1

CBS Unofficial Coaches Poll

cbssports2

CBS Unofficial Coaches Poll

By: Zachery Bonzheim

 

CBS recently made their own unofficial preseason “Coaches Poll”. This poll was unique in the way that all of those polled were completely anonymous and unlike the “USA Today Coaches Poll”, instead of ranking the Top 25 teams, they were asked specific questions and their answers were polled. At the bottom of the page is a link to the CBS article. The most prominent piece in the article was when CBS asked: “Who will be the best team in 2017-18?”. Results may shock some, but those who have been engaged with the numerous preseason rankings will see a lot of familiar faces. Arizona led the vote with 40%, followed by Michigan State (28%), Duke (9%), Kansas (9%), Louisville (6%), and only three other teams even received multiple votes. Those teams being Wichita State, Villanova, and Kentucky. CBS also noted that USC and Florida rounded out the top ten, but neither got more than one vote for top team in the nation. This culminates to an unofficial preseason Top-10 of:
1. Arizona  (40%)
2. Michigan State (28%)
3. Duke (9%)
4. Kansas (9%)
5. Louisville (9%)
6. Wichita State (PNA)
7. Villanova (PNA)
8. Kentucky (PNA)
9. USC (PNA)
10. Florida (PNA)

PNA=Percentage Not Available

 
These teams all have been considered the cream of the crop all summer. In our Mid-Summer Preseason Rankings, we had the top nine teams all in our top nine. Florida the lone exception at number 20. Coaches in the survey did not give word on Florida, but for them to climb from 20th to 10th within a couple months is quite astounding and speaks to how well they finished recruiting and how they retained talent. Below is our Mid-Summer Preseason Rankings with how they were placed compared to the recent CBS poll.

 

1) Michigan State (-1)
2) Arizona (+1)
3) Kansas (-1)
4) Kentucky (-4)
5) Duke (+2)
6) Villanova (+1)
7) Louisville (+2)
8) Wichita State (+2)
9) USC (0)
20) Florida (+10)

 
In our “A Composite “Way Too Early Top 25”” was had all top eight teams in the top ten. The most notable would be how Michigan State and USC climbed from a lower composite ranking. Michigan State went from number ten to a number two ranking. USC went from a lowly 20th in the nation to a top ten placement. When the coaches were anonymously asked about why they made their decisions, coaches cited that Tom Izzo and Sean Miller’s abilities to retain talent along with adding some clear-cut lottery picks, making them the clear top-two choices.

split-tom-izzo-sean-miller-110716-getty-ftrjpg_1f3kfc4chlzxs1lx6u2p7petgr

Duke’s most recent addition of Marvin Bagley III was seen as a large improvement to their program. Some coaches noted that Bagely’s eligibility could possibly make or break their chances of a title. Coaches noticed how Kansas was able to build a roster around seniors and juniors, making them the most experienced of all the elite teams. Many had worries about the additions of Malik Newman. Newman sat out last season after a less than impressing first season at Mississippi State. Newman is looking to turn around his college career and re-spark NBA interest with a breakout year at Kansas, but his inability to take control of the game hasn’t gone unnoticed. If Newman shines, Kansas could win it all, but if he stumbles to get into double figures and distribute the ball, he may be more harm than help. When it came to Louisville, most coaches had nothing but “what-if’s” to say. One coach had to say “Imagine how good they’d be if Donovan Mitchell returned” in regards the Cardinals.
This survey was an UNOFFICIAL poll, but it does give a great chance for college basketball geeks to take in what the coaches think about this season’s field.

https://www.cbssports.com/college-basketball/news/candid-coaches-who-will-be-the-best-team-in-college-basketball-in-2017-18/

1

Mid-Summer Preseason Rankings

Untitled design

Mid-Summer Preseason Rankings

By Zachery Bonzheim

 

 

 

 

It’s the middle of the summer and the NBA Draft has just finished. We saw numerous underclassmen leave early and yet still, some decided to postpone their professional careers for another chance at raising a banner come April. With recruits falling into place and the early entry period over (along with the draft itself), next year’s team are shaping up in their final forms. Who is the team to beat and what teams saw stars leave for the draft? Here is a mid-summer preseason top 25.

 

 

 

1) Michigan State- Michigan State clocks in at number one on this preseason poll, why? Miles Bridges, yes the one that was a lock for the NBA lottery, decided to Sparty On for another year. Michigan State will return every single member of their historically best recruiting class along with adding Jaren Jackson (another surefire lottery pick). Expect Izzo not to just contend for a national title, but for Bridges to contend for a National Player of the Year.

2) Arizona- Sean Miller lost Lauri Markkanen, Kobi Simmons, Chance Comanche, and Kadeem Allen, but returns one of Miles Bridges biggest challengers for the National Player of the Year in Allonzo Trier. Allonzo Trier along with Parker Jackson-Cartwright, Rawle Alkins, and DeAndre Ayton make up a Wildcat team poised for a big year. Had Miller landed any of his three late-season targets in Trevon Duval, Brian Bowen or Brandon McCoy, they would be number one. Lucky for the Wildcats, they aren’t far behind.

3) Kansas- Kansas lost one of their statistically best players in recent memory in Frank Mason III and freshman freak Josh Jackson, but they are returning about the same amount of firepower that they lost. A trio of Malik Newman, Devonte’ Graham, and Svi Mykhailiuk will make for an experienced backcourt that will be ready to continue rolling in the Big 12. Kansas may have lost Carlton Bragg, who never fit in, but freshmen Billy Preston is looking to make a national name for himself. Don’t be surprised if Graham takes over the reigns from Frank Mason III and leads his team deep into March.

4) Kentucky- UK lost a slew of talent when De’Aron Fox, Malik Monk, Bam Adebayo, Isaiah Briscoe, and Isaac Humphries, all decided their time in Knoxville was over, BUT, they welcome Nick Richards, P.J. Washington, Jarred Vanderbilt, Quade Green, and Kevin Knox. Not to mention the special treat Calipari got when Hamidou Diallo came back (YES, a UK lottery pick returned). Had Briscoe and Humphries came back, it would be hard to argue that they weren’t the best team in the country.

