American on the roster. Howland hasn’t stopped with Newman as he has Mario Kegler, Schnider Herard, and a number of other highly rated recruits coming in next season.
Although Newman’s draft stock has fallen for the 2016 NBA, he could go back to school and join the incoming freshman to be one of the most talented teams in the SEC. If Newman returns to school, Mississippi State will have the second best team in the SEC below Kentucky.
Momentum is crucial in college basketball, especially when it comes to recruiting. If Howland can churn out wins and NBA lottery picks, he will continue to have great success recruiting to MSU.
Just like Mississippi State, Arizona State made a fantastic hire and it has paid off already. Although Bobby Hurley may not have a resume full of coaching experience, he worked miracles with a Buffalo program that had been a bottom feeder of the MAC for years. In his two years at Buffalo, he filled the roster with players of great potential and took the program to its first NCAA tournament appearance.
Now at Arizona State, Hurley’s name is recognizable enough to bring talented players into ASU. Hurley transformed the team from a roster full of players he did not recruit into a very respectable team that has won some impressive non-conference games.
Hurley has also used his time at Arizona State to go after a big fish in the recruiting circuit. He hired Thon Maker’s former trainer and has made the Sun Devils into the favorites for the top recruit. If Hurley can get Thon Maker, he will likely bring his little brother Matur Maker to ASU. He already has two 4-star recruits signed for next year with Sam Cunliffe and Jethro Tshisumpa both headed to Tempe, AZ. This is all on top of the quality players that he has signed and transfers that have followed him from Buffalo. Watch out for the Sun Devils in the next couple seasons. I like to call them the “Fighting Bobby Hurleys” because of the grit and style of play Hurley impresses on his team.
I understand that Butler is on the rise when they are ranked in the top 10, but I couldn’t resist putting them on this list because of their recruiting class. Butler has never been known as a major recruiting destination. They have found players in state and filled a roster full of four-year guys who play as a team. Butler has two big recruits coming in that will keep the program in the top 15 for years to come. Howard Washington and Joey Brunk will be the pick and roll pairing that will lead Butler to many wins. Washington took the reins from D’Angelo Russell at Monte Verde Academy and has played with Ben Simmons and many others while in Florida. He can play off the ball and shoot the deep ball or he can distribute and go into a pick and roll. Brunk is a big guy who will demand attention down low while he’s on the court; he has a nice scoring touch as well. Butler will be a powerhouse for years to come.
Miami had one spectacular season back when Shane Larkin was leading the Hurricanes to a #2 seed in the NCAA tournament. Soon after, that core group left Miami and returned to the lower tier of the ACC. Miami has a great recruiting class coming in with Bruce Brown and Dewan Huellboth, likely McDonald’s All-Americans. Miami entered this season with relatively low expectations but have made a lot of noise and have crept into the top 15 of the AP poll. They will lose leading scorer Sheldon McClellan but they will retain the rest of the core from this year’s team and those two top recruits will form a solid team that will fly under the radar in the ACC for years to come.
Washington’s team is similar to Miami’s. They will lose one main player from this year, Andrew Andrews, but have a number of freshmen and sophomores with potential. Dejounte Murray is a freshman that is second on the team in scoring. They have 12 players on their roster that are either freshmen or sophomores. Add 5-star recruit Markelle Fultz to the roster and Washington will be a quality team in the Pac-12. Watch out for the Huskies in the next couple of seasons. You may not stay up late enough to watch them play but be sure to keep them in mind when looking at your tournament brackets.
All of these programs are looking up and their future is very bright. It is great to see some of these programs be successful in college basketball. Everyone wins when there are more successful college basketball teams and it leads to more entertaining NCAA tournaments as well.
- 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
- Preview: Arizona vs Gonzaga December 5, 2015 College Pride Press
6-1 is the record the 19th ranked Arizona Wildcats are entering Spokane, Washington with before facing the 13th ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs this Saturday. The Wildcats are coming to this game after an 9 point victory against Boise State.
Things to watch are: Ryan Anderson’s ankles after rolling it a couple times during the Boise State game, how Arizona adjust the rotation without Ray Smith and Kaleb Tarczewski’s being able to play, and how many fouls the Wildcats give as they face off against a strong Zaga Offense. Ryan Anderson’s ankles being weak may cause him to give up some time on the court through out the game to not put extra stress on it.
Ray Smith is out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL and as Wildcat fans we hope Tarczewski will be back on the court with a healthy foot in 4-6 weeks. Last game the Wildcats gave up 20 fouls and 17 turnovers. The Cats will need to lower those numbers in both categories if they want to keep the Bulldogs close. Arizona will need veterans Gabe York and Mark Tollefsen to take the court in a strong effort to lead their team to a victory. After the game with Gonzaga, Arizona has five home games where they will look to capture five more wins.
- 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!
- Why you should join the CPP forum? November 10, 2015 College Pride Press
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- Talk about College Basketball! What else could you want in life? The CPP forum gives members a stage to voice their opinion on college basketball and their favorite college basketball teams. You can have high quality debates with knowledgable college basketball fans.
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- 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.
- 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.
- New Face, New Place: Arizona Wildcats September 2, 2015 College Pride Press
When fall rolls around the Pac-12 fans focus on football, but what the fans do not see, is the hard work the basketball team is putting in behind the scenes. At the U of A, fans enjoy watching Scooby Wright III on the football field while preparing for basketball season. The only problem for the boys in Tuscon in the past couple seasons has been getting past the Elite 8.
Last year the team was looking like they were going to make a run to the top. Stanley Johnson, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and TJ McConnell all put it out on the court with veteran help from Gabe York and Kaleb Tarczewski. While last year’s Wildcats could not achieve their goals of returning to the Final Four, this years group has the same expectation. While the Wildcats did loose many talented players to graduation and the draft, many recruiting databases graded the 2015 recruiting class as top 5 in the nation.
Justin Simon is freshmen guard out of Temecula, California is ranked 37th in the nation. He will add quickness, a consistent shot, and strength where the team needs it. The Wildcats were able to sign a 6’8 young star named Ray Smith who is a gifted scorer. The 29th overall recruit was first team all-state as a junior and an honorable MaxPreps Junior All-American in 2014.
Chance Comanche is a freshman big man is a 6’10 center out of Beverly Hills, California. He is very talented and projects to be a great player for Arizona but this year he will have to earn his minutes with a slew of bigs returning from last year’s team. Luckily for Chance Comanche, he is used to winning. In high school he won four CIF Southern Section Championships and was the CIF Southern Section Division 3A Player of the Year.
Lastly, for the Wildcats, the best high school basketball player out of the state of Washington, Allonzo Trier. Trier played alongside recently drafted rookie, Stanley Johnson, who was also a member of the USA Mens U-18 Basketball Team which was coached by Arizona head coach, Sean Miller. Trier knows exactly what intensity he needs to bring to fill the large hole left in the Arizona offense and defense with the departure of Stanley Johnson. These four freshmen each have to know their role on and off the court if Arizona wants to be the best college basketball team in the nation.
In about two months the Wildcats have their first official tip off of the 2015 season against Chico State. Coach Sean Miller expects his experienced returners and determined freshmen to jell right away to start their season playing their best. The preseason schedule will prepare the team for their tough conference schedule and the journey to March Madness Tournament begins now.
Bear Down Wildcats!
University of Arizona ’19