Barstool Basketball Mailbag: Best Big 10 Players, At-Large Chances, Most Valuable Player & More

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Basketball is a year round sport, so due to that we’re going to do a year round mailbag. We’re still going to run this every Friday like we do during the season, but we’ll be talking about college hoops, transfers, NBA Draft, NBA and recruiting questions. That’s right you get an NBA and college hoops mailbag all rolled into one every Friday. Reminder you can always submit questions on Twitter @barstoolreags

They are up there for sure. But let’s not rule out Texas, Oklahoma, Baylor, St. John’s. There are a bunch of inconsistent teams, but, yeah, I’d throw Seton Hall up there too. Part of that is losing that core from last year. You lose those seniors you expect to take a step back. Luckily Myles Powell is so damn good that he’s winning games for you – i.e. the Kentucky game.

Man, this is a great question. So I think you can say Cassius Winston and Carsen Edwards are the top-2. Ethan Happ is up there BUT the fact that he’s literally unplayable in close games late is a massive negative. I mean the guy is a negative on the court in that situation because he can’t make a free throw. Then there are guys like Iggy/Simpson/Matthews at Michigan, Palmer at Nebraska and someone like Murphy at Minnesota that could be discussed. But, I’d take Happ and Fernando over them. So really it just comes down to Happ vs Fernando and if you take all the pros from Happ with his free throw shooting or Fernando.

Next year – assuming Ayo stays, which is truly up in the air. If Ayo stays then this Illinois team will likely have a preseason ranking and have some serious hype coming into the year. This is a young core that’s starting to figure out Underwood’s system and win some big games. If Ayo stays, they are back next year. If not, then next year should be a bubble team and then the year after that. They’ll be back soon.

Do they have a chance to win the Big 12 Tournament? Of course they do. This is Kansas. The Big 12 doesn’t have a dominant team. There’s no doubt that they can win the Big 12 Tournament. Now, it’s pointless to say well if they win the Big 12 Tournament then they’ll be a 2 seed. You can’t look at things in a vacuum like that. What else happens across the country? What happens before the Big 12 Tournament?

Yeah, there’s very much a chance. It’s obviously going to depend on what happens in terms of bids being stolen during conference tournament week. But, there are teams that are very much alive for at-large bids that typically wouldn’t be. I think SoCon could get 2 teams in. Utah State is alive. San Francisco is alive. We’re going to see an at-large team or two be from a mid-major conference.

Uhhh, we saw what happened Wednesday, right? We know that Duke is in the ACC, right? Listen, Justin Robinson is really good and important to what Virginia Tech does. But, Zion is the most valuable player in the ACC and it ain’t really that close. Without Zion you’re playing Jack White, who hasn’t made a three in 40 days. Or you’re playing DeLaurier and Bolden and that’s simply not a good lineup. Zion is the most valuable player in the country. We don’t have to overthink this.

San Diego State taking a step back plus BYU leaving for the WCC are the two biggest things. Also UNLV not being relevant. Those are the 3 programs that you typically thought of when it came to the MWC. With Nevada being so good, they need another program (SDSU or UNLV) being good year and year out. They should be a 2 bid league off of that alone. And then you rotate a New Mexico, Boise State, Wyoming, Utah State as a 3rd team. There should always be 3 teams close to a bid with 2 in. They really need San Diego State and UNLV to getting back to being consistently relevant.

If they go 14-4, then yeah, you’re probably looking at one of the last teams in – that nonconference is brutal. But, what are the chances that they go 5-0 with games against Mississippi State (A), Alabama (H), Missouri (A), Texas A&M (A) and Georgia (H)? They are projected to go 3-2 on KenPom. That doesn’t get them in. I think they need to go 4-1 before we even really discuss them as a possible bubble team. They have a sub-300 loss to Wyoming. They have a sub 150 loss to Stony Brook. They don’t have a quality nonconference win. They have a lot of work to do still.