5) Duke- Coach K and his squad lost lead scorer, Luke Kennard, along with key players in Amile Jefferson, Frank Jackson, and Jaysom Tatum. He also lost McDonald’s All-American, Harry Giles, but Giles role was far less than expected. Duke hit the late jackpot when Grayson Allen decided to stay and Trevon Duval signed. Duval, along with the rest of Duke’s big freshman class are poised to make a big push in the ACC. With potential starters being Trevon Duval, Grayson Allen, Gary Trent, Marques Bolden, and Wendell Carter, the Blue Devils look legit to contend on the national stage.

6) Villanova- Villanova lost National Player of the Year finalist, Josh Hart, and 2016 Final Four hero, Kris Jenkins but returns a cast of well experienced Wildcats. Jalen Brunson is looking to take over the role as the superstar and is on many’s preseason All-American watch lists. Brunson along with Mikal Bridges, Donte DiVincenzo, and Eric Paschall will all be expecting larger roles in Jay Wrights system. Finally, the Cats will add Omari Spellman, a five-star big man who redshirted last season. All of this adds up to another year of Villanova bullying the Big East.

7) Louisville- Lousiville’s offseason was rocky for a long time. Allegations of the team and the coach ran across headlines everywhere and star Donovan Mitchell left for the NBA. This all changed when Brian Bowen visited. The five-star wing had no interest in Louisville until late into the recruiting period when he signed after no not even including the Cards in his top-5. Bowen will bring big star power to the team. Him along with freshman, Malik Williams, who will look to hold down the post, will help the Cardinals rejoin the top programs in the country this season. But wait!!! Do not forget point guard Quentin Snider. Bowen may have NBA hype, but it is still Snider’s team. Don’t be surprised if he makes waves of his own this season.

8) Wichita State-  The Shockers made the jump from the Missouri Valley to the American Athletic where the their schedule will be harder, but possibly not hard enough to stop an undefeated season. Sophomore, Landry Shamet, showed major flashes last season in big games, none more important than their almost upset of Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament. Shamet along with Markis McDuffie, Darral Willis Jr., Shaquille Morris, Conner Frankamp, and Zach Brown, will all be looking to win a conference championship in their first year.

9) USC- USC beat SMU and Providence to advance to the Sweet Sixteen of last year’s tournament, just a taste of what could come this season. The Trojans’ stars, Bennie Boatwright and Chimezie Metu returned to Southern California for a chance not only raise conference championships, but national championships. They also return Jordan McLaughlin and Elijah Stewart and welcome transfers Derryck Thornton (Duke) and Shaqquan Aaron (Louisville). This experienced and loaded roster has what it takes to see a deep tournament run.

10) West Virginia– Last year, the crowded Big 12 saw many stars forgo their eligibility and head to the NBA. Lucky for WVU, star player, Jevon Carter (13.5 ppg) stayed. Bob Huggins’ “Press Virginia” is a well-oiled machine ran by veteran leaders who know how to play fast and hard. He also was fortunate enough to see the return of Esa Ahmad, Daxter Miles Jr., Lamont West, and Sagaba Konate. This team will look to be the best challenger of Kansas in the Big 12 next season and could break the Jayhawks streak.

11) Minnesota- Richard Pitino stepped out of his father’s shadow last season when his Golden Gopher squad caught fire. Last year was a great coming out party, but this year is going to be bigger. Minnesota returns star point guard Nate Mason who achieved All Big-Ten honors last season along with sophomore stud, Amir Coffey, and defensive anchor, Reggie Lynch. This team will continue to mature and play a smarter brand of basketball. The pressure is really on Pitino now. We all know they have the talent, but can they perform under pressure?

12) Purdue- Caleb Swanigan is gone, but the Boilermakers live on. The squad will revolve around two seven-footers in Isaac Hass and Matt Haarm, along with solid players in Vince Edwards, Carsen Edwards, and Dakota Mathias. Swanigan was Matt Painter’s do-it-all player, but this year they’re going to need a core that can replicate his complete play. Purdue is the reigning Big Ten champion and they only lost one key player, their team is shaping up to be one of the best in the Big Ten.

13) Cincinnati- Cincinnati is good. They went under the radar most of last season and picked up thirty wins… 30 WINS! Cincinnati is a team that sticks together. All three of their top scorers, Jacob Evans, Kyle Washington and Gary Clark return. This with the increased role and ability of Jarron Cumberland and the addition of Cane Broome (Sacred Heart Transfer and Northeast Conference Player of the Year), makes for a high-octane offense ready to roll over the competition. The American Athletic looks to be a two-horse race between Wichita State and Cincinnati. If Kyle Washington can continue to improve and reach the All-American form he’s capable of, the Bearcats will repeat thirty win seasons.

14) Xavier- Xavier surprised all of us by reaching the elite eight last spring and continued to surprise us when Coach Chris Mack signed a top-15 recruiting class. Trevon Bluiett (18.5 ppg) will be an All-American if he continues to progress and J.P. Macura (14.4 ppg) has been a steady star for the Musketeer. These two along with one of the best classes Mack has signed while in Xavier, make for a team ready get back to the elite eight and further.

15) North Carolina- North Carolina lost a lot of players. They lost Justin Jackson, Kennedy Meeks, Isaiah Hicks, and Tony Bradley… but kept one of the best players in the nation in Joel Berry III. Berry III, Theo Pinson, and Luke Maye will be the keys to the Tarheels competing at the same level as last year. Berry will be not only fighting for his team to repeat as champions but for National Player of the Year too.

16) Seton Hall- Seton Hall? In the top 20? Yes. Seton Hall is legit. After finishing 21-12 last year, they could easily achieve a 30 win season. One of the best-kept secrets in college basketball, Angel Delgado (15.2 ppg, 13.1 rpg), returns and looks to have back-to-back seasons averaging a double-double. One 15 point scorer a game is a lot, but how about three?! In addition to Delgado, the Pirates bring back Khadeen Carrington (17.1 ppg) and Desi Rodriguez (15.7 ppg, 5.2 rpg). Coach Kevin Williard’s team is hot and could challenge Villanova in the Big East next year.

