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:


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



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.



Early Applicants for the NBA Draft


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)



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


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



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


Composite-Conf-Rankings Final


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.


Postseason Rankings




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



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.


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.


Zac’s Final Four Predictions


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.


South Region: Sweet 16

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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


Midwest Region: Sweet 16



Bryan Mauro- Contributing Writer (@threecolorbeard)


The first two rounds of the Midwest region presented some of the most excited basketball in this years tournament. This side of the bracket had some of the highest scoring games as well as some of the best shooting.  Let delve right back in with a preview of the second weekend of games.


Kansas Vs Purdue: Thursday March 23rd, 9:39 EST:

This is a game that potentially everyone picked when filling out their brackets.  The two styles of basketball these teams play is extremely different.  However, Kansas can adapt to and play many different styles.  Purdue led by Caleb Swanigan and Isaac Haas, like to throw the ball inside and grind you out for 40 minutes.  Once Purdue gets the defense to suck in on their big men, they will kick the ball out to the perimeter to their sharpshooters Ryan Cline and The Midwestern Cowboy himself Dakota Mathias.  Kansas is best suited to play in an open style in which both teams are going to run the floor.  If you choose to play like that against Kansas, they will be harder to beat.  Kansas is already hard to beat as they are a tradition rich program who can beat teams in many ways, but they like to score and get up and down the floor.  Frank Mason and Josh Jackson are the two players who make Kansas go.  Word of Advice:  Bill Self has not always done very well in the round of 16.  Purdue is capable and can shoot just enough to give Kansas a scare.  Make sure you don’t underestimate Purdue’s ability.                                         Score Prediction:  Kansas 91- Purdue-79


Michigan vs Oregon:  Thursday March 23rd, 7:09 Pm EST:


These two teams are so much fun to watch, that I think we are in for a real treat with this game.  A recurring theme in games with Michigan in them is points.  Michigan can score a lot of them and really fast.  I have not seen many teams who can shoot the ball like the Wolverines can.  Their head man John Beilein loves offense.  He recruits it, coaches it, and refines it.  Oregon also likes to spread teams out and shoot a lot of threes.  Their guard Tyler Dorsey was a force against Rhode Island to get them this far.  I look for him to lead the charge against the Wolverines as well.  Dana Altman is the head man for Oregon and he has never beaten a Big Ten team in the round of 16.  I think that continues this year.  Word of Advice: Don’t count out the Wolverines, because of their lack of defense.  Teams the shoot the ball as well as they do can beat anyone.  Oregon is without their super big man Chris Boucher which could finally loom large in this game.
Score Prediction: Michigan 77- Oregon 75


Best One on One Matchup:

Caleb Swanigan/Isaac Haas vs. Carlton Bragg/Dwight Coleby:

I picked this matchup because it pits the best vs the worst.  Purdue has the best big man in the entire tournament.  Caleb Swanigan is a lottery pick in the NBA draft.  He is a matchup nightmare for anyone, much less a team who does not have very good big men in Kansas. Kansas has so much talent, and Bill Self is such a good coach, that it is why it is so strange to see him lack a quality big man. Carlton Bragg was a big time recruit for Bill Self, but he has just never panned out.  This matchup just like the others that Swanigan finds himself in, will be a win.  If he continues to dominate and take over games like he has the first two rounds, Purdue may find themselves winners and headed to the Regional Final.

Players to Watch:

Frank Mason III.- Kansas:  Many feel he is the front runner for College Basketball player of the year.  Frank has been in the system at Kansas for 4 years.  He runs their offense and is also their best offensive player.  He teams up with true freshman Josh Jackson and they make quite an unstoppable duo.  Frank Mason averages 20.3 Points, 5.2 Assists and 4.1 Rebounds per game.  He also shoots nearly 50% from the three point line.  Kansas is averaging 95 points a game in this tournament and Frank Mason is a huge reason why.


Caleb Swanigan- Purdue:  The Big Ten Player of the year in many eyes.  Swanigan is a match up nightmare for just about every team he plays against.  Biggie as he is called is going to get a double-double in this game, because he gets a double-double in every game.  If this is the first time you are watching Caleb play, you are in for a treat.  It’s not every day that you see a player of Swanigan’s size and stature, move like he does.  He can extend out and shoot the three as well.  He is a rebounding machine. Swanigan averages 19 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists. He shoots 43% from three and 79% from the foul line.  At 6’9” and 250 pounds he can do a lot.  He is one of the most exciting players to watch in this tournament because he can do everything.  He will be a lottery pick in the draft.


Derek Walton Jr.- Michigan: If you notice that Michigan has been one of the hottest teams in the country over the past month.  The play of their Point Guard Derek Walton Jr. is one of the reasons why they have been on a recent surge.  However, it’s a pretty relative statement because when you shoot the ball as well as Michigan does hot and cold streaks will happen.  If Derek Walton Jr.  is distributing the ball and not turning the ball over, that makes Michigan so much harder to beat.  Walton Jr. has really upped his level of play over the last month and a half.  Michigan can score from anywhere on the floor and their offense if fast paced, well coached and beautiful to watch when rolling on all cylinders.  Michigan will go as far Derek Walton takes them.  It is looking like that could be all the way to the final four.


Dillon Brooks- Oregon: Dillon Brooks along with Tyler Dorsey are quite the 1-2 punch.  Oregon needs Dillon Brooks to have a huge game for Oregon especially against a team like Michigan.  Oregon’s big man Chris Boucher is out for the remainder of the season with an injury and Oregon has survived so far. Earlier this year when Brooks was out for Oregon, they looked out of sorts, unorganized and dropped some games they would have normally won.  Now that Dillon Brooks is fully healthy, Oregon’s offense is a well-oiled machine.  Dillon Brooks has hit some really big shots for Oregon this year, as well as last year’s buzzer beater in the tournament.  He is seasoned and has the clutch gene.  He averages 16 points, 4 rebounds per game.  He shoots 40% from the three-point line and 74% from the Free Throw line.


