College Basketball Chaos
I have never seen a college basketball season filled with this much craziness. There are still so many unanswered questions and so much still unknown. Along the same lines, where the heck are the big time storylines at?? Gonzaga and San Diego State are really good. Baylor is playing good as well, but I still think Kansas is the best team in the Big 12. I think Kansas has the better team, better coach and they have pros in Azubuike and Dotson. North Carolina is reeling, Michigan had that crazy start to the year and since has fallen off a bit. Starting Wolverine Guard Zavier Simpson got in a car accident and the car belonged to the athletic director’s wife. Simpson lied about his name to authorities and then was suspended for a game. I would not be surprised at all if he is suspended for more after the investigation concludes and if that is the case then his suspension would hurt Michigan big time during this closing stretch of the season.
Right now, who would you give the Naismith Player of the Year Award to? No player in the country has brought it every single game. And usually around early to mid February, you start to get an idea of who THE guy is in college basketball. It very easily could have been James Wiseman if he had decided to stay. Obi Toppin is having a heck of a year at Dayton but he hasn’t played a ton of competition. Anthony Edwards is a beast but Georgia is a total nonfactor on the national level. San Diego State has a really good roster that can absolutely make a run in March. They are beating up on everyone in the Mountain West and they will be a #1 or #2 seed more than likely. They can defend really well. They also have a bucket getter in Malachi Flynn, a guard who is averaging 16.5 PPG and 5 assists a game.
Keep an eye on the A-Sun. They could potentially get 2 teams in which would be UNF and Liberty. Liberty has one non conference loss which was at LSU then lost in conference at UNF and at Stetson, but they can lock you down really well. UNF plays the complete opposite and they lead the nation in 3’s made and have four senior starters and their best player on the team is Sophomore Forward Carter Hendricksen. He could end up being the best UNF player of all time if he continues to sharpen his skills. UNF loves to push the pace and get shots up. The path to getting two teams into the tournament is to have Liberty win out and get in as an at-large (currently on the bubble) and UNF would have to beat Liberty in the A-Sun championship game to get the automatic bid.
For you Florida fans, how are you guys feeling about Mike White right now? Florida is not living up to potential but that roster has the makings of a deep run in March. I think some of the criticism of Coach White is unfair because he has made the tournament the last three seasons and won at least a game in the tourney each year, including an elite 8 in 2017. And let’s face it, Kentucky is the face of the SEC and as long as Cal is up in Lexington that will not change. Rick Barnes has Tennessee in great shape long term, even though they are having a tough rebuilding year this year. Frank Martin continues to be a heck of a coach at South Carolina. So, while I understand the frustration from you Gator fans, just relax and look at the big picture. You guys are in a tough conference and you are at a football school. Mike White is no Billy Donovan and I don’t think that Florida could go out and find a much better coach out there than Mike White. If I were Florida, I would give him more time. Empires aren’t built overnight and you’ll never be able to build one if you start a cycle of going through coaches because each coach fails to get you to a Final Four in their first five years at the helm.
Kentucky is starting to roll little by little right now. After Khalil Whitney left, the rotation is more in tact and Nick Richards is becoming a dominating player down low. The question for Kentucky is, can Hagans take care of the ball well enough to win and what happens when the big men get in foul trouble. Kentucky only plays 8 guys and only has three big men. The Wildcats are not going to blow anyone out, but they are also going to be in every game. Will they be able to stay out of foul trouble and hit enough shots to win in March?
Right now, if I were a betting man, I would take Kansas or Duke to win it all in the tournament. I think it takes good guard play, a good post player and great coaching.