17) Notre Dame- Two players make the Fighting Irish a contender. Bonzie Colson is a one man wrecking crew. After averaging over 17 points per game in addition to double figures in rebounds, he decided to come back for one more year. With Colson down low and point guard, Matt Farrell (14.1 ppg, 5.4 apg), running the show, the Fighting Irish will be a sight to see. Even if Notre Dame underperforms this season, Colson will still be one the best players to watch.

18) Saint Mary’s- Jock Landale was one of the nation’s best players in the post last season. He averaged about 17 points per game and 10 rebounds. While still being in a mid-major conference, their schedule will not face the same gauntlet as some of the other teams on this list. This being said, and the fact that Gonzaga lost a large portion of their key players, the Gaels could easily go undefeated.

19) Northwestern- Northwestern took Gonzaga, eventual national runner-up, down to the wire last tournament. If one call would have gone the Wildcats way, their historic season would have been so much more. Fear not, this team is loaded and ready to make the jump from happy to be dancing to chasing a banner. Bryant McIntosh will be one of the nation’s most efficient point guards this season and it’s on his shoulders to make his senior year the best in school history.

20) Florida- Florida finished 27-9 last year and almost made it to the final four after falling just short in the Elite Eight. The Gators lost Devin Robinson, Canyon Barry, and star player Kasey Hill, but return a roster ready to run the SEC. KeVaughn Allen, who dominated Wisconsin in the Sweet Sixteen, Chris Chiozza, and John Egbunu, along with a top-20 recruiting class, will grind out the season and challenge Kentucky for the crown in the SEC.

21) Miami (FL)- In Jim Larrañaga we trust. The last few years, Miami and again and again over exceeded expectations all thanks to Jim Larrañaga. This season the Hurricanes bring back Ja’Quan Newton and Bruce Brown but more importantly welcome Lonnie Walker. Lonnie Walker is the schools best recruit ever…If Larrañaga could work his magic without top recruits, just imagine with them.

22) Michigan- Many are counting Michigan out. They lost Zak Irvin, Derrick Walton, and DJ Wilson. Wilson was the leading scorer, Walton was the team leader, but neither was the best player. The Wolverines welcome back big man Moritz Wagner. For years, Michigan was bullied down low and last year was the first time they had a true answer in the Beilein era. Wagner in addition to the developing Xavier Simpson, a key role player in Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, and top recruit Jordan Poole will compete at both the conference and national level.

23) Rhode Island- E.C. Mathews… E.C. Mathews… E.C. Mathews… The Rams lost Hassan Martin and Kuran Iverson, but they return key player and possible All-American E.C. Mathews along with Jared Terrell and Stanford Robinson. Head coach Dan Hurley has turned the program around and made the team loaded with stars. Expect the Rams to be led by Mathews and to compete deep into the tournament.

24) Missouri- Mizzou brought in a new coach and new players to turn around last years worst team in the SEC. Cuonzo Martin was brought in to revamp the program and to this point, he has not failed. After being hired, Martin went to work and signed the number one recruit in the nation, Michael Porter Jr., who is often compared to Kevin Durant. Porter Jr. in addition to Jeremiah Tilmon, C.J. Roberts, and Canisius grad transfer Kassius Robertson (16.1 ppg) are looking to make waves in a weak SEC.

25) UCLA- Many people have ranked UCLA in the top-15 but I remain skeptical. Who did the Bruins lose? Lonzo Ball, TJ Leaf, and Ike Anigbogu went pro, while Bryce Alford and Isaac Hamilton graduated. Steve Alford brought in Jaylen Hands, Kris Wilkes, and Cody Riley and was able to keep Aaron Holiday (12.3 ppg) and Thomas Welsh (10.8 ppg, 8.7 rpg). There have been big changes, many will wonder if the Bruins can repeat their dominance of the Pac12.

Teams That Missed the Cut (Alphabetical Order)
Alabama, Baylor, Butler, Gonzaga, Texas, Texas A&M, Virginia

1

Top Unsigned 2017 Recruits

Bryan Mauro-Contributing Writer (@threecolorbeard)

Now that the first live period for recruiting has started, there are a lot of top recruits still left out on the market.  There is a month left until the late signing day, so we should see resolution on many of these kids by the end of the month.  There will be a new weekly recruiting segment, where I will delve into my recruiting rankings for each conference.

 

This week, lets review the top unsigned players still on the market:

MoBamba

Photo courtesy of USA Basketball

Mohammed Bamba-  Bamba is the best player still on the market.  He is a 6’11” power forward who can do it all.  He has a nice offensive game with extremely polished post moves, and can shoot it from outside.  He is an elite rebounder and shot blocker, and is also extremely athletic for his size.  He doesn’t lumber around and clog the lane like some big men. In fact, he moves well enough that he was able to compete in the dunk contest at the McDonald’s All American game.  This is usually reserved for the smaller wings.  Bamba has received a scholarship from every blue-blood program in America, but his final five schools have some interesting names in it.  His final five includes Michigan, Texas, Duke, Kentucky, and Arizona.   His former teammate and one of his best friends, Hamidou Diallo, is already enrolled at Kentucky, and has been helping recruit Bamba.

Decision:  Kentucky

 

Trevon Duval IMG

Photo courtesy of Scout.com

Trevon Duval- Every team needs a point guard to run their offense.  Trevon Duval from IMG Academy is the best point guard in this class.  He is an elite ball handler and passer, great shooter, and can get to the rim.  He also has a knack for drawing a foul and getting to the line.  His game reminds me a lot of Frank Mason from Kansas.  His final five schools are Kansas, Seton Hall, Baylor, Arizona and Duke.  Duke and Kansas are the favorites as they both are in need of a true point guard to run their team.  Duke doesn’t have a point guard on the roster, and the incumbent point guard from Kansas, Frank Mason, has graduated.