West Region: Sweet Sixteen

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West Region: Sweet Sixteen

By Zachery Bonzheim

The first weekend of the Big Dance has ended and the tournament was full of upsets, close games, surprise, and broken brackets. The West has seen its fair share of drama as an 11 seed in Xavier has cruised to the Sweet Sixteen and the number one, Gonzaga only beat Northwestern with the help of the refs. Let’s begin by recapping round one and two.




Round One

#1 Gonzaga beat #16 South Dakota State (66-46)

#8 Northwestern beat #9 Vanderbilt (68-66)

#5 Notre Dame beat #12 Princeton (60-58)

#4 West Virginia beat #13 Bucknell (80-86)

#11 Xavier beat #6 Maryland (76-65)

#3 Florida State beat #14 Florida Gulf Coast (86-80)

#7 Saint Mary’s beat #10 VCU (85-77)

#2 Arizona beat #15 North Dakota (100-82)

Round One Summary: There was only one upset… All of the higher seeds won in the first round with the exception of the highly anticipated and greatly regarded Maryland/Xavier game. Many bracketologists and experts had Maryland around the 8 seed and Xavier higher than an 11 seed. What happens when a highly overseeded team plays one of the most underseeded teams? An upset… that was expected. The Trevon Bluiett and Melo Trimble matchup were everything we hoped for and more. It is worth noting how easily Saint Mary’s cruised over VCU and how Florida State and Notre Dame struggled against much worse opponents.

P.S. Northwestern left the first round of the West Region with a 100% winning percentage in the NCAA Tournament.




Round Two

#1 Gonzaga beat #8 Northwestern (79-73)

#4 West Virginia beat #5 Notre Dame (83-71)

#11 Xavier beat #3 Florida State (91-66)

#2 Arizona beat #7 Saint Mary’s (69-60)

Round Two Summary: There was only one upset… XAVIER AGAIN. This region has been as chalk as possible with the major exception of Xavier. The top two seeds, Gonzaga and Arizona struggled to beat a pair of 8 and 7 seeds. Northwestern was in the game with huge momentum until a missed goaltend and a technical in reaction handed the game to Gonzaga. Northwestern’s record year was cut short due to poor officiating. In the official’s defense, they could not review the play and none had the angle to see the goaltend. Saint Mary’s was under-seeded as a seven and proved it by taking #2 Arizona to the breaking point. Notre Dame and Florida State, two teams perhaps overseeded that struggled in the first round against much lower opponents got demolished in round two against competitive teams. Xavier’s whopping of Florida State was historic. A huge storyline to follow into the Sweet Sixteen is that the lower seeds, #4 West Virginia and #11 Xavier have cruised to this point while #1 Gonzaga and #2 Arizona struggled in the second round. How could momentum affect the next round?




Sweet Sixteen Preview

#1 Gonzaga vs #4 West Virginia- March 23rd, 7:39 PM, San Jose, TBS

#2 Arizona vs #11 Xavier- March 23rd, 10:05 PM, San Jose, TBS

Both games will be held Thursday, March 23rd, on TBS, in San Jose at the SAP Center. SAP holds 18,543 for basketball games. Gonzaga’s McCarthey Athletic Center holds 6,000; West Virginia’s WVU Coliseum holds 14,000; Arizona’s McKale Center holds 14,644, and Xavier’s Cintas Center holds 10,250. All teams will be playing in front of crowds larger than their average home games.



#1 Gonzaga vs #4 West Virginia

This game will be very good. Press Virginia’s nationally recognized press defense against the amazing offensive firepower of Gonzaga will be on display. Right now momentum is with West Virginia as they cruised past Notre Dame. Gonzaga struggled against Northwestern who is great in their own right and could have won that game, but they are not the quality of West Virginia. I expect this to be a very close game. Gonzaga will have the crowd to their advantage, but West Virginia will have the momentum. The matchup to watch will be in the guard play. Nigel Williams-Goss will need to lead the Zags while Jevon Carter will be going all out at 100 miles a minute.

Prediction: West Virginia 81-80



#2 Arizona vs #11 Xavier

Xavier is cruising. They have looked flawless so far and Trevon Bluiett has looked like an All-American. Arizona will have a huge advantage in location and the dominance of Lauri Markkanen. Bluiett has been the best player in the West Region so far and he will be the player to watch closely all day. Allonzo Trier and Trevon Bluiett will battle it head to head. Expect a battle similar to that of Josh Jackson and Miles Bridges’ in the Kansas/Michigan State game. This game is a huge toss up, Arizona was my personal favorite to make it out of the region, but Xavier has made me a believer.

Prediction: Xavier 88-85



Top 5 Players in the West Sweet Sixteen

Trevon Bluiett, Xavier, Junior, Guard
Jevon Carter, West Virginia, Junior, Guard
Nigel Williams-Goss, Gonzaga, Junior, Guard
Allonzo Trier, Arizona, Sophomore, Guard
Lauri Markkanen, Arizona, Freshman, Center


This region is exceptionally special because the talent the top two teams carry is unmatched. Xavier and West Virginia’s overall dominance has been unmatched creating some huge matchups. The best part is that the four most important players left in this region are all guards. At this point, nothing in the region would surprise anyone. If Xavier or West Virginia won by 20, people would just note their momentum. If Arizona or Gonzaga won by 20 people would just look at their talent. The close game is of course expected at this point, but nothing would be a surprise.