Decision: Kansas

 

Kevin Knox

Photo courtesy of ESPN.com

Kevin Knox– Kevin Knox is a little harder read as to where he will attend college.  Knox is talented enough to be a one year player, and probably will seek a school that will let him play for a year before he will enter his name into the draft and test the NBA waters.  Knox can shoot the three and shoot it well, as was evidenced by his entering of the three point contest at the McDonald’s All American game.  Kevin Knox has a good relationship with new Missouri coach and former Cal coach, Cuonzo Martin.  Cuonzo Martin is trying to do a quick rebuild.  Missouri already possesses a commitment from the number one player in this class with Michael Porter Jr., so they are making a nice run for Kevin Knox.  In fact, Kevin Knox just took his last official visit to Missouri 2 weeks ago.  He could be part of the team with Michael Porter Jr. that could help Missouri rise from the ashes of the SEC and compete for a conference championship.  Knox’s final five schools are Duke, Florida State, Missouri, Kentucky, and North Carolina.

Decision: Missouri

 

636263933272860504-GTY-658592966

Photo credit: David Banks

Brian Bowen- Brian Bowen is one of the best high school basketball players I have seen come along in quite some time.  He has good size, good build, plays good defense, and man oh man can he shoot.  He attended one of the best high school basketball programs in the country.  La Lumiere is loaded with top Division 1 talent, with Jalen Jackson and Jacob Epperson already signing to Power 5 conference schools.  Bowen was the engine that made this team go.  In my opinion, Rivals and 247 have him ranked a little low. His final 5 are Creighton, Arizona, Michigan State, NC State and Texas.  Creighton and Michigan State already have signed one of his teammates, and Creighton also just recently signed Alan Huss, the former head coach at La Lumiere, to be one of their assistant coaches.  He should be deciding soon.

Decision: Creighton

 

Next week:  I will release my team recruiting rankings for the Big 12.

 

1

Early Applicants for the NBA Draft

imgres

Early Applicants for the NBA Draft

By Zachery Bonzheim

 

 

The NBA Draft is a couple of months away and the early entry period is almost over. Players can declare for the draft until April 24 and withdraw any time until May 24 while maintaining their NCAA eligibility, as long as they don’t hire agents, meaning within the next 5 days, we should see a lot more test the waters. This policy allows these student-athletes see their chances in the NBA, get professional feedback on what to improve on, and gain the overall professional experience. The NBA Draft itself is June 22, 2017, 4:00 PM on ESPN, with the location to be determined. This all matters because if a lot of these declared players who have not hired an agent leave, some of the top predicted teams for next season may take some huge blows. Say USC loses Shaqquan Aaron, Bennie Boatwright, and Elijah Stewart; or Indiana loses OG Anunoby in addition to James Blackmon Jr., Thomas Bryant, and Robert Johnson; or Michigan loses D.J. Wilson and Moritz Wagner. These three teams currently all sit uncertainly of the fates regarding their best players. Many more colleges such as Purdue and Arizona still do not know the fates of some of their best players. This very list is why “Way Too Early Top 25’s” do not hold much importance.

Below is a list of NCAA players who have made their decisions in regards to next year. All seniors for the 2016-17 season are automatically eligible for the draft and do not have to decide. This list is long and complete as of April, 18th, but more and more players will make decisions within the next few days.

 

Declared With Agent

Markelle Fultz — 6-4, Fr., G (Washington)

Josh Jackson — 6-8, Fr., F (Kansas)

Lonzo Ball — 6-6, Fr., G (UCLA)

T.J. Leaf — 6-10, Fr., F (UCLA)

Dennis Smith Jr. — 6-3, Fr., G (N.C. State)

Omer Yurtseven — 7-0, Fr., C (N.C. State)

De’Aaron Fox — 6-3, Fr., G (Kentucky)

Malik Monk — 6-3, Fr., G (Kentucky)

Jayson Tatum — 6-8, Fr., F (Duke)

Harry Giles — 6-10, Fr., F (Duke)

Lauri Markkanen — 7-0, Fr., F (Arizona)

Zach Collins — 7-0, Fr., C (Gonzaga)

Kobi Simmons — 6-5, Fr., G (Arizona)

Justin Patton — 7-0, Fr., C (Creighton)

Jonathan Isaac — 6-10, Fr., F (Florida State)

Dwayne Bacon — 6-7, So., G (Florida State)

Luke Kennard — 6-6, So., G (Duke)

Ivan Rabb — 6-11, So., F (Cal)

Jawun Evans — 6-1, So., G (Oklahoma State)

Tyler Lydon —  6-9, So., F (Syracuse)

Edmond Sumner — 6-6, So., G (Xavier)

Isaiah Briscoe — 6-3, So., G (Kentucky)

Isaac Humphries — 7-0, So., F (Kentucky)

OG Anunoby — 6-8, So., F (Indiana)

Tyler Dorsey — 6-4, So., G (Oregon)

Dillon Brooks — 6-7, Jr., F (Oregon)

Jordan Bell — 6-9, Jr., F (Oregon)

Justin Jackson — 6-8, Jr., F (North Carolina)

Nigel Williams-Goss — 6-3, Jr., G (Gonzaga)

Melo Trimble — 6-3, Jr., G (Maryland)

Austin Nichols — 6-9, Jr., F (Virginia; dismissed from team in November)

L.J. Peak — 6-5, Jr., G (Georgetown)

 

Declared Without an Agent

Shaqquan Aaron, SF, USC (sophomore)

Jaylen Adams, PG, St. Bonaventure

Bam Adebayo, F/C, Kentucky (freshman)

Deng Adel, F, Louisville (sophomore)

Jashaun Agosto, G, Long Island (freshman)

Rawle Alkins, SG, Arizona (freshman)

Mark Alstork, SG, Wright State (junior)

Ike Anigbogu, C, UCLA (freshman)

Jaylen Barford, G, Arkansas (junior)

James Blackmon Jr., SG, Indiana (junior)

Antonio Blakeney, SG, LSU (sophomore)

Trevon Bluiett, SF, Xavier (junior)

Bennie Boatwright, PF, USC (sophomore)

Tony Bradley, C, UNC (freshman)

Thomas Bryant, C, Indiana (sophomore)

Rodney Bullock, F, Providence (junior)

Khadeen Carrington, SG, Seton Hall (junior)

Jeffrey Carroll, G/F, Oklahoma State (junior)

Joseph Chartouny, G, Fordham (sophomore)

Donte Clark, G/F, UMass (junior)

Chance Comanche, F/C, Arizona (sophomore)

Angel Delgado, PF, Seton Hall (junior)

Vince Edwards, SF, Purdue (junior)

John Egbunu, C, Florida (center)

Jon Elmore, SG, Marshall (junior)

Obi Enechionyia, PF, Temple (junior)

Drew Eubanks, C, Oregon State (sophomore)

Tacko Fall, C, UCF (sophomore)

Brandon Goodwin, G, FGCU (junior)

Isaac Haas, C, Purdue (junior)

Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA (sophomore)

Chandler Hutchison, SG, Boise State (junior)

B.J. Johnson, SF, La Salle (junior)

Jaylen Johnson, PF, Louisville (junior)

Robert Johnson, SG, Indiana (junior)

Andrew Jones, PG, Texas (freshman)

Kerem Kanter, PF, Green Bay (junior)

Marcus Keene, PG, Central Michigan (junior)

Braxton Key, F, Alabama (freshman)

William Lee, PF, UAB (junior)

Kyle Kuzma, PF, Utah (junior)

Daryl Macon, G, Arkansas (junior)

Yante Maten, PF, Georgia (junior)

Markis McDuffie, SF, Wichita State (sophomore)

MiKyle McIntosh, SF, Illinois State (junior)

Eric Mika, F/C, BYU (sophomore)

Donovan Mitchell, SG, Louisville (sophomore)

Johnathan Motley, PF, Baylor (junior)

Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, SG, Kansas (junior)

Semi Ojeleye, SF, SMU (junior)

Cameron Oliver, PF, Nevada (sophomore)

Randy Onwuasor, SG, Southern Utah (junior)

Maverick Rowan, SG, N.C. State (sophomore)

Corey Sanders, PG, Rutgers (sophomore)

Jaaron Simmons, PG, Ohio (junior)

Fred Sims, G, Chicago State (sophomore)

Elijah Stewart, SG, USC (junior)

Caleb Swanigan, PF, Purdue (sophomore)

Stephen Thompson, SG, Oregon State (sophomore)

Trevor Thompson, C, Ohio State (junior)

Moritz Wagner, C, Michigan (sophomore)

Thomas Welsh, C, UCLA (junior)

Thomas Wilder, G, Western Michigan (junior)

D.J. Wilson, PF, Michigan (sophomore)

Omer Yurtseven, C, North Carolina State (freshman)

 

Notables Returning to College

Miles Bridges — 6-7, Fr., F (Michigan State)

Robert Williams — 6-9, Fr., F (Texas A&M)

Tyus Battle — 6-6, Fr., G (Syracuse)

Allonzo Trier — 6-5, So., G (Arizona)

Grayson Allen — 6-5, Jr., G (Duke)

E.C. Matthews — 6-5, Jr., G (Rhode Island)

Marcus Foster — 6-3, Jr., G (Creighton)

 

Notables Undecided

Ethan Happ — 6-10, So., F (Wisconsin)

Joel Berry II — 6-0, Jr., G (North Carolina)

 

0

A Composite “Way Too Early Top 25”

A Composite “Way Too Early Top 25”

by: Zachery Bonzheim

 

The 2016-17 season is over and it’s already time to focus on the next season. Within the last week, nine notable college basketball news sources released their “Way Too Early Top 25’s”. These polls are very likely to change with recruits making final choices, players transferring, and players leaving for the NBA, but this is what the experts predict the rankings will look like.

Below is a side-by-side comparison for all nine of the preseason polls that were released. Further below is a composite ranking. This composite ranking takes the average rankings for every team listed and sorts them based on best average and number of times ranked. 15 teams were unanimously ranked and 10 teams had average rankings below 10.

 

FOX Bleacher

Report

CBS ESPN NBC Sports
1 Arizona Kentucky Kansas Kentucky Louisville
2 Louisville Villanova Arizona UNC Duke
3 Duke Gonzaga UNC Louisville UNC
4 MSU Duke Louisville Villanova Kansas
5 Kansas Louisville Wichita St Florida Miami
6 Kentucky Wichita St MSU Wichita St Florida
7 Gonzaga UNC Duke Duke Villanova
8 UNC Kansas Kentucky West Virginia West Virginia
9 UCLA WVU Baylor Kansas Gonzaga
10 Wichita St Arizona Florida Gonzaga Wichita
11 Villanova Purdue Villanova Arizona MSU
12 USC MSU USC MSU Kentucky
13 Florida Cincinnati Gonzaga Oregon Arizona
14 Minnesota Minnesota Notre Dame Virginia USC
15 St. Mary’s Miami Minnesota St. Mary’s Minnesota
16 Seton Hall UCLA Miami Xavier UCLA
17 Alabama Baylor Northwestern Minnesota Cincinnati
18 Cincinnati St. Mary’s Cincinnati Notre Dame Baylor
19 Northwestern Oregon Butler Butler Seton Hall
20 Texas A&M Texas A&M Alabama SMU Northwestern
21 Vanderbilt Florida UCLA Miami Alabama
22 BYU Nevada West Virginia Michigan Notre Dame
23 Oklahoma Virginia St Marys UCLA Virginia Tech
24 Miami Indiana Purdue Cincinnati St. Mary’s
25 Maryland Wake Forest Xavier Baylor Nevada

 

Sporting News Sports Illustrated Yahoo USA Today
1 Arizona Arizona Kentucky Arizona
2 Duke Kentucky Arizona Duke
3 Kentucky Louisville Kansas Kentucky
4 Kansas Duke Gonzaga Florida
5 MSU Villanova Wichita St Kansas
6 Louisville Gonzaga Villanova Xavier
7 UNC UNC Louisville UCLA
8 Florida MSU Duke Wichita St
9 Wichita St Wichita St West Virginia UNC
10 Villanova Minnesota UNC Louisville
11 UCLA Kansas MSU USC
12 Gonzaga Notre Dame Florida Oregon
13 Minnesota USC Cincinnati West Virginia
14 Cincinnati Cincinnati USC Notre Dame
15 Notre Dame West Virginia St. Mary’s Indiana
16 Butler South Carolina Butler MSU
17 West Virginia Butler TCU Minnesota
18 St. Mary’s Virginia Notre Dame Alabama
19 Xavier UCLA UCLA Gonzaga
20 Miami St. Mary’s Minnesota Villanova
21 Alabama Florida Northwestern St. Mary’s
22 Creighton Northwestern Texas A&M TCU
23 Virginia Tech Michigan Alabama Miami
24 Oregon TCU Miami Cincinnati
25 Northwestern Xavier Virginia Northwestern

 

OVERALL COMPOSITE RANKINGS

The Ranking Order is the teams listed rank in the chart above. The rankings are the same order as above. If a team missed out on a ranking they received a “x”.

The Composite Rank is an average of all of their rankings.

The Ranking Ratio is the number of times the team was ranked out of nine (the max amount of times).

Composite-Rankings Conf Final

CONFERENCE RANKINGS

Composite-Conf-Rankings Final

1

Lavar Ball calls out “White Players”

We already endured April Fools day just a few days ago.  As my phone started blowing up this evening, I had to check the date to make sure it wasn’t actually April 1.

Lavar Ball told Clay Fowler (@clay_fowler) of the Inland Valley Daily Journal

“Realistically you can’t win no championship with three white guys because the foot speed is too slow, I told Lonzo – ‘One of these games you might need to go for 30 or 40 points.’ It turned out the that was the one game. Then once they get to the Elite 8, they’re right there.”

Up to this point the things that have come out of mouth of the patriarch of the Ball family have been harmless, eccentric, outlandish and even crazy but this is a whole different level.

We have to ask ourselves some questions when comments like this are made and specifically in this situation.

How do you define this?  Racism?  Prejudice?  Truth?

At what point will Lonzo start separating from his dad? (and the ridiculous ‘Big Baller Brand’?)

At what point will NBA teams say “This is Marv Marinovich all over again?”

Only time will tell.

Weigh in on the comments below.

1

Postseason Rankings

1815154images

2017_NCAA_Men's_Final_Four_logo.svg

 

Postseason Rankings

by: Zachery Bonzheim

 

All of the tournaments are done and over with. North Carolina has been crowned the king of the NCAA, but there was more than one team that ended their year with a win. In addition to the NCAA Tournament, the NIT, CBI, and CIT took place, giving over hundred teams a chance to win some sort of title. How do all of these teams rack up? This article intends to rank every NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball team that participated in postseason play. Teams like Ohio State, that declined their postseason bid will not be a part of the ranking regardless if they are more qualified than some of the lesser teams. Also, no team from a lesser round or a lesser tournament will be ranked above a team that either made it further or in a better tournament. For instance, the worst overall team in the NCAA tournament will be ranked ahead of the winner of the NIT, regardless if the NIT champion may have beaten the 16 seed in a head to head contest.

The tournaments go in order from NCAA Tournament, NIT, CBI, and CIT.

 

  1. North Carolina- NCAA Tournament Champion
  2. Gonzaga- NCAA Tournament Runner Up
  3. Oregon- NCAA Tournament Final Four
  4. South Carolina- NCAA Tournament
  5. Kentucky- NCAA Tournament Elite Eight
  6. Kansas- NCAA Tournament Elite Eight
  7. Florida- NCAA Tournament Elite Eight
  8. Xavier- NCAA Tournament Elite Eight
  9. Arizona- NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen
  10. UCLA- NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen
  11. Wisconsin- NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen
  12. West Virginia- NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen
  13. Michigan- NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen
  14. Butler- NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen
  15. Baylor- NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen
  16. Purdue- NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen
  17. Wichita State- NCAA Tournament Round of 32
  18. Rhode Island- NCAA Tournament Round of 32
  19. Villanova- NCAA Tournament Round of 32
  20. St Mary’s- NCAA Tournament Round of 32
  21. Northwestern- NCAA Tournament Round of 32
  22. Iowa State- NCAA Tournament Round of 32
  23. Louisville- NCAA Tournament Round of 32
  24. Duke- NCAA Tournament Round of 32
  25. Michigan State- NCAA Tournament Round of 32
  26. USC- NCAA Tournament Round of 32
  27. Arkansas- NCAA Tournament Round of 32
  28. Cincinnati- NCAA Tournament Round of 32
  29. Middle Tennessee State- NCAA Tournament Round of 32
  30. Notre Dame- NCAA Tournament Round of 32
  31. Florida State- NCAA Tournament Round of 32
  32. Virginia- NCAA Tournament Round of 32
  33. Oklahoma State- NCAA Tournament Round of 64
  34. SMU- NCAA Tournament Round of 64
  35. Vanderbilt- NCAA Tournament Round of 64
  36. Florida Gulf Coast- NCAA Tournament Round of 64
  37. Minnesota- NCAA Tournament Round of 64
  38. Creighton- NCAA Tournament Round of 64
  39. Princeton- NCAA Tournament Round of 64
  40. Dayton- NCAA Tournament Round of 64
  41. VCU- NCAA Tournament Round of 64
  42. Seton Hall- NCAA Tournament Round of 64
  43. Maryland- NCAA Tournament Round of 64
  44. Kansas State- NCAA Tournament Round of 64
  45. Marquette- NCAA Tournament Round of 64
  46. Virginia Tech- NCAA Tournament Round of 64
  47. Bucknell- NCAA Tournament Round of 64
  48. UNC Wilmington- NCAA Tournament Round of 64
  49. Northern Kentucky- NCAA Tournament Round of 64
  50. Miami- NCAA Tournament Round of 64
  51. Vermont- NCAA Tournament Round of 64
  52. Nevada- NCAA Tournament Round of 64
  53. Jacksonville State- NCAA Tournament Round of 64
  54. Kent State- NCAA Tournament Round of 64
  55. East Tennessee State- NCAA Tournament Round of 64
  56. New Mexico State- NCAA Tournament Round of 64
  57. Iona- NCAA Tournament Round of 64
  58. North Dakota- NCAA Tournament Round of 64
  59. South Dakota State- NCAA Tournament Round of 64
  60. Troy- NCAA Tournament Round of 64
  61. Winthrop- NCAA Tournament Round of 64
  62. Mount St Mary’s- NCAA Tournament Round of 64
  63. Texas Southern – NCAA Tournament Round of 64
  64. UC Davis- NCAA Tournament Round of 64
  65. Providence- NCAA Tournament First Four
  66. Wake Forest- NCAA Tournament First Four
  67. New Orleans- NCAA Tournament First Four
  68. N.C. Central- NCAA Tournament First Four
  69. TCU- NIT Champion
  70. Georgia Tech- NIT Runner Up
  71. UCF- NIT Semi Finalist
  72. Cal State Bakersfield- NIT Semi Finalist
  73. UT Arlington- NIT Quarterfinals
  74. Ole Miss- NIT Quarterfinals
  75. Illinois- NIT Quarterfinals
  76. Richmond- NIT Quarterfinals
  77. Iowa- NIT Second Round
  78. Syracuse- NIT Second Round
  79. Illinois State- NIT Second Round
  80. Oakland- NIT Second Round
  81. Boise State- NIT Second Round
  82. Colorado State- NIT Second Round
  83. Akron- NIT Second Round
  84. Belmont- NIT Second Round
  85. Houston- NIT First Round
  86. Colorado- NIT First Round
  87. Alabama- NIT First Round
  88. Clemson- NIT First Round
  89. Indiana- NIT First Round
  90. Utah – NIT First Round
  91. Fresno State- NIT First Round
  92. Cal- NIT First Round
  93. Monmouth- NIT First Round
  94. Georgia- NIT First Round
  95. BYU- NIT First Round
  96. Charleston- NIT First Round
  97. South Dakota- NIT First Round
  98. UC Irvine- NIT First Round
  99. UNC Greensboro- NIT First Round
  100. Valparaiso- NIT First Round
  101. Wyoming- CBI Champions
  102. Coastal Carolina- CBI Runner Up
  103. Utah Valley- CBI Semi Finalist
  104. UIC- CBI Semi Finalist
  105. Rice- CBI Quarterfinals
  106. George Washington- CBI Quarterfinals
  107. Loyola Maryland- CBI Quarterfinals
  108. UMKC- CBI Quarterfinals
  109. Stony Brook- CBI First Round
  110. Toledo- CBI First Round
  111. Eastern Washington- CBI First Round
  112. San Francisco- CBI First Round
  113. Green Bay- CBI First Round
  114. Hampton- CBI First Round
  115. Loyola Maryland- CBI First Round
  116. Georgia Southern- CBI First Round
  117. St Peters- CIT Champions
  118. Texas A&M Corpus Christi- CIT Runner Up
  119. UMBC- CIT Semi Finalist
  120. Furman- CIT Semi Finalist
  121. Texas State- CIT Quarterfinals
  122. IPFW- CIT Quarterfinals
  123. Liberty- CIT Quarterfinals
  124. Campbell- CIT Quarterfinals
  125. Samford- CIT Second Round
  126. Weber State- CIT Second Round
  127. Idaho- CIT Second Round
  128. St Francis- CIT Second Round
  129. UT Martin- CIT Second Round
  130. Albany- CIT First Round
  131. Cal State Fullerton- CIT First Round
  132. Lamar- CIT First Round
  133. Jacksonville- CIT First Round
  134. Canisius- CIT First Round
  135. Ball State- CIT First Round
  136. Norfolk State- CIT First Round
  137. Georgia State- CIT First Round
  138. Stephen F Austin- CIT First Round
  139. USC Upstate- CIT First Round
  140. UNC Asheville- CIT First Round

 

1

Bryan’s Final Four Preview

Bryan Mauro-Contributing Writer (@threecolorbeard)

This has been one of the most exciting tournaments in recent memory.  The Final Four should be no different.  It all gets started again on Saturday night, and then a champion will be decided on Monday April 3rd.  I expect Phoenix to be hopping.

Logo2017

The Matchups:

Gonzaga vs. South Carolina: These two schools are both making their first final four appearance.  Gonzaga finally getting there after 19 straight years in the tournament.  South Carolina made a miracle run to the final four.  If defense wins championships then this game should give all us a look into the eyes of the future champions.  Gonzaga leads the country in defensive efficiency and doesn’t give up much on that end of the floor.  Gonzaga can also score with the best of them.  That is why Gonzaga’s margin of victory is so eyepopping.  Gonzaga is long, athletic and they run their defense and offense with conviction.  They also may be the team with the best coach in this entire tournament.  South Carolina has made their miracle run possible with their defense.  They have a philosophy on defense of run you off the three point line, and you won’t get into the middle. They make teams take 17 foot jump shots, and usually when that happens you have a nice recipe for success.   South Carolina is going to have to muddy up this game if they want to win.  They must force Gonzaga to turn the ball over, and take bad shots.   Word of Advice: Bet on South Carolina.  Even if they don’t win, their defense and Sindarious Thornwell should keep them in this game.  I believe this one will go down to the wire.

Prediction: Gonzaga-81 South Carolina-80

 

Oregon vs North Carolina:  Two of the most athletic and skilled teams in this tournament square off, for their right to play for the title.  Oregon made the Final Four without their leading big man in Chris Boucher.  It actually has hurt their depth, but Tyler Dorsey and Dillon Brooks have helped lead the way.  Those two have hit clutch shot after clutch shot the entire tournament.  Oregon survived a scare in the Sweet 16 as Michigan missed a three at the buzzer.  That game seemed to give them some new life.  They absolutely dominated Kansas in the Elite Eight matchup.  North Carolina has been one of the best teams all year.  They were the runner-up in last year tournament, and I know they want to get the sting of Kris Jenkins buzzer beating three out of their minds and win a title.  They have virtually the same team on the court as they had last year.  Word of Advice: Don’t count out Oregon.  Oregon plays a style of basketball that gives a lot of teams trouble, they like to spread the floor and run up and down.  They are filled with shooters, rim protectors, and they can play a zone defense, that will get any offense out of sorts.  Just ask Kansas.

Prediction: North Carolina-91 Oregon-82

 

Players to Watch:

Przemek Karnowski:  The Gonzaga big man is a load inside.  He is 7’1” and weighs 304 pounds.  If South Carolina lets him into the paint it could be a long night for them.  Karnowski can score, he anchors this defense, protects the rim, and doesn’t foul.  He will be able to neutralize the front court for South Carolina which has been so good in this tournament.  That is one matchup to watch.

PJ Dozier:  You were probably expecting me to say Sindarious Thornwell is the player to watch for South Carolina, right?  Well Sindarious Thornwell is the best player, that before this tournament only the avid basketball fan had ever heard of.  PJ Dozier is his wingman.  These two together can take teams down by themselves.  Dozier is so critical to the success of the South Carolina and what they are trying to do.  Why?  Teams are trying to take Sindarious Thornwell out of games, few have succeeded but he draws a crowd on defense.  Dozier is a good shooter, he gets to the rim, and shines at the key moment when Sindarious has not done much for a few possessions.

 

Jordan Bell: There are so many players on this Ducks squad who can beat you.  I have already talked about Tyler Dorsey and Dillon Brooks in previous tournament write-ups.  Jordan Bell is one of the main reasons Oregon has been able to survive until this round of the tournament.  Jordan Bell is not the flashiest player but boy can he protect the rim and rebound the basketball.  He also plays high level defense, He was a monster against Kansas.  If he continues his play in the Final Four, the North Carolina big men may have some trouble.  If that is the case it will bode very well for Oregon’s chances at a Championship game appearance.

 

Theo Pinson: When looking at the stat sheet, Theo Pinson will probably never be the leading scorer, leading rebounder, or even lead the team in assists.  What he does bring is stability to the defensive end of the floor for Roy Williams bunch.  The Tar Heels rely on Theo Pinson to take the best player on the other team completely out of the game.  When they played Kentucky he had the task of keeping Malik Monk in check he did that, and held Monk to one of his lowest point totals of the season.  Without Pinson and his ability to handle the ball and make a great pass to Luke Maye, North Carolina may not even be here.  Theo Pinson does not do many great things, he does many things well and is a pest on defense.  Should be a fun matchup between him and Tyler Dorsey.

 

National Champion:

North Carolina gets the monkey off their back and win the title.  This team has many weapons and too much experience for the rest of the field.  Gonzaga will give them a game, but in the end the best overall team in my eyes at the start of the tournament, is the team walking away with the Hardware at the end of the tournament.

0

Zac’s Final Four Predictions

Logo2017

Zac’s Final Four Predictions

By Zachery Bonzheim

The Final Four is among us. We have two teams from the West in Gonzaga and Oregon and two teams from the south in South Carolina and North Carolina. Gonzaga and North Carolina have continued to roll as their expectations have only led us to expect them here in the first place. South Carolina went from 22-10 to on the verge of winning it all and Oregon showed why you can’t count out a team for a mid-season slump. Let’s look at what is going to happen, who to watch, and who will win it all.

#1 Gonzaga vs #7 South Carolina, Saturday, April 1, 6:09 PM, CBS, Glendale, Arizona, University of Phoenix Stadium
Gonzaga has proven to be the most balanced team in the country all year with Williams-Goss playing at his AP All-American 2nd team level. Sindarius Thornwell has led his underdog South Carolina team on a roll as they beat the likes of Duke, Baylor, and Florida. Gonzaga has finally made it to the Final Four as it was a long time coming. Look for South Carolina to face its first balanced offense and for Gonzaga to play another fast paced good defending squad.

#1 North Carolina vs #3 Oregon, Saturday, April 1, 8:49 PM, CBS, Glendale, Arizona, University of Phoenix Stadium
North Carolina is back in the final four for the second year in a row and looking to get the title that eluded them last year. Oregon cruised to this point and Dillon Brooks is determined to bring greatness back home. North Carolina has struggled against teams with a small four so Dillon Brooks will be the most important person to watch. If Oregon can get him the ball as the stretch four, North Carolina may in trouble.

Who to Watch:
Dillon Brooks, Oregon- The small four is the hardest position for North Carolina to cover. He will make or break this game for both teams.
Sindarius Thornwell, South Carolina- He has led South Carolina to this point. His leadership on and off the court along with his elite play has bested the likes of may of college basketball’s blue bloods.
Nigel Williams-Goss, Gonzaga- Goss is going to be key because he has finally brought the Zag’s to the Final Four. Will the spotlight hurt his play or will succeed like never before?
Justin Jackson, North Carolina- Jackson has been here before, possibly in a lesser light to Marcus Paige to last year, but now the show is his. Jackson needs to not just elevate his game, but elevate his teammates game come Saturday.

Final Four Predictions
#1 Gonzaga vs #7 South Carolina
Gonzaga moves on to their first title game and South Carolina’s run ends.

#1 North Carolina vs #3 Oregon
North Carolina moves on in a close game with Oregon.

National Championship
#1 North Carolina vs #1 Gonzaga
North Carolina and Gonzaga will battle it out and in the end… North Carolina adds another title to their collection.

1

South Region: Sweet 16

Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 7.02.06 PM

The South was the only region to live up to all chalk. Although there was the “upset” of 12-seeded Middle Tennessee over 5-seeded Minnesota, the top four seeds all held their own and advanced to the Sweet 16.

First Round: 

#1 North Carolina (103) vs. #16 Texas Southern (64)

#2 Kentucky (79) vs. #15 Northern Kentucky (70)

#3 UCLA (97) vs. #14 Kent State (80)

#4 Butler (76) vs. #13 Winthrop (64)

#5 Minnesota (72) vs. #12 Middle Tennessee (81)

#6 Cincinnati (75) vs. #11 Kansas State (61)

#7 Dayton (58) vs. #10 Wichita State (64)

#8 Arkansas (77) vs. #9 Seton Hall (71)

Summary: Wichita State and Middle Tennessee were the only lower seeds to win in the first round games, and as it turns out, the entire South Region thus far. The biggest controversy came in the Arkansas win over Seton Hall, when a flagrant foul was called on Seton Hall’s Desi Rodriguez with just 18.3 seconds left with Arkansas was up just two. They made their two free throws, got the ball back and made two more. Kentucky’s performance against Northern Kentucky was the biggest shock of the region’s first round as the Wildcats seemed flat at times and couldn’t blow Northern Kentucky out of the water. The best performance of the first round belonged to Middle Tennessee’s Reggie Upshaw who dominated the games final 8 minutes and gave the Gophers no chance to comeback. Continue Reading